The best of Burt Reynolds: 10 classic movies |

The best of Burt Reynolds: 10 classic movies

Universal Pictures
Burt Reynolds starred as The Bandit in 'Smokey and the Bandit' in 1977.
Broken Twig Productions
Burt Reynolds in the 2017 movie 'Dog Years.'
AFP/Getty Images
A picture of Burt Reynolds is seen on the TLC Chinese Theatre on the Hollywood walk of fame in Hollywood, California on Sept. 6, 2018. Best known for his roles in 'Deliverance' and 'Boogie Nights,' the 82-year-old actor, who was a huge box office attraction in the 1970s, died at a hospital in Florida.
Getty Images
Flowers are placed on Burt Reynolds' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is seen on September 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. The actor/director passed away on Sept. 6 in Jupiter, Fla. at 82.

Burt Reynolds once said about the movie-going public, “They don’t think you’re as good as your last movie, they think you’re as good as your best movie.”

That was probably a good thing for him, as his long career had highs like the critically acclaimed “Deliverance” and an Oscar nomination for “Boogie Nights,” as well as lows like “Stroker Ace” and “Driven.”

Now that the actor — he of the twinkling eyes, ironic manner and iconic mustache — has passed away, it’s time to pay tribute to his best work.

With more than 60 films to choose from, it’s not an easy task, but here are 10 of our favorite Burt Reynolds movies.

Don’t @ us, as they say on Twitter. Take a minute to remember the 1970s heartthrob, talk show raconteur and erstwhile Playgirl model and make your own list.

1. Boogie Nights (1977)

Star Mark Wahlberg claims Reynolds “hated” Paul Thomas Anderson’s modern classic about a young man’s foray into the 1970s California porn industry. Still, Reynolds garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as adult film auteur Jack Horner.

2. Deliverance (1972)

A back-country Georgia canoe trip goes bad when four city dwellers, including Reynolds, run afoul of some locals who don’t welcome their presence. The suspenseful and disturbing classic is also known for the iconic “Dueling Banjos” scene.

3. The Longest Yard (1974)

Reynolds stars as a former pro quarterback and current prison inmate, forced by the warden to put together a ragtag football team to play against a group of brutal guards.

4. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

As trucker Bo “Bandit” Darville, Reynolds picks up a load of Coors beer in Texas and hightails it to Georgia for his pal Big Enos to drink at a truck show. Since it was illegal to transport Coors east of the Mississippi in 1977, the Bandit is pursued by Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason).

5. White Lightning (1973)

Moonshine runner Gator McCluskey (Reynolds) gets sprung from prison to help federal agents bring down a corrupt sheriff, whom Gator thinks is responsible for his brother’s murder.

6. Hooper (1978)

Sonny Hooper (Reynolds) is getting too old to retain his crown as Hollywood’s top stunt man, so he plans a last hurrah with his biggest stunt ever — which a young rival intends to top.

7. The Cannonball Run (1981)

Reynolds leads an all-star cast of ’70s celebrities playing eccentrics who will go to any lengths to win an illegal cross-country race. The cast includes Jackie Chan in one of his first American movies.

8. The End (1978)

With months to live and having no success reconciling with his family, Reynold’s character Wendell Lawson attempts suicide and ends up institutionalized. A wacky fellow patient (Dom DeLuise) decides to help him on his quest to end it all.

9. Gator (1976)

A sequel to “White Lightning,” Gator McCluskey is out of prison and leading a quiet life in the Okefenokee Swamp, when federal agents come calling to seek his help taking down a local crime lord.

10. Shamus (1973)

The Thrilling Detective website calls this one a “Burtsploitation” flick, as Reynolds swaggers about in “all his hairy-chested glory” as a pool hustler turned private eye with a taste for booze, broads and gambling.

And the top Burt Reynolds tribute-slash-impersonation has to be this one:

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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