The best of Burt Reynolds: 10 classic movies
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.
Film and TV icon Burt Reynolds died on Thursday, leaving behind a rich cinematic legacy. Which would you say was his best movie? https://t.co/lAe2f9yOTf
— KSAT 12 (@ksatnews) September 7, 2018
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.
Boogie Nights is one of my favourite films and Burt Reynolds was excellent in it, the star, full of humanity, empathy, and neckerchiefs. RIP.
— Sam Diss (@SamDiss) September 6, 2018
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.
BURT REYNOLDS R.I.P. #Burt #BurtReynolds #Deliverance #smokyandthebandit @THR #ABCNews #qldpol @auspolwatch #abc730 @ABCPolitics #auspol @couriermail @BreakfastNews @sunriseon7 pic.twitter.com/huQ0Ur2BJw
— Leahy Cartoons (@leahycartoons) September 7, 2018
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.
The Longest Yard is the best Burt Reynolds movie – and that’s saying a lot because he was in SO many classics. He was a true movie star when we throw that term around way too loosely now…
— Jason Smith (@howaboutafresca) September 7, 2018
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).
if you weren’t a teenager in the late-70s, early-80s, you can’t know how cool Burt Reynolds was. Pontiac sold twice the Trans-Ams it had before he drove one in Smokey & the Bandit. Movie cost $4 million to make. Grossed $300 million. He was, The Dude.
— Bruce Hooley (@BHOOLZ) September 7, 2018
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.
One of the prizes of my collection is the original Tom Jung art for the White Lightning poster. Notice the writing at the bottom. Burt Reynolds graciously signed it for me. “The Best Man Is Only You.” pic.twitter.com/sgnzasMgF5
— Eric Vespe (@EricVespe) September 6, 2018
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.
My favorite Burt Reynolds movie is probably Hooper. Stuntman seemed like a viable career choice when I was 7. And Sally Field is always wonderful.
— Crutnacker (@Crutnacker) September 7, 2018
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.
So saddened by the passing of my old friend Burt Reynolds. He was a man who lived life to the fullest. Loved our time together on the set of Cannonball II & our trip to FSU. Thank u for the smiles. RIP Buddy
— Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) September 6, 2018
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.
If you didn’t live through it, it’s hard to explain what a huge movie star Burt Reynolds was in the 70’s. ‘The End’ is overlooked and one of my favorites. #RIPBandit
— Jeff Esarey (@JeffEsarey) September 6, 2018
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.
I know almost every line from the Burt Reynolds movie ‘Gator’Not sure whyRIP Gator McKlusky 🙁
— Brian Scott McFadden (@bscottmcfadden) September 6, 2018
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.
Loved Burt Reynolds in Shamus, a film as confusing as any Chandler adaptation. Tom Selleck now stands alone as the Hollywood standard bearer of upper lip fur.
— John Byrne (@tellyjohn) September 6, 2018
And the top Burt Reynolds tribute-slash-impersonation has to be this one:
I am so happy Turd Ferguson is trending one of the greatest SNL skits of all time RIP Burt Reynolds
— ♀️ Terry (@SupaTerryRules) September 6, 2018
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter @shirley_trib.