Smokey and the Bandit (1977)


Our Weekly Entertainment Dispatch

The greatest crimefighter in movie history takes on bootleggers with mixed results

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

“The fact that you are a Sheriff is not germane to the situation.”

“The goddamn Germans got nothing to do with it!!”

This is one of my favorite movie lines of all time. I immediately spit it out whenever someone uses germane in conversation. (Which isn’t that often as vocabulary seems like a thing of the past.) Invariable people look at me like I’m a crazy person (true). It’s one of the reasons that our recommendation for this installment of Weekend Buff is Smokey and the Bandit (1977).


Smokey and the Bandit started out as a low budget film project that attracted some big names and took off to become the second biggest film of 1977 (nothing was beating Star Wars that year).

The film is essentially based on a beer run. Back in the 60’s and 70’s Coors Beer was only distributed in 11 western states. To get it back east you had to go get it yourself. No Door Dash or Uber Eats dropping off a sixpack. Drinking the taste of the Rockies took some ingenuity.

A wealthy Texan wants 400 cases of the elicit beverage brought to Atlanta Motor Speedway to celebrate an anticipated win by his racing team in the Southern Classic. The magnate hires Bo “The Bandit” Darvile and Cletus “The Snowman” Snow to bootleg the shipment from Texas (where Coors is sold legally) to Atlanta. The Bandit runs interference with his 1977 Trans Am for The Snowman, who carries the load in his 18-wheeler.

The two pick up some trouble along the way in the form of Carrie, a runaway bride, and Buford T. Justice, the duly elected Sheriff of Portague County, Texas, and Carrie’s prospective father-in-law. Sheriff Justice wants his future daughter-in-law back, and Bandit and Snowman think he is after the beer.


You should all know these characters, Burt Reynolds as The Bandit, Sally Field as Carrie, and Jerry Reed as The Snowman. But the man who steals the show is Jackie Gleeson as Buford T. Justice. Long-time stuntman and first-time director Hal Needham wisely allowed Gleeson to ad-lib most of his lines in the movie. He captured gold with the character of Justice. Gleeson is both magnificent and hysterical. His comedic genius turns Smokey and the Bandit from a good car chase movie to a bit of iconic Americana.


We could throw a few examples of his one-liners here, but we wouldn’t do them “justice”. You have to check the film to fully appreciate them. Smokey and the Bandit runs about an hour and a half and is packed with great chase scenes and classic comedy. You can catch it on Netflix and AMC+ or rent it for a few bucks on the regular streaming services. This weekend, take a break from the Trump drama, and our national devolvement into a Banana Republic, and enjoy a good old American classic.

Enjoy the movie and Stay Safe!



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