The Best of Burt’s Movies

Today and Monday The Savvy Screener remembers Burt Reynolds with a sampling of his best and most popular film and television titles – and how you can stream them.

In part one, we consider some of his top movies.

Deliverance (1972)

Based on the James Dickey novel, Lewis (Reynolds) and his friends Drew (Ronnie Cox), Bobby (Ned Beatty) and Ed (Jon Voight) escape the city for a canoe vacation in the remote Georgia wilderness. There, they run afoul of some unfriendly locals. Lewis’ crossbow skills provide the film’s turning point.

Burt’s cinematic immortality was cemented with Deliverance, which was added to the US National Film Registry in 2008. And mere mention of the film’s title can trigger a dueling-banjo ear worm.

You can rent Deliverance starting at $2.99 from Google and other providers.

The Longest Yard (1974)

Reynolds is Paul “Wrecking” Crewe, a former NFL quarterback who leads police on a car chase (a staple of Reynolds comedies) and winds up in prison. There, he puts together a team of inmates to take on the guards in an exhibition football game. The cast includes Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter and Hill Street Blues’ Michael Conrad.

You can stream The Longest Yard with an Amazon Prime or Hulu subscription. You can also rent it starting at $2.99 from YouTube and other providers.

Reynolds was also in the 2005 Longest Yard remake, starring Adam Sandler. Reynolds took over the role Conrad played in the original. In a March 2018 USA Today interview, Reynolds said he had not seen the remake despite having appeared in it.

You, however, can watch it, starting at $2.99 from Amazon and other providers.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Arguably his most popular comedy, Smokey and the Bandit was Reynolds at his easy-going, wise-cracking best. Burt, in his black Pontiac Trans-Am, is the Bandit, hired to help escort a truck of bootleg beer over state lines. Along the way, he picks up a runaway bride (the real love-of-his-life, Sally Field) and outfoxes a blustering, outraged father-in-law, Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). Jerry Reed is the trucker and former Tarzan Mike Henry is Gleason’s jilted, dim-witted son.

You can stream Smokey and the Bandit with an Amazon Prime subscription; or rent it starting at $2.99 from Microsoft and other sources.

Former stuntman Hal Needham directed, marking one of several collaborations he had with Reynolds, including Hooper (1978),  Smokey and Bandit II (1980), The Cannonball Run (1981) and Cannonball Run II (1984). (There was a third Smokey film, but Needham wasn’t involved and Reynolds had only a cameo.)

Hooper and The Cannonball Run are currently unavailable to stream. You can rent Smokey and the Bandit II starting at $2.99 from Fandango Now and other providersCannonball Run II can be streamed for free on Vudu, with ads; or rented uncut for $2.99 and up from Vudu and other sources.

Boogie Nights (1997)

Reynolds received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his turn as pornography producer Jack Horner.

Set in the 1970s and 1980s, Boogie Nights features Horner as the head of an extended porn-filmmaking family that includes Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) who goes onto become known as “Dirk Diggler,” an industry star.

The cast also includes John C. Reilly, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, William H. Macy and Luis Guzmán. Paul Thomas Anderson wrote and directed.

You can watch Boogie Nights with a Netflix subscription; or rent starting at $2.99 from Vudu and other providers.

Check back Monday for a look at Burt’s television work.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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