On 6 September, Burt Reynolds, a cinematic icon, passed away at the age of 82, reportedly from heart conditions that had been prevalent for a while.
He'd been a legend for decades, and served as inspiration for actors both on screen and on stage. From playing ex-con ‘Gator’ in White Lightning to having voice roles in both Archer and the popular video game Grand Theft Auto, one can’t overstate the impact that Reynolds has had. To commemorate the star, we’ve picked out a few films for the uninitiated to watch, or for fans to watch again.
His performance as a filmmaker in this 1997 hit earned him a nod from the Academy for ‘Best Supporting Actor.’ While he didn’t walk away with the award, it was his first nomination. The film follows the rise and fall of a dishwasher (played by Mark Wahlberg) who embarks on a career in pornography.
The Longest Yard
Playing a former NFL player who’s serving time at prison, Reynolds’ part as someone who’s been roped in to coach the prison’s football team ensured that this movie would achieve cult status. It doesn’t hurt that it also includes a pretty crazy car chase choreographed by long time Burt Reynolds-collaborator Hal Needham. The movie’s impact was such that three adaptations have been made.
Smokey and the Bandit
Reynolds’ comedic side shines through in this film which has him play a trucker who must transport 400 cases of beer in less than 28 hours.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
An adaptation of a Broadway musical, Dolly Parton stars alongside Reynolds in this musical comedy. Reynolds takes on the role of a sheriff who fights to keep open a whorehouse (run by Parton’s character) that he frequents.
Deliverance was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and also starred Jon Voight of Coming Home fame. It takes Reynolds into the backlands of America, where what was supposed to be a fun trip with friends turns into something a lot more dangerous.
The Cannonball Run
He’s on four wheels again, but this time he’s competing in an illegal cross-country road race. A star-studded feature, this film also stars Dean Martin and Roger Moore.