Top Ten Burt Reynolds Movie Characters

Burt Reynolds was big box-office during the 1970s and ’80s. Born in Waycross, Georgia, on February 11, 1936, Reynolds made his motion picture debut as Hoke Adams in Angel Baby (1960). Here are the top ten Burt Reynolds movie characters…

Burt Reynolds as Lewis Medlock, Deliverance (Warner Bros., 1972)

Reynolds appears as Lewis Medlock, a rugged, macho outdoorsman who embarks on a weekend canoe trip down the Cahulawassee River with three other city men (Jon Voight, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty). The whitewater journey quickly turns into a nightmare, with two mountain men sexually assaulting Beatty and Voight. Witnessing the attack, Lewis grabs

his bow and places an arrow dead center into one of the armed hillbillies, setting into motion a series of deadly events as the men bury the body and try to make their way downriver to Aintry. "Insurance? I never been insured in my life. There’s no risk," Reynolds’ Lewis declares in one scene.

Burt Reynolds as Paul Crewe, The Longest Yard (Paramount, 1974)

Reynolds stars as Paul "Wrecking" Crewe, an ex-NFL quarterback who winds up doing an 18-month prison stretch following a wild police pursuit in his "stolen" girlfriend’s car. Crewe was kicked out of pro ball for point shaving, a fact which doesn’t sit well with his fellow cons. At the urging of Warden Hazen (Eddie Albert), Crewe organizes a football squad from the ranks of the prison population, eventually taking on the warden’s prized team of guards. Reynolds shines as the cocky, big time Crewe, especially in one hilarious scene where he is asked to render a "personal service" to big-haired prison secretary Miss Toot (Bernadette Peters).

Burt Reynolds as Gator McKlusky, White Lightning (United Artists, 1973)

Reynolds plays Gator McKlusky, a good ol’ southern boy and ex-con who helps federal agents break up a moonshining ring. White Lightning has it all, with Reynolds and company (Jennifer Billingsley, Ned Beatty, Bo Hopkins, et al.,) lighting up the countryside via wild car chases, fights and other macho redneck action. "Only two things in the world I’m scared of…women and the police," Reynolds’ Gator tells Sheriff J.C. Connors (Ned Beatty).

Burt Reynolds as Sonny Hooper, Hooper (Warner Bros., 1978)

Reynolds plays Sonny Hooper, an aging Hollywood stuntman who’s beginning to receive stiff competition from young go-getter Ski Chinski (Jan Michael-Vincent). Hooper is a tribute film to stuntmen, with both Reynolds and director Hal Needham having once plied that rough craft in Hollywood. The barroom brawl scene is memorable, as are the various stunts performed throughout the picture. Sally Field, Brian Keith and ex-Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw also appear.

Burt Reynolds as Shamus McCoy, Shamus (Columbia, 1973)

Reynolds plays Shamus McCoy, a private eye in the Big Apple who takes on a wild diamond recovery case. Shamus likes his booze, women and gambling, living in a disheveled apartment whose pool table serves as his bed. Dyan Cannon and Joe Santos are along for the ride. Shamus was filmed on location in Brooklyn, New York, with Staten Island also in the scenery.

Burt Reynolds as W.W. Bright, W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1975)

Reynolds plays W.W. Bright, a small-time criminal whose specialty is robbing Southeastern Oil Co. gas stations, his former place of employment circa 1957. W.W. eventually hooks up with the Dixie Dancekings, fronted by Dixie (Connie Van Dyke) and Wayne (Jerry Reed), who are looking for their big break in Nashville. "Reynolds moves through the movie with his usual ease, relaxed and ingratiating and flashing a con man’s smile. He’s an engaging actor…" reported Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times (1975).

Burt Reynolds as Billy Clyde Puckett, Semi-Tough (United Artists,


Reynolds plays Billy Clyde Puckett, a professional football player in this hilarious screen version of the Dan Jenkins novel. Puckett, along with teammate Marvin "Shake" Tiller (Kris Kristofferson), both have eyes for the owner’s daughter Barbara Jane Bookman (Jill Clayburgh). "It’s The World’s Greatest Game (And It Sure Ain’t Football)," blared the movie’s memorable tagline.

Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner, Boogie Nights (New Line Cinema, 1997)

Reynolds plays Jack Horner, a porn film director who lands a "big" talent – if you catch my drift – in young Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg), who begins starring in a string of successful action/porn movies under the name "Dirk Diggler." Set in the 1970s during the drug-fueled "golden age of porn," Boogie Nights also features Julianne Moore, Heather Graham and John C. Reilly. Reynolds earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Burt Reynolds as Detective Steve Carella, Fuzz (United Artists, 1972)

Reynolds plays Boston detective Steve Carella, who with fellow cops Meyer Meyer (Jack Weston) and Bert Kling (Tom Skerritt) are investigating a murder-extortion racket run by a shadowy deaf man (Yul Brynner) in this action comedy-drama. Reynolds and Jack Weston dress up as nuns in one stakeout scene, with Raquel Welch, James McEachin and Steve Ihnat also playing cops. "Jack Weston and Burt Reynolds, both of whom have been good comedians in the past, play in their roles as if performing on a Las Vegas stage to an audience of pals, including Don Rickles, who seems, unfortunately, to have presented Reynolds with his style of delivery," observed Vincent Canby of The New York Times (7/15/72).

Burt Reynolds as Bo Darville a.k.a. "Bandit," Smokey and the Bandit (Universal, 1977)

In the ultimate good ol’ boy/road trip movie, Reynolds plays Bo Darville, who with fellow trucker Cledus Snow (Jerry Reed) agree to run a shipment of beer cross-country for Big and Little Enos (Pat McCormick, Paul Williams). After the boys pick up hitchhiker/runaway bride Carrie (Sally Field), they run afoul of jilted groom Junior (Mike Henry) and his pappy Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). "I take my hat off for one thing, one thing only," a sly Bandit tells Carrie. "Take your hat off," comes the reply.

Ten More Memorable Burt Reynolds Movie Roles

  • As Mike Murphy, City Heat (1984)
  • As Gator McKlusky, Gator (1976)
  • As Yaqui Joe Herrera, 100 Rifles (1969)
  • As Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)
  • As Buck Greenway, Nickelodeon (1976)
  • As Lieutenant Phil Gaines, Hustle (1975)
  • As Phil Potter, Starting Over (1979)
  • As J.J. McClure, The Cannonball Run (1981)
  • As Stroker Ace, Stroker Ace (1983)
  • As Sergeant Tom Sharky, Sharky’s Machine (1981)

Article Written By William J. Felchner

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Illinois State University. My many print and online articles have appeared in True West, Hot Rod, Frontier Times, Factoidz/Knoji, Persimmon Hill, Sportales, Goldmine, Socyberty, Corvette Quarterly, Sports Collectors Digest, Bukisa, Movie Collector’s World, Cinemaroll, Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, Sports Card Trader, Old West, Storyboard, Antiques & Auction News, Illinois, The Paper & Advertising Collectors’ Marketplace, Television History, Tuff Stuff, Pennsylvania, Military Trader and a number of other venues…

Last updated on 23-07-2016 3K 0

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