On September 6, legendary Hollywood superstar Burt Reynolds died at the age of 82 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Over the course of his more than half-century stint in the entertainment industry, the Georgia-born, Florida State University-schooled movie star had plenty of career highlights, from getting a Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Deliverance, to winning an Emmy for the CBS TV series Evening Shade, to even starring in such classics as The Longest Yard, Boogie Nights, and Semi-Tough.
Many also remember Reynolds for getting his start on the shows Gunsmoke, Hawk, and Dan August, his high-profile relationship with Sally Field, and his iconic spread in Cosmopolitan. But every fan of classic cars and amazing car chases will probably best remember Burt Reynolds for his roles in Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run.
So, in memory of one of the most legendary actors of all time, we’ll look back on two of the movies that helped to define his career.
Smokey and the Bandit
When it comes to the best movie car chases, Smokey and the Bandit is definitely high on most people’s lists and for good reason. Burt Reynolds behind the wheel of the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am makes for some good ol’ fashioned movie fun that still stands the test of time to this day.
Did you know that Smokey and the Bandit was actually the second-highest-grossing film of 1977 behind Star Wars? Sure, it didn’t have the fancy special effects and all of that, but the adrenaline-pumping car chases were enough to inspire two sequels (Smokey and the Bandit II and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3) and four TV films loosely based on the original (Bandit Goes Country, Bandit Bandit, Beauty and the Bandit, and Bandit’s Silver Angel).
Did we mention that this movie had sweet car chases?
The Cannonball Run
The classic cross-country action/comedy movie The Cannonball Run is slated for a remake in 2019, but it’ll be hard to top the original. Of course, Burt Reynolds shines in his role, but you’ve also got a star-studded cast of Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom Deluise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Jackie Chan.
It’s action-packed, has great chase scenes, a number of classic cars, and even has some solid jokes. What’s not to love?