Desdemona Carl

Desdemona Carl

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024


Smokey and the Bandit is a classic American action comedy film that has left a lasting impression on the hearts of moviegoers since its release in 1977. Directed by Hal Needham and starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason, this high-octane adventure captured the imagination of audiences with its fast cars, hilarious antics, and memorable characters.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Smokey and the Bandit and uncover 30 intriguing facts about the movie. From behind-the-scenes anecdotes to box office records, we’ll explore everything that made this film a beloved cult classic. So buckle up and get ready for a wild ride as we dive into the fascinating world of Smokey and the Bandit!

Key Takeaways:

  • “Smokey and the Bandit” was a 1977 hit movie featuring Burt Reynolds as Bandit and high-speed car chases. It became a cultural phenomenon, inspiring sequels, a theme park ride, and a dedicated fan following.
  • The film’s Southern charm, iconic car, and catchy theme song made it a box office success. It also led to a surge in Pontiac Trans Am sales and continues to influence pop culture today.
Table of Contents

The film was released in 1977

Smokey and the Bandit was released in the year 1977, during a time when car chase movies were incredibly popular.

Burt Reynolds played the iconic role of Bandit

Burt Reynolds, a legendary actor known for his charming charisma, played the lead role of Bandit in the movie.

Jerry Reed portrayed the character of Snowman

Jerry Reed, a renowned country music singer, lent his acting skills to portray the character of Snowman, Bandit’s loyal friend and partner.

The movie was a huge commercial success

Smokey and the Bandit became a blockbuster hit, earning over $300 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 1977.

“Smokey” refers to the police

In the context of the film, “Smokey” is a colloquial term used to refer to the police, particularly the state troopers who were chasing Bandit throughout the movie.

The Bandit’s car was a black Pontiac Trans Am

The iconic car driven by Bandit was a sleek black Pontiac Trans Am, which became synonymous with the movie and is still recognized by fans worldwide.

Sally Field played the role of a runaway bride

Sally Field, a talented actress, portrayed the character of Carrie, a runaway bride who joins Bandit on his adventurous cross-country journey.

The movie featured high-speed car chases

Smokey and the Bandit is known for its adrenaline-pumping car chase sequences, showcasing high-speed pursuits and daring stunts.

The film had a catchy theme song

The movie’s theme song, “East Bound and Down” performed by Jerry Reed, became a popular hit and is still associated with the film to this day.

Smokey and the Bandit had two sequels

Due to the immense success of the original film, two sequels were made: Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983).

Jackie Gleason played the role of Sheriff Buford T. Justice

Renowned comedian and actor Jackie Gleason portrayed the hilarious character of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, the determined law enforcement officer chasing Bandit.

The movie showcased Southern charm and humor

Smokey and the Bandit captured the essence of Southern culture, highlighting its charm, wit, and unique sense of humor, resonating with audiences across the globe.

The original script was written by Hal Needham and Robert L. Levy

The screenplay was penned by Hal Needham, who also directed the film, and Robert L. Levy, with both of them bringing their expertise to create an entertaining storyline.

The film had a low budget but became a surprise hit

Despite being made on a modest budget, Smokey and the Bandit exceeded expectations and became a massive commercial success, surpassing many big-budget films of its time.

The movie was inspired by a real-life bet

Smokey and the Bandit was inspired by an actual bet that one of the film’s producers made, challenging a director to transport beer from Texas to Georgia within a certain timeframe.

The film’s success led to a surge in Pontiac Trans Am sales

Due to the popularity of the movie, sales of Pontiac Trans Am skyrocketed, thanks to its association with the cool and daring character of Bandit.

Smokey and the Bandit was praised for its comedic timing

The film’s witty and well-timed humor was widely appreciated and contributed to its enduring popularity as a classic comedy movie.

The film marked the beginning of a successful collaboration

Smokey and the Bandit marked the first collaboration between Burt Reynolds and director Hal Needham, who would go on to make more successful films together.

The movie was filmed in various locations

The filming of Smokey and the Bandit took place in different locations across the United States, adding to the authenticity and diversity of the film.

The movie prominently featured CB radios

During the 1970s, CB radios were popular communication devices, and they played a significant role in the film, helping Bandit and Snowman navigate their journey.

The film’s antagonist was played by Mike Henry

Mike Henry portrayed the character of Junior Justice, the dimwitted son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, who often provided comedic relief throughout the movie.

Smokey and the Bandit received mixed reviews from critics

While the film was loved by audiences, critics had mixed opinions about the movie, with some praising its entertainment value, while others criticized its lack of depth.

The film had memorable one-liners

Smokey and the Bandit is known for its memorable one-liners, including Bandit’s famous line, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

The movie had a successful soundtrack

In addition to the theme song, Smokey and the Bandit had a successful soundtrack that featured popular songs of the time, enhancing the overall experience of the film.

It was one of the highest-grossing films of 1977

Smokey and the Bandit had a tremendous commercial success, making it one of the highest-grossing films of the year, solidifying its place in cinematic history.

Bandit’s mission was to transport bootlegged beer

In the movie, Bandit’s mission was to transport a truckload of illegal Coors beer from Texas to Georgia within a tight timeframe, adding to the excitement and tension of the plot.

The film has a dedicated fan following

Even decades after its release, Smokey and the Bandit has a passionate fan base who continue to celebrate and cherish the movie’s timeless charm and entertainment value.

The movie inspired a ride at Universal Studios

Due to its popularity, Smokey and the Bandit inspired a theme park ride at Universal Studios Florida, allowing visitors to experience the thrills of the film firsthand.

Smokey and the Bandit continues to influence pop culture

The movie’s impact on popular culture is evident, with references and homages to it appearing in various forms of media, further solidifying its status as a beloved classic.

It spawned a cultural phenomenon

Smokey and the Bandit became not just a movie but a cultural phenomenon, embodying the spirit of adventure, rebellion, and camaraderie that resonates with audiences of all generations.


Smokey and the Bandit is a legendary movie that has left an indelible mark on pop culture. With its fast-paced action, humor, and memorable characters, it continues to entertain audiences to this day. From its iconic car chases to the charismatic performances of Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason, the film has become a classic in the action-comedy genre.

With the facts highlighted in this article, it’s evident that Smokey and the Bandit is more than just a movie. It represents a time when rebels and outlaws captured the imagination of audiences, leaving them longing for a taste of freedom and adventure.

If you haven’t seen Smokey and the Bandit, now is the perfect time to grab some popcorn and experience the thrill and laughter for yourself.


1. Who directed Smokey and the Bandit?

Hal Needham directed Smokey and the Bandit.

2. When was Smokey and the Bandit released?

Smokey and the Bandit was released in 1977.

3. Was Smokey and the Bandit a box office success?

Yes, it was. Smokey and the Bandit was one of the highest-grossing films of 1977, earning over $126 million.

4. Who starred in Smokey and the Bandit?

Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, and Jackie Gleason were the main stars of Smokey and the Bandit.

5. What is the plot of Smokey and the Bandit?

Smokey and the Bandit follows the story of a truck driver, played by Burt Reynolds, who agrees to transport bootlegged beer across state lines while being pursued by a relentless sheriff, played by Jackie Gleason.

6. Are there any sequels to Smokey and the Bandit?

Yes, Smokey and the Bandit spawned two sequels: Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) and Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983).

7. Are there any memorable quotes from Smokey and the Bandit?

Yes, one of the most famous quotes from the movie is “What we’re dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law!” spoken by Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason.

8. How did Smokey and the Bandit contribute to pop culture?

Smokey and the Bandit popularized the use of car chases in movies and sparked a fascination with the outlaw archetype in American culture.

9. Is Smokey and the Bandit suitable for all audiences?

Smokey and the Bandit is generally considered a family-friendly movie, but parents should note that it contains some mild language and scenes of peril.

10. Where can I watch Smokey and the Bandit?

You can watch Smokey and the Bandit on various streaming platforms or purchase the DVD/Blu-Ray.

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