Saying goodbye to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars with a look back at some of the best films of Burt Reynolds.
Last week, the film world lost one of its biggest stars as actor Burt Reynolds passed away. There are few individuals who so embodied what a movie star is as Reynolds. He was the top performer at the box office for years, a regular and beloved talk show guest, and his performances cemented the ultra-cool every-man persona that made him so iconic. Let’s revisit some highlights of his career by looking back on his best film roles.
Reynolds’ career is filled with fun-loving, crowd-pleasing films. Therefore, this picture stands out considerably in his filmography. This terrifying and uncomfortable thriller centers on a group of four city friends who go on a canoe trip in the back country and encounter unspeakable horrors. Reynolds shines as the most outdoorsy member of the group and cements his ‘cool guy’ status. Certainly not a film for squeamish audiences.
The Longest Yard (1974)
Another aspect of Reynolds’ immense appeal was his macho persona. That was on full display in this classic sports comedy. Reynolds stars as Paul Crewe, a disgraced football star who is sent to prison where he is forced to put together a football team of convicts to play against the guards. Reynolds, who played football in the past, is very believable as the quarterback and leads this fun film.
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
In many ways, Reynolds was the perfect movie star for the 70s as his outlaw, rebellious attitude fit in so well with the culture at the time. He put that image to full and fun use in this light romp. Reynolds plays the titular Bandit, a cowboy hired to run a trailer full of beer across the country with the law in hot pursuit. It’s obvious Reynolds is having as much fun making the film as the audience is watching it.
Boogie Nights (1997)
By the 90s, Reynolds’ star power had faded considerably. This highly acclaimed yet controversial film earned him his first Oscar nomination and a comeback. Reynolds stars as a prolific porn filmmaker who discovers a young unknown talent in the industry. Despite the subject matter, this is far more than just filth. It’s a compelling story of a dysfunctional family inside an unusual world and the consequences of that world. It also happens to be Reynolds’ finest performance.
Which Burt Reynolds film is your favourite?