The Longest Yard

  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Producers: Albert S Ruddy
  • Writers: Albert S Ruddy, Tracy Keenan Wynn
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama, Sport
  • Actors: Burt Reynolds, And Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, James Hampton, Harry Caesar, John Steadman, Charles Tyner, Mike Henry, Jim Nicholson, And Bernadette Peters, as The Warden s Secretary, With Pervis Atkins, Tony Cacciotti, Anitra Ford, Michael Fox, Joe Kapp, Richard Kiel, Pepper Martin, Mort Marshall, Ray Nitschke

The protagonist is Paul “Wrecking” Crewe (Burt Reynolds), former star pro football quarterback living with his wealthy girlfriend (Anitra Ford) in Palm Beach, Florida. After a fight with her, he gets drunk and “steals” her expensive Citroen SM automobile. He is surprised when a fleet of police cars follow him. Briefly evading them, he exits the vehicle and sends it over an open drawbridge into a canal; he is caught and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Crewe has difficulty getting along with the guards as well as with his fellow inmates. The convicts despise him because he was dismissed from the National Football League for point shaving. As his only friend, an inmate nicknamed Caretaker (James Hampton) put it, “Most of these boys have nothin’, never had anything to start with. But you, you had it all. You could have robbed banks, sold dope or stole your grandma’s pension checks and none of us would have minded. But shaving points off of a football game, man, that’s un-American!” (a similar line in the 2005 remake is spoken by the same character, this time played by Chris Rock). Moreover, the sadistic, power-hungry warden Rudolph Hazen (Eddie Albert), a football fanatic who manages a semi-pro team made up of the prison’s guards (most of whom are big and fast enough to play professional football), wants Crewe to help coach the team. Responding to pressure from the guard’s leader and coach, Captain Wilhelm Knauer (Ed Lauter), Crewe refuses. He is harassed by the guards and given backbreaking work as punishment. Following a scuffle with the guards, Crewe’s sentence is increased to 2–5 years.

As the prisoners and the crowd celebrate, Warden Hazen is furious. Crewe walks across the field in what appears to be an attempt to mingle with the crowd and escape. Hazen sees this and orders Knauer to shoot Crewe. Knauer calls out to Crewe several times as Hazen barks for him to shoot. At the last moment, Crewe picks up the game ball and walks back towards Hazen. Crewe then hands the ball to Hazen, telling him, “Stick this in your trophy case.”

The Green Berets

  • Directors: John Wayne, Ray Kellogg, John Gaddis
  • Producers: Michael Wayne
  • Writers: James Lee Barrett, Robin Moore
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: John Wayne, David Janssen, Jim Hutton, Aldo Ray, George Takei, Luke Askew, Mike Henry

At Fort Bragg, newspaper reporter George Beckworth (David Janssen) is at a Special Forces briefing about the American military involvement in the war in Vietnam. The briefing (at Gabriel Demonstration Area, named for SGT Jimmy Gabriel, first SF soldier killed in Vietnam) includes a demonstration and explanation of the whys and wherefores of participating in that Asian war.

Skeptical civilians and journalists are told that multinational Communism is what the U.S. will be fighting in Vietnam; proof: weapons and equipment, captured from North Vietnamese soldiers and Viet Cong guerrillas, originating in Communist Russia, Communist Czechoslovakia, and Communist China. Despite that, Beckworth remains skeptical about the value of intervening in Vietnam’s civil war. When asked by Green Beret COL Mike Kirby (John Wayne) if he had ever been to Vietnam, reporter Beckworth replies that he had not, but then accepts the soldier’s challenge, and agrees to go and bear witness.

In South Vietnam, Beckworth arrives at an American Army camp where he witnesses the humanitarian aspect (irrigation ditches, bandages, candy for children) of the Special Forces mission. Still, he remains skeptical of the U.S.’s need to be there. He changes his mind after a ferocious North Vietnamese Army attack upon the SF camp, admitting he probably will be fired from the newspaper for filing a story supporting the American war.

Near the end of the story, Beckworth is briefly seen, carrying his portable typewriter and a duffel bag, joining a troop headed for the front.

Smokey and the Bandit

  • Directors: Hal Needham
  • Producers: Mort Engelberg
  • Writers: Hal Needham, Robert L Levy, James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer, Alan Mandel
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime, Romance
  • Actors: Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Mike Henry

As the movie begins, rich Texan Big Enos Burdette (Pat McCormick) and his son, Little Enos (Paul Williams), are trying to find a truck driver willing to haul Coors beer to Georgia for their refreshment. Unfortunately, due to federal liquor laws and state liquor tax regulations of the time, selling and/or shipping Coors east of the Mississippi River was considered bootlegging, and the truck drivers who had taken the bet previously had been discovered and arrested by “Smokey” (truck driver and CB slang for highway patrolmen). At a local truck rodeo, the Texans locate legendary truck driver Bo “Bandit” Darville (Burt Reynolds) and offer him US$80,000 (US$270,000 in 2007 dollars), the price of a new truck, to haul 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas to the “Southern Classic” truck rodeo in Georgia – in 28 hours. Bandit accepts the bet and recruits fellow trucker Cletus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed) to drive the truck (Snow brings along his dog, a Basset Hound named “Fred”, for company). Bandit purchases a black Pontiac Trans Am, which he will drive himself as a “blocker” car to deflect attention away from the truck and its cargo.

The duo reach Texas ahead of schedule, load their truck with Coors, and immediately head back towards Georgia. Shortly thereafter, Bandit picks up professional dancer and apparent runaway bride Carrie (Sally Field), whom he nicknames “Frog” because she was “always hopping around”. However, by picking up Carrie, Bo becomes the target of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), whose handsome yet very simple-minded son Junior (Mike Henry) was to have been Carrie’s groom.

Despite near-constant police pursuit and several roadblocks, Bandit, Snowman, Frog and Fred arrive at the Southern Classic with a full trailer of Coors and ten minutes to spare, underscored by “Marching Through Georgia” as their vehicles roar into the grounds. Instead of taking their payoff, they accept the Texans’ new offer to drive to Boston and bring back clam chowder in 18 hours, double or nothing. As they are leaving for Boston in one of Big Enos’ Cadillacs (leaving him an even dozen), they see Justice’s badly damaged car on the roadside. Bandit calls Justice over the radio and describes himself as Big Enos in order to put him on a false lead, but then decides that Justice is “too good a man” and tells him, “Look over your left shoulder.” As Bandit and his friends drive off, Justice shouts defiantly that he isn’t finished yet and resumes his pursuit as pieces drag from his battered patrol car, while his son runs behind him, begging his father not to leave him behind.