Burt Reynolds and other crew members from the 1977 classic "Smokey and the Bandit" share their experiences with the late director and stuntman Hal Needham.


Jesse Moss


Hal Needham
as Himself

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Michael_Elliott N/A

Great Look at Reynolds and Needham

The Bandit (2016)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

This here is an extremely entertaining look at the making of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT but it's real goal is to show the friendship between its director Hal Needham and star Burt Reynolds.

THE BANDIT will certainly entertain fans of that film but it'll also appeal to fans of either Needham or Reynolds. This documentary does a very good job at breaking down the thirty-day shooting schedule of the film but what's better is getting to see how the two men became such great friends and what impact that one had on the other.

One of the highlights of the film is the fact that Needham finally gets some respect. We get to see various stunts that he did throughout his career and we get archival interviews with him as he talks about his stunt work and his dreams of becoming a director. We also get a breakdown of Reynolds early life, his football days and his rise in Hollywood.

There are some terrific stories told about the production of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT including one stunt that went horribly wrong. There's some nice discussions about Jerry Reed, Sally Field as well as Jackie Gleason and what scene caused Reynolds to say he didn't want to do another scene with him.

THE BANDIT doesn't cover the sequels or any of the other films that the director and star made together but there's no question that this was fun and entertaining.

Reviewed by tavm 9 /10

The Bandit was a mostly fine behind-the-scenes take on Smokey and the Bandit as well as of star Burt Reynolds and director Hal Needham

After Burt Reynolds' death, I felt the need to watch Smokey and the Bandit again which I did and reviewed here a few days ago. Now I just saw this doc about the making of that movie and the life of both Reynolds and his friend, stunt man and director Hal Needham. They had known each other for years, in fact, they lived together for a while when both were single, and one day, Hal had an idea for a movie he wanted to make with Burt and also direct for the first time after so many years as a stunt man. Both their lives are explored, in fact, Burt's vintage interviews from years past are shown in addition to the current one he did for this special. One piece of film that seemed familiar to me was one where Hal does a car crash test in which an air bag explodes on him. Then I realized that particular film was shown in my high school driving class back in the '80s! There's also interviews with Hal's son and some of the crew of Smokey and the Bandit as well as one cast member I didn't immediately recognize, Little Enos himself, Paul Williams! There were also some vintage interview clips of Smokey himself, Jackie Gleason. In summary, I really enjoyed The Bandit.

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