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Walking Tall (1973)

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Based on the life of Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser whom almost single-handily cleaned up his small town of crime and corruption, but at a personal cost of his family life and nearly his own life.

Director:

Phil Karlson

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Don Baker ... Buford Pusser
Elizabeth Hartman ... Pauline
Leif Garrett ... Mike
Dawn Lyn ... Dwana
Noah Beery Jr. ... Grandpa (as Noah Beery)
Lurene Tuttle ... Grandma
Ed Call Ed Call ... Lutie McVeigh
Dominick Mazzie Dominick Mazzie ... Bozo
Lynn Borden ... Margie Ann
Brenda Benet Brenda Benet ... Luan Paxton (as Brenda Benét)
Arch Johnson ... Buel Jaggers
Russell Thorson ... Ferrin Meaks
Gil Perkins ... 1st Bouncer
Carey Loftin ... Dice Player
Warner Venetz Warner Venetz ... Stickman
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Storyline

A surprise hit when it premiered, Walking Tall carried the theme of one man standing up for his sense of right and wrong. Selmer, a small town in southwest Tennessee, served as the authentic background for the bio-pic of the heroic southern Sheriff. Joe Don Baker did an admirable job with the role, and the hugely violent film was a surprise hit. Former Sheriff Pusser himself was set to potray himself in the sequel, but he died in a car crash as he as returning from his contract signing in California. The sequel was filmed using Swedish actor Bo Swensen, and a Final Chapter triquel told of Pussers' demise. While the Walking Tall franchise will never be on any list of Classic Film, the original is a great slice of Americana, Circa '70s. It made Bakers' career and perhaps kicked the 'southsploutation' genre of that decade into gear. Written by rick rothermel

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Take your best shot... 'cause it'll probably be your last. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Walking Tall See more »

Filming Locations:

Henderson, Tennessee, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of brothel owner Callie Hacker is loosely based on Louise Hathcock. She was shot and killed by Buford Pusser when she attempted to kill him, but the incident didn't take place in a club. It took place in a motel. Also, the attempt actually took place on February 1, 1966, not on the evening of a Christmas. See more »

Goofs

Before Callie is killed by Pusser, she tries to kill him with a shotgun hidden under a pile of clothing. She fires twice, Pusser ducks, then he kills her. In the process, Callie's blasts blow huge holes in the wall several feet wide behind Pusser, yet miraculously, no one on Callie's right sitting at the bar was hit by these stray blasts. See more »

Quotes

Buford: [after arguing with Sheriff Thurman] There it is again.
Pauline Pusser: What?
Buford: The system... You gotta live my way or you don't live.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although the UK cinema version was uncut the 1988 Vestron video version was cut by 29 secs by the BBFC to heavily edit a scene where a woman is whipped and closeup shots of her wounds. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Porky's (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Walking Tall
Sung by Johnny Mathis
Lyrics by Don Black
Music by Walter Scharf
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Do you have a warrant?" "Yeah. It's in my shoe!"
5 September 2007 | by hammerfan1See all my reviews

If you are a southern male who grew up in the 1970's, "Walking Tall" is your "Gone With The Wind". This 1973 movie is based on actual events in the life of Sheriff Buford Pusser of McNairy County, Tennessee during the 1960's. Though the screenplay takes some liberties with Pusser's story, it is an exciting account of one man taking on organized crime and corruption .

The story begins with Buford and his family moving back to his home town in McNairy County. Shortly after arriving, Buford realizes that his home town has changed. Gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging have taken over. Buford exposes the gambling operation to be corrupt and is brutally beaten and left for dead. He recovers and seeks vengeance using a big piece of lumber. He is arrested for his troubles. Buford is cleared of the charges and is soon elected Sheriff. He promises to rid the county of crime and corruption. The rest of the movie shows how difficult it was for Buford to follow through with his promise.

Buford Pusser is played by Joe Don Baker, who gives the performance of his career. Baker's Pusser faces the tragic events of the movie with a sense of sad but heroic nobility. The audience is able to feel what Pusser must have felt when these events actually happened through Baker's brave performance.

The story is ultimately a tragic tale of one man who walked tall and stood up against the forces of corruption. It is the rare action movie that makes you cheer and cry at the same time. This is essential viewing for anyone who loves true heroes.


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