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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:

He was going to give them law and order or die trying. 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

There is only one scene in the entire movie where Sheriff Pusser's car can be seen with a rear view mirror. When he arrives at the courthouse just before meeting John Witter. See more »

Goofs

When Sheriff Thurman and his deputy are chasing Pusser in his truck only the sheriff and the deputy are seen in the car from the front camera shots. But as they get close the bridge, in the rear camera shots, three people are seen in the car or at least two people and some large object in the back seat. See more »

Quotes

Buford: There's only two rules, and thats all... But don't ever forget them. Number one we enforce the law equally. Number two, any man caught taking a bribe gets his head knocked off by me.
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

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Red Zone Cuba (1994) 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

 
Take your best shot cause it'll be your last.
18 January 2014 | by bluesman-20See all my reviews

Walking Tall. Is the story of Sheriff Buford Pusser. Pusser was the sheriff of Mcnairy county Tenn. during the late 50's to the early 70's . Pusser led a colourful life from being a wrestler Buford the bull or Buford the wild bull. to a stint in the marines in which he was given a medical discharge for asthma. Buford came home to Adamsville Tenn. As a young man he visited a crooked casino across the state line and caught them cheating and stealing his money. They beat him and carved him up and left him for dead. Buford lost a friend in that attack and he returned to the casino and took his money back by force. He was arrested and during his trial he stood up for himself and was acquitted. Buford ran for the job as Adamsville's police chief and started a war to clean up the state line . Buford's term as police chief expired after four terms and he ran for the more powerful position of county sheriff. he made powerful enemies and was shot and knifed countless times and left for dead but he came back stronger then ever.

until Aug 12th 1964. Buford Pusser was responding to a call out on new hope road. His wife PAuline terrified for her husband went along. The day was beautiful and no sign of trouble until the cars came and ambushed Buford Pusser and his wife. Pauline Pusser died and Buford was severely wounded. His jaw almost shot off. Buford was in the hospital for almost a year recovering. But when he did he continued his relentless war. In 1967 Mort Briskin caught a news story on Pusser and was captivated and believed this would make a great movie. He contacted Buford and he agreed to make the movie as a consultant. Buford Pusser himself would say WAlking Tall was 50 percent true 50 percent Hollywood. And you can see what's true and what isn't. But they got the important details right. And they got the legend right. When Walking Tall became an incredible hit Buford Pusser received death threats. He was worried he would die before they finished telling his story. He screen tested for the next chapter simply called Buford and got the job to play himself but died before it was made. But Joe Don Baker does a great job here as Buford and keeps his memory alive. The film isn't perfect it's not a documentary of a incredible man. But it's a fitting cornerstone into the legend that has become Buford Pusser. I've seen this film hundreds of times and each time it's affected me deeply. Not bad for a film made in 1973.


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