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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:

The measure of a man is how tall he walks. 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)

Gross USA:

$23,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

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 real-life Buford Pusser actually wanted Bo Svenson to play him in this film; however Svenson was unavailable and Baker was cast instead. When Baker turned down the sequels, the producers approached Svenson again, by which time Svenson was now available to play Pusser. See more »

Goofs

There are numerous instances of boom mic visibility are only found in Full Screen or Pan & Scan versions such as VHS and Rhino's DVD release. (The most recent Paramount DVD presents the film in its proper matted Widescreen format, eliminating the boom mic visibility errors.) See more »

Quotes

Buford: A man just doesn't know how many friends he's got 'til he's flat on his back.
Grady: Or how many people are glad that he is.
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

Followed by Walking Tall (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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