Final Chapter: Walking Tall (1977) Poster

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In a nutshell about how the first film came to be.
yenlo22 May 2001
Did any of the "Rocky" sequels truly match the first one? Of course not. This could be said of this The Final Chapter and Walking Tall Part Two as well. A substantial portion of this picture is about how Buford Pusser becomes nationally known as a result of the original film.
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A Great Finsh To The Pusser Story
garyldibert24 February 2007
TITLE: Walking Tall Final Chapter was release on August 8, 1977 and it was 112 minutes long. Bo Svenson, Lurene Tuttle, and Forrest Tucker. Walking tall: final chapter is the third installment of the Walking Tall film series. The film was directed by Jack Starrett. The film opened in the US on May 31, 1977. The on-screen title of the movie is "Final Chapter Walking Tall." Bo Svenson, Lurene Tuttle, and Forrest Tucker. Walking Tall: Final Chapter is the third installment of the Walking Tall film series.

SUMMARY: The movie begins with Buford (Bo Svenson) remembering the ambush that killed his wife. One year has passed, and Buford still has a hard time dealing with it. He goes to his wife's grave and breaks down, telling her that if he had listened to her about not being sheriff, she would still be alive. Buford then goes to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation wanting to know why John Witter (Logan Ramsey) (who ordered the ambush) is not in jail. Buford is told that there is nothing that can be done since they have no case against him. Pinky Dobson is paralyzed and his girlfriend retracted her statement implicating Witter. Buford then goes to see his friend, attorney Lloyd Tatum (Sandy McPeak) and asks if this is the case. Lloyd tells Buford that it's just the way the law reads, and he will have to be patient and let the TBI do their job. John Witter is now in New York, and tells his boss (Morgan Woodward) that he will settle things with Buford finally. The boss tells Witter that he should face the fact that Pusser beat him, and let it be at that. There isn't any prostitution, stills or gambling left in McNairy County, and the boss doesn't want back in. Witter is told that due to his mistakes, he must cede 25% of his territory, which Witter says he doesn't have to accept, but the boss tells him he will. Meanwhile Buford and Grady (Bruce Glover) are staking out a still being run by O.Q. Teal (Clay Tanner) and his brother Udell (Michael Allen Honacker). Buford witnesses O.Q. beating his son Robby (David Adams), and intervenes. He takes Robby to the car and tells Grady to entertain him while he deals with O.Q. Buford orders O.Q. to drop his trousers and proceeds to give him the same kind of beating he gave his son. They then depart, blasting the still as they leave. Buford takes Robby to a foster home, and returns to the office to find a telephone message from Luan Paxton (Margaret Blye) a prostitute who helped Buford get rid of the state line gang. Buford arrives at the motel and upon seeing Luan, asks her if she is still hooking. He is surprised when she tells him that she is on her way to the gulf coast and works in real estate. Buford arrives at home and his dad, Carl (Forrest Tucker) tells him that his tax situation is bad due to all the expenditures he incurred while sheriff. Buford says he will ask the county for a raise after reelection. Carl asks Buford if he really wants to remain sheriff despite all the pain it has caused, and Buford says it's the only thing he knows how to do. Buford arrives at his office the next morning to find O.J. Teal's lawyer, French (Taylor Lacher) waiting. French shows Buford the pictures taken of O.Q. after the beating that Buford inflicted on him. French wants Buford to drop the charges against O.Q. and in return he will not file police brutality charges. Buford declines to which French reminds him that the office of sheriff is up for election soon. Buford has a meeting with Sheriff Clegg (Lecile Harris) from Hardin County. Sheriff Clegg wants Buford to check out a new club called the 3 Deuces. The club is in an area that no county claims, and Buford is reluctant to involve him, since he will be up for reelection soon, but reluctantly agrees. As they are talking, some boys steal Bufords car and go for a joy ride. Buford and Sheriff Clegg give chase, and finally catch them. Buford takes them into custody, handcuffs them to each other, and has them clean up the courthouse lawn. French sees this, and confronts Buford about their civil rights. Buford says that the alternative, detention hall and a police record would be a lot worse. One of the witnesses watching the boys at the courthouse places a phone call to John Witter filling him in on everything that happened. Witter believes he can use this against Pusser on Election Day. Pusser goes to the 3 Deuces bar, and is surprised to see Luan there. Angry that she is still a prostitute, he offers her money, which Bulow (H.B. Haggerty) the bar manager sees. After Buford leaves, Bulow confronts Luan, and tortures her.

QUESTIONS: Why did Buford run for reelection? Did Buford really think he was going to win? On the other hand, Buford run for reelection because he didn't know how to do anything else? Why are Buford parent's beginning to worry? Why was Buford fixing up old cars and then selling them? What happen to Buford's car? Were there any witness? Why did Buford visit his wife's grave? Why did Dwana show up at here's mom grave? Who contacts Buford about a story? Why is Buford reluctant to sign a contract? Why did Buford seek help from Lloyd?

MY THOUGHTS: I give this movie 8 weasel stars because of the suspense that keeps watching the picture and the action.
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Not enough story to justify a movie
Wizard-822 July 2000
They had pretty much run out of story by the end of the second film, so making a movie with what was left was kind of redundant. Yet they somehow manage to stretch what was left to an unbelievable length (116 minutes), a lot of which is made of endless and unnecessary footage of people walking from one place to another. A competent editor would have been able to prune not only this filler, but a lot of scenes that don't do anything to the plot, or start subplots that go nowhere.

There was promise in the sequence when Pusser sells his life story to the big screen (including when Pusser tells why he is reluctant to do so) but they don't spend much time in this sequence.

If you don't care about this, and just want to see Pusser swing his bat at heads, you should know there isn't much of that this time around. Most of the movie is just people talking, and it's not interesting talk. If you know what happened to Pusser, then there's no reason for you to see this movie.
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Good return to form
Woodyanders28 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Rough'n'tumble maverick sheriff Buford Pusser (a fine and credible performance by Bo Svenson) finds himself falling out of favor with the people in the small town he enforces the law in and faces an uncertain future after he's voted out of office. Moreover, the local mob plot to take him out.

Directed with trademark muscular aplomb by Jack Starrett, with a strong script by Howard B. Kreitsek and Samuel A. Peoples, an engrossing story that unfolds at a constant pace, a few potent moments of bloody'n'brutal violence, a tough serious tone, an interesting subtext concerning changing social mores and victims of progress, and several exciting and well-staged action set pieces, this film packs essentially the same fierce punch as the excellent original. Furthermore, it's compelling to see Pusser try to do something else with his life besides being a lawman and eventually cutting a deal with Hollywood types who want to make a movie about his exploits because he desperately needs the money.

Svenson gets to show a greater range of emotion this time out and rises well to that particular challenge. In addition, there are sound supporting contributions from Forrest Tucker as Buford's hearty dad, Sandy McPeak as helpful lawyer buddy Lloyd Tatum, Logan Ramsey as slimy toad John Witter, Dawn Lynn as Buford's spunky daughter Dwana, Margaret Blythe as the sultry Luan, Libby Boone as smitten secretary Joan, H. B. Haggerty as the brutish Bulo, and Morgan Woodward as fearsome bigwig the Boss. Robert B. Hauser's polished cinematography boasts the occasional snazzy visual flourish. A worthy closer.
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Like Davy Crockett, too good to kill off
bkoganbing5 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This turned out to be a false title because this film was not the Final Chapter: Walking Tall. Like that other hero from Tennessee Davy Crockett, Buford Pusser was too powerful a hero to die, cinematically speaking.

Still as in real life we find that the sheriff with the stick was not universally popular. You take the approach he does to law enforcement and eventually people will fear you. That was a plot in fact for two westerns with Richard Widmark, Warlock and Death Of A Gunfighter. Pusser was in fact defeated for re-election.

But news of his exploits in cleaning up his county and all the attempts on his life got him a Hollywood offer for his life story. And then came the car crash that ended his life.

I'll never understand why Joe Don Baker didn't do the sequels. To this day it's the role people remember him for because he was so good in the part. Bo Svensson for the rest of his life always came out second best even with more Walking Tall movie to his credit. My best cinema memory of Svensson was as the guy employing Clint Eastwood's wife Marsha Mason in his joint in Heartbreak Ridge.

This film maybe entitled Final Chapter, but it was by no means a fade to black for the Walking Tall hero Buford Pusser.
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Stick with the original.
gridoon9 August 2002
You don't have to agree with its message to enjoy the first "Walking Tall". Certainly not as violent as the "Dirty Harry" pictures, but just as unsubtle, it was a powerful movie with a totally convincing, appropriately square performance by Joe Don Baker.

The first sequel, in which Baker was replaced by Bo Svenson, was a boring, by-the-numbers follow-up, with none of the force of the original.

The second sequel is even worse; talky and drab, it exploits (in an almost cannibalistic way) the first movie by lifting and recreating the most famous sequences from it. There are a few good moments (when Pusser picks up his trusty bat), but they are very scarce.
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Mark-37127 December 1999
This movie was good.....but i suggest you see the original.(Walking Tall) I find that this movie shows Buford Pusser as just a fantasy movie character, and not the real tennessee sheriff he was. Bo Svenson was terrible as the role of Sheriff Buford. Why didn't Joe Don Baker act in the final two? They probably would have been alot better if he were in them.
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A dramatic alas predictable end
Dr_Coulardeau4 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This last chapter is better built than the second and hence has a better rhythm. He is defeated in the election because he shows a high level of distance from the people. He seems to consider it below him to come and discuss things with the public, the electors of the county in a public meeting. Then of course he is a double or triple victim One, of the low life people he had chased and hunted down in his crusade against crime and they think they can finally get their revenge and they can trash his car or even attack him in the street or attack his family or the people he has relations with. Two, of the new sheriff who has the tendency to consider him as a dangerous person and a trouble maker. Three, of the real bad ones who know he does not have the protection his uniform could provide him with (cars, deputies, etc) and they come to the idea they can finally organize his end and go through untouched. That will be his doom. But the best part is his economic situation once he is no longer the sheriff. He lives with his parents who are old and retired and live on a small pension. He refuses to accept the job his brother in the north is proposing because he does not want to move. He also refuses to accept the job the local lawyer is proposing: investigator for his special cases, because he feels it is charity. He finally accepts the proposal of some Hollywood producer to make the film of his life and that brings him the end of his financial problems but also the multiplied desire to get even from the local traffickers, even against the advice of their own higher-ups. This reveals how difficult it may be after you have been in the limelight of law enforcing in a small city. The people reject you and even refuse to testify for you when you are attacked and your property is attacked by some local bullies or rough individuals. The film also shows very well there is a change in the US at that time. People after the worst criminal activity is gone, want to have a more peaceful and less visible law-enforcing police force. But at the same time it represents the end of a generation of traffickers who also want to run things in a smoother way. In other words US society in these early mid 70s, at the end of the Vietnam war, moved from the cult of sheer force to solve any problem to the understanding that a solution can only come if it is founded on some kind of peaceful consensus, even if that means accepting some kind of traffic provided it becomes non-violent, peaceful, and it respects some basic rules like paying taxes. That's exactly what Buford Pusser did not understand. Maybe he was right but at that time crime moved from the back woods of Tennessee to the dilapidated ethnic and poor suburban areas or ghettos of the big cities because the main traffic did not concern moon-shine whisky any more, an inheritance of Prohibition, but the new hard drugs like heroin and cocaine coming from Latin America.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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OK this movie should be in the bottom 100
quinn1821 July 2005
The first movie in the series what fantastic and the second was just horrible because they change the actors a little bit and now the 3rd movie in the series is just horrible.

The first movie in the series had a lot to tell about Bufford Pusser's life and the second in the series had just had few thing that really happened to Bufford but not enough to make it interesting and now the 3rd movie in the series is just horrible worst then the second one and this one doesn't tell anything real about Bufford life except for when he died at the end.

If anyone if planning on watching this movie you should not watch this one and just watch the first in the series its more interesting then this one.Please don't waste your time watching this movie go on and make coffee instead.
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He's not going down without a fight. The Final Chapter Walking Tall.
bluesman-2018 January 2014
The Final Chapter Walking Tall. Is perhaps the most fictionalized chapter in the series Bo Svenson once again picks up the big stick. The film goes into detail as it's one year to the day Pauline Died and Buford is still fighting his war.

Buford is filled with gulit and remorse. If he had not been Sheriff his wife would still be alive. But Buford only knows one thing and that's action. He continues his war and dries up the county and breaks the back of the state line mob. Soon Re Election comes up and Buford is voted out of office. It seems the people want change. and Buford's violent war is something they want to put behind them.

So Buford decides to fix cars up and sell them. However some people have a hard time in accepting the fact that Buford is no longer sheriff and call him for help. His enemies attack him. And Buford tries to move on with his life. A Hollywood producer sees a news story on Buford and decides to make a film based on Buford's life. This leads to Buford helping out with the film in telling his story. the end of the film comes with the tragic death of Buford Pusser just days before he was to step in front of the cameras to film Buford. a film continuing his story. A fitting end to the legend of Buford Pusser.
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