Last Thursday, Burt Reynolds passed away at 82, after a long and incredible Hollywood career. One of the essential icons of the 1970’s, the actor became synonymous with the decade’s rugged cool. Thinking of how to celebrate his life and career? Here’s a list of the best Burt Reynolds movies to binge this weekend!
Unlike other greats from past decades, Reynolds very much stayed in the public eye in his later years. Not long ago, Quentin Tarantino had cast him in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his upcoming Manson film. Unfortunately, Reynolds passed away before filming his scenes, so his role will have to be recast. One role we won’t get to see from this incredible man.
The Best Burt Reynolds Movies, by Ceeny
Though we have to say goodbye to the icon’s physical form, we still have decades worth of footage of him. Let’s learn from Sterling Archer, pop culture’s biggest fan of the best Burt Reynolds movies, and celebrate his life!
1. Deliverance (1972)
Arguably the most iconic, perhaps even taking the top spot among the best Burt Reynolds movies. This happened to be Reynolds’ breakout role, displaying his staple Macho Power persona. It’s a terrifyingly graphic tale of wealthy city boys falling victim of sadistic hillbillies in rural Georgia. And it began a long career of playing rebels and renegades.
2. The Longest Yard (1974)
From legendary director Robert Aldrich, this sports comedy is one for the book. In it, Reynolds plays a former NFL player who’s fallen into prison, and obviously creates a football team. Misfits galore, the team is set to play against the guards. Adam Sandler later remade this film, with Reynolds returning as a supporting character.
3. Gator (1976)
A sequel to White Lighting, this film was Reynolds’ directorial debut. In it, he reprises his role of Gator McKlusky, an ex-con who pairs up with the feds. This time, his task is to take down a corrupt politician, while still being an expert moonshine maker.
4. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1977)
A seemingly out-of-character turn for Reynolds, this is, first of all, a Dolly Parton musical. Both of them were 70’s icons and it was only a matter of time before they became an on-screen duo. In any case, both have amazing chemistry, with Reynolds as a sheriff and Parton as a madam. It might not be the best film out there, but it’s certainly a fun Netflix-and-chill type of experience.
5. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Another gem that many would place atop the list of best Burt Reynolds movies. In it, he plays Bo “Bandit” Darville, a bootlegger whose field of expertise is driving beer across state lines. All illegally, of course, and all in pure coolness inside his Trans Am. This would become the ultimate roadside cheeky comedy.
6. Boogie Nights (1997)
This beloved Paul Thomas Anderson film about the porn industry introduced Reynolds to a whole new generation. It also led to the sole Academy Award nomination of his career. In the film, he plays the producer that turns Mark Wahlberg’s character into a porn star.
Extra: Saturday Night Live Celebrity Jeopardy
So this isn’t one of Reynolds’ films, but it’s always worth mentioning! Played by Norm MacDonald, Reynolds was one of the frequent characters of this classic SNL sketch. He was pictured as an exaggeration of his on (and off-screen) persona. Let’s always remember Reynolds as someone with this level of star power!