The Burt Reynolds box set



These are the best / most essential Burt Reynolds films, according the lists of six film and culture critics:

Deliverance (1972)

The Longest Yard (1974)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Boogie Nights (1997)

Semi-Tough (1977)

Starting Over (1979)

Those first four films received five votes, while Semi-Tough picked up four votes and Starting Over three.

Hustle (1975), Sharky’s Machine (1981) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) each received two votes, while White Lightning (1973), Silent Movie (1976), Striptease (1996) and The Last Movie Star (2017) were mentioned once.



My picks?

Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Smokey and the Bandit and Starting Over are the true essentials.

Boogie Nights and Reynolds’ performance as Jack Horner — his only Academy Award nomination — are deservedly praised, but it’s not a Burt Reynolds movie. Semi-Tough is another football picture, covering some of the same ground as The Longest Yard.

I would add:

Hustle and Sharky’s Machine

Breaking In (1989)

Hustle is a tough film noir, while Sharky’s Machine proves his directing prowess. He plays a cop falling for a call girl in both. Breaking In (1989) is a hidden gem, where he plays a professional thief with a new protégé.



Here is the complete critics list:

WESLEY MORRIS, The New York Times

1. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

2. Semi-Tough (1977)

3. Starting Over (1979)

4. Sharky’s Machine (1981)

5. Silent Movie (1976)


BILL SIMMONS, The Ringer

1. The Longest Yard (1974)

2. Boogie Nights (1997)

3. Starting Over (1979)

4. Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

5. Deliverance (1972)


SEAN FENNESSEY, The Ringer

1. Deliverance (1972)

2. Boogie Nights (1997)

3. Semi-Tough (1977)

4. Striptease (1996)

5. The Longest Yard (1974)


JENNIFER VINEYARD, The New York Times

Deliverance (1972)

The Longest Yard (1974)

Hustle (1975)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Semi-Tough (1977)

Sharky’s Machine (1981)

Boogie Nights (1997)


JUSTIN KIRKLAND, Esquire

Deliverance (1972)

White Lightning (1973)

The Longest Yard (1974)

Hustle (1975)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Semi-Tough (1977)

Starting Over (1979)

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

Boogie Nights (1997)

The Last Movie Star (2017)


BRIAN LOWRY, CNN

Deliverance (1972)

The Longest Yard (1974)

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)

Boogie Nights (1997)

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