White Lightning

Burt Reynolds

White Lightning (1973). Directed by Joseph Sargent.

White Lightning is a classic 1970s action film. Burt Reynolds plays an ex-con named Gator McKlusky who teams up with federal agents to break up a moonshine ring. Ned Beatty plays a corrupt sheriff named J.C. Connors who is responsible for the death of Gator’s brother. Naturally, Gator wants revenge.

Reynolds plays the role of Gator McKlusky seriously, without the silliness that he’s know for in Gator and Smokey and the Bandit. You tend to forget that Reynolds can be a very good actor. This is one of those rare performances.

Unfortunately this DVD is a fullscreen pan and scan version of the movie. The film is nicely shot and would have looked great in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

White Lightning was supposed to be Steven Spielberg’s first feature film as a director. According to IMDB he spent months on the pre-production. It turned out to be Laura Dern’s first film (uncredited) probably because her mom Diane Ladd (pictured above in the car) was Reynolds love interest in the film.

There is a realism to this film that I found quite enjoyable. It’s shot in the steamy south where the characters are always dripping wet. The dirt race track, the bayou, the southern church, the swamp and the country porch create a world that transports you back in time. White Lightning is definitely an underrated classic and one of Burt Reynolds best films.

Movie Trailer

Posted in DVD Reviews at 6:06 PM