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Sharky's Machine (1981)

Burt Reynolds , Rachel Ward , Burt Reynolds  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Reynolds, Rachel Ward, Vittorio Gassman, Brian Keith, Charles Durning
  • Directors: Burt Reynolds
  • Writers: Gerald Di Pego, William Diehl
  • Producers: Edward Teets, Hank Moonjean
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 20, 1998
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305133433
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,844 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sharky's Machine" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description


Burt Reynolds was getting restless with the good ol' boy screen image he cultivated in Smokey & the Bandit and numerous car-chase flicks of the mid-to-late 1970s, and this brutal 1981 thriller presented the actor with an interesting change of pace. Reynolds directed the film as well, and there was a lot at stake for him both personally and professionally, so Sharky's Machine--based on a gutsy novel by William Diehl--has an urgent, no-nonsense quality that lifts it above most comparably sleazy thrillers. The plot may be sordid, but Reynolds's handling of it is not. This adds another element of freshness to the story of a demoted Atlanta vice cop (Reynolds) who pursues a personal vendetta against a crime boss (Vittorio Gassman) after falling in love with a stunning beauty (Rachel Ward) from the mobster's stable of high-priced prostitutes. The climactic shootout is violent and bloody in keeping with movies of the period (when jarring brutality was beginning to be commonplace in Hollywood films), but Reynolds doesn't go overboard. Sharky's Machine doesn't pretend to be anything more (or less) than a tough-as-nails crime movie, and it's one of Reynolds's most unusual and intelligent films. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Burt's Machine Keeps On Rolling April 17, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
In "Sharky's Machine" Burt Reynolds plays Sgt. Tom Sharky, a case-hardened (tough outside, soft inside) Atlanta vice cop investigating the possible extortion of a gubernatorial candidate. During wiretaps and stakeouts Sharkey falls in love with Dominoe (Rachel Ward), the candidate's spoiled call girl girlfriend. When the candidate offers to take Dominoe out of 'the life' and to support her, Dominoe's gypsy owner/trainer Victor feels his control over the candidate threatened. Victor arranges for Dominoe's murder. By coincidence Dominoe escapes, Sharkey hides Dominoe, and they work together to end Victor's reign of terror.
Burt Reynolds directed "Sharkey's Machine" and he plays Tom Sharkey with his "Deliverance" bravado but without the hard edges. Burt assembled a strong cast. Rachel Ward is *stunning* as Dominoe. Brian Keith, Bernie Casey and Richard Libertini are Sharkey's police buddies -- his 'machine' which is destroyed in the process of bringing down Victor. Vittorio Gassman plays cold threatening Victor and Henry Silva plays his Dilaudin/cocaine-wired shootist associate -- both deliver extremely strong performances. And Darryl Hickman effectively uses brother Dwayne's 'Dobie Gillis nice guy' persona in an interrogation/torture scene.
Years have passed since Burt Reynolds' football days and Burt has played many characters. Burt still plays rough today. "Sharkey's Machine" is a superior showcase for Burt Reynolds' many talents.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reynolds comes up with a winner here!! January 17, 2003
Like his pal Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds tried his hand at directing & does a pretty good job here, In this he is Sharky, a vice detective who is after a drug & prostitution kingpin played by Victor Gassman, while pursuing the case, he is soon spying on one of Victor's high priced call girls(Rachel Ward), hoping for a lead, but soon begins to be smitten with her, he soon discovers a local politician who is campaigning to be a Senator is involved with not only her, but Victor as well, this complicates things as Victor soon has his deranged coke-addicted brother(Henry Silva in a chilling role) kill what seems to be Ward in an effort to blackmail the Senator into a agreement, it is Ward's friend who is killed instead as Reynolds soon discovers & takes Ward to a safe place where they begin to fall for one another, one of the best scenes is Reynolds confrontation with Victor, in which we see Victor taunt Reynolds in such a way as he tells him that he owns him & the whole police force & Reynolds responding back about how he plans to rid his town of his kind is powerful to say the least, what makes this film work is the realism of it all, with Reynolds as the underdog taking on a big kingpin, who has much power & influence that Reynolds can only trust those close to him as he has his own team of cops to help him, Ward & Reynolds share a unique chemistry & we learn why Victor has such a hold on her, Henry Silva is at his best as Victor's coke-addicted brother who can as a result of his addiction take several gunshots & keep going is chilling, as Reynolds & his team take Silva on, Reynolds proved that he could be more than the "Bandit" here & in the little seen 1985 film "Stick" as well, but his career went south do to personal problems in his personal life, but made a comback in 1997's "Boogie Nights" &... Read more ›
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Do You Think I'll Live?" August 30, 2003
I have always been a fan of Burt Reynolds. Sure, the guy has made some of the biggest bombs in Hollywood history, such as "Stroker Ace," "Cop and a Half," and several others too painful to mention. When I say I am a fan, I am not necessarily referring to his best known films like "Smokey and the Bandit,"...or "The Longest Yard." I like Reynolds's seedy looking films, those low budget action flicks that look like they cost five dollars to make. "White Lightening," "Heat," and "Gator" are always worth watching. I used to list "Sharky's Machine" as one of Reynolds's best efforts until I watched it again recently for the first time in many years. This 1981 action/thriller should give the viewer the best Reynolds has to offer: he directed it, starred in it, and made sure to assemble a stellar cast including Richard Libertini, Brian Keith, Charles Durning, Rachel Ward, Vittorio Gassman, and Henry Silva. In fact, you will recognize so many faces in this movie that you will start to wonder how Reynolds got all of these guys together without spending his entire budget on salaries. Unfortunately, Reynolds's directorial debut drags in spots due to the inclusion of decidedly non-action elements and slow pacing. "Sharky's Machine" is the film version of a book written by author William Diehl.
Reynolds plays Atlanta police detective Tom Sharky, a tough as nails cop attempting to crack down on the city's heroin trade. After a failed drug buy results in the death of an innocent bystander, the department ships Sharky off to the vice department as penance for his reckless heroics. Located in the dingy basement of police headquarters, the vice room is about as filthy as you could imagine.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Crime Thriller Deserves Widescreen DVD September 24, 2010
Burt Reynolds rose from the "good ol' boy" quagmire to deliver this hard-edged crime drama. Easily his best directorial effort, Reynolds invests "Sharky's Machine" (1981) with a strong sense of ensemble, gritty Atlanta locations and some truly memorable stunts. Unfortunately, Burt's commendable police thriller has been given the budget-DVD treatment - resulting in a standard full-frame transfer and no extras. Warner Home Video should release "Sharky's Machine" in its original widescreen format as a 30th anniversary "special edition."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars world needs more movies like this cool Burt
Burt at his best! great!
Published 1 month ago by Holly Schneck
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Crime Drama
In my opinion this is one of Burt's best movies. It takes you into the gritty side of Atlanta where Burt plays an undercover officer. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Doc
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of my favorites.
Published 2 months ago by Carolyn Hibbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie. Love the music.
Published 2 months ago by Elvira D'Arrigo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great item
Published 2 months ago by sam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great movie
Published 3 months ago by Kerry Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this movies, it brings back good memories, and I love Burt Reynolds, he looks good
Published 3 months ago by bunny64
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed seeing it again
I has seen this in the theatre and had not seen it sense. I enjoyed seeing it again. Arrived in as advertised.
Published 3 months ago by Bill5416
I saw this when first released in the 80's. This was during Reynolds time as a top box office draw! His comedic skill has always been overlooked, unfortunately. Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. F. Jung
5.0 out of 5 stars lots of action and good acting, strong cast Burt Reynolds is at his...
Sharkys Machine, lots of action and good acting ,strong cast Burt Reynolds is at his best and in top form. Read more
Published 3 months ago by michael rivera
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