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Walking Tall (1973)

Joe Don Baker , Elizabeth Hartman , Phil Karlson  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Don Baker, Elizabeth Hartman, Leif Garrett, Dawn Lyn, Noah Beery Jr.
  • Directors: Phil Karlson
  • Writers: Mort Briskin, John Michael Hayes, Stephen Downing
  • Producers: Charles A. Pratt, Joel Briskin, Mort Briskin
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VDDDWI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,690 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walking Tall" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Based on true events in the life of Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser, who "removes" corruption in his county with a four-foot-long wooden club. When the criminals attack his family, Buford shoots a whorehouse manager in the head and runs hillbilly gangsters over with his car.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Man, Big Stick!!! March 18, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is certainly one of the bloodiest true stories ever filmed. Even though many of the scenes in the film are fictionalized for dramatic effect, there are many scenes in this film that did happen to Buford Pusser in real life and that is what makes so many scenes in the film shocking.
Joe Don Baker gives his best performance as Buford Pusser, a retired wrestler who after being brutally beaten in a local nightclub, exacts revenge on the very same people who did it. Pusser is arrested by the corrupt town sheriff and is taken to court for his actions. Thanks to a sympathetic jury, Pusser is rightly found not guilty and takes up his friend's plan to run for town sheriff against his wife's wishes.
While serving his term as sheriff, he is constantly followed, shot at, lied to, and eventually in one of the bloodiest scenes ever put on film, ambushed while driving with his wife, Pauline (played by Elizabeth Hartman). Pauline is brutally murdered and Buford Pusser is severely wounded when he is shot in the face several times with a machine gun.
Director Phil Karlson managed to make a terrific biographical action film with just one serious flaw. People who love spotting bloopers will find more than their fair share in this film. There are at least seven scenes in this movie where the boom mic comes into the frame or the shadow of the boom mic operator is seen along the wall.
If you can get by that, you will be left with a terrific movie.
Parents: Don't let children younger than 14 watch this film. There are numerous scenes of graphic, extreme violence (eg: Pusser's many beatings and gunfights) and coarse language.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie fantastic, DVD transfer poor March 10, 2005
Format:DVD
In the 1960s a man emerged who wasn't afraid to stand up and face down organized crime. He was a former marine turned wrestler turned sheriff who decided to clean up his little corner of Tennessee the best way he knew how: with a very big pine stick and a whole lot of gumption. He swept through the county like a firestorm, blowing up illegal liquor stills and closing down dens of iniquity without batting an eye. The decent people loved him and supported his actions, but the targets of his raids wouldn't go down without a fight. They shot this man on at least eight different occasions, stabbed him, attacked his home and his family, and eventually killed his wife. Still, he wouldn't back down. Of course I'm talking about legendary lawman and American tough guy Buford Pusser, and the movie is the just as legendary "Walking Tall." They "remade" this picture a year or two ago into a laughable PG-13 kiddie version starring a professional wrestler, but if you want to see the real deal you need to check out the DVD version of the original 1973 masterpiece starring Joe Don Baker. Here's a film that redefines the term "gritty."

The film opens with Pusser, his wife Pauline (Elizabeth Hartman), and two kids (one played by Leif Garrett!) heading back to Buford's childhood home to settle down for good. Life on the road working as a professional wrestler apparently isn't all its cracked up to be, what with having to jump when others say jump and throw a match when told to do so. Right from the start we learn that Buford Pusser is his own man, or at least he desperately wants to be. So he acquires the property of a deceased moonshiner with the help of his father Carl (Noah Beery Jr.) and sets about earning a living running a timber mill.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood vs. Reality July 9, 2001
Format:DVD
"Walking Tall" is the story of Buford Pusser, the tall, no-nonsense Tennessee sheriff who fought a tremendous up-hill battle to clean up his hometown. The movie is (sometimes loosely) based on several events which happened to the real Sheriff Pusser in his pursuit of justice. The film seeks to describe (sometimes graphically) the personal price that Pusser paid to rid his town of corruption, not just at the gambling house, but in the courtroom as well.
I was surprised how well the film has held up 20+ years later. While definitely not a great film, the story is an exciting, but violent tale of corruption and the man trying to stop it. The film will probably lead a lot of people to find out more about Buford Pusser, especially to learn which parts of the film are true and which are fiction.
I was fortunate enough to hear Pusser speak just months before he died. If you can imagine it, the real Pusser was even tougher looking and larger than the actor (Joe Don Baker) who portrayed him. He looked like he could take apart a pro football player without halfway trying. In his speech, Pusser was quick to point out what was accurate and inaccurate in the film, what he was pleased with and what he was disappointed with. He pretty much stuck to the facts and didn't try to play on the emotions of the crowd. But he had one of those faces that you could look into and tell that he had been through all the hell that you see in the film and more, and was still walking tall. He left me with the feeling that he was still not going to turn away as corruption was taking over his town. He knew the cost and he was willing to do whatever it takes. One reviewer (probably rightfully so) mentioned that Pusser's methods WERE often out of line. His behavior may have been wrong, but his intent was not.
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