Over the last thirty-five years, Smokey and the Bandit has been a favorite amongst show-goers and car enthusiasts alike, and rightfully deserves to be considered a classic. It spawned two (albeit awful) sequels, and has inspired countless other movies and TV shows. It’s among our favorite automotive films of all time.
This movie was singlehandedly responsible for the Trans Am craze of the 1970′s, with the Pontiac’s production numbers shooting up over 600% from the previous model year. It made Burt Reynolds a bigger star than he already was, and gave the world a chance to see Jackie Gleason as we’ve never seen him before. On top of that, it would become one of the second highest grossing film of 1977 grossing over $126M.
The film put it’s writer and director, Hal Needham, on the A-list, and he would go on to make other films like Hooper, Stroker Ace, and Cannonball Run I & II. But it never got him an Oscar. Devoted fans of the movie have complained about this for years, and even some celebrities claim that it’s among their favorite movies. Including Marilyn Manson, Ashton Kutcher, and the late Alfred Hitchcock.
To make things right, the Academy’s Board of Directors decided that it was time to give Needham his due, and they will be awarding him with an honorary Oscar this December 1st in Los Angeles. It’s been a long time coming, but better late than never!