White Lightning

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MGM Released 1973

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Movie Summary

Director:
Joseph Sargent (I)
Released:
1973
Rating:
PG

White Lightning was an action film starring Burt Reynolds. It was directed by Joseph Sargent, written by William W. Norton and released in August 8, 1972. Aside from Reynolds, the film also starred Bo Hopkins, Ned Beatty, Diane Ladd, R. G. Armstrong and Laura Dern in her first film appearance. Its success would later spawn the 1976 film, Gator. The plot of the film regards an inmate in an Arkansas prison named Gator McCluskey (Reynolds). Gator learns that his brother has been killed by the crooked Sheriff J.C. Connors (Beatty). He leaves the prison to plot with the government to help take him down. Along the way, Gator becomes involved in an ill-advised affair with a woman named Lou (Jennifer Billingsley) and eventually engages the crooked sheriff in an epic car chase. White Lightning is now regarded as a classic of the genre and its score was even appropriated for the Quentin Tarantino film's Kill Bill Volume 1 and Inglourious Basterds.

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Metacritic Score

  • 70

    Variety

    Joseph Sargent's direction is particularly effective in the light and auto-chasing sequences, latter a field day for stunt drivers and occasionally incorporating humorous bits of b...

  • 60

    The New York Times

    A fairly awful movie that keeps producing good things—scenes, performances, moments of insight—that seem connected to better ideas than anything suggested in the film's larger ...

  • 50

    Time Out

    Everything becomes one long car chase, and in the end it's just a matter of the fat bald bully getting his comeuppance at the hands of the not-so-fat toupeed hero.

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Themes

Crime, Classics