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Walking Tall (1973 film)

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Initial DVD release
July 21, 1998




Action, Crime, Drama

Film series
Walking Tall

United States

Walking Tall (1973 film) movie poster

Release date
February 22, 1973 (1973-02-22)

Mort Briskin, Stephen Downing

(Buford Pusser), (Pauline Pusser), (Sheriff Al Thurman),
Noah Beery, Jr.
(Grandpa Carl Pusser), (Luan Paxton),
John Brascia
(Prentiss Parley)

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Walking tall 1 9 movie clip buford catches a cheater 1973 hd

Walking Tall is a 1973 American action semi-biopic film of Sheriff Buford Pusser, a professional wrestler-turned-lawman in McNairy County, Tennessee. It starred Joe Don Baker as Pusser. The film was directed by Phil Karlson. Based on Pusser's life, it was a combination of very loosely based fact and Hollywood revisionism. It has since become a well known cult classic with two direct sequels of its own, a TV movie, a brief TV series and a remake that had its own two sequels.


Walking Tall (1973 film) movie scenes

Two actresses associated with this film went on to commit suicide: Brenda Benet, who was married to Bill Bixby from 1971-1979, took her life in April 1982; Elizabeth Hartman jumped from the 5th floor of a Pittsburgh apartment building in June 1987.

Walking Tall (1973 film) movie scenes


Walking Tall (1973 film) movie scenes

Buford Pusser (Joe Don Baker), at his wife Pauline's (Elizabeth Hartman) behest, retires from the professional wrestling ring and moves back to Tennessee to start a logging business with his father, Carl Pusser (Noah Beery, Jr.).

Walking Tall (1973 film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters2235p2235p

With a friend, he visits a gambling and prostitution establishment, the Lucky Spot, and is beaten up after catching the house cheating at craps. Pusser is seriously injured with a knife and receives over 200 stitches. He complains to the sheriff but is ignored, and soon becomes aware of the rampant corruption in McNairy County. Later, working at his father's lumber mill, Pusser makes a club out of a tree branch. Late one night, Pusser waits until after the Lucky Spot is closed and beats up the same thugs that left him for dead. The next day, Pusser is arrested and represents himself at trial. At one point, he rips off his shirt and shows the jury his scars. He informs them that "If you let them do this to me and get away with it, then you're giving them the eternal right to do the same damn thing to any one of you!" The jury finds Pusser not guilty, and he decides to clean up the county and runs for sheriff. Pusser wins, and becomes famous for being incorruptible, intolerant of crime, and for his array of four-foot hickory clubs which he uses to great effect in dispatching criminals and destroying their clandestine gambling dens and illegal distilleries.

Walking Tall (1973 film) Walking Tall 1973 Big Stick HD YouTube

Some residents praise Pusser as an honest cop in a crooked town; others denounce him as a bully willing to break some laws to uphold others. Pusser is attacked several times, and finally he and Pauline are ambushed in their car. Pauline is killed and Pusser is seriously injured. He is admitted to the hospital after being shot and while still in a neck and face cast, attends his wife's funeral. Afterward he rams a sheriff cruiser through the front doors of the Lucky Spot, killing two of his would-be assassins.

Walking Tall (1973 film) Walking Tall 1973 Official Trailer YouTube

As he leaves with two deputies, the townspeople arrive and begin throwing the gambling tables out into the parking lot. They light a bonfire as an overwhelmed Pusser wipes tears from his eyes.


Walking Tall (1973 film) Walking Tall 1973 film Wikipedia

The original Walking Tall was a hit, but the sequels, Walking Tall Part 2 (September 28, 1975), and Walking Tall: Final Chapter (August 10, 1977), both starring Bo Svenson, were far less profitable. On December 9, 1978, CBS aired A Real American Hero, with Brian Dennehy as Buford Pusser.


Walking Tall (1973 film) Walking Tall movie posters at movie poster warehouse moviepostercom

In 1978, CBS aired a television movie titled A Real American Hero: Buford Pusser, starring Brian Dennehy as the title character. The film is set in 1967 and focused on the real-life sheriff Buford Pusser who goes after a criminal who has killed young people with his illegal moonshine.

Walking Tall (1973 film) Walking Tall The Trilogy Bluray Walking Tall Walking Tall Part 2

In 2004, a remake starring professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was made. Although it utilized many elements from Pusser's life and the original Walking Tall, many things were changed. Johnson's character's name was now Chris Vaughn, the sheriff is trying to stop the selling of illegal drugs instead of illegal moonshine, and the film's setting became semi-rural Kitsap County, Washington, although it was filmed in Squamish, B.C., Canada. Two sequels to the remake were produced, and released in 2007: Walking Tall: The Payback and Walking Tall: Lone Justice, both made in Dallas, Texas and released directly to DVD. These sequels starred Kevin Sorbo as Nick Prescott, the son of the town's sheriff who takes the law into his own hands when his father is killed in a suspicious car accident.


Walking Tall (1973 film) Walking Tall Movie Poster 1 of 2 IMP Awards

The film holds a 75% "Fresh" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.

Walking Tall was a box office smash. Produced on a budget of $500,000, the film grossed $23 million domestically, earning an estimated $8.5 million in North American theatrical rentals in 1973.

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • 2003: AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains:
  • Buford Pusser – Nominated Hero
  • References

    Walking Tall (1973 film) Wikipedia
    Walking Tall (1973 film) IMDb Walking Tall (1973 film)