Burt Reynolds’ “Smokey and the Bandit” facts you didn’t know

In 1977, Burt Reynolds starred in the ever popular movie “Smokey and the Bandit”, playing the role of Bo “Bandit” Darville. Being a high speed car chase driver, Burt simply loved his character as he was a great car chase enthusiast. Families, young and old, sat glued to the television screens as Bandit drove his Trans Am over a bridge and flew through the air to get away from Sherriff Buford T. Justice.

But is there more to the story than what we all saw on the television screen? Here are some interesting facts about “Smokey and the Bandit” that not many people know.

Truck driving with Bandit and Snowman

Bandit and Snowman

The plot of “Smokey and the Bandit” was one in which Bandit and Cletus (Snowman) have 28 hours to drive from Georgia to Texarkana, Texas, and return with an illegal shipment of Coors beer. This was in fact not just an imaginary devious plot, but was a reality. To top it off, Texarkana was located in a dry county, so Coors wasn’t legally sold there. While Bandit was driving in his gorgeous Trans Am, Snowman drove the truck filled with beers and it was quite apparent that Snowman liked singing while driving as it is believed that music is essential to truckers on the road.

The legendary Trans Am

legendary Trans Am

While shooting the movie, at least four Pontiac Trans Ams were used. When the bridge jumping scene had to be shot, the original Pontiac engine was not strong enough to handle the jump. It was thought to install a Chevrolet engine to give the car enough power to make the jump.

A mere accident

smokey and the bandit

In the scene where Bandit drove over a field where football players were at play, the camera crew did not know that the grass on the field had just been watered. As bandit entered the scene by speeding over the field, the tires skid on the grass and he nearly rammed right into a crowd of extras!

The runaway bride

sally field

Sally Field landed the role as a notorious runaway bride which came to hitch a ride with Bandit. As they came to know each other will on set, they became a couple and dated for 5 years.

The car walkie-talkie

smokey and the bandit cb radio

What made the movie even more popular is the fact that Smokey, Snowman and Bandit communicated via walkie-talkies and the slang language used became the punchline of many conversations. It has made the car walkie-talkie a legendary reminder that “Breaker-Breaker” will never sound the same if not imitated in a Burt Reynolds voice…

As there were follow up movies made of “Smokey and the Bandit”, the first movie will always be remembered as being the one that completely changed the way a car chase was done and the thought of the Basset Hound, Fred, driving with Snowman will always be remembered.

Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.