Burt Reynolds has a long and varied career: everything from the action classic Deliverance to TV’s Evening Shade – and a late-career highlight with Boogie Nights.burt reynolds hicksploitationBut Reynolds may be known best for making popular the movie genre known as “hicksploitation”, a genre of film based on stereotypical depictions of rural whites in the south and Appalachia.White Lightning : Original Cinema Quad PosterOriginal Cinema Quad Poster – Movie Film Posters

To see this genre in its action-filled glory, you need to check out “good ol’ boy” Burt Reynolds in the classic hicksploitation movie White Lightning.White-Lightning-02The plot is designed to set up a lot of car chases down country roads: Reynolds is ex-con “Gator” Mccluskey, who teams up with federal agents to break up a moonshine ring.

White Lightning is slang for “moonshine”…and the film showcases many great car stunts along backwood roads where moonshine is made.White-Lightning-flying carHere is some great trivia, thanks to IMDB: this was originally slated to be Steven Spielberg’s first theatrical feature and he spent months on pre-production.

Spielberg went on to make his cult film The Sugarland Express instead and while that’s a terrific movie, I wonder if he would have sent as many cars into space as this film does…White-Lightning-car chaseCheck out the film’s trailer, which tells you all you need to know about the wild ride that awaits you:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xeEdOrteX0&w=420&h=315]

Joseph Sergeant directed White Lightning, and this great Action Director went on to make The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3, and yes, Jaws: The Revenge as well.

White Lightning movie poster

The success of this movie led to a sequel, Gator, which Reynolds directed himself.

These two films make for a terrific hicksploitation action double bill!

Burt Reynolds Gator