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Walking Tall

By Tom Keogh

Weirdly marketed as a right-wing screed upon its initial release in 1973, Walking Tall is really a tragic, shockingly violent post-noir film based on various legends surrounding real-life Southern sheriff Buford Pusser. Joe Don Baker (The Natural) gives a powerful performance as Pusser, who took on determined forces of crime and corruption in his town at great personal expense. Directed with an intentionally crude force by Phil Karlson (Kansas City Confidential), one of the toughest filmmakers of the 1950s, the film's grimness does not let up, but in the end it is more likely to break hearts than turn stomachs.

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"Walking Tall, the true story of Buford Pusser, who seeing the corruption of His town, runs for Sheriff to clean it up. Joe Don Baker, not exactly Your typical leading Man, became a Star after this Film touched a lot of people in all the right places. It's appeal was an everyman standing up for His self, His family and for a way of life that should be preserved. Although R-rated the ads sold it as a Family film (?!). It led to 2 sequels with Bo Svenson taking over for Joe Don Baker.

Believe it or not the film has been reworked for the new millenium. In April of this year, 2004, The Rock (?) is the new lead. They've changed the name for Him (well come on admit it would You buy The Rock as a Man named Buford Pusser ? I thought not !!!!) The three Super70s Walking Tall films were classic examples of action films from that decade. If you like action films check them out."

--Michael C.



Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Phil Karlson

Stars: Joe Don Baker, Elizabeth Hartman, Gene Evans

Released: February 22, 1973

Availability: DVD VHS

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