Writers: Tracy Keenan Wynn, Albert S. Ruddy
Composer: Frank De Vol
Starring: Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert, Ed Lauter, Michael Conrad, James Hampton, Harry Caesar, John Steadman, Charles Tyner, Mike Henry, Jim Nicholson, Bernadette Peters, Pervis Atkins, Tony Cacciotti, Anitra Ford, Michael Fox, Joe Kapp, Richard Kiel
More info: IMDb
Tagline: It's Survival of the Fiercest and Funniest
Plot: A football player-turned-convict organizes a team of inmates to play against a team of prison guards. His dilemma is that the warden asks him to throw the game in return for an early release
My rating: 8.5/10
Will I watch it again? YES!
Probably about every 8 or so years I'll forget how great this flick is and slap it in for a reminder. Probably this is my favorite sports film. Reynolds oozes with charisma. He's so damn likable it's not even funny. Eddie Albert is an amazing actor, too. This guy can go from charming as a peach to ruthless mother fucker on the turn of a dime. Hell, the whole damn cast (and what a cast!!!) is outstanding. Director Aldrich (just look at this guy's credits) did an outstanding job. You can almost feel the heat on the chain gang. The game in the last act looks like a legit game and they had cameras there to shoot it. It's expertly edited and there is enough humor scattered about to keep things moving along and from being considered a comedy. It's a sports prison drama with some laughs along the way. This is a great film no matter how you slice it.
The Paramount DVD has a great looking anamorphic widescreen image with a few extras including a commentary from Burt Reynolds and writer/producer Albert Ruddy, two 11-minute featurettes with some of the cast et al on making the film, an "exclusive look" at the 2005 OK remake, the original theatrical trailer (anamorphic widescreen) and 7 minutes of previews (fullscreen and non-anamorphic wide) for guy-related shows and movies. I can do without the horseshit that doesn't pertain to the '74 film but then I don't have to watch it.