Watch Walking Tall
- 2 hr 5 min
Walking Tall is a gripping and riveting drama film from 1973 that explores the true story of a man's fight for justice and the transformation of an entire community. Directed by Phil Karlson, this remarkable feature stars Joe Don Baker as the determined protagonist Buford Pusser, alongside Elizabeth Hartman and Leif Garrett. The movie takes place in the small town of McNairy County, Tennessee, during the early 1960s. Buford Pusser, a former professional wrestler turned family man, returns to his hometown with dreams of leading a peaceful life alongside his wife Pauline (played by Elizabeth Hartman) and their two young children. However, Buford's idyllic plans are quickly shattered when he witnesses the extent of corruption and lawlessness that has plagued the community.
Buford discovers that the town's economy is controlled by a ruthless mafia-like organization led by the cunning Jay Hamilton (played by Noah Beery Jr.). The organization, utilizing illegal gambling, prostitution, and narcotics, exercises its powerful grip over the town by bribing and intimidating public officials and local businesses. The police force is compromised by these criminal elements, leaving the citizens vulnerable and without any recourse for justice.
Shocked by the level of criminality, Buford decides to take a stand against the oppressive system that allows these heinous activities to thrive. With an unwavering sense of righteousness and a determination to protect his loved ones, Buford confronts the corrupt local authorities and tries to expose the criminal activities of the Hamilton-led syndicate.
As Buford wages his one-man war against injustice, he faces countless obstacles and threats. The mafia retaliates against him with brutal violence, and even his family's safety is jeopardized. Yet, Buford's tenacity and unbreakable spirit remain unyielding as he becomes a symbol of vigilante justice, inspiring the townspeople to stand up for their rights.
Throughout the film, Walking Tall brings to the forefront the issues of community integrity, individual heroism, and the struggle for a moral society. Buford Pusser's undeniable bravery and refusal to tolerate corruption resonates deeply with the audience, who eagerly join him on his crusade against the oppressive forces that have held the town captive.
Joe Don Baker delivers a powerhouse performance as Buford, encapsulating his firm determination and internal turmoil with exceptional skill. He brings an authentic sense of vulnerability and resilience to his character, making Buford an incredibly relatable and compelling protagonist. Elizabeth Hartman portrays Pauline Pusser, Buford's supportive wife, with grace and strength, capturing the inner conflict faced by the families affected by the town's corruption. Young actor Leif Garrett portrays Buford's son Mike Pusser, exhibiting remarkable talent for a child actor, and establishing a heartwarming dynamic between father and son.
Walking Tall offers an engaging narrative that heightens the tension incrementally, keeping audiences captivated throughout. Phil Karlson's direction effectively juxtaposes intense action sequences with intimate and emotional moments, resulting in a well-paced and expertly crafted film. The dynamic cinematography brings the small-town setting to life, immersing viewers in the vivid portrayal of both the tranquility and turmoil faced by its inhabitants.
In conclusion, Walking Tall is an unforgettable drama that delves deep into the complexity of justice and the resilience of the human spirit. With exceptional performances, a compelling narrative, and thought-provoking themes, this film continues to captivate audiences even decades after its release. As an inspiring true story, it serves as a reminder of the power of one person's courage to reshape an entire community, making it a must-watch for any fans of compelling and thought-provoking cinema.
Walking Tall is a 1973 action movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 5 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 60.