"Smokey," aka Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), is the prospective father-in-law of unwilling bride Carrie (Sally Field). The Bandit (Burt Reynolds), a maverick racecar driver, makes an 80,000-dollar bet that he can transport a shipment of Coors beer from Texarkana, TX, to Atlanta within 28 hours. It's important to note that in 1977, it was illegal to sell the Coors brand east of the Mississippi River without a permit; if we don't note that, then the plot won't make sense at times. Already in danger of arrest from redneck lawmen like Buford T. Justice, Bandit furthers his chances at a stiff jail term when he offers a ride to Carrie, who hopes to escape her unwanted wedding to Justice's boy. The rest of the film is one long chase; not quite as subtle as a Road Runner/Coyote cartoon, not quite as restrained as a Three Stooges comedy. Universally panned by critics upon its first release, Smokey and the Bandit reportedly pulled in just under $126 million and led to two sequels.
by Hal Erickson synopsis