The Longest Yard (1974)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Prison Film, Sports Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 21, 1974 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 121 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brendon Hanley

In keeping with Hollywood's shifting values in the early '70s, the protagonists of this prison comedy are inmates, and not the guards and wardens who oversee them. As in The Last Detail or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the film's representatives of mainstream society are evil or banal, while its rebellious heroes are irreverent and vital. And, as in those films, a charismatic leader helps the audience to identify with the counter-culture heroes -- a role ably filled here by Burt Reynolds. An accomplished football player in college, Reynolds scored his first post-Deliverance hit with The Longest Yard, cementing his status as a Hollywood sex symbol. Filmed on location at a prison in Georgia, the picture has the naturalistic look and "experimental" editing common to films of the time. Michael Luciano was nominated for an Oscar primarily for his energetic editing of the climactic football game, which takes up a full half-hour.