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Smokey and the Bandit Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Car stunts, romance, and salty language in 1970s comedy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Smokey and the Bandit is a mid-1970s car-chase comedy with a classic set of antiheroes outwitting bumbling law-enforcement officers on highways from Texas to Georgia. Likable characters break the law with abandon (and humor). Cars crash, roll over, and fly through the air throughout the film, but there are no injuries or deaths. One character is beaten up in a bar and appears battered afterward, and a dog is threatened. Almost everyone swears ("bitch," "s--t," "goddamn," "ass"); there are insults ("dummy," "fag," "turd,"); and sexual banter is used as a source of humor ("knockers," "I'd like to jump you," "poontang"). A romance results in kissing, but sexual activity is implied and not shown. Coors beer plays a prominent part in the story.

  • Families can talk about all the comic car accidents in this movie. Why is awareness of the real consequences of such accidents important, particularly to kids and teens?
  • Clowns make wonderful villains in some comedies. In what ways is Sheriff Buford Justice a clown? How is he different from real police and law-enforcement officers?
  • In this movie the heroes constantly break laws, and it's all in fun. Do you think that may influence a younger viewer's attitude about laws and following rules? How can parents help clarify the issue?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Promotes friendship and loyalty. Values fulfilling a commitment and finishing a job. On the other hand, law enforcement is ridiculed, and the film takes delight in mild illegal behavior.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: A charming rogue has his own code of honor: loyalty, tenacity, and honesty within his world of mild law-breaking and devotion to independence. Law-enforcement officers all are ineffective, buffoonish, and clumsy. The female heroine is feisty, confident, and assertive.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Extensive comic car crashes and stunts, but no injuries. One bar fight in which one character receives bruises. A dog is threatened.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some romantic flirtation and kissing. The camera cuts away before any sexual activity is shown. A male character ogles a pretty woman.

  • language false3

    Language: Mild and moderate obscenities: "bitch," "turd," "hell," "s--t," "dumbass," "goddamn," "fag," "take a leak," "F.O." Sexual put-downs and jokes: "I'd like to jump you," "Don't play with yourself," "to spot beavers," "knockers," "I'd like to take a run on her." One use of "f--k" is covered by a blaring horn. A character sends the "middle-finger salute."

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: The transportation of Coors beer is a central plot element. Other products shown: Coca-Cola, Allied Van Lines, Trans Am, CAT.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Several key characters smoke throughout. A scene in a bar shows people consuming alcoholic beverages.