Smokey and the Bandit II
Former stuntman Hal Needham made his directorial debut with the first Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and repeated his success with the sequel, a virtual remake that substituted a live elephant for a truckload of beer. Burt Reynolds returns as law-defying anti-hero Bandit, now a washed-up alcoholic whose girlfriend Carrie (Sally Field) has left him. When a pair of eccentric, wealthy brothers named Big Enos (Pat McCormick) and Little Enos (Paul Williams) approach Bandit with an offer of work, he and trucker pal Cledus (Jerry Reed) jump at the chance. The gig involves transporting an elephant to the Republican National Convention in twenty-four hours. The wrinkle is that the pachyderm is about to give birth -- any minute. Enter "Doc" (Dom DeLuise) a bizarre medical man who joins the team to care for the expectant mother, and Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason), who has not forgotten the humiliations that he suffered during Bandit's last "mission." Needham's films were instantly forgettable cocktails of car chases, car crashes, and lowbrow humor. Reynolds and Needham teamed up over a dozen times in various action comedy pictures. Audiences of the late Seventies loved their anti-authority redneck humor and made their early collaborations into box office smashes.