Honored by the Taurus World Stunt Awards for lifetime achievement as an action star, Burt Reynolds in his a heyday produced plenty of bones — both the money kind and the broken variety — for the movie-stunt biz. Here’s a look at five notable, stunt-laden projects:
100 RIFLES (1969)
Reynolds plays a half-Indian bank robber alongside Jim Brown and Fox contract player Raquel Welch in a Western featuring copious shoot-outs and the crash of a steam train. The stunt staff includes Hal Needham, who would go on to become stunt coordinator and double on many of Reynolds’ 1970s films.
Reynolds, along with co-stars Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox navigate class 5 rapids as they canoe their way through a James Dickey-penned weekend Appalachian adventure gone very, very bad.
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT (1977)
When a career stunt man steps into the director’s chair — that would be Needham — it’s not surprising that you get a movie that’s essentially one long car chase. In this one, Reynolds and then-paramour Sally Field (playing a runaway bride) race across the country in a Pontiac Trans Am.
After the huge box office success of U’s “Bandit,” Warner gives the keys once again to Needham, who puts the camera directly onto his own world. Casting Reynolds in the role of stunt man Sonny Hooper, and employing an army of real-life stunt pros, the film featured late fall maven A.J. Bakunas plunging 232 feet from a helicopter onto an airbag.
SHARKY’S MACHINE (1981)
Starring Reynolds as a tough Atlanta vice cop, the film features a record-breaking 220-foot fall from Atlanta’s Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel performed by late stunt legend Dar Robinson.