Walking Tall (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

Walking Tall1973

Walking Tall (1973)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Walking Tall Videos

Walking Tall Photos

Movie Info

This film is the unabashedly manipulative story of real-life Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser. Pusser can either be regarded as a tireless champion of justice or a baseball-bat-wielding hooligan. When the town baddies seek vengeance by killing Pusser's wife, the you-know-what really hits the fan!

Watch it now


Joe Don Baker
as Buford Pusser
Ed Call
as Lutie McVeigh
Gene Evans
as Thurman
Arch Johnson
as Jaggers
Brenda Benet
as Luan Paxton
John Brascia
as Prentiss Parley
Felton Perry
as Obra Eaker
Lynn Borden
as Margie Ann
Edward Call
as Lutie McVeigh
Sidney Clute
as Sheldon Levine
Douglas Fowley
as Judge Clarke
Don Keefer
as Dr. Lamar Stivers
Sam Laws
as Willie Rae Lockman
Pepper Martin
as Zolan Dicks
John Myhers
as Lester Dickens
Logan Ramsey
as John Witter
Kenneth Tobey
as Augie McCullah
Lurene Tuttle
as Grandma Pusser
Wanea Wes
as Singer
Leif Garrett
as Mike Pusser
Dawn Lyn
as Dwana Pusser
Russell Thorson
as Ferrin Meaks
Gil Perkins
as Bouncer
Gene Lebell
as Bouncer
Carey Loftin
as Dice Player
Warner Venetz
as Stickman
Del Monroe
as Otie Doss
Lloyd Tatum
as Prosecutor
Vaudie Plunk
as Jury Foreman
Pearline Wynn
as Hassie Berlson
Ted Jordan
as Virgil Button
Red West
as Sheriff Tanner
View All

Critic Reviews for Walking Tall

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (1)

A hopelessly melodramatic revenge fantasy.

May 4, 2005 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

its broad strokes leave no room for anything so pussified or liberal as a moral compass

September 26, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

... the film was a sensation, becoming a big hit and spawning a whole industry of southern-fried vigilante lawman action pictures.

May 19, 2012 | Full Review…

A new, and arguably improved, Walking Tall, starring pro wrestler-turned-actor, The Rock.

April 25, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A macho 1970s classic

November 8, 2004 | Rating: 3/5

Overbearing, immensely popular pro-vigilante drama.

June 16, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Walking Tall

Forget the remake featuring The Rock,cause it doesn't even compare to the original. However,this was weirdly marketed as a right wing screed upon its initial release in 1973(and became a surprise runaway boxoffice hit especially a huge following within the drive-in theatre circuit in the South where some theatres ran it for over a year).Walking Tall was a really tragic,graphically violent post-noir film based on the life and times of Tennessee county sheriff Buford Pusser. However,Joe Don Baker gives a riveting and powerful performance as Pusser who was determined and hell bent to force of crime and corruption out of his town at great personal expense,not to mention taking on the syndicate(The Dixie Mafia). Directed with an intentionally crude force by Phil Karlson,one of the toughest filmmakers of the 1950's and 1960's. Here,the film's grimness doesn't let up and neither does the scenes of raw language and strong graphic violence that gave this film a strong influence of the racial stride and hatred that went on in the South. Interesting note about this picture...It was produced by BCP Productions which was Bing Crosby's production company(yes folks,Bing Crosby was still around in 1973)and theatrically released through Cinerama Releasing Corporation. The theme song was done by none other than the great Johnny Mathis. Elizabeth Hartman(plays Pusser's wife) and Noah Beery also star in this runaway boxoffice hit which was one of the sixth highest grossing films of 1973 behind "The Exorcist", "American Graffiti", "Enter The Dragon",and "The Sting". The success of Walking Tall spawned two sequels "Walking Tall Chapter 2"(1975),and "Walking Tall:The Final Chapter"(1977),a short-lived television series and two prequels starring Dewayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin "Hercules" Sorbo.

Mister Caple
Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

I saw this after seeing the remake, and I have to say that this one is a lot stronger. I really liked it, it's realistic, even with the violence. The beginning is a little slow, but it doesn't matter, the rest is great. I really liked this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Southern-fried justice, holding a big stick. This film was a delicious slice of Americana kick-ass and Joe Don Baker is amazingly effective as the human embodiment of a Timex watch, playing a real dude Bufford Pusser. Although this film is longish, it doesn't drag and it is jam packed with content and doesn't really loose momentum as it barrels down a hill made of Buford's desire to take the law into his own hands. AND it has a car chase, with a pick-up and a squad car, how great is that. There are some glaring political incorrectness that borders on offensive but it comes with the time as this film's era sticks out like a me at a hip-hop. Although the filmmaking was intentionally crude you can see the boom mic peeks into shots and hang out more times than you can count. That being said it's a classic. See this and for get about Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Sorbo, their films don't even have Bufford Pusser, and he's some kind of guy.

Patrick Dolan
Patrick Dolan

Super Reviewer

Walking Tall Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features