Walking Tall, Part 2 (1976) from CK Roach

A "based on a real story", David versus Goliath cop movie. This movie is the sequel to the original "Walking Tall" which starred Joe Don Baker in the role of real life legend Buford Pusser. Buford Pusser was a sheriff in Tennessee during the 1970s. He became famous for his war against the "State Line Mobs" along the Tennessee-Mississippi border. His trademark feature was a long oak club he carried to deal with undesirables on duty.

Pusser was active in the production of both of these movies. He described the films as "eighty percent true" which is a very high mark for so called "true stories" in Hollywood. The first movie had Joe Don Baker playing the role of Pusser. For the second film, Pusser was going to star as himself. Unfortunately, not long after signing the contract, Buford Pusser was killed in a car wreck near his home in Adamsville, Tennessee. This left the starring role to be filled by Bo Svenson. Unfortunately Bo just isn't up to the role if you have seen Baker in the first movie. While certainly believable as a Tennessean, he doesn't play the character like his predecessor. 


Angel Tompkins plays a role of a seductive killer working for the mob. She makes the movie bearable by briefly appearing topless trying to lure Pusser to an island where her shooters are waiting to kill the sheriff.

DVD info from Amazon

The DVD version of the film is somewhat of a disappointment. The transfer is marginal at best. The special features are limited. As a slight mitigation, the DVD cost was under six dollars at Suncoast.

This movie was somewhat of a disappointment after the original film. When I first saw the movie, I found myself always knowing what was coming next. It was a constant sequence of busting illicit whiskey stills, breaking up fights in bars, and dodging assassination attempts by the mob. It seemed like the highlight of the story was his using the oak club to dismantle (with extreme prejudice) a mobster-owned custom Camaro in the course of a search warrant.

A few notes from Scoop:

I agree completely with what CK wrote, but I thought I'd add a few curiosity items.

First of all, I think this is the only film which has been notarized. It begins with a baritone recitation of this statement. It's pretty funny if you read it, because it doesn't say anything at all. Based on this "sworn statement," just about any conclusion may be drawn about the factual accuracy of the events portrayed here, ranging from "the film is pure fiction," to "every event in the film is God's humble truth, except with the names changed."

Second, I wondered why CK and I seemed to be so much less impressed with the film than was the dean of American cinema letters, Roger Ebert. Then I looked at the dates. Ebert wrote his review on January 1, 1975, and the notarized statement at the film's opening was dated May 1, 1975. There's your answer. Ebert saw an earlier, non-notarized version, which must have been far better.

The Critics Vote

  • Roger Ebert 2.5/4

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Return to the Movie House home page