Here Is a Look at Burt Reynolds’ Five Best Performances

From 'Smokey and the Bandit' to 'Boogie Nights,' these films show he was one of the most surprising actors around

Image Credit: Universal Studios / Warner Bros.

Burt Reynolds has died at the age of 82.

Though many retire or at least slow down at that age, Reynolds never lost his touch. He was truly one of Hollywood’s last true movie stars.

Here is a look at his five best performances.

Consider taking in one or all of these in celebration of the stellar career of the one and only Burt Reynolds.

1.) “Deliverance” (1972). “Deliverance” remains one of the most influential pieces of action cinema ever created. The film follows three men (Reynolds, Jon Voight and Ned Beatty) as they venture down South for some rest and relaxation. Their plans are interrupted when they are brutalized in unforgettable and frightening fashion by local madmen. Instead of cowering, the three men decide to band together, get in touch with their inner cowboys and get revenge.

“Deliverance” gave Reynolds the chance to be the tough guy action star he was always known to be, but also to be relatable.

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It’s one of his most riveting performances, and the movie remains one of the most original and fiercely powerful flicks ever made.

Reynolds said in a 2015 memoir that “Deliverance” was the performance he was most proud of, among all his work.

2.) “The Last Movie Star” (2018). “The Last Movie Star” now stands as one of Reynolds’ final pieces of work. The film is proof that the actor never lost his charisma in front of the camera.

Starring as an aging movie star dealing with the fact that his glory days are behind him, it’s easy to tell Reynolds brought a lot of himself to this role. It’s a funny, heartwarming and insightful feature that flew under the radar thanks to a VOD release, as opposed to a debut in hundreds or even thousands of theaters.

Seek this one out. It’s one of Reynolds’ finest hours as an actor.

3.) “Boogie Nights” (1997). Reynolds was no fan of this Paul Thomas Anderson-directed movie, but it ended up earning him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

“Boogie Nights,” also starring Mark Wahlberg, followed the rise and fall of the porn industry in the ’70s and ’80s. Reynolds starred as the pornographic director who brings Wahlberg into the industry.

Reynolds turned in one of his finest performances here and stretched dramatic muscles many movie fans never knew he had. He brought a sharp toughness to Jack Horner, a man never ready to change with the times.

“It wasn’t my kind of film,” Reynolds told Conan O’Brien about the role earlier this year. He added that he was so frustrated with Anderson that he nearly punched him on one occasion.

Reynolds turned down the role seven times before accepting it and revealed to O’Brien that he had yet to even watch the praised picture.

4.) “Archer.” Reynolds did a guest spot on this ridiculous animated series about a chaotic detective agency run by the strange mother and son duo of Sterling and Malory Archer.

Reynolds starred as himself. When it’s revealed he’s dating Sterling’s mother — the detective is obsessed with Reynold’s movie throughout the series — the two men begin to bond and find they have a lot in common.

Reynolds parodied many of his roles and stereotypes about himself with the performance and it is a riot for anyone who has followed the actor’s career. The only shame is that he never appeared on the show — which is still running to this day — again.

5.) “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977). This movie is fun, fun, fun. Directed by the influential Hal Needham, “Smokey” found Reynolds in the role of The Bandit, a man running a load of beer across state lines while being pursued by an authoritarian sheriff.

It’s a ridiculous but laugh-out-loud ride that gave Reynolds a role that fit his good ol’ boy personality perfectly.

Check out the trailer for “Smokey and the Bandit” below:

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