There was a style of movie making in the 70s where heroes were villains and villains were heroes, and violence ruled without apology. White Lightning is Burt Reynold's best work. It's a hillbilly car chase black comedy but not really. It's dark and nasty, and has its humor but the drama is pretty real as is the violence. It's filmed in rural Arkansas I believe, and the location shooting doesn't hide the sweat and humidity and the general conditions of life there. My favorite scene in the movie is when Burt and Roy Boone (Bo Hopkins) are delivering moonshine to a bar, and you hear the beginnings of a boogie riff as they are loading up outside, and when they swing the doors open, the volume of the music jumps up about 10 fold. In the theater this was about knock your socks off volume. A single girl is dancing to the music while the customers are fanning themselves to keep cool. As the moonshiners make their delivery the bartender (uncredited) reveals he knows Gator (Burt's) dad all of this dialog shouted over the music, which never reduces in volume. After this incident, Gator decides to burn his little black book where he's been keeping notes for his fed assignment - he decides the whiskey people are good folks and he only wants revenge on the sherrif, not everybody in the business. When he throws his black book in a burning trash barrel, Roy accuses him of sleeping with his girl friend (he is) and Gator deliberately picks a fight with him just to give the book time to burn. 70s movies like this sometimes require multiple viewings to catch details like this, the what and the why. Ned Beatty shaves his head and plays a much older man who "run Bogan County for 20 years" and sets the tone for the evil sherriff stories to follow. But Beatty's J.C. Connors is no buffoon - he's nasty, sadistic, and thinks nothing of killing anyone making trouble for him. Jackie Gleason he's not. One of Beatty's few early serious roles (Nashville and Deliverance come to mind). White Lightning is the godfather of the hillbilly / moonshine / car chaser of the 70s, but it's darker, more real than most of the slapstick that followed. Dukes of Hazzard, Smokey and the Bandit and half a dozen other owe their genre to White Lightning. Oh and Jennifer Billingsley, a very sexy actress who fits the part perfectly, and sadly didn't have a long career in films, is Burt's girl and she's more than just a pretty thing - she comes in downright handy when the going gets tough, When you see Gator and Roy unloading and the opening lucks of a 12-bar boogie in a back alley, crank up your volume and experience what it's like to walk into a rural bar - the place was probably real. Location shooting, the sweat is real. A tremendously good film often forgotten.