- Director:Joseph Sargent
- Writer:William W. Norton
- Cast:Burt Reynolds,Jennifer Billingsley,Ned Beatty
- Time:1h 41min
|Cast overview, first billed only:|
|Burt Reynolds||-||Bobby 'Gator' McKlusky|
|Ned Beatty||-||Sheriff J.C. Connors|
|Bo Hopkins||-||Roy Boone|
|Matt Clark||-||Dude Watson|
|Louise Latham||-||Martha Culpepper|
|Diane Ladd||-||Maggie (as Diane Lad)|
|R.G. Armstrong||-||Big Bear|
|Dabbs Greer||-||Pa McKlusky|
|Iris Korn||-||Ma McKlusky|
Selected by Quentin Tarantino for the First Quentin Tarantino Film Fest in Austin, Texas, 1996.
This was originally slated to be Steven Spielberg's first theatrical feature and he spent months on pre-production.
This was the first of the car stunt movies set in the American South that Burt Reynolds made during the 1970s and involved some kind of battle with a sheriff or official. This group of movies includes the Smokey and the Bandit films and this movie's sequel, Gator (1976).
Some of composer Charles Bernstein's music score from this movie was re-used in two Quentin Tarantino movies: Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Vääritud tõprad (2009).
This movie used the town of Benton, Arkansas as Bogan county.
The I-30 speedway was used at the Benton speedway. This speedway is actually just over in Pulaski county (little rock, Arkansas) from Saline county where Benton is actually located.
The meaning and relevance of this movie's title White Lightning (1973) is that it is a slang colloquial expression for moonshine whiskey. Moonshine is the MacGuffin subject of this movie.
Les Claypool, the lead singer/bassist for the band Primus, references Burt Reynolds on the song Camelback Cinema from Primus' Brown Album, with the line. He likes Burt in White Lightning.
According to Culture Vulture, this movie was "the earliest in the cycle of hick flicks that Burt Reynolds rode to superstardom" on.
A sequel to this movie Gator (1976) named after the first name of Burt Reynolds's Gator McKlusky character in this movie was released about three years after this picture came out.
This movie's original title was 'McKlusky' which is the surname of the main character, Gator McKlusky, played by Burt Reynolds. Interestingly, the sequel to this movie was named after this character's first name, Gator (1976).
Laura Dern: This movie was Dern's uncredited film debut. Dern was just six years old in this brief non-speaking walk on bit part. Dern plays the daughter of her real life mother Diane Ladd who appears in this movie as Maggie.
The chase sequence that ends with Gator's car sailing from a river bank onto a barge went seriously wrong. The plan was for the car (driven by stuntman Hal Needham) to land squarely on the mound of soft earth in the barge, on the take he fell short and landed on the rear of the barge with the rear of the car hanging into the water. Needham was hurt and stunned, Reynolds watching the scene from behind the camera dove into the water, swam to the barge and helped pull Needham out of the car. Needham recovered from his injuries.
Gator's car is a 1971 Ford LTD Galaxie 500 with 429 4-speed and rigged for speed. It was one of 2 he drove, the other was an automatic. It was also offered by Ford from the factory as such.