Ranking Jerry Reed's Film Roles

Jerry Reed Movies

There's pretty much two types of folks over 30 who aren't instantly familiar with Jerry Reed Hubbard's name. For some, you can say he's the truck driver in the Smokey and the Bandit films. For super fans, he's the Grammy winning singer/songwriter of hit songs, "When You're Hot, You're Hot", "Amos Moses", "Guitar Man" (covered by Elvis Presley), and "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)".

For others, just bring up Bobby Boucher's ornery coach from The Waterboy ("you're fired!").

Those pop culture reference points cover just one-third of Reed's filmography outside of his successful music career with RCA and Capitol Records. Here's a quick top 12 list of Reed's roles from a 20-plus year acting career.

1. High-Ballin' (1978)

You'd think the presence of big rigs and Peter Fonda would be enough to at least crack the top 10. It's not with this script. While Reed and others flounder with limited material, the film at least provides something of musical value. The Canadian-filmed production features footage of a couple of homeland country music staples in Myrna Lorrie and the band Prairie Oyster.

2. Hot Stuff (1979)

Reed, frequent Burt Reynolds collaborator Dom DeLuise and Bob Newhart's TV wife Suzanne Pleshette plays inept cops who've become targets of the mob. It's not a blight on comedic filmmaking or anything, but Reed probably didn't sell many records by attaching his name to the project.

3. What Comes Around (1985)

Reed's lone directorial credit comes from this dark comedy about a country star, saved from addiction and a dishonest manager by his younger brother and a bumbling ambulance driver. It's a predictable yet charming b-movie, made entertaining by a strong soundtrack and scenes shot at the original Cracker Barrel location in Lebanon, Tenn.

4. The Waterboy (1998)

For fans of a certain age, Conway Twitty represents a recurring gag on Family Guy, and Reed is the coach from Adam Sandler's The Waterboy. It's good that they're remembered, no doubt, even if both portrayals paint a very limited picture of the all-time great country talent.

5. W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975)

Reed's film debut began a longstanding work relationship with Burt Reynolds. It also allowed him to ease into big-screen acting with a familiar role. His character, Wayne, leads a country music band through a series of calamities. Mel Tillis and Don Williams also appear in the film.

Read More: The 10 Best Jerry Reed Songs, Ranked

6. Concrete Cowboys (1979)

This made-for-TV film co-starring Reed and Tom Selleck follows two ruffians who're mistaken for Nashville-area detectives. Their search for a missing singer, played by Morgan Fairchild, brings the guys in contact with Roy Acuff, Barbara Mandrell, and Ray Stevens. Reed reprises his role for a short-lived 1981 television series, with Dallas' Geoffrey Scott replacing Selleck.

7. Gator (1976)

Reynolds played ex-con Gator McClusky in a pair of violent and exploitative films, beginning with 1973's White Lightning. In this sequel, Reed's amazingly named character, Bama McCall, is tied up in small-town corruption that Gator tracks down and snuffs out.

8. The Survivors (1983)

In this dark comedy, characters played by the legendary Walter Matthau and Robin Williams get tied together after witnessing an attempted robbery. Reed plays the robber (and hitman)  in one of the highest profile roles of his career.

9. Bat*21 (1988)

A filmography dominated by comedies includes this serious film depiction of the historic Rescue of Bat 21 Bravo. Reed gets top billing behind a couple of huge names at the time: Gene Hackman and Danny Glover. It's not as memorable as some of Reed's lighter films, but it ranks high because it's awesome to watch him act in a very different kind of role.

10. Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983)

Reed gets higher billing, with Reynolds only appearing in a cameo, for the final chapter of a great comedic trilogy. While he does a fine job here, Reed plays a secondary role yet again, this time to Jackie Gleason.

11 & 12. Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)

It would be hard to differentiate Reed's first two performances as the Snowman, Cledus Snow, so let's cheat and lump them together. He's great as a supporting actor in two blockbuster films that might've been even bigger if they hadn't hit theaters the same years as Star Wars (A New Hope) and The Empire Strikes Back.

Now Watch: Underrated Country Love Songs of the '80s

oembed rumble video here

recommended for you

Ranking Jerry Reed's Film Roles