Pontiac Trans Am – Smokey and the Bandit
In 1977, two of the most popular movies of all time were released within one week of each other. One of them is the ever popular Star Wars: A New Hope, which was released on May 25. The second is the exhilaratingly fun Smokey and the Bandit, which was released one week earlier on May 19.
There is no doubt that both movies featured some of the most iconic vehicles that have ever hit the big screen. Interestingly, both vehicles were owned and driven by two of the sexiest men to ever sit behind the wheel or in the cockpit. Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, maneuvered the Millennium Force through the depths of space; while Bandit, played by Burt Reynolds, raced the Pontiac Trans Am through the highways and byways of the south.
At first glance these two films seem to be galaxies apart from each other, but with a closer look, there are more similarities than differences. There must have been something in the water in 1977, because both of the bad boys in the films worked hard to avoid being caught by the law. Bandit sped through the southern highways trying to avoid being caught by Sheriff Buford T. Justice. In Star Wars, Han Solo used his expert flying skills to outrun the Empire, led by none other than Darth Vader.
Along the way, both Solo and Bandit pick up beautiful women. At first, we see that the women are reluctant to get involved with the rugged bad boys; but as time goes by, both women fall under their spells. Adding another unlikely similarity, these two women (Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Sally Field as Carrie the jilted bride) were both wearing white when they first meet the bad boys.
In another unusual similarity, both Solo and Bandit work hard to keep their cargo from being intercepted by the law. Bandit drives like a bat out of hell in the Pontiac Trans Am to keep the law from catching the illegally transported Coors beer in Cledus’ semi truck. Solo dashes around the universe to keep the Empire from finding Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and the illegally obtained plans to the Death Star.
Were these coincidences planned or were they purely coincidental? No one will ever know. But, one fact is quite obvious: 1977 was a great year for movies!