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Weirdly marketed as a right-wing screed upon its initial release in 1973, Walking Tall is really a tragic, shockingly violent post-noir film based on various legends surrounding real-life Southern sheriff Buford Pusser. Joe Don Baker (The Natural) gives a powerful performance as Pusser, who took on determined forces of crime and corruption in his town at great personal expense. Directed with an intentionally crude force by Phil Karlson (Kansas City Confidential), one of the toughest filmmakers of the 1950s, the film's grimness does not let up, but in the end it is more likely to break hearts than turn stomachs. --Tom Keogh
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