Sam Whiskey is one of Reynolds first leading big-screen roles, though by 1969 he had already established himself as a leading man on television. After Deliverance (1972), everything changed. The National Association of Theater Owners named him Number One Box Office Star and Star of the Year five years in a row, and he received the People's Choice Award for Favorite All Around Motion Picture Actor for six years running - feats no other actor has been able to accomplish.
Reynolds and the venerable Ossie Davis would later reunite on the series Evening Shade (1990) and recapture some of their playful onscreen chemistry from Sam Whiskey, especially evident in their opening scuffle over a bathtub. Angie Dickinson had completed a run of mostly "B" Westerns when she won the part in Sam Whiskey. She got her big career break when chosen by Howard Hawks to play the female lead in Rio Bravo (1959), the film that had her legs insured by Lloyds of London for publicity purposes.
Well known as a ladies man on and off the screen, Reynolds was delighted to be working with Dickinson on Sam Whiskey. Once the film was completed, the actor reportedly took a still from the bedroom scene he had with Dickinson, blew it up and hung it over his bar at home, with a caption reading "An actor's life is pure hell?".
Producer: Arthur Gardner, Jules Levy, Arnold Laven
Director: Arnold Laven
Screenplay: William Norton
Art Direction: Lloyd S. Papez
Cinematography: Robert Moreno
Editing: John M. Woodcock
Music: William Norton, Herschel Burke Gilbert
Cast: Burt Reynolds (Sam Whiskey), Clint Walker (O.W. Bandy), Ossie Davis (Jedidiah Hooker), Angie Dickinson (Laura Breckenridge), Rick Davis (Fat Henry Hobson).
by Emily Soares