One of the great independent movies of the 1970s, Macon County Line transcends the "redneck nightmare" genre simply by making its characters fully-rounded human beings. Two brothers, Chris and Wayne Dixon (played by real-l... more »ife brothers Alan and Jesse Vint), are tooling around the South in a convertible, killing time before they have to show up for army basic training. They pick up a hitchhiking girl named Jenny Scott (Cheryl Waters), then cross the path of Deputy Sheriff Reed Morgan (Max Baer, Jr., most famous as Jethro on The Beverly Hillbilllies), who doesn't like having strangers in his town. But also passing through are a couple of smalltime crooks, one of whom has a traumatic response to cops. Bad things happen, Morgan thinks the Dixons are responsible, and the situation gets very tense. This plot could have been a lurid exercise in bloody revenge, but instead Macon County Line (which was produced and co-written by Baer) takes every opportunity to make the people real and unpredictable. Scenes move fluidly from comedy to suspense; moments that look like they're going to be cliches instead reveal unexpected dimensions. The women--usually little more than props in movies like this--aren't given as extensive a role in the story as men, but they're still individuals with their own ideas and desires. The cast is studded with the familiar faces of steady-working character actors like Geoffrey Lewis (Every Which Way But Loose) and James Gannon (Major League), who give even minor characters grit and texture. Macon County Line has all the sex and violence of its exploitative genre, but treats them with empathy and smarts; the result is a roughhewn classic. --Bret Fetzer« less
"Critical acclaim is not exactly the way to describe Macon County Line. This film, with many of the other 70's classic drive-in features, is an absolute classic but didn't rate highly with critics. Alan and Jesse Vint, although not Hollywood royalty, deserve a place in film history for their parts as brothers who become the victims of horrible circumstances. Alan and Jesse popped up in other films through the 70' and 80's (most notably "Centennial"), but "Macon County" is their opus. It's just a shame that their talents were never showcased like this again. They are outstanding actors. The film has impact, and the DVD version is like watching it for the first time. WOW! What a film. If you are like me, a child of the 70's, and using Amazon and e-auctions to build nostalgic movie and music libraries, put this one in your DVD collection. It's outstanding."
Rich Kortz | Pennsylvania | 02/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Having only seen 'Macon County Line' years ago on a murky late night network TV broadcast, I wasn't prepared for the DVD whiplash I experienced when I popped this disc in. I couldn't believe this was the same film. Here's a textbook example of an all-but-forgotten film from the cinema's golden decade, the 70's, that is given riveting new life by a superb DVD transfer. This disc is simply beautiful, with painterly images that capture this southern gothic drive-in classic in all its glory. Director Richard Compton slowly but methodically orchestrates the growing sense of menace and dread as sharply as John Boorman did with 'Deliverance'. The cast is great too, with the Vints perfectly cast as brothers who unknowingly confront Max Baer's vengeful heart of darkness and rage. Baer is extraordinary here, simultaneously summoning both pathos and horror from the viewer. A winner all the way."
Drive-In Classic looks Great on DVD
Robert Huggins | Suburban Philadelphia, PA United States | 03/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a fan of low budget film making, the story behind the making of "Macon County Line" is as fascinating as the film itself, perhaps moreso. You'll learn about that in a short featurette that's included on the DVD that features interviews with Director Richard Compton, Actor-Producer-Writer Max Baer, Jr., star Jesse Vint and others. What I really enjoyed is the film commentary offered by Richard Compton during the film. It's actually more of a conversation with Anchor Bay producer Bill Lustig, a pretty good low budget film maker, himself (Maniac, Vigilante, Maniac Cop), about how the film came to be. Listening to the two directors talking about how to get the most out of a small budget (just over $200,000 for the film) is a real education. Lustig is a very good interviewer/commentator and has shown up on other Anchor Bay releases (his own "Vigilante" comes to mind).The film, itself, is a much better-than-average story about mistaken identities and the tragic consequences that result. The cast is generally good and the acting is a lot better than what one might typically expect from drive-in fare. Max Baer, Jr., in particular, gives depth to a character that could have been played as "Sheriff Jethro Bodine." Baer wanted to break away from his "Beverly Hillbillies" image and, for the most part, he succeeds. Anchor Bay's widescreen edition looks great. I can't vouch for the sound since I don't have an elaborate audio system, but Anchor Bay generally has a reputation for doing good things with the available source material.Fans of 70's era drive-in movies will really enjoy "Macon County Line.""
Not for the squeamish
Douglas Doepke | Claremont, CA United States | 06/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Max Baer's friendly fascist is one reason, but not the only one, to catch this disturbing 1974 film. In fact, Baer's smiling, upright sheriff seems a blood brother in some twisted sense to Mayberry's Andy Griffith. Based on fact, the movie portrays the misadventures of real-life brothers Alan and Jesse Vint, as they frolic through the 1950's South on their way to a date with the Army. Bad luck and Sheriff Baer however turn their joyride into a nightmare that finally ends in tragedy. The last scenes are a suspense-filled stunner. This is Baer's production and he uses it to observe the effects of gun culture, brutality, and race prejudice in fairly subtle fashion. Except for Geoffrey Lewis's overdone station attendant, the acting is first rate, with Joan Blackman a long way from her frothy Elvis movies. Special recognition should go to the casting of the two southern lowlifes who are the most convincing and sinister drifters I've seen, and are guaranteed to put chills up the spine. At times the script seems too deliberate, as though there are explanations for everything. Still, this is a first-rate thriller that deserves its cult status, and is ultimately a long, long way from the bucholic ideal of Sheriff Andy's Mayberry."
The greatest drive-in film of all time finally re-released o
Big Mike | Bradford, West Yorkshire United Kingdom | 05/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A great big thank you to Warner Video for re-releasing Macon County Line on DVD. I sorely lamented missing the last DVD release, which resulted in having nothing to choose from but some very expensive even used copies floating around once the title was out-of-print or poor quality bootleg copies. I recommend grabbing this release while you can. Max Baer hit on a goldmine with the totally unexpected smash success of the film in 1974. This was especially amazing when you consider that it mainly played on the drive-in circuit during the initial release. Those who only know Max Baer as Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies will be in for a great surprise at the vast difference from that comical character and the character he portrays in Macon County Line. The theme song was sung by the lovely Bobbie Gentry of Ode to Billy Joe fame. The only thing that could maybe be better than having this classic film available once again on DVD would be to have the chance to watch it under the stars at a drive-in on a warm summer night. Don't miss it!! But a little bit surprised that this DVD release has no extras at all, not even the original trailer. Why??"