The Bandit Lives! (VICE/HBO)

Most people remember 1977 as the year a goofy movie called Star Wars was released. No one predicted that it would spawn legions of fans and eight sequels over the course of four decades.

But there was another film released that year which inspired another, more concentrated group of devotees.

To people who idolize Smokey and the Bandit, Burt Reynolds was Han Solo, and his 1977 black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, their Millennium Falcon.

When Reynolds died on September 6, 2018, his fans were devastated. To mourn, and celebrate his life and legacy, a few hundred gathered early on the morning of September 29 in Hempstead, New York’s Eisenhower Park to pay tribute to the film, the car, and the man who inspired it all.

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