The Dukes of Hazzard (film)

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The Dukes of Hazzard
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJay Chandrasekhar
Screenplay byJohn O'Brien
Story by
  • John O'Brien
  • Jonathan L. Davis
Based onCharacters
by Gy Waldron
Produced byBill Gerber
CinematographyLawrence Sher
Edited by
Music byNathan Barr
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • August 5, 2005 (2005-08-05)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$53 million[1]
Box office$109.8 million[1]

The Dukes of Hazzard is a 2005 American action comedy film loosely based on the television series of the same name. The film was directed by Jay Chandrasekhar and released on August 5, 2005, by Warner Bros. Pictures. As in the television series, the film depicts the adventures of cousins Bo, Luke, and Daisy, and their Uncle Jesse, as they outfox crooked Hazzard County Commissioner Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane.

The film was the acting debut of pop singer Jessica Simpson. While financially successful with an opening debut of 30 million and a worldwide gross of $109.8 million, the film met with generally negative reviews from critics. The film was followed by a direct-to-video prequel titled The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning (2007).


Cousins Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke run a moonshine business for their Uncle Jesse in Hazzard County, Georgia. The cousins' primary mode of transportation is an orange 1969 Dodge Charger that the boys affectionately refer to as the "General Lee". Along the way, the family is tormented by corrupt Hazzard County Commissioner Jefferson Davis Hogg, widely known as "Boss Hogg", and his willing but dimwitted henchman, Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane.

After Rosco has the General Lee vandalized after Bo and Luke's attempt to run away from a daughter of one of their many moonshine customers, Billy Prickett, a famous stock-car driver, enters Hazzard to participate in the rally. Meanwhile, Rosco plants a fake moonshine still in Uncle Jesse's barn and seizes the Duke property in the interest of eminent domain for Boss Hogg, forcing the family to temporarily reside with neighbor Pauline. She informs the Dukes that Rosco seized another farm on charges, so Bo and Luke investigate a local construction site and find their farm and neighboring farms marked on a map. They also discover a safe which they believe contains information that Boss Hogg wants to keep secret, unable to get the safe open they drag it to Sheev's. With his help they blow open the safe and discover geologic core samples but are unsure on what the samples are. Meanwhile, Cooter turns the General Lee into a hot rod in hopes of finally receiving payment for all the work he has done for the boys in the past if they win the race.

Sheriff's car at location in Thousand Oaks, California

The Dukes go to Atlanta to visit a local university geology lab, meeting with Katie-Lynn Johnson, a Hazzard county girl. They discover Boss Hogg's intentions of turning the county into a strip coal mine. However, before they can return to Hazzard country, they are arrested. Boss Hogg visits their prison cell, where he informs the Dukes that the vote on Hogg's proposition is at the same time as the rally, with Billy Prickett providing an distraction. During a transfer from detainment, Daisy helps the boys escape from the patrol car, and they speed home to try to inform the townsfolk, escaping the Atlanta Police, and the Georgia State Patrol.

Upon returning home, the Dukes discover that Boss Hogg and Rosco had taken Uncle Jesse and Pauline hostage. The two race to the farmhouse to cause a distraction to the waiting Hazzard County Sheriff's deputies and Georgia State Troopers, while Daisy and Cooter rescue Jesse and Pauline. Meanwhile, the college girls head to the rally with Sheev to inform the townsfolk about the vote on the strip-mining ordinance, however; because Sheev is a known conspiracy theorist, no one listens to them. Bo leaves for the rally while Luke and Jesse team up to foil the county and state police. Upon crossing the finish line first before Billy, the two then continue racing across town, leading the townsfolk to the courthouse, where the proposal is rejected.

Boss Hogg attempt's to have the boys locked up but Daisy takes advantage of the governor of Georgia's presence and TV cameras to convince him to pardoning them. The final scene shows a cook-out at the Dukes' house where the Dukes and the townspeople celebrate.


Knoxville and Scott at the premiere


All five members of the comedy film troupe Broken Lizard appear in the film, four as cameos and Kevin Heffernan in a speaking role as Sheev.

Broken Lizard cameos
  • Steve Lemme appears as Bill Pullman's son Jimmy, in a car chase scene in which he accidentally shoots the inside of his father's truck.
  • Jay Chandrasekhar and Erik Stolhanske reprise their roles as Ramathorn and Rabbit from the Broken Lizard comedy Super Troopers. The characters are now campus police officers, who warn the Duke boys for driving too slowly.
  • Paul Soter appears as TV newsman Rick Shakely reporting from the Hazzard Road Rally.
  • Charlie Finn appears as Royce Wilson, a dimwitted geology student who assists the Duke boys with the coal samples.
Other cameos
  • Indy-car driver A. J. Foyt IV appears as himself during the bar-fight.[3]
  • Rip Taylor appears in the final bloopers roll, interrupting the bedroom scene with Luke and the college girls.



Knoxville said he was initially reluctant to take on the role, but was persuaded by script changes and the presence of Dan Bradley as stunt coordinator and second unit for the car chase scenes. Knoxville praised him, saying, "everyone in Hollywood wants Dan Bradley to shoot their car stuff".[4]


Principal photography for the film began on November 15, 2004,[5] before wrapping up the following February. The majority of the film was shot in and around Clinton & French Settlement, Louisiana. The Boar's nest was Moonlight Inn located in French Settlement, LA. The street scenes are set in Atlanta, but filmed in the New Orleans Central Business District, and the university scenes were shot on the campus of Louisiana State University.


Box office[edit]

The film was number one at the box office its opening weekend and grossed $30.7 million on 3,785 screens.[6] It also had an adjusted-dollar rank of number 24 all-time for August releases.[7] The film eventually collected $109.8 million worldwide, although it was much less successful financially outside the United States.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, 14% of 168 reviews were positive. The website's consensus called the film "A dumb, goofy, and vacuous adaptation of a TV show where plot is simply an excuse to string together the car chases."[8] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 33% based on 36 reviews, indicating "Generally unfavorable reviews."[9] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B+" on scale of A to F.[10] Longtime fans of the original Dukes of Hazzard series were generally disappointed by the film.[11]

Roger Ebert gave the film one star, calling it a "lame-brained, outdated wheeze" and wondered if Burt Reynolds' part in the film is "karma-wise... the second half of what Smokey and the Bandit was the first half of".[12] Ebert also named it the second-worst film of the year and Richard Roeper named it the worst film of 2005.[13] Ebert also included the film on his most hated list.[14]

Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave it B+ grade and wrote: "It's trash, all right, but perfectly skewed trash -- a comedy that knows just how smart to be about just how dumb it is."[15]


At the 26th Golden Raspberry Awards, the film received seven nominations, but did not win any.

At the People's Choice Awards, Simpson won the "Favorite Song from a Movie" award for her cover of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'".

The film was nominated for two MTV Movie Awards, including Best On-Screen Team (Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, and Jessica Simpson), and Sexiest Performance (Jessica Simpson).

Simpson won the Choice Breakout Female award for her role in the film at the Teen Choice Awards.


Before the release of this film, Warner Bros. reportedly paid $17.5 million to the producer of Moonrunners, the movie that inspired the television series.[16] This was soon followed by a claim from screenwriter Gy Waldron.[citation needed] The Hollywood Reporter reported that James Best, who portrayed Rosco P. Coltrane in the original series, filed suit in late July 2011 over royalties he was contracted to receive over spinoffs that "used his identity".[17]

Ben Jones, who played Cooter Davenport in the original series, criticized the film for its emphasis on sexual content, suggesting that the original series was more family-oriented and not as sexualized.[18] He called for fans of the television series to boycott the film "unless they clean it up before the August 5th release date."

Some have countered that the original series also contained sexual themes, primarily Catherine Bach's (Daisy Duke) much-displayed "short shorts" (which have become so ubiquitous in American culture that skimpy blue jean cutoff shorts are now often simply called "Daisy Dukes"). In a film review, a New York Daily News entertainment columnist said the movie's sex humor is "cruder" than the TV series, but that it is "nearly identical to the TV series in... its ogling of the posterior of cousin Daisy Duke."[19]

Although initially he commented that he enjoyed the new style of relationship between the movie versions of Bo and Luke, John Schneider, who played Bo Duke in the original series, was later asked if he saw the film and said: "My gosh... it was terrible! It wasn't Dukes. It was true to whatever it was; I just don't know what that was!"[20]

John Schneider has said that when he arrived at the premiere, Johnny Knoxville came up to him and apologised for how bad the film was. Schneider has also questioned why TV channels show the film but are not prepared to rerun the original series.[citation needed]

Differences from source material[edit]

  • In the series, Bo and Luke Duke were on probation, and Jesse had quit moonshining to keep them out of prison. A frequent obstacle as the result of their probation was their inability to leave Hazzard County without the consent of Boss Hogg. In the film, the Dukes are still actively producing and distributing moonshine, and Bo and Luke freely travel to Atlanta.
  • Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane are portrayed as far more serious and sinister than their TV counterparts. In the series, Hogg was very opposed to violence and would often abandon schemes if any characters were put in harm's way. In the film, Hogg has Jesse and Pauline (an original character) held hostage in one scene, and pays for an annoying prisoner to be knocked unconscious in another.
  • When the series portrayed the origins of the General Lee, the car immediately showcased its iconic design. In the opening of the film, the design of the General is rather different, with a crudely-styled 01 on the doors and missing the Confederate flag and name above the windows. When Cooter restores the General after it is vandalized by Boss Hogg's associates, the classic design is applied.
  • In most of the series, the Hazzard County Police Department is limited to Sheriff Coltrane and one deputy. (Enos or Cletus) In the film, the police department seems to be rather extensive for a small town.
  • In the series, Luke was a former Sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps. This is not mentioned in the film. Contrarily, in the film, Jesse is introduced as a Korean War veteran, though the series did not portray him as a veteran.


Jessica Simpson recorded her own version of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" (and added her own lyrics) for the soundtrack to the film. Performed from the point of view of her character in the movie, Simpson's cover was co-produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and was released as the soundtrack's first single in 2005. It became Simpson's fifth top-20 single in the United States and its music video drew some controversy because of its sexual imagery.[21] Both the original Ram Jam version of "Black Betty", and the Sylvia Massy produced remake by Spiderbait appear in the film. AC/DC's "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" and "Shoot to Thrill" are also played.[22]

Unrated cut[edit]

An unrated cut restored changes made to get a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. The unrated cut was released on DVD, and included rated and unrated bonus features, including unrated deleted scenes and blooper scenes. This edition was not rated by the MPAA, and contained additional nudity, language, and violent driving stunts.[23]


A prequel to the film, titled The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning, was released to television on March 4, 2007, and released to DVD on March 13, 2007.


  1. ^ a b c "The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)". The Numbers. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "Jacqui Maxwell during "The Dukes Of Hazzard" Los Angeles Premiere -..." Getty Images. Retrieved 2022-07-05.
  3. ^ "Dukes of Hazzard cameo for Foyt IV". Crash Media Group. 3 August 2005. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Johnny Knoxville interview for Dukes Of Hazzard". 2007-12-28. Archived from the original on December 28, 2007. Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  5. ^ " | Principal Photography Commences On "The Dukes Of Hazzard," Starring Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott And Jessica Simpson For Warner Bros. Pictures And Village Roadshow Pictures | Press Releases". Retrieved 2021-03-25.
  6. ^ Pais, Arthur J. (5 August 2005). "Daisy Duke will ride again".
  7. ^ "Top August Opening Weekends at the Box Office". Retrieved 2012-03-20.
  8. ^ The Dukes of Hazzard at Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ "Dukes of Hazzard, The (2005): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  10. ^ "DUKES OF HAZZARD, THE (2005) B+". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  11. ^ "Movie with Jessica Simpson". Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2022-02-02.
  12. ^ Roger Ebert Reviews The Dukes of Hazzard Archived 2005-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Ebert and Roeper's Worst of 2005". Rope Of
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (August 11, 2005). "Ebert's Most Hated". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on June 28, 2009. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  15. ^ Owen Gleiberman (August 3, 2005). "The Dukes of Hazzard". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  16. ^ Lippman, John. "The Rights Stuff". Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 12 May 2022.
  17. ^ "'Dukes of Hazzard' Sheriff Sues Warner Bros. for Millions in Royalties". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  18. ^ Dukes of Hazzard, Cooter's Place, archived from the original on 2005-07-16
  19. ^ "'Dukes' is General-Lee bad.", NY Daily News, August 5, 2005, archived from the original on 2005-10-30, retrieved 1 September 2009
  20. ^ Exclusive Interview: John Schneider, Moviehole, 2007-12-28, archived from the original on 2007-12-28
  21. ^ "Jessica Simpson: Singles Chart History". Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  22. ^ "Jessica Simpson kicks off People's Choice Awards". January 5, 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  23. ^ Wurm, Gerald. "Dukes of Hazzard, The (Comparison: Theatrical Cut - Unrated Edition)".

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