‘The Dukes of Hazzard’: Here’s How the Original TV Stars Felt About the 2005 Movie

by Atlanta Northcutt

It’s not too surprising that the original cast of the hit TV show The Dukes of Hazzard wasn’t too impressed with the 2005 movie. Most of the time, remakes of classics just don’t live up to the original, and this movie was one of those times.

You Can’t Beat the Original “The Dukes of Hazzard”

In 1979, the Dukes of Hazzard began driving their famous General Lee car with an unforgettable honking tune. The boys were hopping hills, swerving through the roadways, and speeding across pavement and dirt roads with their bright orange vehicle, the “General Lee.”

The show was so popular that it aired for six years. The original cast of cousins consists of John Schneider, Tom Wopat, and Catherine Bach.

Bach brought the “Daisy Duke” shorts to life. It became a true style that women wore while carrying themselves with a confident attitude as they rocked their short-shorts.

What Did The Original Cast Members Think?

In 2005, a film was adapted from the TV show. It was pretty much a flop with most of the public and fans of the original series. The former stars of The Dukes of Hazzard weren’t too impressed either.

The original cousins on the TV show are John Schneider as Bo Duke and Tom Wopat as Luke Duke. Catherine Bach plays Daisy Duke, and Denver Pyle is (Uncle) Jesse Duke. Sorrell Booke makes a perfect Boss Hogg.

When asked what they thought about the 2005 film, there wasn’t much positivity in their answers.

“I told people I didn’t watch it because it would be like watching my ex-wife go out on a date,” says Wopat.

“I thought it would have to get considerably better to suck,” adds Schneider. “The way Willie Nelson depicted Uncle Jesse as a pot-smoking ancient slacker I think was a disgrace to Denver Pyle’s portrayal of Uncle Jesse.”

“The Dukes of Hazzard” Receives Dreadful Reviews

It’s unfair for the new cast to compete with the actors who flawlessly made The Dukes of Hazzard so famous.

A few well-known actors, including Jessica Simpson, Johnny Knoxville, and Seann William Scott played the Hazzard crew. Even with the legendary Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds, and Lynda Carter making appearances didn’t improve the ratings of the movie. Audiences weren’t too impressed with Simpson’s representation of Daisy Duke. Knoxville and Scott try to bring humor to the film. But it feels forced and unnatural compared to the acting by the series’ cast.

The ratings for the remake are low. Very low, in fact. The film only reached 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a site that receives ratings from the public.

Reportedly when the film became a flop, the new castmates began trashing their own movie. If that doesn’t say something, then I don’t know what does.

Critiques By the Critics

Critics seem to agree with the cast as they appear to loathe the 2005 movie.

Common Sense Media says, “Jay Chandrasekhar’s movie is essentially just a lame series of rowdy antics rather than a sustained storyline.

Plugged In states, “The names are the same, but that’s about it as ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ cashes in the last little bit of goodwill and credibility it owns on the big screen.”

And one of the top critics in the entertainment industry, Roger Ebert, tore the film apart.

“Of course you don’t have to be smart to get into The Dukes of Hazzard. But people like Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds should have been smart enough to stay out of it. Here is a lame-brained, outdated wheeze about a couple of good ol’ boys who roar around the back roads of the South in the General Lee, their beloved 1969 Dodge Charger,” writes Ebert.

He especially had an issue with Jessica Simpson as “Daisy Duke.”

Ebert ruthlessly says, “Simpson is so remarkably uninformed that she should sue the public schools of Abilene, Texas, or maybe they should sue her. On the day he won his seventh Tour de France, not many people could say, as she did, that they had no idea who Lance Armstrong was.”

As humorous and blunt as his critiques are, Ebert isn’t too far off.

All About the “Dukes”

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know about The Dukes of Hazzard, here’s a quick synopsis.

Cousins Bo Duke and Luke Duke are two rowdy cousins that deliver the moonshine their Uncle Jesse makes. Willie Nelson plays the role in the 2005 film. The boys fly through the air and race their General Lee car in order to escape Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, with M.C. Gainey portraying the sheriff of Hazzard County.

Daisy Duke is also a cousin who helps the boys out. In the movie, she appears to solely focus on her hyper-sexual representation of the original Daisy. It seems like Simpson depends on her looks in the hopes of distracting viewers from her poor acting chops.

The “meanest man in Hazzard County” is Boss Jefferson Davis Hogg. Burt Reynolds tries to make the role work. However, it’s missing the humor that the original Boss Hogg has when his plans end up failing due to the Duke’s. In the movie, he has a secret plan to destroy the cousin’s beloved county. The boys must put an end to his evil scheme, which they succeed at, of course.

A Hazardous Version of “The Dukes of Hazzard”

If you’re wanting to watch a movie that makes you cringe then I’d choose The Dukes of Hazzard movie. However, warnings by critics, the former cast members, and even the actors in the film should say something. Instead, check out the original series and actually receive some entertainment. Watch the trailer for the film below.