Ex-con trucker tries to expose his boss's rackets.

Director:

(as C. Raker Endfield)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as C. Raker Endfield) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tom Yately
...
Gino Rossi
...
Lucy
...
C. 'Red' Redman
...
Cartley
Wilfrid Lawson ...
Ed
Sidney James ...
Dusty
...
Jill
Alfie Bass ...
Tinker
...
Scottie
...
Jimmy Yately
...
Wensley Pithey ...
Pop
George Murcell ...
Tub
Marjorie Rhodes ...
Ma West
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Storyline

Joe 'Tom' Yateley is an ex-convict. Trying to leave his past behind, he decides to start working for the Hawlett Trucking company, which transports gravel. It's an aggressive company, where speed is everything. Doing too few runs in a day? You're out. Red is the most experienced trucker; he can do 18 runs in a day. Tom soon makes friends with Lucy, the secretary, and Gino, a driver. But the record of Red intrigues him and he wants to break it. Gino advises against it, but he helps Tom when he wants to go through with it. Soon trouble begins when Red and the other drivers form a united front against Tom. Just when Tom has enough and decides to pack his bags, Lucy tells him Gino had a terrible accident. She also tells about the corruption of Hawlett Trucking. Written by Arnoud Tiele (zelva@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Roaring Down the World's Deadliest Roads!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1957 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Hard Drivers  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David McCallum (Jimmy Yately) met his first wife, Jill Ireland (Jill) during filming in the autumn of 1956. See more »

Goofs

When Tom and Red are reversing for position at the quarry to fill up with gravel, both their lorries have the same registration numbers. See more »

Quotes

Tub, Truck Driver: My name's Tub. Where you from, mate?
Tom Yately: Around.
Dusty, Truck Driver: That's up north somewhere, ain't it?
Johnny Kates: Go on, you can tell a good Welshman when you hear one. Cardiff, isn't it mate?
Tom Yately: Near there - Blaenllechau.
Tub, Truck Driver: That's a horrible disease!
See more »

Connections

References The Wages of Fear (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unless I'm pushed that is.
9 July 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Ex-convict Tom Yately snags himself a job driving for haulage company Hawletts. The drivers are paid per trip, something that spurs the men on to drive faster and be more reckless than your average employee. Making few friends at Hawletts, Tom uncovers shifty dealings between brutal foreman, Red, and Hawletts manager, Cartley. Something that ups the stakes considerably more as Tom and Red clash on and off the road.

A true British hard boiler is Hell Drivers that is chocked full of machismo. Who would have thought that a film about lorry drivers transporting gravel could be so exciting? Directed by Cy Endfield {Zulu}, Hell Drivers has something of the quintessential working class about it, which is good to see and is no bad thing at all. Gritty in texture, the film, although a crime film in essence, has good character substance. Tom, played by the criminally undervalued Stanley Baker, is a guy trying to move on with his life, his past misdemeanours hang heavy with him, courtesy of a nice family thread that exists within the picture. But here he is trying to earn a hard days pay, only to find that crime, thru no fault of his own, wont leave him be. There's also a crucial thread of bullying, essayed by the hulking and fabulous Patrick McGoohan. And of course there's the women caught up in this macho world, observers to daily recklessness, coming to terms with affairs of the heart as much as the daily grind.

Set to a back drop of cafés, boarding houses, village dances, disused quarries and tight winding roads, Endfield and his crew have the working class atmosphere spot on. For sure it's the roaring trucks that bring the excitement, but it's the working class everyman (and woman) heart that drives Hell Drivers along. But be that as it may, it's the trucks, and the men behind the wheels, that the film is most remembered for. Endfield shooting the road beasts front and rear, really puts us out on the road with them. That we are involved with the characters and their surroundings, for better or worse, really aids the experience, such is the authentic feel that Endfield has crafted.

A roll call of Great British talent lines up alongside McGoohan, who may have been born in America, but was an honorary Brit due to his work on TV show The Prisoner. Into the Baker led beef stew comes Sean Connery, Sid James, William Hartnel, Alfie Bass, Wilfrid Lawson, David McCallum and Gordon Jackson. With Herbert Lom adding a continental aspect as the crucial, and emotionally driven Gino Rossi. The girls are played by Peggy Cummins, Jill Ireland and Marjorie Rhodes, with Cummins particularly standing out in amongst this hairy knuckled world.

On release the film garnered mixed reviews, but with each passing decade Hell Drivers has broken free of its cult only status. To which it now stands tall as a true British classic, that thankfully got a DVD treatment in 2007 to finally do it justice. 9/10


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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