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Five Minutes to Live (1961)

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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 447 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 11 critic

A gang of bank robbers terrorize a small town by knocking on doors and then killing whoever answers.



(screenplay), (based on a story by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Five Minutes to Live (1961)

Five Minutes to Live (1961) on IMDb 5.9/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Cabot
Donald Woods ...
Ken Wilson
Cay Forester ...
Nancy Wilson
Pamela Mason ...
Ellen Harcourt
Fred Dorella
Bobby Wilson (as Ronnie Howard)
Merle Travis ...
Midge Ware ...
Doris Johnson
Priscilla Auerbach
Leslie Kimmell ...
Mr. Johnson (as Leslie Kimmel)
Marge Waller ...
Patricia Lynn ...
Frances Flower ...
Hanna Landy ...
Cynthia Flower ...
Girl Bowling


Originally released in 1961 as Five Minutes to Live, this low-budget crime drama was later re-released as Door-to-Door Maniac. Fred narrates the film in flashback, detailing a suburban bank robbery that goes awry. In his simple plan, he hires a hard-up hood, Johnny Cabot to take the wife of the bank's vice president hostage. Cabot will hold her until he gets a call alerting him that Fred has been successful in getting ransom money. Cabot waits, and watches the Wilson house as the husband leaves for the bank and their young son heads off to school. Posing as a door-to-door guitar instructor, he forces his way into the house and takes Nancy Wilson hostage. At the bank, Fred talks his way into Ken Wilson's office, and presents his personal check for $70,000, intending that Wilson will withdraw the funds to cover the check as a ransom for his wife. He has Wilson call home to prove that Nancy is being held by the unstable Cabot, and gives Wilson 5 minutes to make his decision. If Fred ... Written by msb/lll

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bank | house | police | hostage | bank robber | See more »


How could she extend the moments he had given her? See more »


Crime | Music | Drama | Thriller


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

February 1964 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Door-to-Door Maniac  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)
See  »

Did You Know?


Johnny Cabot: I like a messy bed.
See more »


Featured in Sleazemania on Parade (1992) See more »


Five Minutes To Live
Written by Johnny Cash
Solo Guitar by Merle Travis (as Merl Travis)
See more »

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User Reviews

Cash call
7 September 2012 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Reasonably taut thriller concerning a twisted killer (Cash) recruited by crook (Tayback) to hold the wife (Forrester) of a bank manager (Woods) hostage at their house while Tayback extorts $70k at the bank for the safe release of the wife - confirmed by a series of phone calls at five minute intervals. Complications emerge when the bank manager proves reluctant to pay the ransom, seeing an opportunity to become free of his wife and take up with his mistress (Mason).

Co-star Forrester's script is functional, perhaps predictably giving her domestic characters more depth than usual, her performance benefiting from the extra attention in the dialogue. Cash isn't really an actor, though his offbeat expressions, timing and other attributes (serenading his victims with songs) manage to conjure something akin to a psychopath. Renowned tough-guy Tayback delivers his trademark mobster with all the expected motifs and the attractive Midge Ware has a brief role as Cash's ill-fated moll.

As far as unconventional casting of singers in movies go, this is somewhere between Neil Sedaka's bizarre appearance in "The Playgirl Killer" and a traditional Elvis Presley vehicle. And while there's no arbitrary album previews (the singing is short and in context), there remain a few extraneous interactions to pad out the modest 74 minutes in what could have been a more compact 30-minute TV episode. Nevertheless, there's some genuinely palpable tension and decent performances from Forrester, Tayback, Mason and even Ron Howard as the precocious son in an unexpected, pivotal supporting role.

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Five Minutes to Live or Door-to-Door Maniac? braves_snl
Trivia Info babyboomerjim
public domain - internet archive mineralskin
“ I like a messy bed” tyler_roughnecks
Incorrect Plot Detail/Logline reames
on comcast on demand right now ! melissy87-928-30530
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