IMDb > Helter Skelter (1976) (TV)
Helter Skelter
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Helter Skelter (1976) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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7.4/10   2,390 votes »
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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Vincent Bugliosi (based on the book by) and
Curt Gentry (based on the book by) ...
View company contact information for Helter Skelter on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 April 1976 (USA) See more »
The investigation and trial of the horrific Tate-LaBianca mass murders orchestrated by the psychotic pseudo-hippie cult leader, Charles Manson. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A Remake...WHY??? See more (57 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

George DiCenzo ... Vincent Bugliosi

Steve Railsback ... Charles Manson

Nancy Wolfe ... Susan Atkins

Marilyn Burns ... Linda Kasabian
Christina Hart ... Patricia Krenwinkel
Cathey Paine ... Leslie Van Houten

Alan Oppenheimer ... Aaron Stovitz

Rudy Ramos ... Danny DeCarlo
Sondra Blake ... Ronnie Howard
George Garro ... Rosner
Vic Werber ... Lt. Brenner
Wright King ... Friend

Jon Gries ... William Garretson
Edward Bell ... Sgt. Hank Kruger

Roy Jenson ... Punchy

Marc Alaimo ... Phil Cohen
Paul Mantee ... Sgt. O'Neal
Bill Durkin ... Tex Watson
Phillip R. Allen ... Sgt. Manuel Gris

David Clennon ... Harry Jones
James Brodhead ... Mr. Quint
Ray Middleton ... Mr. Spahn
Anthony Herrera ... Sgt. Smith
Al Checco ... Leno La Bianca
Robert F. Hoy ... Sgt. Franklin (as Robert Hoy)
Stanley Ralph Ross ... Sgt. Ross
Bart Burns ... Frank Fowles
Jerry Dunphy ... Newscaster
George Putnam ... Newscaster

Barbara Mallory ... Family Girl
Kathleen Devlin ... Family Girl
Asta Hansen ... Family Girl
Mary Jo Thatcher ... Family Girl
Deborah Parsons ... Family Girl
Tracy Tracton ... Family Girl
Melody Hinkle ... Family Girl

Eileen Dietz ... Family Girl (as Eileen Dietz Elber)
Deanne Gwinn ... Family Girl
Patricia Post ... Family Girl
Leila Davis ... Family Girl
Lindsay V. Jones ... Family Girl
Sondra Lowell ... Family Girl
Linden Chiles ... J. Miller Leavy
Katherine Pass ... Sgt. Broom (as Mary Kay Pass)
Laura Ash ... Virginia

Carole White ... Big Sal (as Carol Ita White)
Martha Evans ... Nurse
Dorothy Meyer ... Housekeeper
Norman Bartolo ... Bald Man
Tracy Morgan ... Henna Woman
Raphael Baker ... Sgt. Brown
Bert Williams ... Deputy
Ralph Montgomery ... Grand Jury Foreman
Richard Venture ... Police Inspector

Doug McGrath ... Plainclothesman (as Douglas McGrath)
Louise Caire Clark ... Susan Struthers
Bert Conway ... Judge Keene

Larry Pennell ... Sgt. White
Johnny Fain ... Shorty Shea (as John Fain)
Toni Moss ... Rosemary La Bianca
Jim Boles ... Camarinos
Paul Kent ... Dennis Ranson
Robert Rothwell ... TV Reporter
Jack Miller ... Joe Dorgan
Alan Dexter ... Dog Owner
Will Brodhead ... Steve Quint
Josh Albee ... Struthers

John Evans ... Sanderson
Ronald Gold ... Cinquanta
Sidney Clute ... Reporter
Steve Gries ... Steve "Clem" Grogan
Blair Aaronson ... Sayce

Bruce French ... Officer Ocher
Fay Martin ... Le Page (as Foy Martin)
Phil Montgomery ... Reporter

Howard Caine ... Everett Scoville

Jason Ronard ... Paul Watkins
Skip Homeier ... Judge Older

Adam Williams ... Terrence Milik

Jonathan Goldsmith ... Hank Charter (as Jonathan Lippe)
Ann Newman-Mantee ... Mrs. Quint (as Anne Mantee Newman)
Joyce Easton ... Gail Bugliosi
Joseph Roman ... The Bailiff (as Joe Roman)
Lionel Decker ... Jury Foreman Tubick
Bill Sorrells ... Gillespie
John Furlong ... Judge Dell

Robert Ito ... Drees Darrin
Rod Arrants ... Bart Listen
Guy Remsen ... Andy Cookley
Read Morgan ... Officer Columbine
Cal Haynes ... Keith
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Bart Braverman ... George Brewer (Kasabian's lawyer) (uncredited)

Steven Marlo ... Police Officer (uncredited)
Stack Pierce ... Bailiff Joe (uncredited)

Directed by
Tom Gries 
Writing credits
Vincent Bugliosi (based on the book by) and
Curt Gentry (based on the book by)

J.P. Miller (teleplay)

Produced by
Philip Capice .... executive producer
Tom Gries .... producer
Lee Rich .... executive producer
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg 
Cinematography by
Jules Brenner 
Film Editing by
Byron 'Buzz' Brandt 
Bud S. Isaacs 
Art Direction by
Philip Barber  (as Phil Barber)
Set Decoration by
James Cane  (as Jim Cane)
Makeup Department
Sugar Blymyer .... hair stylist
Ken Chase .... makeup artist
Production Management
Robert Birnbaum .... unit production manager (as Bob Birnbaum)
Neil T. Maffeo .... executive in charge of production
Lynn Guthrie .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Peter Gries .... second assistant director
Ken Swor .... first assistant director
Ray Taylor Jr. .... first assistant director (as Ray Taylor)
Art Department
Mike Miner .... property master
Sound Department
Victor Guarnier .... sound effects editor (as Vic Guarnier)
Tom Overton .... production sound mixer
Alfred J. Carranza .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Jesse Wayne .... stunts
Steven Burnett .... stunts (uncredited)
Ray Saniger .... stunts (uncredited)
Jesse Wayne .... fire stunts double (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Vincent A. Martinelli .... camera operator (as Vincent Martinelli)
Lon Massey .... electrical gaffer
Chuck Morgan .... key grip
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Thomas Costich .... wardrobe (as Tom Costich)
Nancy Martinelli .... wardrobe
Patricia Norris .... wardrobe
Editorial Department
Gene Fowler Jr. .... supervising editor (as Gene Fowler)
Music Department
Else Blangsted .... music editor
Other crew
Elie Cohen .... assistant to producer
Frank Kowalski .... script supervisor
Phill Norman .... title designer
Judi Rosner .... production coordinator

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Massacre in Hollywood" - USA (video title)
See more »
119 min | USA:194 min (original version) | USA:184 min (DVD version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Martin Scorsese was originally offered the role of Charles Manson.See more »
Anachronisms: The Tate/LaBianca homicides took place in 1969. Yet some of the squad cars that are shown when the LAPD responds to the Tate house are 1971 Dodge Polaras. Besides being incorrect for the year of the murders, the LAPD patrol cars of the era were 1968 and 1969 Plymouth Belvederes.See more »
Charles Manson:If I could I would jerk this microphone off and beat your brains out with it because that is what you deserve, that is what you deserve!See more »
Movie Connections:
I Can't Remember WhenSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
22 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
A Remake...WHY???, 25 January 2004
Author: sm from usa

It's not bad enough that Hollywood is so addlepated as to think that they can improve upon the quirky genius of Willy Wonka with special effects, or the cinematic perfection of 1967's In Cold Blood, now they are remaking what is still an effective frightener of a movie as Helter Skelter? I weep for Hollywood sometimes...but I digress...

TV movies have not really come very far in this generation when compared to the movies of the 70's or very early 80's. Sure, they can get away with some language that they couldn't before, and maybe a little more skin. But there lacks the explorative nature of storytelling the miniseries of that bygone era once gave us. Case in point, the 1976 TV movie, Helter Skelter. The chronological point of view takes the viewer through the important milestones of prosecutor Bugliosi (very accurately portrayed by Geo. DiCenzo) and his search for answers in what seems to be a motiveless crime. But as most people should know by now, there is no such thing as murder without motivation--every killer has his/her reasons. It just depends on whether or not the evidence shows that motive. And that evidence can be something as overt as a letter, or something as minute as an object placed upon a victim or even how the victim is left...The motive is always there; and in recent years, maybe the last 20 or so, profiling experts have proved this. But in the late 1960's, profiling was unknown, and the search for a motive was dependent upon good old fashioned legwork and long hours staring at notes. The book Bugliosi wrote of course goes into far more detail about how formidable a task this was for such a notorious and violent crime as the one depicted. But for the 3-plus hours of this film, we get a lot of information indeed, and it only serves the viewer to get as complete an education as possible about Manson, his vagabond followers, and the collective insanity that ensued. Actually, I suppose with our rash of reality shows, we are seeing more of that 'collective insanity' when people are thrown together without many means of escape...again, I digress...Overall, the acting was formidable, effective, and quite fearless for its time period--I can't recall another TV movie where the actors swallowed their roles with as much gusto without going way over the top, to the point of caricaturizing. Truly, this is a small but bizarre chapter in criminology, and everyone involved in this movie had their work cut out for them. They did not disappoint, and they don't disappoint us. Neither did the film-makers by dumming up the story to be more acceptible to the masses, which is the hallmark of its era, and sadly is ALL too common in the television fare as of late. This is a horrible and weird story that deserves to be told in toto. Kudos to the film-makers and actors who did not insult the viewers' intelligence levels, and told as much of the truth as they could cram in to the alloted time.

One more interesting note: Much has been said about Manson's subsequent interviews and parole hearings displaying his "madness". I'm going to throw a thought out here--did it ever occur to anyone that this is the image he WANTS us to have? If you've done your homework, you know the famous tale of how he has repeatedly asked not to be released. Maybe, just maybe, do you suppose that his disconnected ramblings, fits of anger, bizarre diatribes about ninjas and wildlife--perhaps even the motive for such overly gruesome and notorious crimes--are his way of guaranteeing that he will indeed never get out of prison again? That this is all an act so that the prison and the public will think he's a looney and keep him locked up? He has been tested with an above-average intelligence with the footnote, 'master manipulator who can seemingly talk anyone into anything', after all. And not so impossible...Now THERE'S something to think about!!

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