16 user 13 critic

Back Door to Hell (1964)

Approved | | War, Drama | November 1964 (USA)
1:47 | Trailer
During World War II, a three man commando team places its trust in the hands of a band of Filipino resistants, as they try to knock out a Japanese communication center.


Monte Hellman


Richard A. Guttman (screenplay), John Hackett (screenplay) | 1 more credit »





Complete credited cast:
Jimmie Rodgers ... Lt. Craig
Jack Nicholson ... Burnett
John Hackett John Hackett ... Jersey
Annabelle Huggins Annabelle Huggins ... Maria
Conrad Maga Conrad Maga ... Paco
Johnny Monteiro Johnny Monteiro ... Ramundo
Joe Sison Joe Sison ... Japanese Capt.
Henry Duval Henry Duval ... Garde
Ben Perez Ben Perez
Vic Uematsu Vic Uematsu


In December, 1944, three US soldiers sneak ashore on Luzon to gather intelligence about Japanese troops in advance of the American armada. The three are to reconnoiter and report via their shortwave radio. Lieutenant Craig may not have the stomach for killing; Jersey is a cynical sergeant; Bartlett is the radio man who also speaks Japanese. They're soon in touch with guerrillas, led by Paco, a tough, skeptical school teacher. The Japanese learn the Americans are in the area and take school children hostage until the Filipinos find, arrest, and turn over the GIs. Can this tiny squad make allies, save the children, get and transmit the information, and live to tell the tale? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It took courage to get to Luzon - and blood and guts to move every mile beyond!


War | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


A bicycle and a wheelchair were used in place of camera dollies on this film. See more »


When the Filipino actors speak in their native tongue it is Tagalog but people around Lingayen Gulf speak Pangasinan, a different dialect. However, it should be noted that Tagalog is the official language of the country. See more »


Jersey: Yeah, we're all gonna die anyway - tomorrow, next week, 30 years from now. Did that little thought ever penetrate your thick skull?
Burnett: Yeah, once when I was a boy, but naturally I dismissed it as being too outrageous.
See more »

User Reviews

smart low-budget WW2 film
1 July 2009 | by RanchoTuVuSee all my reviews

Three US soldiers come ashore on a Philippine island to do intelligence work in preparation for the big US invasion to retake the islands from the Japanese. Led by Jimmie Rogers as sensitive Lieutenant Craig with pacifist leanings, with Jack Nicholson playing a communications expert with a lot of philosophical observations, and John Hackett as Jersey the tough realist among them, they meet up with the local resistance led by Paco (Conrad Maga), who have been fighting the Japanese for the last few years and have grown cynical about the Americans ever coming back. This film is a direct contrast to the John Wayne movie Back To Bataan in which the Americans were seemingly idolized as they were led by the Duke himself. Maga tells Rogers that he (Maga) is in charge if they are to work together. Rogers, Nicholson, and Hackett have to find out where the Japanese defenses are as the invasion is about to happen, and the film hikes us through the jungles and highlands in pretty sharp black and white, with some authentic flourishes about interrogation of captured Japanese soldiers and another ragtag guerrilla band that is looking to make a profit out of the war. The details are what make this well worth checking out, as the film dodges any of the obvious heroics it could have exploited. Get through the opening credits and you see that it was directed by Monte Hellman (Two Lane Blacktop) and he delivers a war film with enough action as well as some semblance of authenticity giving us a multi-faceted story.

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Philippines | USA


English | Japanese

Release Date:

November 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Escapatoria al infierno See more »

Filming Locations:

Bicol, Philippines

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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