67 user 33 critic

Hot Rods to Hell (1967)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Thriller | 27 January 1967 (USA)
The new owner of a motel in the California desert has a run-in with a gang of delinquent teenage hot rod drivers.


John Brahm


Robert E. Kent (screenplay), Alex Gaby (short story)




Complete credited cast:
Dana Andrews ... Tom Phillips
Jeanne Crain ... Peg Phillips
Mimsy Farmer ... Gloria
Laurie Mock ... Tina Phillips
Paul Bertoya Paul Bertoya ... Duke
Gene Kirkwood Gene Kirkwood ... Ernie
Jeffrey Byron ... Jamie Phillips (as Tim Stafford)
George Ives ... Lank Dailey
Hortense Petra Hortense Petra ... Wife at Picnic
William Mims ... Man at Picnic
Paul Genge ... Policeman
Peter Oliphant Peter Oliphant ... Little Boy
Harry Hickox ... Bill Phillips
Charles Thompson ... Charley (as Charles P. Thompson)
Mickey Rooney Jr. ... Combo Leader


While on a business trip just before Christmas, Tom Phillips gets into a car accident, which was caused by the reckless driving of the other car involved. Although Tom suffered no paralysis from his back injury, he did come out of the accident with a chronic back problem which results in him not being able to continue with his current work, and a mental block having anything to do with the accident, including Christmas music, driving in general and the sounds of screeching tires and breaking glass. The Phillips - Tom, his wife Peg, and their two children, teenager Tina and pre-teen Jamie - end up moving from their Boston home and buying a motel in Mayville in the California desert. Tom would be physically able to do the work required running a motel, and the dry heat is good for his back. But as they approach Mayville, they encounter a bunch of reckless hot rodders named Duke, Ernie and Gloria. Since Tom scolds them about their reckless behavior, they decide to make the Phillips' ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A One-Way Ride to Excitement! Fast Cars ... Faster Girls ... The Faster The Better! See more »


Action | Drama | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When we first see the family driving, they're already in the desert, 80 miles to the motel, their destination. But what we didn't see is that the family had driven all the way from Boston. The total mileage is 2,559 miles, so for the story's sake, by the time they are being attacked by the titular Hot Rods to Hell, they'd been driving almost two days straight. See more »


At 1:29.06, Tom has ripped the boards off of the door after noticing that there is a phone booth inside, Tom peers inside, and yells "I can see the booth", but this line was obviously added post production because the line is spoken a lot clearer, and it's not Tom's voice. Also, if you look real close, Tom doesn't move his lips. See more »


Highway Patrol officer: Do you know what he did with that ticket I gave him? He and his son played tic-tac-toe on the back of it. You'd think people would grow up enough to know that the law doesn't belong to the cops; it belongs to them!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Film was first released to theaters at 92 minutes. When the film was later aired on ABC network television, eight minutes of footage was added to the running time. The 100 minute TV version is now shown regularly on the TCM channel. See more »


Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Mark Mothersbaugh (2007) See more »


(No actual song titles given in the credits)
Written by Fred Karger and Sid Wayne and Ben Weisman
Performed by Mickey Rooney Jr and his Combo
See more »

User Reviews

At Least It Moves Fairly Fast
18 November 2009 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Well, I didn't find this is a "so-bad-it's great-film" to the degree I was hoping, but it still was fast-moving enough to keep my interest and laugh out a few times.

Not one of the characters in here was anyone you could root for, mainly because they were just too stupid or a bit annoying.

The cast is headed by two fairly-famous actors from the 1940s: Dana Andrews ("Laura,") and Jeanne Crain ("State Fair"). Halfway through the movie, we are "treated" to a couple of songs by Mickey Rooney and His Combo, who obviously got the gig because of his famous dad.

Andrews was nearing 60 when he made the film. He had just finished serving three years as President of the Screen Actors Guild. He has a long resume, which includes film and television work, but not many memorable films outside of a few in his early days.

Both he and Crain were in 1945's "State Fair," a film that put her "on the map," so to speak. In the same year, she had a good role in "Leave Her To Heaven," but after those two movies here notable films were very few. However, she retained her gorgeous looks and a lady over 40, as she was in this movie, she still looked darned good. The problem was, she wasn't much of an actress. Andrews does a far better job in here than Crain, who overacts or - in her defense - was directed to act hysterically and stupidly in parts of the story. Whatever, it was still interesting to see two "name" actors in this "B" movie.

It also was a bit odd seeing "punks" who looked very clean-cut. Hey, I know by 1967, longer hair coming into style, thanks to the "British Invasion" (Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc.) but these guys all looked straight out of the '50s, short hair, straight clothes, etc.

In fact, all the major characters in this movie, looked extremely straight. The Philips family, the ones tormented by a couple of hot-rodders, was so straight they made "Ward and June Cleaver" look like pot-smoking hippies. Their daughter "Tina" (Laurie Mock) was hot; very sultry, but she wound up being all talk/no action and the little brother was an annoying "Larry Mondello" type (see "Leave It To Beaver").

They may not have been Bette Davis-like in acting talents but the three women in here: Crain, Mock and Mismey Farmer (one of the punks fickle girlfriends) - certainly had the looks and played people who got your attention....as did the film in general. Yes, the dialog is stupid, the characters even dumber and the storyline worse than the other two but, all in all, it's watchable. You don't get bored with it. That's about as kind as I can be about it.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 67 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

27 January 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

52 Miles to Terror See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Four Leaf Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed