9 user 21 critic

Hell's Highway: The True Story of Highway Safety Films (2003)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History | 27 June 2003 (USA)
The history of traffic safety educational films and their notoriously lurid content.


Bret Wood


Bret Wood




Credited cast:
Richard Anderson ... Husband (archive footage)
Sonny Bono ... Himself (archive footage)
John F. Butler John F. Butler ... Himself
Hans Conried ... (archive footage)
Earle Deems Earle Deems ... Himself (as Earle J. Deems)
John R. Domer John R. Domer ... Himself
David Krug David Krug ... Himself
Eric Krug Eric Krug ... Himself
Rick Prelinger Rick Prelinger ... Himself
Ronald Reagan ... Himself (archive footage)
Helena Reckitt Helena Reckitt ... Narrator (voice)
Robert F. Simon ... Rellik (archive footage)
James Stewart ... Narrator (archive footage)
Mike Vraney Mike Vraney ... Himself
James Waller James Waller ... Himself


This film covers the early history of post World War II educational films, especially those involving traffic safety by the Highway Safety Foundation under direction of Richard Wayman. In the name of promoting safe driving in teenagers, these films became notorious for their gory depiction of accidents to shock their audiences to make their point. The film also covers the role of safety films of this era, their effect on North American teenage culture, the struggle between idealism and lurid exploitation and how they reflected the larger society concerns of the time that adults projected onto their youth. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Educational! Controversial! Unforgettable! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

27 June 2003 (USA) See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,225, 29 June 2003

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Livin' Man Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

The Underbelly of those kitchy educational 1950s films
6 July 2003 | by aaronasSee all my reviews

HH charts the course of the company "Highway Safety Films" and their quest to make America's roads safer at the same time as they turn a profit. This documentary highlights gore of the original movies as well as the fact that this gore did little more than emotionally scar millions of impressionable youth.

HH also explores some of the underbelly of the company including allegations that the company made pornos on the Highway Safety Film Tour Bus. Unfortunately, these tangents are more interesting than the original subject matter and these tangents are left undeveloped.

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