Back Door to Hell

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Back Door to Hell
Back door moviep.jpg
Directed byMonte Hellman
Produced byFred Roos
Screenplay byJohn Hackett
Richard A. Guttman
StarringJimmie Rodgers
John Hackett
Jack Nicholson
Music byMike Velarde
CinematographyMars Rasca
Edited byFely Crisostomo
Lippert Pictures
Medallion Films
Distributed byTwentieth Century-Fox
Release date
  • November 15, 1964 (1964-11-15)
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States

Back Door to Hell is a 1964 film concerning a three-man team of United States soldiers preparing the way for Gen. MacArthur's World War II return to the Philippines by destroying a Japanese communications center. It was produced on a relatively small budget and received lukewarm reviews.

John Hackett wrote the script on the boat from the US to the Philippines. Jack Nicholson was writing the script to Flight to Fury at the same time.[2]

Hellman, Nicholson and Hackett also made the film back to back with Flight to Fury (1964).[3]




Robert Lippert had been impressed by Jack Nicholson's Thunder Island so gave Nicholson and his friends Monte Hellman and John Hackett $160,000 and $400 a week salary to make two films on location in the Philippines. The three men and Hellman's wife and child travelled 28 days by ship via Hawaii, Hong Kong and Japan with the three working on the screenplays to both films on the voyage. Back Door to Hell was a rewrite on one of Lippert's existing screenplays.[4]

Popular singer Jimmie Rodgers had a substantial part in the film, and co-financed it.

The film, directed by Monte Hellman, was shot on location in the Philippines, giving it a particularly authentic look. The same plot was reused in Ib Melchior's Ambush Bay (1966) with a larger Marine patrol destroying a minefield prior to the American and Filipino invasion of the Philippines.


  1. ^ McGilligan, Patrick (2015). Jack's Life: A Biography of Jack Nicholson (Updated and Expanded). W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393350975.
  2. ^ Stevens, Brad (2003). Monte Hellman: His Life and Films. McFarland. pp. 36–43. ISBN 9780786481880.
  3. ^ Back from orient. (1965, Feb 12). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  4. ^ McDougal, Dennis (2008). Five Easy Decades: How Jack Nicholson Became the Biggest Movie Star in Modern Times. John Wiley and Sons. p. 55. ISBN 9780471722465. flight to fury.

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