Monte Hellman

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Monte Hellman
Monte Hellman in 2013.jpg
Monte Hellman in 2013
Born (1932-07-12) July 12, 1932 (age 84)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Film director, producer, editor

Monte Hellman (born July 12, 1932[1]) is an American film director, producer, and film editor.


Hellman is among a group of directing talent mentored by Roger Corman, who produced several of the director's early films. According to film scholar Wheeler Winston Dixon, Hellman began by working on "low budget exploitation films with a personal slant," yet learned from Corman the art of producing commercially viable films on a tight budget while staying true to a personal vision.[2] Hellman's most critically acclaimed film to date has been Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), a road movie that was a box office failure at the time of its initial release but has subsequently turned into a perennial cult favorite.[3] Hellman's two acid westerns starring Jack Nicholson, Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting, both shot in 1965 and released directly to television in 1968, have also developed cult followings, particularly the latter.[3] A third western, China 9, Liberty 37 (1978), was far less successful critically, although it too has its admirers,[4] as do Cockfighter (1974) (aka Born to Kill)[5] and Iguana (1988).[6] In 1989 he directed the straight-to-video slasher film Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!.

In addition to his directorial career, Hellman worked on several films in different capacities. He was the dialogue director for Corman's The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), and second unit director on Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop (1987). Hellman finished two pictures in post-production that were started by other directors who died after the movies were shot, the Muhammad Ali bio The Greatest (1977) (started by Tom Gries) and Avalanche Express (1979) (begun by Mark Robson). He shot extra footage for the television versions of Ski Troop Attack (1960), Last Woman on Earth (1960), Creature from the Haunted Sea and Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Among the movies Hellman has served as an editor on are Corman's The Wild Angels (1966), Bob Rafelson's Head (1968), Sam Peckinpah's The Killer Elite (1975) and Jonathan Demme's Fighting Mad (1976).[citation needed]

Hellman was an executive producer on Quentin Tarantino's debut feature Reservoir Dogs (1992).[7]

In 2006, he directed "Stanley's Girlfriend," a section of the omnibus horror film Trapped Ashes. Hellman's section of the film was presented by the Cannes Film Festival that year as an "Official Selection" and Hellman was named president of the Festival's "Un Certain Regard" jury.

In 2010 he completed a new feature film, the romantic film noir thriller, Road to Nowhere, which competed for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival.[8]

He currently teaches in the Film Directing Program at the California Institute of the Arts.

At the 2010 Venice Film Festival he was awarded with a special career prize.[9][10]



  1. ^ Brad Stevens, McFarland, 2003, Monte Hellman: His Life and Films, Retrieved November 8, 2015, ISBN 0786481889
  2. ^ Wheeler Winston Dixon, Rutgers University Press, Jul 11, 2007, Film Talk: Directors at Work, Retrieved November 10, 2014 (see page xi Introduction paragraph 2), ISBN 978-0-8135-4077-1
  3. ^ a b Peary, Danny. Cult Movies, Delta Books, 1981. ISBN 0-517-20185-2
  4. ^ Wells, Ron. "China 9, Liberty 37". Film Threat. Retrieved September 21, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Cockfighter". DVD Beaver. Retrieved September 21, 2006. 
  6. ^ Thompson, Nathaniel. "The Films of Monte Hellman". Mondo Digital. Retrieved September 21, 2006. 
  7. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry. "Quentin Tarantino: The Complete Syllabus of His Influences and References". Slate. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Venezia 67". July 29, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Quentin Tarantino denies Venice nepotism claim". BBC. September 13, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Official Awards of the 67th Venice Film Festival". La Biennale. 
  11. ^ a b Phillips, Keith (November 10, 1999). "Monte Hellman – Two-Lane revisted (sic)". The Onion. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 

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