THE HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS (1980): RIPPER CAR MOVIES

Hollywood Knights 1980

THE Hollywood Knights is a car club that sticks out like a sore thumb in ritzy mid-60s Beverly Hills. When a local community action group forces the closure of Tubby’s Drive-In, the Knights’ favourite haunt, they decide on a last hurrah to ensure they bow out disgracefully.

Hollywood Knights Cover

From this basic premise, the film follows three subplots. There’s the goofy action of Knights stalwart Newbomb Turk (Robert Wuhl) and his cohorts playing endless gags on the local cops and community stiffs. Then there’s the serious but often dribbly romance between local mechanic Duke (Tony Danza) and the dreamy Suzie Q (a blisteringly hot Michelle Pfeiffer). Finally, there’s conscripted Jimmy Shine (Gary Graham) on the eve of shipping out to ’Nam. Combine all three stories and you’ll find it impossible not to draw comparisons with American Graffiti.

Let’s be honest though, we watch these flicks for the cars, and if this movie doesn’t inspire you to add six inches of rake and a set of S/S Cragars to your own beast then it’s never going to happen. Duke’s blown ’57 Chev is a tough bit of gear and at the heart of all the drag action, while Jimmy’s 1940 Ford coupe is a beautiful custom that he wills to the Knights should he be KIA. Throw in Newbomb’s El Camino and ’56 delivery, Wheatly’s Pontiac and Simpson’s trad-style T-bucket, and I can’t help but wonder why there aren’t replicas of these cars doing the rounds.

The film’s storyline is pretty disjointed; it’s more like a bunch of random skits tacked together, with the Duke, Suzie and Jimmy subplots there merely to provide some sort of start and finish. But there are some funny moments – Newbomb farting the tune to Volare is a classic – as well as awesome cars and a shit-hot soundtrack that do plenty to redeem any shortcomings, so give it a shot.

Hollywood Knights 2

VERDICT: 3/5

THE vehicles are cool, the gags are mostly funny, but don’t go in expecting a cinematic masterpiece – The Hollywood Knights is your typical 80s gag flick that employs gross humour and plenty of boob action to keep you watching, which is fine by me. And even if the cars are more 70s street machines than 60s-styled rides, it’s always sweet to see a bunch of old-school hotties in their prime. 

Hollywood Knights 1

CARS:

  • 1957 Chevrolet 210
  • 1965 Chevrolet El Camino
  • 1965 Pontiac Le Mans
  • 1923 Ford Model T
  • 1956 Chevrolet sedan delivery
  • 1961 Ford Galaxie Starliner
  • 1940 Ford coupe
  • 1953 Ford F-100
  • 1966 Shelby Cobra

COOL FLICK FACT:

Duke’s yellow ’57 Chev was actually the ‘Project X’ test car for Popular Hot Rodding magazine. The engine was hurt during filming and smoke can be clearly seen coming from the car during its race with the Cobra.

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