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DVD Review: Hell Drivers (1957)

Helldrivers The 1950s might not have swung like the 60s, but the era did see the advent of some gritty realism in British movies, typified by Hell Drivers.

This 1957 features a cast money couldn't buy 10 years later, but in 1957 it was possible to pull together Stanley Baker, Patrick McGoohan, Herbert Lom, William Hartnell, Sid James, Gordon Jackson, David McCallum and in a minor role, Sean Connery. But the film is all about Baker as Tom Yately and McGoohan as "Red".

Yately is an ex-con, using a false name to get a job as a "hell driver" - driving trucks at rapid speeds over a short distance - with payment based on the number of trips completed. Top of the tree is Red, also foreman of the yard and an all-round nasty piece of work. The two fall out, compete and ultimately drive to the death.

It's a fine movie - and 50 years after its release, still with an edge. It has a bit of everything - some romance, some violence, some humour, but plenty of action - the stuntmen earned their money here. It's also got a solid plotline with plenty of depth and based on a good amount of fact.

If there's a weakness, it's probably in the contrived ending - and the underuse of the numerous minor characters in the movie. That said, if you like your gritty British realism, this should really be in your collection.

Extras on the DVD:

Interview with Stanley Baker
Behind the scenes documentary
Theatrical trailer

Find out more about the DVD at


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