Breaker! Breaker! (1977)

PG | 86 mins | Drama | May 1977

Director:

Don Hulette

Writer:

Terry Chambers

Producer:

Don Hulette

Cinematographer:

Mario DiLeo

Editor:

Steven Zaillian

Production Designer:

Thomas Thomas

Production Company:

Paragon Films
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HISTORY

       In a 2 May 1981 LAT interview, Chuck Norris said that Breaker! Breaker!, his first film, cost $250,000 and grossed “some $12 million.”
       The 25 Nov 1980 HR reported that the rerelease of Breaker! Breaker! and Kill or Be Killed as a double bill, called a “conjunctive release,” had grossed over $1.8 million in six weeks in key urban areas, including New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Honolulu, HI, Las Vegas, NV, Seattle, WA, and San Antonio, TX.
      End credits include a "Special Thanks" to the following individuals and organizations: Chuck Norris Studios; Lynn Blessinger; Susan Heldfond; Formula Tires; Pathfinder; and Craig ... More Less

       In a 2 May 1981 LAT interview, Chuck Norris said that Breaker! Breaker!, his first film, cost $250,000 and grossed “some $12 million.”
       The 25 Nov 1980 HR reported that the rerelease of Breaker! Breaker! and Kill or Be Killed as a double bill, called a “conjunctive release,” had grossed over $1.8 million in six weeks in key urban areas, including New York, NY, Los Angeles, CA, Honolulu, HI, Las Vegas, NV, Seattle, WA, and San Antonio, TX.
      End credits include a "Special Thanks" to the following individuals and organizations: Chuck Norris Studios; Lynn Blessinger; Susan Heldfond; Formula Tires; Pathfinder; and Craig Radio.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
11 Nov 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Apr 1977
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
2 May 1981.
---
New York Times
19 May 1977
p. 20.
Variety
27 Apr 1977
p. 20.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Asst cam
Asst cam
Gaffer
Gaffer
Key grip
Grip
Stillman
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Supv ed
Negative cutter
Post prod by
SET DECORATOR
Props
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles & opticals
MAKEUP
Make-up
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr girl
Trucking consultant
Transportation
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Eagle van des by
Eagle van executed by
Courtesy of
Courtesy of
STAND INS
Fight choreog
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Color by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Breaker! Breaker!," music by Don Hulette, lyrics by John DiFusco and Don Hulette, vocals by Denny Brooks
"I've Heard These Words," music by Don Hulette, lyrics by Terry Chambers, vocals by Denny Brooks
"We Never Said Hello," music by Don Hulette, lyrics by Tom Thomas, vocals by Denny Brooks
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SONGS
"Breaker! Breaker!," music by Don Hulette, lyrics by John DiFusco and Don Hulette, vocals by Denny Brooks
"I've Heard These Words," music by Don Hulette, lyrics by Terry Chambers, vocals by Denny Brooks
"We Never Said Hello," music by Don Hulette, lyrics by Tom Thomas, vocals by Denny Brooks
"You Woke Up This Morning," music and lyrics by Don Hulette, vocals by Denny Brooks.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
May 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 6 May 1977
New York opening: 18 May 1977
Production Date:
1976
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
86
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A drunken self-styled judge named Joshua Trimmings takes over a California ghost town, gets a municipal charter from the state, and names the place Texas City after his late son, "Tex." Trimmings and his two corrupt cops, Sgt. Strode and Deputy Boles, run a speed trap and preside over a bootleg alcohol operation and an illegal salvage yard that steals cars and trucks. Trucker J.D. Dawes learns about this town at a truck terminal when he meets his friend, Dolly, whose trucker husband has been beaten and paralyzed by Sgt. Strode. J.D. is at the terminal to drop off his kid brother, Billy, who is beginning his first solo job hauling a load of TV dinners. After J.D. gives Billy some last-minute advice, the kid takes off down Route 99. But while Billy is chatting with other truckers on his citizens’ band (C.B.) radio, he gets tricked by another trucker on the C.B. into taking a side road around the weigh stations because he thinks the TV dinner company might have overloaded his trailer. The so-called “friendly trucker” is really Sgt. Strode, who uses the C.B. to lure truckers toward Texas City. Boles stops Billy and says there’s been an accident up ahead and Billy will have to take a dirt-road around it. This dirt road leads Billy into Texas City, where Strode pulls him over and takes him to Judge Trimmings, who is visibly drunk. When Trimmings fines Billy for several offenses, the kid realizes he’s been set up and tries to escape. The cops beat him and his trailer truck gets hauled to the salvage yard. Meanwhile, J.D. learns from his buddy, Burton, that Texas City has ... +


A drunken self-styled judge named Joshua Trimmings takes over a California ghost town, gets a municipal charter from the state, and names the place Texas City after his late son, "Tex." Trimmings and his two corrupt cops, Sgt. Strode and Deputy Boles, run a speed trap and preside over a bootleg alcohol operation and an illegal salvage yard that steals cars and trucks. Trucker J.D. Dawes learns about this town at a truck terminal when he meets his friend, Dolly, whose trucker husband has been beaten and paralyzed by Sgt. Strode. J.D. is at the terminal to drop off his kid brother, Billy, who is beginning his first solo job hauling a load of TV dinners. After J.D. gives Billy some last-minute advice, the kid takes off down Route 99. But while Billy is chatting with other truckers on his citizens’ band (C.B.) radio, he gets tricked by another trucker on the C.B. into taking a side road around the weigh stations because he thinks the TV dinner company might have overloaded his trailer. The so-called “friendly trucker” is really Sgt. Strode, who uses the C.B. to lure truckers toward Texas City. Boles stops Billy and says there’s been an accident up ahead and Billy will have to take a dirt-road around it. This dirt road leads Billy into Texas City, where Strode pulls him over and takes him to Judge Trimmings, who is visibly drunk. When Trimmings fines Billy for several offenses, the kid realizes he’s been set up and tries to escape. The cops beat him and his trailer truck gets hauled to the salvage yard. Meanwhile, J.D. learns from his buddy, Burton, that Texas City has been luring truckers and tourists off the highway and extorting them. Burton also tells J.D. that Billy and his truck are missing. J.D. heads for Texas City in his van. He sneaks into town on a back road, but two bootleggers mistake him for a revenue agent and take shots at him. One bullet pierces the radiator on his van, forcing J.D to go to a Texas City garage. The owner, Wade, is at the salvage yard, but his mentally handicapped brother, Arney, is looking after the place. Arney instantly likes J.D. and tries to be helpful, but another employee, Wilfred, pulls Arney away. J.D. goes to the police station and finds that the two cops are out on patrol and the jail is empty. A trustee sends J.D. to the bar to see Judge Trimmings, but the old man is already too drunk to talk with him. From there, J.D. walks to the salvage yard, where the proprietor, George, is expecting him. George has an old radiator to sell for the price of a new one. Like everybody else in Texas City, George tells J.D. he doesn’t know anything about J.D.’s brother. Meanwhile, Sgt. Strode and Deputy Boles look at the vehicle registration in J.D.’s van and discover that he’s got the same name and address as “the kid.” When the cops report this information to Judge Trimmings, the old man orders them to arrest J.D. for “willfully evading a speed trap.” J.D. sits at the local café talking to the waitress, Arlene, who seems sympathetic regarding the search for his brother. But the cook acts rudely toward J.D. and warns Arlene about being too friendly with the stranger. Strode and Boles walk into the café with batons drawn and threaten to kick J.D.’s butt back to Highway 99. Using karate and foot-boxing moves, J.D. leaves both men lying on the floor and runs out of the café. He hides alongside the road outside of town until he flags down Arlene and her son. J.D. accompanies them to their house and calls Burton, who tells J.D. that truckers up and down the state are searching for Billy. Arlene explains to J.D. that she’s the widow of the judge’s son, Tex, and doesn’t have any other family ties in Texas City. Arlene and J.D. take a walk through the trees and realize that they have romantic feelings for each other. Later that day, at a town meeting, Trimmings’ minions report on their syndicate’s enterprises. Wilfred’s moonshine stills are getting up to full capacity, and George’s salvage yard is doing well with all the recent scrap metal from impounded cars. J.D. suddenly walks into the room and says he wants his brother. When a dozen or so men of Texas City attack J.D., he kicks them around the room and runs out. He reaches his van, gets the keys from Arney and leads the town’s two police cars on a chase through the surrounding hills. As soon as he evades Strode and Boles, J.D. hides his van behind Arlene’s house and beds down with her for the night. He dreams of Strode shooting Billy and wakes up shouting. Early the next morning, Wilfred flies over the house in his helicopter and sees J.D.’s van. Inside the house, J.D., Tony and Arlene are eating TV dinners for breakfast. J.D. asks where they got them, and Tony says that Arney brought “a stack” of them to the house a couple of days ago. J.D. jumps up, saying that the truck must be in the salvage yard. J.D. hides his van outside the salvage yard and sneaks through piles of smashed cars, but Wilfred, flying overhead, sees him and warns George, who is busy using the yard’s large crusher to smash another car. George grabs a pick and goes after the intruder, but J.D. kicks him around and tries to beat a confession out of him. Asked where Billy is, George looks toward the crusher. J.D. is so distracted by the shock that his brother has been crushed that George grabs a piece of metal and knocks him out. George lifts up J.D.’s limp body, dumps him in the crusher and pushes the on-button, but J.D. kicks him in the jaw and escapes seconds before the crusher comes down. When J.D. checks George on the ground, he realizes that either his kick or a piece of metal on the ground killed him. As soon as the news of George’s death gets back to town, the judge and the two cops head for Arlene’s house. Trimmings blames Arlene for the death of “cousin George” and threatens to take his grandson, Tony, away from her, but Tony runs out of the house and hides. The judge and Strode head back to town, leaving Boles behind to watch Arlene. Meanwhile, when J.D. goes to the town bar looking for the judge, Wade sneaks up behind him with a rifle, marches J.D. over to the jail and locks him in a cell. Trimmings comes in and sentences J.D. to death for killing George. Back at Arlene’s house, she sneaks out to her garage, gets away on a motorcycle and evades Boles, but she hits a bump that wrecks the bike and sends her tumbling. Unhurt, she walks over a hill and sees an empty highway patrol car sitting alongside the road with its police radio on. Arlene calls out on the radio to all the truckers in the area, telling them that J.D. is in trouble in Texas City. Out on Highway 99, C.B. radios crackle with the news. Seven big semis hauling trailers exit the highway. In Texas City, shelves and walls rattle, as if thunder were rolling through town. Strode and Boles set up a roadblock but the truck drivers smash through. Wade unlocks J.D.’s cell and takes him out the back door to execute him. When Arney tries to stop his brother, the rifle goes off, grazing J.D. and mortally wounding Arney. Wade becomes so remorseful at what he’s done that he tells J.D. that Billy is tied up in the horse barn. By the time J.D. gets there, however, Boles has already untied Billy and begun beating him with a baton. J.D. kicks the cop through the wall. At that moment, the trucks drive into town and smash through several buildings, including the hardware store, which catches fire. One trucker heads for Judge Trimmings’ house and crashes through the front door. Another truck hits the helicopter and turns it into a ball of fire. As Texas City burns, J.D. finds Boles drinking a bottle of liquor at the barn corral, beats him up and, with a final flying kick, sends him sprawling unconscious to the ground.


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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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