DirectorFloyd Mutrux Initial DVD releaseMay 9, 2000 Duration LanguageEnglish
Release dateMay 16, 1980 (1980-05-16) (U.S. limited)May 30, 1980 (1980-05-30) (U.S. wide) WriterFloyd Mutrux (story), Richard Lederer (story), William Tennant (story), Floyd Mutrux (screenplay) CastRobert Wuhl (Newbomb Turk), Tony Danza (Duke), Fran Drescher (Sally), Michelle Pfeiffer (Suzie Q), Joyce Hyser (Brenda Weintraub), Hoyt Axton (Lead Cop) Similar moviesSex Drive, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Halloween, National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze, How High, Cougars, Inc.
The Hollywood Knights is an 1980 American comedy film written and directed by Floyd Mutrux depicting the crass and mischievous antics and practical jokes of the remaining members of a 1950s-era car club turned social fraternity in and around Beverly Hills and Hollywood in 1965. The cast, led by Robert Wuhl as the fraternity's charismatic leader Newbaum Turk, features Tony Danza and Michelle Pfeiffer as high school sweethearts as well as Fran Drescher and Stuart Pankin in supporting roles.
On Halloween night in 1965, a group of high school pranksters – the Hollywood Knights – are enraged by the Beverly Hills Residents' Association's success in arranging for the shutdown and demolition of their favorite hangout, 'Tubby's Drive-In' diner, which is to be replaced by an office building. In response, they launch a sustained and comically vengeful campaign against the principals of the association and two bumbling local police officers charged with keeping the "The Knights" in check during their last night in Beverly Hills. The ensuing antics include, among other things, a sexual encounter involving premature ejaculation, a punch bowl being 'spiked' with urine, an initiation ceremony involving four pledges who are left in Watts wearing nothing but the car tires they are left to carry, a cheerleader who forgets to put on her underwear before performing at a pep rally, several impromptu drag races, and the lead character of Newbaum Turk (Robert Wuhl) wearing a majordomo outfit and singing a version of 'Volare' accompanied by the sounds of flatulence. 'Mooning' also plays a prominent role in the film: one of the advertising slogans exploited the recent Apollo space program by touting that The Hollywood Knights was the first movie 'to moon a man on the land'. During a mooning incident in the film's final scene, the character Dudley Laywicker, becomes absolutely 'all eyes', transfixed by the bare buttocks. So much so, that he takes his glasses off for a better look.
The filming location for the "Tubby's Drive-In" scenes was an old A&W Root Beer location that had closed at 7310 North Van Nuys Blvd, in Los Angeles, California.
Robert Wuhl, Tony Danza and Stuart Pankin all played teenage characters, although Wuhl and Danza were both in their late twenties, and Pankin was 33 years old.
Director Floyd Mutrux revealed on the audio commentary of the Columbia DVD release that he was at one point going to direct Urban Cowboy (1980), and that he would have been likely to cast Michelle Pfeiffer in the role of Sissy. The producer of that film, Robert Evans, also preferred Pfeiffer, but the eventual director, James Bridges, refused to cast anyone but Debra Winger in the part.
Widely considered to be an inferior rip-off of American Graffiti, today the film is primarily notable for the début performances of many well-known actors.
Tony Danza was noted for having played dimwitted boxer Tony Banta on the television sitcom Taxi since 1978, but he had not appeared in a feature film prior to this production.
The lead role of Newbomb Turk was former stand-up comic Robert Wuhl's first film performance, and he would later win two Emmy Awards in the category of Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Program for his collaboration with Billy Crystal on the script of the 63rd and 64th Academy Awards ceremonies.
The movie built a cult-like following during the 1980s due to repeated late-night airings on HBO.