The Devil's 8

The Devil's 8 is a 1969 film from American International Pictures. A Federal agent (Christopher George) recruits six convicts to bust a moonshine ring run by the gangster Burl.[2]

The Devil's 8
The Devil's 8.jpg
Directed byBurt Topper
Produced byBurt Topper
Written byJohn Milius
Willard Huyck
James Gordon White
Based onstory by Larry Gordon
StarringChristopher George
Tom Nardini
Leslie Parrish
Music byJerry Styner
Michael Lloyd
CinematographyRichard C. Glouner
Edited byFred Feitshans Jnr
Distributed byAIP
Release date
  • April 9, 1969 (1969-04-09)
Running time
97 mins
CountryUnited States


Federal agent Ray Faulkner poses as a road gang convict, and arranges the escape of a group of hardened chain-gang criminals. He forces them at gunpoint into a helicopter.

In flashback we see that Faulkner wants to take on a local crime boss, Burl, who runs a moonshine ring and has a lot of political power in a state.

Faulkner persuades the convicts to work on the side of the law by promising them paroles. He heads a team of eight men, composed of himself, six prisoners and a fellow agent. The team includes

  • Sonny, a man in prison for murder who is a good driver. He has a drinking problem.
  • Frank Davis, a former driver for the syndicate. Davis is at first opposed to the idea but then discovers the mob murdered his brother.
  • Henry, a black prisoner who is a good driver.
  • Billy Jo, a mechanic who wants to drive.
  • Sam, a prisoner who likes to fight.
  • Chandler, a man who refuses to fight who reads the Bible.
  • Stewart Martin, a Federal agent on his first assignment

Faulkner trains the men in high-speed driving and hurling lighted bombs at pinpoint targets.

The team start intercepting the moonshiners' delivery cars until Burl is forced to give Faulkner and his men a share of the illegal whiskey operation and let them make the deliveries.

Burl pulls a double-cross by arranging for Faulkner and Martin to be ambushed by crooked police while making a moonshine run, and Martin is shot down from a police helicopter.

Sonny has learned the location of Burl's stills and the team attack with their specially equipped cars and carefully timed explosives.

During the battle, Burl tries to escape by using his mistress Cissy as a hostage, but Faulkner captures him. Cissy is reunited with Davis, and Burl is taken to prison.



The film was based on a story by Larry Gordon, who was a story editor at AIP. The first draft was done by James Gordon White, who wrote several films for AIP.[3] White was then given a job working on Killers Three. Gordon had the script rewritten by his two assistants, John Milius and Willard Huyck, who had gotten a summer job working in the story department of AIP after studying at USC.

Milius says they were given two weeks to write it and they did it in ten days. "I don't think we ever thought it was our best work. It was pretty good; it was funny... a lot of noise but not very good action."[4] Milius says the film was a deliberate attempt to copy The Dirty Dozen. "It was called The Devil's 8 because they didn't have enough money for a full dozen."[5]

White says Milius and Hyuck were put on the film "to get their experience and screen credit".[3] White says he "didn't like" the final film. "They took the Southern flavor out of it and I'm from the south, so I know from whereof I talk." He says he was not on set because Topper "didn't get along with me."[3]

The cast included Larry Bishop, son of Joey Bishop, who had signed a five-year contract with AIP. During filming the movie was known as Inferno Road.[6]

Fabian had signed a seven-picture contract with AIP and this was his 6th film for the studio. (The others had been Fireball 500, Thunder Alley, Dr Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs, Maryjane, and The Wild Racers. A Bullet for Pretty Boy would be the last one.)[7] This was Fabian's last film billed as "Fabian". After this movie he was known as "Fabian Forte".[8]

Shooting started 15 October 1968 and mostly took place at Pinecrest Camp in the San Bernardino Mountains outside Los Angeles.[9][10]

Mike Curb was credited as "musical director". Curb wrote the title song with Guy Hemric. Buzz Feitshans was post production co ordinator.


The film opened in Los Angeles on April 9, 1969[1] in 15 theatres and grossed $67,000 in its first week.[11]

The Los Angeles Times called it "an amiably preposterous, rambunctious picture... as silly as it is, The Devil's 8 at least moves mercifully fast, has a sense of humor and packs plenty of action".[12]

The New York Times said "the carnage among these unshaven hard guys is continuous, as is the action, under rudimentary direction."[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The Devil's 8 at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ The Devil's 8 at
  3. ^ a b c Albright, Brian (2008). Wild Beyond Belief!: Interviews with Exploitation Filmmakers of the 1960s and 1970s. McFarland. p. 216. ISBN 9780786436897.
  4. ^ Segaloff p 282
  5. ^ Segaloff p 283
  6. ^ Martin, Betty (Aug 27, 1968). "Kremlin Letter' Set in Spring". Los Angeles Times. p. d17.
  7. ^ Vagg, Stephen (26 August 2019). "The Cinema of Fabian". Diabolique.
  8. ^ "Fabian Makes It Legal--It's Fabian Forte". Los Angeles Times. June 7, 1969. p. a9.
  9. ^ Martin, Betty (Sep 24, 1968). "Stafford Signed for 'Topaz'". Los Angeles Times. p. f17.
  10. ^ "'Devil's Eight' Opening Citywide on Wednesday". Los Angeles Times. Apr 5, 1969. p. b9.
  11. ^ "50 Top-Grossing Films". Variety. April 23, 1969. p. 11.
  12. ^ Thomas, K. (Apr 11, 1969). "'The devil's 8' film opens a citywide run". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 156250506.
  13. ^ New York Times film review accessed 5 July 2014
  • Segaloff, Nat, "John Milius: The Good Fights", Backstory 4: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1970s and 1980s, Ed. Patrick McGilligan, Uni of California 2006 p 274-316

External linksEdit