Two years after Dirty Dancing and one year before Ghost, Patrick Swayze played a bouncer with a Ph.D in philosophy in 1989’s Road House. The film's producer, Joel Silver, predicted it would become “the best drive-in movie ever made.” But after many cable airings, it has instead become the quintessential “so bad it’s good” cinematic experience. Here are 15 things you might not know about Road House.
1. ANNETTE BENING WAS ORIGINALLY GOING TO PLAY DOC.
Kelly Lynch, who played Dr. Elizabeth Clay (a.k.a. "Doc") wasn't the producers' first choice. In an interview with The A.V. Club, Lynch shared that Annette Bening had originally been cast, "but she was fired. Patrick just didn’t feel any chemistry with her or something."
2. NO PARTS OF THE MOVIE WERE ACTUALLY FILMED IN MISSOURI.
Though the film is set in Jasper, Missouri, it was shot in California. The crew was forced to make the Double Deuce look more like a dive bar on the orders of Joel Silver, who thought it looked “too nice.”
3. SWAYZE’S HANDSOMENESS CAUSED PROBLEMS DURING PRODUCTION.
A pickup truck containing a group of middle-aged blonde women attempted to drive right up to the star’s trailer to meet the actor. During the big fight by the river, a raft of Swayze-loving ladies sailed by. A female extra playing a waitress was too busy staring at Swayze to watch where she was going and tripped, spilling all of her drinks on another extra.
4. SWAYZE WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT HIS MULLET.
He referred to his hair in the movie as the “bane of my existence.”
5. HE WAS WORKING WITH A BAD KNEE.
After the five-day long shoot fighting Marshall Teague’s Jimmy, Swayze needed 2.5 ounces of fluid drained from his left knee. He apparently had been suffering through knee problems before, needing a similar procedure during production on Dirty Dancing.
6. RED WAS PLAYED BY A LONG-TIME FRIEND OF ELVIS PRESLEY’S.
Red West, who played Red Webster, the auto parts store owner, went to high school with The King, and was a member of his “Memphis Mafia.” West was a songwriter who acted in some of Elvis’ movies and also worked as a stuntman. Also featured in Road House is The Jeff Healey Band, led by Jeff Healey, who went blind at the age of one and began playing guitar at the age of three; in 2008, he died of cancer at the age of 41. John Doe, founder and bass player of the band X, played the bartender who was bad at skimming.
7. ALL OF THE ACTORS DID THEIR OWN STUNTS.
"You hear all that bullsh** about 'It’s all stunt doubles' and all that sh**. Well, it isn’t," Sam Elliott told The A.V. Club. "All the actors, as far as I know, did their own fighting. I f**king got the sh** kicked out of me for the entire film." They were all trained by Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, a holder of nine black belts in nine different disciplines. Urquidez believed so much in Patrick Swayze's abilities that he suggested to him that he should become a competitive kickboxer.
8. THE DIRECTOR TRIED TO MAKE THE FIGHTS A LITTLE FUNNY.
The movie's humor is somewhat intentional; director Rowdy Herrington said he wanted to make the fights “like a Keystone Cops melee.”
9. WADE CALLING DALTON ‘HIJO’ WAS SAM ELLIOTT’S IDEA.
Hijo is Spanish for “son.” Aww.
10. BILL MURRAY OR ONE OF HIS BROTHERS CALL KELLY LYNCH’S HUSBAND EVERY TIME IT’S ON TELEVISION.
Whenever Bill, Joel, Brian Doyle, and/or John Murray see that Road House is on, they call screenwriter Mitch Glazer to tell him that his wife is having sex with Swayze. In one instance, Bill informed Glazer, who co-wrote Scrooged, long distance from Russia.
11. LYNCH SPENT A MONTH LEARNING HOW TO SEW STITCHES.
Only for her to be given a staple gun on set
12. SAM ELLIOTT SAID HE GETS RECOGNIZED MOST FROM ROAD HOUSE.
Though he has nearly 90 credits to his name, in 2007 Elliott told Collider that he's most recognized from Road House. Earlier this year, he admitted to Vulture that he “wasn’t so good” in the film. Joel Silver cast him due to his “baggage.”
13. RED’S AUTO SUPPLY STORE EXPLOSION WOKE UP THE NEIGHBORS.
They thought that MGM studios was burning down. It cost $25,000 to shoot that scene.
14. THE NYPD USES A SCENE FROM THE MOVIE AS PART OF ITS RETRAINING COURSE.
The scene where Dalton lectures the Double Deuce staff about the three simple rules (i.e. "Be nice") is shown to police officers. This started after it was reported that cops were falling asleep during the lectures.
15. THERE WAS A DIRECT-TO-DVD SEQUEL.
2006’s Road House 2: Last Call killed off Dalton, who was finally stopped by a bullet to the head. It starred Johnathon Schaech as Dalton’s son, D.E.A. agent Shane Tanner, who runs his uncle Nate’s bar the Black Pelican while trying to solve his father’s murder. In 2013, it was reported that a remake of Road House was in the works, directed by original Fast and the Furious director Rob Cohen.