Roadgames (1981)

Australia, 1981
35mm film, Panavision (anamorphic), colour, 2.35:1
stereo, English

An Australian horror film directed by Richard Franklin.

Plot Summary

Pat Quid is an American driving a truck through the Australian outback. To pass the time, he plays mind games, make up back stories for the other people he sees on the road. He picks up Pamela, a hitchhiker who then disappears and Quid thinks that she has fallen victim to a serial killer. He comes to believe that the killer may be the driver of a van he keeps seeing and Quid sets about pursuing the driver.


Director: Richard Franklin
Essaness Pictures, Quest
Executive Producers: Tony Curtis, Bernard Schwartz
Producer: Richard Franklin
Co-producer: Barbi Taylor
Script: Everett De Roche
Director of Photography: Vincent Monton
Editor: Edward McQueen-Mason
Music: Brian May
Costume Designer: Aphrodite Kondos
Production Designer: Jon Dowding

Stacy Keach (Quid)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Hitch)
Marion Edward (Madeleine)
Grant Page (Smith or Jones)
Thaddeus Smith (Policeman ‘Abbott’)
Alan Hopgood (Lester)
John Murphy (Benny Balls)
Bill Stacy (Captain Careful)
Robert Thompson (Sneezy Rider)
Colin Vancao (Fred Frugal)
Carole Ann Aylett (cleaning lady)
Tony Bishop (honeymoon man)
Paul Harris (frugal son)
Rochelle Harris (frugal daughter)
Abby Holmes (honeymoon woman)
Stacy Keach Sr
Angie La Bozzetta (young hitchhiker)
Stephen Millichamp (Policeman ‘Costello’)
Ed Turley (roadhouse proprietor)

Alternative Titles

Déviation mortelle – France
Kuolema kyydissä – Finland
Lift med döden – Sweden
Road Games – USA
Truck Driver – Gejagt von einem Serienkiller – West Germany
Truck Driver – Hungary


Monthly Film Bulletin vol.49 no.580 (May 1982) p.91
Roadgames is not only the slickest product of the New Australian Cinema, but the first indication of a sensibility akin to Hollywood’s ‘movie brats’. Which is not to say that it is the first Australian movie to attempt to appear American – mid-Pacific, perhaps – in style (along with its two stars, it even seems to boast some Hollywood names in its technical credits). But it is pleasantly nonchalant about such importation: there is no explanation of Stacy Keach’s provenance, and the one overheard snippet of news about Jamie Lee Curtis being the runaway heiress daughter of an American diplomat is so perfunctory as to be derisory. More to the point, of course, is Ms. Curtis’ provenance as a daughter of Psycho, and Richard Franklin moves confidently into John Carpenter/Brian De Palma territory with a plot that is sort of Rear Window-on-wheels. That he doesn’t, after an encouraging exposition, pull it off is largely because the film continues to make all the right noises but hardly any of the right connections. […] [T]he level at which the film is working is aptly summed up by the fact that Keach’s quarry, who proves in the end to be exactly the kind of cardboard psychotic villain he is set up as at the beginning, is played by the film’s stunt co-ordinator. His function might generously be termed that of the McGuffin; except that the film in its entirety seems to be nothing but McGuffin. – from a review by Richard Combs



  • Cinefantastique vol.11 no.2 (Autumn 1981) p.50 – review
  • Cinema Papers no.28 (August/September 1980) pp.239-241, 292, 296; 243-246, 299 – interview; interview
  • Cinema Papers no.33 (July/August 1981) pp.288-289 – review
  • Empire no.226 (April 2008) P.140 – illustrated DVD review (At home/DVD new: Dungeon Breakout: Roadgames by Kim Newman)
  • Fangoria no.225 (August 2003) p.63 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon: Road Games by Matthew Kiernan)
  • Films vol.2 no.7 (June 1982) pp.36,39 – review
  • Films and Filming no.33 (June 1982) pp.32-33 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.49 no.580 (May 1982) p.91 – credits, synopsis, review (by Richard Combs)
  • Photoplay vol.32 no.8 (August 1981) pp.64-65 – review
  • Screen International no.231 (8-15 March 1980) p.9 – illustrated note (World desk news: Australia: Avco backs ‘Road Games’ upfront by Raymond Stanley)
  • Screen International no.249 (12 July 1980) pp.8; 15 – illustrated article (Production Australia: Playing Games in the Outback by Raymond Stanley); illustrated note (World news desk: Australia: Group’s profits climb by 12% by Raymond Stanley)
  • Screen International no.339 (17 April 1982) pp.20; 288-289 – note; review
  • Starburst no.47 (1982) pp.12-13 – review
  • Variety 4 June 1980 p.32 – credits
  • Variety 18 February 1981 pp.18, 20 – credits, review


  • Australian Film 1978-1994: A Survey of Theatrical Features compiled and edited by Scott Murray p.85 – illustrated credits, synopsis
  • Australian Horror Films 1973-2010 by Peter Shelley pp.63-68 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Film Review 1982-1983 by F. Maurice Speed (ed.) p.162 – credits, review
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.483
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.274-276 – credits, synopsis, review