Despite receiving negative reviews and little money from audiences during it’s initial release, the 1989 Patrick Swayze vehicle Road House has since become a cult classic for a variety of reasons. While some of these reasons, such as the film’s intense action and campy attitude, might seem obvious, other reasons are more obscure. Join Facts Verse as we take a look at huge details you missed in Road House.
Road House might not have been successful during it’s initial release, but it has since become regarded as a cult classic and is perhaps the most popular film from Patrick Swayze’s career. The film came soon after the success of Dirty Dancing, and it’s drastically different tone put off holdover audiences from that film. As compared to Dirty Dancing, Road House was much closer to a Chuck Norris vehicle. The film had a campy atmosphere, although it was debatable whether the atmosphere was intentional or not.
In addition to Patrick Swayze, Road House also featured a memorable performance from Western film legend Sam Elliott. Patrick played the character of Dalton, and Sam played the character of Wade Garrett. In the film, Wade serves as a mentor to Dalton, who subsequently uses his mentor’s wisdom to help him take down the bad guys. The film sees Dalton as a famous bouncer that’s tasked with eliminating the scum from a dingy bar called the Double Deuce. Dalton proves too effective at the job, and he soon catches the ire of the area’s local criminal underworld that runs the city. However, they prove no match for the town’s new bouncer!
While there are numerous reasons that Road House has stood the test of time despite it’s initial poor reception, some little details may have passed even the most astute observer by. There are many aspects of the film that continue to go unappreciated, and the movie remains a good deal more interesting than critics at the time gave it credit for. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting facts that not even the film’s biggest fans might know!
Dalton’s 3 Rules Were Used in Actual Police Training
Of course, Road House fans will likely easily be able to recite the three rules that Patrick Swayze’s character of Dalton instates upon his team of bouncers to make sure that the situation always stays under control. Those three rules are to expect the unexpected, take it outside the bar when things get out of control, and to be nice when the situation allows it!
While the exercise that the New York Police Department did that incorporated Road House’s three rules may have been slightly tongue in cheek, it’s still notable that the event even occurred at all. The three rules were snuck into a training seminar during a specific training exercise, and it added some much-needed levity for the officers.
A Real Kickboxer Trained Patrick Swayze
One of the reasons that Road House has stood the test of time so well despite it’s campy atmosphere is the fact that it’s fight scenes feature some serious action. A big part of why the action from Road House remains so intense is that a legitimate kickboxing expert was hired to train the film’s actors, including Patrick Swayze. That kickboxer is a man named Benny Urquidez, who later went on to work on the 1994 film Street Fighter, adapted from the popular video game of the sme name.
While having experienced trainers on hand wasn’t exactly anything new for an action film, it is notable that Benny went on to claim that Patrick was such a natural at kickboxing that he had recommended the Hollywood star make a change of careers and start trying out competitive kickboxing instead. Patrick was no stranger to intense physical performance, as his background in dancing was a big part of what allowed him to get his breakout role in the film Dirty Dancing.
The Actors, Including Patrick, Performed Their Own Stunts
Patrick put his kickboxing training for the film to good use, as he ended up performing all of his own stunts on the picture. The rest of the cast performed their own stunts, as well, though most of the actors playing in roles that required a good deal of stunt work were hired specifically for their experiences as stuntmen. The film’s respect for it’s stuntmen is one of the reasons that it has gone on to have such a massive cult following decades after it’s release.
Patrick Swayze performing his own fight scenes granted Road House a level of grit and realism that stood out to the audience – at least in the film’s action scenes. The film’s dramatic scenes, however, were anything but realistic, and caught the ire of pretty much everyone who saw them back in the day. Despite this, modern audiences have learned to embrace the film’s cheese factor while appreciating it’s intense action.
During Patrick’s young adult years, he had sustained an injury while playing college football that haunted him for the remainder of his life. Patrick fought through the sustained effects of this injury while filming his stunts in Road House. In addition to choreographing Road House, Benny Urquidez had also choreographed several early Jackie Chan features.
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Annette Bening Was Originally Meant to Play Doc
Road House fans will know that Kelly Lynch played the role of Doc in the film, but this wasn’t initially supposed to be the case. The original actress that had been hired to play the character was Annette Bening. As legend has it, Annette was fired from the film early on due to the insistence of would-be costar Patrick Swayze, who simply felt that he couldn’t muster any chemistry with the actress.
After Annette Bening was booted from the film, actress Kelly Lynch was then brought on to take her place. It remains doubtful whether or not Patrick and Kelly had any legitimate chemistry in the film or whether the chemistry between Patrick and Annette would’ve been better or worse. However, Road House fans have certainly come to appreciate all that Kelly Lynch brought to the role of Doc.
Things ended up turning out fine for Annette, as she was later given a star-making role in the film The Grifters. Performing in Road House would’ve arguably only dampened Annette’s career prospects, so it remains doubtful that the actress has any ill will towards Patrick for the incident that occurred so many decades ago. However, she may have some ill will about the fact that she was denied an Academy Award win for her performance in The Grifters when she lost to Whoopi Goldberg for her performance alongside Patrick Swayze in the 1990 feature Ghost.
Kelly Lynch Researched Her Role
Although Kelly Lynch wasn’t originally meant to play the character of Doc, she still ended up making the character her own. The actress supposedly underwent weeks of medical training before filming her role in the film. Some of this training involved extensive work with stitches, which made Kelly incredibly angry when her character in the film used a staple gun instead of traditional stitching tools.
While Kelly Lynch put a lot of work into Road House, her husband has some qualms about her performance in the film. Kelly married writer Mitch Glazer in 1992. Mitch is friends with Bill Murray, and has shared that anytime Bill catches Road House on television, he will call Mitch up and remind him of the bizarre sex scene featured in the movie between Patrick Swayze and Mitch’s wife.
Patrick Swayze Sang on the Film’s Soundtrack
Patrick didn’t just act in the film Road House, but he also sang several songs on it’s soundtrack. Patrick had done the same previously with Dirty Dancing, but it made much less sense given Road House’s tone. Road House’s soundtrack also featured the Jeff Healey Band, and the actual band could even be seen performing in the Double Deuce.
The Film Features a Former Bodyguard of Elvis’
Road House is also notable for giving one of Elvis’ former bodyguards the biggest entertainment role of his career. That man was Robert Gene West, better known as Red West. Red West had served as Elvis’ loyal bodyguard for a period of time before quitting his position due to his distaste for his employer’s increasing drug abuse. It was Elvis that helped Red get his start in the entertainment industry. Red had initially started working in the entertainment industry as a stuntman, but received a small legitimate dramatic role in Road House as the owner of the trashed auto parts store.
The Characters Are Named After Cowboys
While Road House features Western legend Sam Elliott, that’s not the only thing that ties the film to Western classics of the past. The film pays some massive respects to the Wild West in the naming of it’s characters, with many of them being named after notable figures from Wild West history. Sam Elliott’s character of Wade Garrett was named after Pat Garrett, who was the sheriff that killed Billy the Kid. The character of Doc can be seen as having been named in tribute to Doc Holiday, and the Double Deuce’s owner, Tilghman, was named after a famed Oklahoman lawman by the name of Bill Tilghman. Finally, Road House’s main antagonist, Brad Wesley, was named after a notorious Wild West bandit by the name of John Wesley Hardin.
Road House Didn’t End in 1989
Although Road House wasn’t the biggest box office success, it’s subsequent cult status allowed it to be revived in a variety of ways. For one thing, the film was given a direct-to-video sequel in 2006, though the film seemed to have fairly little to do with the original. Patrick Swayze didn’t return, and the film instead focused on a different actor playing a character that was supposed to be the son of Patrick’s Dalton.
Although the direct-to-video sequel to Road House wasn’t a very big hit with fans, the original film was later adapted into an off-Broadway musical that was! As well, talks of a 2016 reboot starring wrestler Ronda Rousey were being kicked around, although nothing seems to have ever come of it.
Although Road House wasn’t the biggest success during it’s initial release, it has arguably gone on to outlive many of Patrick’s more successful features. Comment down below to share if there’s any trivia we missed or if you were shocked to learn any of the aforementioned details about the film. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!