Between his successful indie debut “El Mariachi” and the hit sequel “Desperado,” Robert Rodriguez made a small film called “Roadracers.” Shot in just 13 days, the film was part of a television anthology known as “Rebel Highway,” which enlisted notable directors to take b-movie titles from the 1950s and apply them to original stories. This first installment was set to be directed by Wes Craven, before he dropped out in order to begin work on “New Nightmare.” Rodriguez stepped up in his place and made a fun film that continues to find new audiences decades later.
While set in Texas, most of the film was shot in Whittier, California. The downstairs club where Dude Delaney, played by David Arquette, meets up with Donna, played by Salma Hayek, can be found on Greenleaf Ave in Whittier. The location pops up numerous times over the course of the film. While located on a busy shopping strip, the property currently sits vacant.
LOCATION: 6745 Greenleaf Ave, Whittier, CA 90601
The theater where Dude and Donna pick up Nixer, played by John Hawkes, is the Whittier Village Cinemas, located just up the road. Over twenty years later, the theater is still going strong.
LOCATION: 7038 Greenleaf Ave, Whittier, CA 90602
The theater pops up again later in the film when trio watch the 1956 version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” featuring a cameo from original film star Kevin McCarthey.
Teddy Leather, played by Jason Wiles, rolls up with his crew next to Dude’s car in front of the Nixon Plaza. Dude flicks his cigarette butt, which lands in the hair of the girl in the back seat. Indicative of Rodriguez’s run and gun style of his early career, the same location was used again later in the film, when Teddy’s crew toss beer bottles at Dude.
LOCATION: 13002 Philadelphia St, Whittier, CA 90601
The two cars drag race down Philadelphia St.
LOCATION: Philadelphia St / Greenleaf Ave, Whittier, CA 90601
Donna’s house can be found just across the street from the Whittier Central Park, another location that pops up later in the film.
LOCATION: 6543 Washington Ave, Whittier, CA 90601
The roller rink where Dude greases his hair and spreads it across the floor of the rink was the former Fiesta Roller Rink in San Gabriel. The roller rink closed back in 2003. Some other businesses have since come and gone, but the building currently sits empty.
LOCATION: 136 S San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776
Here’s a look inside.
Dude’s house, which has been slightly remodeled, can be found back in Whittier.
LOCATION: 5919 Redman Ave, Whittier, CA 90606
Along the curb in front of his house, Dude backs his car into the police car of Sarge, played by William Sadler.
As Donna and her friend walk beside Whittier Central Park, Teddy Leather’s crew approaches along Bailey St and Teddy forces himself on Donna. The same area was used again in a later scene, where Sarge gives Teddy a gun.
LOCATION: Near the intersection of Bailey St / Washington Ave, Whittier, CA 90601
Dude and Donna sit on the steps of this gazebo, located at Whittier Central Park.
LOCATION: Central Park, Whittier, CA 90601
Teddy’s crew walks down these steps and challenge Dude.
The final confrontation between Dude and Teddy takes place across from the former Los Portales Mexican restaurant.
LOCATION: 13033 Philadelphia St, Whittier, CA 90601