Moving Violations

Moving Violations is a 1985 comedy film starring John Murray, Jennifer Tilly, Brian Backer, Sally Kellerman, Nedra Volz, Clara Peller, Wendie Jo Sperber and Fred Willard. It was directed by Neal Israel and was the film debut of Don Cheadle.

Moving Violations
Moving Violations movie poster
Directed byNeal Israel
Produced byJoe Roth
Harry J. Ufland
Written byNeal Israel, Pat Proft (screenplay)
Paul Boorstin, Sharon Boorstin (story)
Music byRalph Burns
CinematographyRobert Elswit
Edited byTom Walls
SLM Production Group
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 19, 1985 (1985-04-19)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$10,600,000 (USA)


The film follows a group of people in Birch County, California, a fictionalized city/county which is very similar to real-life Los Angeles, who, after being ticketed for numerous traffic violations, and as a result lose their licenses and driving privileges (and their vehicles impounded), are ordered by Judge Nedra Henderson (Sally Kellerman) to attend a driving course program in order to get their licenses and their vehicles back. However, the assigned teacher for this course, Deputy Henry "Hank" Halik (James Keach), is also conspiring with the judge in a plan to make sure these offenders fail miserably, and at any cost, so they can sell their impounded vehicles. Their actions make one of the offended individuals, landscaper Dana Cannon (John Murray), very suspicious of their scheme and he enlists his fellow students to expose the plot.



The trailer contains several scenes and lines of dialogue that were not in the final film, including a traffic school classroom scene with the offending drivers in which the classroom is much smaller than the one featured in the actual film.


Writer and director Israel himself attended traffic school after having been pulled over by a police officer for doing an illegal U turn.:[1]

I made the mistake of arguing, and that was very foolish because the cop called in and found I had 13 tickets outstanding. Plus I had one moving violation that I'd never settled. I went right to jail and did not collect $200. They put me in a cell with an arsonist. He had just blown somebody up. It was a very unsettling experience. I went to traffic school for a very long time, and I had to go to a whole lot of different courts with different jurisdictions. It was a real hassle. So I suggested the idea of the film to Joe Roth, our producer, and he had just been to traffic school, too, so he thought it was great.[2]

However he says "Traffic school is boring ... I interviewed a lot of people, including a man who owned a traffic school, but all his stories were boring. So we made up everything."[3]

Robert Conrad appeared in the film unbilled as a favor to Pat Proft, who was an old friend. A spokesman from the studio said "We'd describe it as an uncredited star turn. It's no different from Robert de Niro in Brazil or Darren McGavin's part in The Natural, neither of which was mentioned in the credits."[4]


The film was reviewed poorly by Janet Maslin at The New York Times, who described it as an "especially weak teen-age comedy even by today's none-too-high standards."[1] In a later appraisal, David Nusair of wrote that Moving Violations contains "enough laughs to be had here to warrant a mild recommendation."[5]

See also


  1. "SCREEN: 'VIOLATIONS,' A TEEN-AGE COMEDY". New York Times. April 20, 1985.
  2. A BRUSH WITH THE LAW INSPIRED 'VIOLATIONS' Ryan, Desmond. Philadelphia Inquirer; Philadelphia, Pa. 28 Apr 1985: I.2.
  3. VIOLATIONS' NOT A HOT TICKETHurlburt, Roger. Sun Sentinel; Fort Lauderdale 24 Apr 1985: 10.E.
  4. OUTTAKES Los Angeles Times 28 Apr 1985: x30.
  5. Moving Violations,, July 8, 2005.
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