Born in New York City, Monte Hellman began his career under the tutelage of producer Roger Corman who produced his first film, Beast from Haunted Cave, in 1959. This was followed by The Terror (1963), Flight to Fury (1964) and Back Door to Hell (1964). In 1965 Hellman directed the cult Jack Nicholson-starring “acid western” films Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting back-to-back. This was followed by one of his most critically acclaimed films, the road movie Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) which became a cult classic. Hellman also directed Cockfighter (1974), the western China 9, Liberty 37 (1978), Inside the Coppola Personality (1981), Iguana (1988), Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out! (1989), and Road to Nowhere (2010).
He also served as second unit director for The Big Red One (1980) and RoboCop (1987), as well as shooting additional footage for A Fistful of Dollars (1964). He also served as executive producer on Quentin Tarantino’s debut feature Reservoir Dogs (1992).