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Five Minutes to Live (1961)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Music | February 1964 (Austria)
Originally released in 1961 as Five Minutes to Live, this low-budget crime drama was later re-released as Door-to-Door Maniac. Fred narrates the film in flashback, detailing a suburban bank... See full summary »


Bill Karn


Cay Forester (screenplay), Palmer Thompson (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Cash ... Johnny Cabot
Donald Woods ... Ken Wilson
Cay Forester ... Nancy Wilson
Pamela Mason ... Ellen Harcourt
Midge Ware ... Doris Johnson
Vic Tayback ... Fred Dorella
Ron Howard ... Bobby Wilson (as Ronnie Howard)
Merle Travis ... Max
Norma Varden ... Priscilla Auerbach
Leslie Kimmell Leslie Kimmell ... Mr. Johnson (as Leslie Kimmel)
Marge Waller Marge Waller ... Secretary
Patricia Lynn Patricia Lynn ... Gert
Frances Flower Frances Flower ... Irma
Hanna Landy ... Carol
Cynthia Flower Cynthia Flower ... Girl Bowling


Originally released in 1961 as Five Minutes to Live, this low-budget crime drama was later re-released as Door-to-Door Maniac. Fred narrates the film in flashback, detailing a suburban bank robbery that goes awry. In his simple plan, he hires a hard-up hood, Johnny Cabot to take the wife of the bank's vice president hostage. Cabot will hold her until he gets a call alerting him that Fred has been successful in getting ransom money. Cabot waits, and watches the Wilson house as the husband leaves for the bank and their young son heads off to school. Posing as a door-to-door guitar instructor, he forces his way into the house and takes Nancy Wilson hostage. At the bank, Fred talks his way into Ken Wilson's office, and presents his personal check for $70,000, intending that Wilson will withdraw the funds to cover the check as a ransom for his wife. He has Wilson call home to prove that Nancy is being held by the unstable Cabot, and gives Wilson 5 minutes to make his decision. If Fred ... Written by msb/lll

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HOW MUCH WOULD A WOMAN PAY TO PUSH BACK THE CLOCK? (original print ad-all caps) See more »


Crime | Drama | Music | Thriller


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

February 1964 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Door-to-Door Maniac See more »


Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Also known as Door To Door Killer. See more »


[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »


Johnny Cabot: I like a messy bed.
See more »


Remade as Five Minutes to Live See more »


Five Minutes To Live
Written by Johnny Cash
Sung by Johnny Cash (uncredited)
Solo Guitar by Merle Travis (as Merl Travis)
See more »

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User Reviews

Entirely watchable B-grade novelty.
2 June 2003 | by EyeAskanceSee all my reviews

FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE/DOOR-TO-DOOR MANIAC is a modest little potboiler, but for all it's worth, it's not at all bad. Fact is, there's a tense and very cleverly thought-out idea at the crux of this, which, at a glance, would appear to be a rather ordinary, assembly-line B crime picture.

Something of a cult favorite today, chiefly for it's inclusion of Johnny Cash as a sociopathic thief/killer, one of a mottle who embark on a killing spree in a small U.S. town, ringing doorbells of random homes, then slaughtering whomever answers. Cash's performance has a neophyte charm, but is delightfully weird(and he even manages to sneak his musical talents in a few times). In my personal opinion, though, this is Vic Tayback's show all the way...a sadly underrated character player, he shines in his role as a joyless, hard-as-nails crook.

A worthy slice of vintage Americana, blemished slightly by a wispy finale. Still, this should be a rewarding watch for many, and especially so for trivia lovers who might be curious to see early appearances by Rue McClannahan and Ronnie Howard.


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