Steven Spielberg had not yet directed a feature film — just some episodic TV work and a segment of the inaugural episode of Night Gallery — when he was handed the job of helming this crackerjack suspense picture, another telefilm adaptation of a Richard Matheson story. Dennis Weaver was cast as David Mann, a motorist on a business trip whose tense encounters with a Peterbilt tanker truck result in a classic battle of man (or Mann) against machine on a California highway. The film so impressed Universal brass that not only was it expanded and distributed to European theaters, but it got Spielberg his next job, directing another road movie: the Goldie Hawn vehicle The Sugarland Express. What’s more, its experiments with unseen horror (the truck’s driver remains a mystery) proved fine practice for Jaws four years later.
Those are just a few of our favorite made-for-TV flicks — what are yours?