Businessmen on Sunset Strip object to the influx of hippies, who they say are damaging their businesses, resulting in the passage of a 10:00 PM curfew. Young people protest the curfew, which they want changed to 12:00. Walt Lorimer (Aldo Ray), the chief of police, considers himself the ally of the young people and tries to discourage violence, until his estranged teenage daughter Andy Dollier (Mimsy Farmer) gets mixed up in the scene.
Riot on Sunset Strip contains examples of:
- And Starring: The opening credits begin with "Starring."
- Contemplating Your Hands: During her acid trip, Andy intently studies her hands and feet.
- Cool Car: Andy's acquaintance Grady Toss (Tim Rooney) proudly shows off his new convertible.
- Could This Happen to You?: "Our story starts on the campus of an ordinary high school. It could be in your town or mine. With ordinary kids like yours or mine."
- Disappeared Dad: Lorimer hasn't talked to Andy in four years. He doesn't even know where she and her mother live - the court fowards his child support checks to them.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Andy's mother is a raging alcoholic, which she says is because of the horrible suffering she's been through. She never specifies exactly what happened to her.
- Laughing Mad: Andy laughs hysterically after her rape.
- Messy Hair: Andy messes up her own hair during her trip.
- Modesty Bedsheet: After her rape, Andy lies in bed with a bedsheet pulled up to her shoulders, although her sides are still visible.
- Never Trust a Title: No riot actually occurs onscreen.
- Police Brutality: Lorimer loses control and punches Andy's rapists at the hospital.
- Scare 'Em Straight: One woman asks the police officers to lock up her daughters for the night so they won't break curfew again, but the station is full.
- Sexy Backless Outfit: Andy's friend Liz-Ann Barbrey (Laurie Mock) wears a backless green dress during the party.
- Slipping a Mickey: At a party, Herbie (Schuyler Hayden) slips an LSD sugar cube into Andy's soda pop. Once she's properly out of it he drags her upstairs, where he, his friend Donnie (Tony Benson), and three other boys rape her.
- Waving Signs Around: The protestors wave signs with various hippie slogans. After Lorimer's assault on the rapists, they start waving anti-police signs like "Peace, not police!"