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The Stunt Man (1980)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Drama  |  25 February 1981 (France)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 6,596 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 66 critic

A fugitive stumbles on a movie set just when they need a new stunt man, takes the job as a way to hide out, and falls for the leading lady.



(screenplay), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Stunt Man (1980)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam (as Allen Goorwitz)
Raymond Bailey
Philip Bruns ...
Charles Bail ...
Gabe / Eli's cameraman
Jim Hess ...
Henry / Eli's camera assistant
John Pearce ...
Garage Guard (as John B. Pearce)
Michael Railsback ...
George Wallace ...
Father (as George D. Wallace)
Dee Carroll ...


While on the run from the police, Steve Railsback hides in a group of moviemakers where he pretends to be a stunt man. Both aided and endangered by the director (Peter O'Toole) he avoids both the police and sudden death as a stuntman. The mixture of real danger and fantasy of the movie is an interesting twist for the viewer as the two blend in individual scenes. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You're never more vulnerable than when you know too much. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 February 1981 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le diable en boîte  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)


SEK 1,815,060 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to 'Movies on TV and Videocassette', "Director-producer 'Richard Rush' worked on the project for nine years and [then] had to wait two years after the film was completed in 1978 to get it released". See more »


One minute, Cameron is on a bridge in the town of Fair Oaks, California, and Eli Cross is in a helicopter observing him. Then, inexplicably, they're all in San Diego, California, over 100 miles to the southwest. See more »


Eli Cross: How tall is King Kong?
Cameron: [shouting] Three foot six and that's what you're gonna be if you don't pay my thousand dollars!
[Eli laughs]
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits end, the movie-within-a-movie director (played by Peter O'Toole) yells, "Sam, rewrite the opening reel! Crush the little bastard in the first act!" And then he laughs during the fade-out. See more »


References King Kong (1933) See more »


Bits & Pieces
Music by Dominic Frontiere
Lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Sung by Dusty Springfield
See more »

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User Reviews

A true original comedy that wouldn't get made today.
27 August 1999 | by (Stockton, California) – See all my reviews

This is a very funny and entertaining movie that doesn't fit into any one category. It's about a slightly crazed movie director who is making a WW1 movie in Southern California who hires a fugitive to replace his top stuntman. Peter O'Toole gives perhaps his best performance ever as the egomaniacal filmmaker who will do anything, perhaps even murder someone, in order to protect his artistic vision. The underrated Steve Railsback is good also as the paranoid Vietnam vet turned fugitive from the law. The action scenes are very funny and well-done, especially the rooftop chase. The music score is appropriately clever and matches what's happening on screen. Real-life stunt man Chuck Bail has a good part as a stunt coordinator who shows Railsback the ropes. The editing techniques help blur the line between reality and make-believe. The film is a bit too long, though, and some key scenes go on longer than necessary. These are minor complaints, however, because a film like this doesn't get made very often anymore.

39 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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