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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
All the major American film distributors rejected to distribute this picture. The producers then sneak previewed the picture itself in Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona and Columbus, Ohio. It then played at the Dallas Film Festival, and had test runs in Seattle and a theater near the UCLA campus in Westwood. It then opened in ten Los Angeles theaters in California. After it won the big prize at the Montreal Film Festival, 20th Century Fox picked up the picture for distribution in the USA. See more »
In the closing scene Eli's helicopter takes off as he is talking to Cameron. However, cuts back to close-ups of Eli during the conversation reveal stationary trees behind the helicopters starboard side. See more »
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 »
Revered as one of the greatest "cult" films of all time I recently saw it and most of my expectations were met. Steven Railsback plays a character named Cameron. A former Vietnam veteran and fugitive on the lam. At the begining of the film we see him being pursued by the police after he is spotted in a restaurant. Cameron while being chased accidentally stumbles onto a movie set where a World War I epic is being shot. After almost being killed by a stunt man on a bridge by a car Cameron picks up an object and throws it at the windshield of the vehicle causing it to swerve off the bridge and fall into a nearby river. A helicopter suddenly descends in front of Cameron. Inside it are the filmcrew documenting the bridge scene with it's director Eli Cross ( Peter O'Toole) starring at Cameron and what has happened. Cameron flees from the scene as the helicopter soars away. Eventually Eli Cross meets up with Cameron and convinces him to replace the stunt man or Cross will turn him into the police. Cameron has little choice. Thus begins the main characters harrowing journey.
The Stunt Man is a complex and multilayered film. It requires multiple viewings in order to catch all of the subtleties and nuances. As the film progresses we see Cameron placed into various stunt scenes, each one more dangerous than the last. Is Eli Cross trying to kill him? The film is a fascinating battle of psychological mind games. Cameron's perception of reality becomes skewed with the fantasy world of filmmaking as he becomes less able to distinguish until the final frame. We the viewer are also constantly confused as the film makes many unpredictable twists and turns with it's convoluted plot. Peter O'Toole is perfect as the flamboyant, megalomanical filmmaker. No one else could to the role justice and bring that much class to the part. Barbara Hershey is also good as the lead actress of Eli Cross' film who becomes romantically involved with Cameron. I have many favorite scenes from the movie. Especially the crash course in stunt work Cameron is given by the lead stunt man played by Chuck Bail, a real life former stunt man. Director Rush has seamlessly balanced pathos with humor to create a unique film of epic proportions. It is a film that the viewer must discipline oneself in order to watch.....but what a payoff.
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