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The Greatest American Hero (1981–1983)

TV Series  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,707 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 26 critic

A teacher is asked to be a superhero using a special alien suit with powers he can barely understand or control.

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3   2   1  
1986   1983   1982   1981  
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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A feature version of the classic 1980s TV show.



Complete series cast summary:
 Ralph Hinkley / ... (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
 Bill Maxwell (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
 Pam Davidson / ... (41 episodes, 1981-1986)
 Tony Villicana (30 episodes, 1981-1983)
 Rhonda Blake (28 episodes, 1981-1982)
 Cyler Johnson / ... (21 episodes, 1981-1983)
Don Cervantes ...
 Paco Rodriguez (20 episodes, 1981-1983)


A pair of strangers, liberal high-school teacher Ralph Hinkley and right-wing FBI agent Bill Maxwell, have a close encounter in the Southern California desert one night with "little green men", who give our heroes a red superhero suit. The suit works only for Ralph, and the two, accompanied by Ralph's cute lawyer girlfriend Pam, reluctantly team up to battle criminals. Problems ensue when Ralph loses the suit's instruction book, so he had to master the suit's powers on his own. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What America needs is a super hero. What America got was Ralph Hinkley!


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

18 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran héroe americano  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (43 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The series was parodied in an episode of Robot Chicken (2005), "Yancy the Yo-Yo Boy". See more »


Bill Maxwell: C'mon... You'll do it for Bill. Old Uncle Bill. Old Uncle Wild Bill. Who loves ya, baby? Eh?
Pam Davidson: You're over-doing it "Uncle Bill"
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits of the pilot "Greatest American Heroine", the three-note NBC theme is heard as the letters "i-n-e" appear one at a time on screen. (An in-joke as NBC was the network the series was being pitched to at the time) See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Werewolf (1998) See more »


Believe It or Not
Written by Mike Post & Stephen Geyer
Performed by Joey Scarbury
(theme song)
See more »

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User Reviews

The "Katt" was Cool!
22 July 2005 | by (Phx. Arizona ("Arizona Smells Funny"!- Homer Simpson)) – See all my reviews

I'll keep the review simple,10 stars! Loved it! Have nothing bad to say about this show! (Heck,I still have the 45rpm record of the theme song with the original picture sleeve and Joey Scarbury's album!)

I wasn't too crazy about the fact (at the time) that I had to watch the debut at a local hospital(visiting my grandmother ). I was still 12 when the show debuted and had looked forward to it's premiere and I certainly wasn't disappointed!

William Katt,a dramatic actor who got no respect from critics in the forgotten yet wonderful 1978 dramatic/surfing film "Big Wednesday",didn't get much more respect here but..to all of us who watched this show,he was cool and the "greatest". I'm sure he was just glad to be working...and with "I Spy" vet Robet Culp yet! Not to mention Connie Selleca. (Ralph must've used some smooth line to land her!)

Even though the "green screen" effects are obvious,it doesn't take away from the action one bit. I'll never forget watching Ralph stop a nuclear missile from being launched by simply holding it down with his hands! Pretty darn great effect for that time,not to mention just for TV! It makes me glad to see this come out on DVD,despite the fact there's no conclusion to the series.

I agree,it was unfair to call this kiddie-TV. This is a kind of satirical look at what would really happen if someone on earth got to be a hero. Wheather they asked to be or not. Not surprisingly,choose an earthling....lose the instruction manual! Get the DVD,you wont be sorry (unless you have no sense of humor.)

15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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