The Greatest American Hero (1981–1983)

TV Series  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,542 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 26 critic

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

0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

on Amazon Instant Video

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 13 Jul 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 24 Feb 2012
 
a list of 34 titles
created 26 Oct 2012
 
a list of 30 titles
created 20 May 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Greatest American Hero (1981–1983)

The Greatest American Hero (1981–1983) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Greatest American Hero.

User Polls

Episodes

Seasons


Years



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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Hotel (1983–1988)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The elegant St. Gregory Hotel in San Francisco is the setting for a string of distinct plots, usually romantic, often involving famous guest stars for an episode or two. Victoria Cabot runs... See full summary »

Stars: James Brolin, Connie Sellecca, Nathan Cook
House (1986)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A troubled writer moves into a haunted house after inheriting it from his aunt.

Director: Steve Miner
Stars: William Katt, Kay Lenz, George Wendt
Hardcastle and McCormick (1983–1986)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A retired judge and his last defendant follow up on cases that were dismissed due to technicalities.

Stars: Brian Keith, Daniel Hugh Kelly, John Hancock
The Fall Guy (1981–1986)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The adventures of a film stunt performer who moonlights as a bounty hunter when movie work is slow.

Stars: Lee Majors, Douglas Barr, Heather Thomas
Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A 20th century astronaut is revived out of 500 years of suspended animation to become the greatest hero of a future Earth.

Stars: Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Felix Silla
Rick's Parking (TV Movie 2014)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

Rick's Parking follows four bumbling friends and their escapades while working for one of their uncles Valet company.

Director: Josh Tessier
Stars: Chris Jai Alex, Giovanni Bejarano, Gui DaSilva-Greene
The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–1985)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The adventures of the fast-drivin', rubber-burnin' Duke boys of Hazzard County.

Stars: Tom Wopat, John Schneider, Catherine Bach
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After a crippled test pilot is rebuilt with nuclear powered limbs and implants, he serves as a unique intelligence agent.

Stars: Lee Majors, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks
The Greatest American Hero (TV Series 2008)
Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Stars: Brad Heller, Josh Kirby, Milton Lawrence
Short | Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A revamp of the successful '80s television series by Stephen J. Cannell, where an ordinary school teacher is given superhuman powers after receiving a super-suit by aliens. Unfortunately he... See full summary »

Director: Mitch Yapko
Stars: Allen Rueckert, Don Stark, Brittany Ross
Comedy

A feature version of the classic 1980s TV show.

B.J. and the Bear (1978–1981)
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A trucker and his pet monkey travel the highways of America, getting into various adventures and misadventures along the way.

Stars: Greg Evigan, Eric Server, Linda McCullough
Edit

Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Ralph Hinkley / ... (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
...
 Bill Maxwell (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
...
 Pam Davidson / ... (41 episodes, 1981-1986)
Don Cervantes ...
 Paco Rodriguez (23 episodes, 1981-1983)
...
 Rhonda Blake (22 episodes, 1981-1982)
...
 Tony Villicana (21 episodes, 1981-1983)
...
 Cyler Johnson / ... (19 episodes, 1981-1983)
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran héroe americano  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (43 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ralph's surname was changed near the end of the first season from Hinkley to Hanley because of the name's negative connection with John Hinckley (the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981). Ralph's last name was changed back to Hinkley in the first episode of Season 2 ("The Two Hundred Mile an Hour Fastball"), after the furor over his name subsided. Interestingly enough, the unaired 1986 "Greatest American Heroine" pilot includes a scene in which Ralph Hinkley meets the President of the United States (who was still Ronald Reagan in real-life 1986). See more »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Warmth and 80's magic...
25 May 2004 | by (Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

The Greatest American Hero was one of the best concepts for a TV show that I have ever seen, and certainly the most unique take on the superhero genre. The show had charm, lighthearted fun, and was full of 80's magic. I can still remember watching this show back in the early 80's and when Ralph first tried to fly that red suit. He couldn't get it, and some little kid that saw him struggling gave him some advice. Now see, that's the kind of magic that TV shows in the 80's had. TV wasn't afraid of putting out a hero that got advice on how to fly from a goofy little kid. Ralph Hinkley (played by William Katt) was just a regular guy, a young high school teacher that wanted to make a difference. Then one night he is approached by aliens out in the desert, teamed up with a gung-ho FBI agent, and given a spectacular red suit styled in the classic superhero design of cape and longjohns.

Unfortunately poor Ralph promptly loses the instruction book to the suit, and must learn the suit powers through trial and error. Connie Sellecca played Hinkley's girlfriend Pam, I seem to recall later in the show they were married. I also remember that Ralph got another instruction book, only to lose it again. And if I remember correctly, this show was only on for a brief 2 years and had 3 seasons. I don't know why the network prematurely cancelled this series, the show sadly never got to live up to it's full potential. I think it only clocked in around 44 or 45 episodes because the network pulled the plug on it so soon. The low episode number is probably why we don't get the luxury of seeing TGAH on Sci-Fi channel, WGN, TBS, or TV Land. Even with only 2 years of episodes, this series is still fondly remembered by many as a part of 80's magic.


17 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Time for The Greatest American Hero on the Big Screen!! zatara74
The rest of the world? unclesatan
An idea for 2012 instead ofdreaded reboots GimplyGump
Can we all please agree... shalmo
Help with episode njny99
Ralph's Son thegoddesserin-1
Discuss The Greatest American Hero (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page