A teacher is asked to be a superhero using a special alien suit with powers he can barely understand or control.
Reviews
Popularity
938 ( 766)

Watch Now

on Amazon Video

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... 

B.J. and the Bear (1978–1981)
Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 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
Bosom Buddies (1980–1982)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two young single ad men must disguise themselves as women to live in the one apartment they can afford.

Stars: Tom Hanks, Peter Scolari, Donna Dixon
Fantasy Island (1977–1984)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Accounts of visitors to a unique resort island in the Pacific Ocean that can fulfill literally any fantasy requested, but rarely turn out as expected.

Stars: Ricardo Montalban, Hervé Villechaize, Christopher Hewett
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 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
Simon & Simon (1981–1989)
Action | Mystery | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two brothers of disparate tastes and manners run a private detective agency.

Stars: Gerald McRaney, Jameson Parker, Mary Carver
CHiPs (1977–1983)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The adventures of two California Highway Patrol motorcycle officers.

Stars: Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Robert Pine
The Incredible Hulk (1978–1982)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A fugitive scientist has the curse of becoming a powerful green monster under extreme emotional stress.

Stars: Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Jack Colvin
The Dukes of Hazzard (1979–1985)
Action | 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
The Bionic Woman (1976–1978)
Action | Sci-Fi | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After fully recovering from her near fatal bout of bionic rejection, Jaime Sommers, the first female cyborg, is assigned to spy missions of her own.

Stars: Lindsay Wagner, Richard Anderson, Martin E. Brooks
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, Joe Santos
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
Charlie's Angels (1976–1981)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The adventures of three sexy female private eyes.

Stars: Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith
Edit

Cast

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)
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

Although DC Comics tried to sue the producers for copying Superman, the show's premise is closer to that of another DC Comics character, Green Lantern, who was given a power ring by an alien to become a superhero. 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 Homestarrunner.com: Everything Else, Volume 2 (2006) 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.


18 of 19 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
Can we all please agree... shalmo
The rest of the world? unclesatan
An idea for 2012 instead ofdreaded reboots GimplyGump
Help with episode njny99
Spanish DVDs aheckel
Discuss The Greatest American Hero (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page