The Info List - The Stunt Man

The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
is a 1980 American film directed by Richard Rush, starring Peter O'Toole, Steve Railsback, and Barbara Hershey.[2] The movie was adapted by Lawrence B. Marcus and Rush from the 1970 novel of the same name by Paul Brodeur. It tells the story of a young fugitive who hides as a stunt double on the set of an anti-war movie whose charismatic director will do seemingly anything for the sake of his art. It was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Actor in a Leading Role (Peter O'Toole), Best Director (Richard Rush), and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. However, due to its limited release, it never earned much attention from audiences at large.[3] As O'Toole remarked in a DVD audio commentary, "The film wasn't released. It escaped."[4]


1 Plot 2 Production 3 Reception 4 Awards

4.1 Nominations

5 Home media 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Plot[edit] Cameron is a young veteran running from the police. He stumbles onto the set of a World War I
World War I
movie and isn't sure if he has accidentally caused the death of one of the film's stunt men. The eccentric and autocratic director, Eli Cross, agrees to hide Cameron from the police if he will take the dead man's place. Cameron soon begins to suspect that Cross is putting him in excessive danger. At a bar one night, another member of the production gets drunk and tells Cameron that Eli almost killed the helicopter pilot during the fatal accident Cameron caused because he insisted he keep flying in order to get the shot. Cameron falls in love with Nina Franklin, the film's star, and is devastated to find out that she and Eli slept together before he met her. The boundaries between reality and fiction become increasingly blurred as Cross exercises godlike control over the production. During a screening of some footage for Nina's parents who are visiting the production, a nude sex scene with Nina is shown. Eli appears to be mortified, but allows the footage to play anyway. He waits until Nina is just about to shoot a traumatic scene the next day to tell her that her parents have seen the footage of her naked. It causes her to cry with humiliation, which seems to be the exact emotion Eli needs from her in the scene. The final day of filming involves a complicated stunt where Cameron has to drive a vintage Duesenberg
off a bridge. Nina has two other scenes to shoot as well, but Cameron is convinced Eli will rig the stunt so he will die. He persuades Nina to run away with him, but they are unable to leave the set, which is kept sealed from the neighboring town by the police on Eli's orders. Nina hides in the trunk of the Duesenberg, promising to slip away with Cameron during the stunt. Before the scene is shot, Eli points to the Duesenberg
and explains it is the only copy of the vintage car that the production has. He therefore orders that no one interrupt the filming of the scene once it begins. Cameron is beside himself with anxiety. He keeps trying to check the trunk to see if Nina is there, but finally decides that he will find out once he has escaped in the car. When he gets behind the wheel, the police chief asks if the in-car camera is on. Cameron mishears the question "Camera on?" the stunt man starts the car and speeds away before anyone is expecting it. The entire crew springs into action. Eli screams at them to start shooting. Cameron thinks he has escaped when he arrives at the bridge. He gives the finger to the camera, but a crew member triggers a charge which causes a blowout in a front tire. The car swerves off the side of the bridge and into the water. As it sinks, Cameron climbs into the back seat to free Nina from the trunk. Then he sees her standing next to Eli on the bridge, looking down on him. He swims to the bank. Eli descends behind him on a crane, and helps Cameron come to the realization his life was never in danger. Cameron says that the stunt is the hardest $1,000 he has ever made. Eli corrects Cameron, saying the pay for the stunt is only $650. Cameron becomes enraged, insisting he was promised $1,000. Eli laughs at him and offers to split the difference at $750. He flies off in the helicopter, leaving Cameron screaming at him. Production[edit] During the early 1970s, Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
owned film rights to the novel, with Arthur Penn
Arthur Penn
and François Truffaut
François Truffaut
considered for directing it. Columbia offered the film to Richard Rush on the strength of the success of his previous film, Getting Straight.[5] Rush initially rejected, then ultimately accepted directing The Stunt Man. Rush then penned a 150-page treatment that slightly was different from the book; in the novel, the characters were all crazy, and in the screenplay, they were instead "sane in a world gone mad."[3] Columbia executives then rejected the script, saying it was difficult to find a genre to place it in. Said Rush: "They couldn't figure out if it was a comedy, a drama, if it was a social satire, if it was an action adventure...and, of course, the answer was, 'Yes, it's all those things.' But that isn't a satisfactory answer to a studio executive." Rush then bought the film rights from Columbia and shopped the film to other studios, to no avail. Funding for the picture finally came from Melvin Simon who had made a fortune in real estate.[3] Production took place in 1978. Opening scenes were filmed at Mary Etta's Cafe, Flinn Springs, California. Many scenes were filmed in and around the historic Hotel del Coronado
Hotel del Coronado
in Coronado, California. Peter O'Toole
Peter O'Toole
mentions in his DVD commentary that he based his character on David Lean
David Lean
who directed him in Lawrence of Arabia. Reception[edit] Of The Stunt Man, Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
wrote "there was a great deal in it that I admired... [but] there were times when I felt cheated".[6] He gave the film only two stars but noted that others had "highly recommended" it. In an October 17, 1980, review in The New York Times, Janet Maslin noted "the film's cleverness is aggressive and cool," but concluded that although "the gamesmanship of The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
is fast and furious... gamesmanship is almost all it manages to be".[7] However, Jay Scott called it "[t]he best movie about making a movie ever made, but the achievement merely begins there. ... Imagine a picture an eight-year-old and Wittgenstein could enjoy with equal fervor."[8] Critic Pauline Kael
Pauline Kael
considered it "a virtuoso piece of kinetic moviemaking" and rated it one of year's best films.[9] She called O'Toole's comic performance "peerless". The film received an 89% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes
based on 37 reviews.[citation needed] Awards[edit]

Montreal World Film
Festival – Grand Prix des Amériques (Best Film) for Richard Rush Golden Globe awards
Golden Globe awards
– Best Original Score for Dominic Frontiere National Society of Film
Critics Awards – Best Actor for Peter O'Toole

Nominations[edit] The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
received three Academy Award
Academy Award

Best Actor – Peter O'Toole Best Director – Richard Rush Best Adapted Screenplay – Lawrence B. Marcus, Richard Rush

Home media[edit] The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
was released on DVD on November 20, 2001 in two versions by Anchor Bay Entertainment. The first version is a standard release featuring two deleted scenes and a commentary by director Richard Rush. The second version is a limited edition (100,000 copies) containing everything from the standard release as well as the 2001 documentary The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man". The film's theme song "Bits & Pieces" is sung by Dusty Springfield. See also[edit]

List of films featuring fictional films


^ The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
at Box Office Mojo ^ Variety film review;June 11, 1980 page 20 ^ a b c Paul Tatara. "The Stunt Man: Overview Article". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2010-08-29.  ^ Almar Haflidason. " The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
DVD (1980)". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2007-10-28.  ^ ROAD TO CINEMA - RICHARD RUSH - Director/Screenwriter PART 2. Jog Road Productions. ^ Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
(November 7, 1980). "The Stunt Man". rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2007-10-28.  ^ Janet Maslin (1980-10-17). "The Stunt Man". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-03.  ^ Scott, Jay (1980-11-22). "Movies". The Globe and Mail. p. C7.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Pauline Kael. "The Stunt Man". geocities.com. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2007-10-28. 

External links[edit]

The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
on IMDb The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
at the TCM Movie
Database The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
at Rotten Tomatoes Official website "The Stunt Man". TV Tropes. 

v t e

The films of Richard Rush


Too Soon to Love
Too Soon to Love
(1960) Of Love and Desire
Of Love and Desire
(1963) A Man Called Dagger
A Man Called Dagger
(1967) Thunder Alley (1967) Hells Angels on Wheels
Hells Angels on Wheels
(1967) The Fickle Finger of Fate (1967) Psych-Out
(1968) The Savage Seven
The Savage Seven
(1968) Getting Straight
Getting Straight
(1970) Freebie and the Bean
Freebie and the Bean
(1974) The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
(1980) Color of Night
Color of Night
(1994) The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man"
The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man"


Air America (1990, co-writer)

v t e

Grand Prix des Amériques


Ligabue (1978) 1+1=3 (1979) The Stunt Man
The Stunt Man
/ Fontamara (1980) The Chosen (1981) Brimstone and Treacle (1982) The Go Masters (1983) El Norte (1984) Padre nuestro (1985) Betty Blue
Betty Blue
(1986) Kenny (1987) The Reader (1988) Freedom Is Paradise (1989) Fallen from Heaven (1990) Salmonberries (1991) The Dark Side of the Heart (1992) Betrayal (1993) Once Were Warriors (1994) Georgia (1995) Different for Girls
Different for Girls
(1996) Children of Heaven
Children of Heaven
(1997) The Quarry / Full Moon (1998) The Color of Paradise
The Color of Paradise
(1999) The Taste of Others
The Taste of Others
/ Innocence (2000)


Baran / Abandoned (2001) The Best Day of My Life (2002) The Cordon (2003) The Syrian Bride
The Syrian Bride
(2004) Off Screen
Off Screen
(2005) A Long Walk / The Greatest Love of All (2006) Ben X
Ben X
/ A Secret
A Secret
(2007) Departures (2008) Korkoro
(2009) Oxygen (2010) Come as You Are (2011) Where the Fire Burns (2012) Life Feels Good
Life Feels Good
(2013) Perfect Obedience (2014) Mad

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