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Is The Fall Guy Based on a TV Show? What to Know About the Original Fall Guy

The premise is the same but the stunts are way bigger!

By Cassidy Ward

Movies are massive creative endeavors involving hundreds or thousands of people working together to tell a story. Only a handful of stars and working actors get screen time while the countless grips, production assistants, set designers, and stunt people go largely uncelebrated. Every action flick you’ve ever seen, every flipped car and hair-singing explosion, was the work of an unknown stunt person risking their lives for your entertainment. The Fall Guy tells the story not of the action stars on the movie posters, but of the stuntmen who made them stars and made audiences cheer.

What began as a television series in the early ‘80s is getting the big screen treatment with a high-octane feature film adaptation starring Ryan Gosling (Barbie) and Emily Blunt (Oppenheimer). Before you settle down in the theater with your oversized popcorn and gallon of soda, here’s everything you need to know about The Fall Guy and the television series that inspired it.

Lee Majors takes Judith Chapman out of a car on the fall guy

Is The Fall Guy Movie Based on the 1980's TV Show?

The Fall Guy television series premiered November 4, 1981, and ran for 5 seasons on ABC, ending May 2, 1986. It starred Lee Majors as Colt Seavers, stuntman by day and bounty hunter by night. Seavers uses the skills he’s acquired on countless Hollywood sets to catch bad guys in high-adrenaline ways.

RELATED: Who’s Who in The Fall Guy? Breaking Down the Stacked Cast Led by Ryan Gosling & Emily Blunt

On set, Seavers always gets the shot and on the street, he always gets the bad guy, but he never gets the girl. He is fated forever to be the fall guy, supporting the leading man but never becoming him. The show’s premise is outlined nicely by the lyrics of its theme song, performed by Lee Majors himself. It goes, in part, “I’ve been on fire with Sally Field, gone fast with a girl named Bo, but somehow, they just don’t end up as mine … I might fall from a tall building, I might roll a brand-new car, ‘cause I’m the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star.”

The show ran for 113 episodes, each running about 45 minutes, during which Seavers helped make movies and catch bad guys with his only real superpower: the ability to take a punch.

Adapting The Fall Guy From 1980s TV to the Big Screen

Director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde) heralded The Fall Guy from small to silver screen with a script from Drew Pearce (Hobbs & Shaw). Gosling takes over stuntman duties from Majors as Colt Seavers and Blunt plays his ex-romantic partner and film director Jody Moreno.

Seavers is a stuntman past his prime. He gets a gig running stunts on the set of his ex’s new movie when action star Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) goes missing. Suddenly, Seavers has to step out of the shadows to become the hero. Fortunately, he has help from the likes of Winston Duke (Us), Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso), and Stephanie Ann Hsu (Everything, Everywhere, All at Once).

If he hopes to rescue Ryder, save the movie, and just maybe get the girl for once, he’s going to need every trick in his bag of stunts, and the world’s biggest ice pack.

The Fall Guy gained wide praise after its premier May 3 at SXSW. It hits theaters everywhere May 3, 2024.