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The True Adventures Of The World’s Greatest Stuntman

Written by (Contributor) on 21st April 2011

Jill McDole reviews stuntman Vic Armstrong's biography of his career.

The Adventures of the World's Greatest StuntmanAuthor: Vic Armstrong with Robert Sellers
Publisher: Titan Books
Price: £18.99
Availability: May 2011

If it were anyone other than Vic Armstrong featured in this tome, then the title might come across as a tad presumptuous, after all stuntmen are often the unheralded saviours of an action outing, un-credited or falling beneath the shadow of plenty an A-Lister. However, this is Vic Armstrong and if anyone deserves the moniker, he has a pretty good case.

As well as throwing himself off buildings, under vehicles and generally taking the higher ground and an array of bruises, he starts his view back at his career with the line: “For several weeks, five or six times a day, I threw myself into a manure heap…” which is as good a place as anywhere to start. From there we begin stories that see Vic nearly killing himself with a tank, waking up in a mortuary and risking death on one of The Omen films. All before Chapter Three.

It’s quite amazing to read some of Vic’s experiences over the years - and even people familiar with his name will be astonished by just how many projects he’s been with in one capacity or another over four decades in the business (at the back  of the book is a detailed filmography that stretches to nearly ten pages and includes his most recent project: next year’s Amazing Spider-man of which he discusses some of the changes we can expect). His recollections, though mostly positive, are candid and not sanitised. He speaks highly of many of the directors he’s worked with (and that list includes Spielberg, Lucas and Scorsese) but he’s not above giving his own opinions of the way things went wrong or could have been done better. He’s tough on himself, explaining mistakes he’s made despite all the best preparations and how some things have gone spectacularly wrong as well as right. Chances are if you are a long-term action fan you’re going to read this book and it will bring back a wave of memories of classic scenes and how they came to be.

The fact that Vic is a career-stuntman, still going strong with supervising and heading up teams - arguably as hard (and definitely as responsible) as being physically in the thick of it -  is its own testament to how good he’s been at his job. He genuinely seems to have the respect of all his peers  and the actors/crew he works with (many a Hollywood A-Listers have provided testimonies for the book) and there’s no sign of him formally  retiring. He still hasn’t appeared in his beloved Coronation Street, but otherwise, Vic Armstrong is living the dream  and making action fans’ visions come true.  Long may that continue...


Written By

J M McDole


J M McDole

A self-confessed and unapologetic horror fan, Jill McDole regularly contributes reviews to Impact’s ever-expanding multimedia section and has also written several articles for the magazine covering modern aspects of the genre, including a look at...

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