Five Favorite Films with Stuntman Vic Armstrong

Plus, the prolific stuntman and action director on filming The Amazing Spider-Man and his career working with James Bond, Indiana Jones, Superman and more.

His name may not be instantly familiar, but his work most certainly is: over a prolific career, Vic Armstrong has been a stunt man, stunt coordinator and second unit director on some of the biggest and best-loved action movies of the past four decades -- a list of credits far too long to even consider including here. He's stunt-doubled for successive James Bonds, from Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan, worn the cape and tights on Richard Donner's Superman, and famously done stunt work for Harrison Ford on, among many of the actor's other roles, the original three Indiana Jones films.

Then there's his work with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone and Angelina Jolie, to name a handful, or -- our personal favorite -- his listed credit as "Unicorn Master" on Ridley Scott's Legend. How does one get to be a Unicorn Master, anyway?

Armstrong's robust career as a second unit action director has also seen him shoot sequences for the likes of James Cameron, Paul Verhoeven, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese, while he recently completed work on Marvel's Thor and forthcoming The Amazing Spider-Man.

This week, he releases his autobiography entitled -- and with a fair claim to the crown -- The True Adventures of the World's Greatest Stuntman, which chronicles his career from riding horses for Gregory Peck through his role today as one of the industry's most sought-after action coordinators.

Armstrong called in for a chat with RT, having just wrapped shooting on Spider-Man, to talk stunts on the new Marvel web-slinger, some career highlights and, as ever, five of his favorite movies. (And hey, if he wants to pick movies he's worked on -- who are we to say no?)



Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, 94% Tomatometer)

Raiders would have to be one of them. I just think the ride, the whole thing, is just fabulous entertainment and escapism -- and it felt real, you know.




Lawrence of Arabia (1962, 98% Tomatometer)

Lawrence of Arabia, purely for stylistic reasons. For storytelling -- and visually telling a story -- it's fantastic.




True Lies (1994, 69% Tomatometer)

True Lies, because it's a great, great action film with the right amount of action and the right amount of storytelling.




The Terminator (1984, 100% Tomatometer)

I gotta go for one of the Terminators as well -- I don't know which one. [laughs] Probably one, because the first time I saw it... one is always more difficult than the second one, I think. I saw that in Rome after Arnie brought it over when I was doing Red Sonja. We were gonna go out to Rome one night and I said, "I can't, I'm working, I've got a five-o'clock-in-the-morning start," and he said, "Well, take this -- go up to your room and watch this video." And I watched it -- and it was a rough cut of it -- and I went, "Oh my god, it's the greatest film I've ever seen."




Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, 55% Tomatometer)

And then I'd say Tomorrow Never Dies, because I think you get a real bang for your buck in that -- and I enjoyed making it. It was just a nice, big Bond, going back to the old style. It just kicks arse, and you believe he's in there getting his arse kicked as well.



Next, Armstrong talks about filming action on The Amazing Spider-Man and Thor, and takes us through some of the highlights of his impressive career -- including his stunt work on the original Indiana Jones films.

Comments

Dave J

Dave J

I appreciate him for what he does for a living but feels that he could've made a better list than the ones he listed since I've always thought Jackie Chan was "one" of the main inspirations for people to do all their own stunts instead of using CGI!

May 17 - 04:04 PM

Jeffrey C.

Jeffrey Cooperhouse

Sorry his top 5 isn't the same as yours.

May 18 - 04:37 AM

Dave J

Dave J

Well, I wasn't so much complaining about his list, but his top 5 seems to be very spontaneous!

May 18 - 11:39 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

That's right Dave, his favorites list is ALL WRONG man! He should really re-search his mind and try again dammit.

May 18 - 08:27 AM

Wisenheimer

Joshua Dinsmore

This guy deserves praise for the crud he's had to go through while serving as a stunt for all of those dangerous action scenes. I think he should retire.

May 17 - 04:23 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

Great list. In addition to gaffers, stuntmen are among the most underappreciated people in the film business.

May 17 - 05:20 PM

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

I'll never forget Jamie Lee Curtis's scantily clad dance scene in True Lies. *Drools*

May 17 - 05:33 PM

THEREWOLF

Markus Arbutina

I thought Tomorrow Never Dies kinda blows, and I usually like the James Bond movies.

May 17 - 05:53 PM

Zissou

Hola Amigo

Not a lot of new choices on there as opposed to others we've seen before. But you gotta love The Terminator. Just watched it again last night actually and it instantly went into my top 5. T2 had all those great SFX, but the first one is just an expertly crafted thrill ride. I also prefer Schwarzenegger's minimalist performance in the first one as opposed to the talking bits with the John Connor in T2. Schwarzenegger's T-101 from the first film seems more detached, and makes for a more badass bad guy. Sorry Robert Patrick you just don't do it for me.

May 17 - 09:41 PM

Rohit Ramachandran

Rohit Ramachandran

Who's this Dud?

May 17 - 10:24 PM

Henrold

Henry Owens

Good list of awesome action movies which didn't use CGI (if there was I didn't spot it) but used awesome stunts.

May 17 - 10:53 PM

Wiggins

Wig gins

People will surely complain about his choices (save the first two), but you know, at least it looks genuinely honest. I'd prefer a list like this than the "Godfather, Godfather Part 2, Casablanca, Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey because everyone says they're great" kind of list. No offense intended to any of those movies of course.

May 17 - 10:57 PM

TheEmeraldGuy

Bradley Bainter

Finally somebody sees what I see.

May 17 - 11:13 PM

Phillip K.

Phillip Kissell

You mean someone watches movies to be...entertained?! Madness!

May 19 - 09:04 PM

TheEmeraldGuy

Bradley Bainter

I like the action-packed list. All of those movies place the effects everywhere EXCEPT the characters, whose non-CGI stunt doubles help preserve their characters' realism. Also keeping in mind about all the dangerous shit said doubles go through for a living, while snack-munching moviegoers watch their actions through the assumption that they're safely dancing around in fake scenarios. This guy deserves both respect and believability.

Random Easter Egg: The irony of how the last three choices all feature the protagonists holding up handguns. =D

May 17 - 11:09 PM

TheEmeraldGuy

Bradley Bainter

Woops, Stop-motion T-101-Arnie in Terminator's climax is the exception to the "non-CGI character stunts" stuff I said. Just catching it before I get raped about it.

May 17 - 11:12 PM

TheEmeraldGuy

Bradley Bainter

Woops, Stop-motion T-101-Arnie in Terminator's climax is the exception to the "non-CGI character stunts" stuff I said. Just catching it before I get raped about it.

May 17 - 11:12 PM

TheEmeraldGuy

Bradley Bainter

Finally somebody sees what I see.

May 17 - 11:13 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I feel Vic has gotten the meaning of these lists better than most. Its suppose to be the five FAVORITE movies of said media person. This guy has chosen movies that I can honestly see him watching on multiple occasions. I know everyone has different tastes, but these seem pretty genuine compared to a majority of the film choices I see on these lists. I mean I think City of God is one of the best movies I've ever seen. Would I watch it again? Maybe. Maybe one more time. But The Terminator, now that has replay value. Lawrence of Arabia, grand movie with replay value. I mean did anyone read Rutger Hauers list? Does he really watch those movies regularly? What a bore for the Nexus One.

By the way I think Vic was in most of the films he listed? And man does he have a good stuntman name...Vic Armstrong. Hell ya.

May 17 - 11:58 PM

John T.

John Taylor

If it isn't Sean Connery, it really isn't James Bond. Other than that, not a bad list.

May 18 - 03:16 AM

Zissou

Hola Amigo

Another Connery fanboy, really? I feel like I couldn't pick a favorite Bond growing up because everyone rammed down my throat that Connery was the best. Personally, the Roger Moore Bond movies were the most ambitious and took him into stranger scenarios. I appreciate Moonraker, and it's probably the most memorable to me.

Plus Daniel Craig kicks ass. I haven't seen Solace and don't need to do that to know that Casino Royale, and Craig's version of Bond, are among the best the franchise has. So give your Connery jabber a rest, you're already among the majority who believe that.

May 18 - 04:25 PM

Flogsandy

Jeff H

Connery and Moore were both great as James Bond, but I like all of the Connery films where as with Moore it was hit or miss. Timothy Dalton wasn't a bad bond but he couldn't fill the shoes of Connery or Moore. Pierce Brosnan was able to with Goldeneye which is one of the best bond films in my opinion. Craig was fantastic as bond in Casino Royal.

George Lazenby doesn't really count in my book.

May 19 - 02:03 PM

Peter W.

Peter Winters

Except Connery wasn't realy the 1st. It was Barry Nelson.

May 20 - 09:45 AM

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