Vic Armstrong – The man, The Myth, The Legend
Victor Munro Armstrong (born 5 October 1946 in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire, England) is a British film director, stunt coordinator, second unit director, and stunt double – the world’s most prolific according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The 6-foot Vic Armstrong doubled for 6’1″ Harrison Ford in many of his movies, but most importantly in the first three Indiana Jones movies.
The Dream Team
Reportedly, Armstrong looked so much like Harrison Ford that the crewmembers on the films were constantly mistaking him for Ford.
This proved useful when Ford injured his back and had to sit out for filming crucial action sequences in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Armstrong filled in for him.
The stunt where he jumps from a horse onto a German tank in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was voted one of the Top Ten film stunts of all time by a panel of experts and Sky Movies viewers in the UK in 2002.
Armstrong’s first movie as a director was the 1993 action film Joshua Tree (a.k.a. Army of One) starring Dolph Lundgren and George Segal.
He is a famed stunt coordinator and action unit director, notable for (amongst others) the action sequences of several James Bond films, War of the Worlds, and I Am Legend. Armstrong was also the opening scene director on Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Second Unit Director for The Amazing Spider-Man.
Armstrong is husband of stuntwoman Wendy Leech. He met her while filming Superman II (she doubled for Margot Kidder) and they have four children between them.
In 2001 he received a Technical Achievement Academy Award for “the Fan Descender for accurately and safely arresting the descent of stunt persons in high freefalls”.
In 2002 he received the BAFTA Michael Balcon Award. At the World Stunt Awards he was Winner of the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award.
His memoir My Life as Indiana Jones, James Bond, Superman and Other Action Heroes: The True Adventures of the World’s Greatest Stuntman was published by Titan Books in early 2011.
“Being a stuntman isn’t about being crazy. It’s the exact opposite of that. Stunt work is control, calmness, rational thinking, good reflexes, athletic ability and good attitude. And a lot of hard work.” [Belfast Newsletter, 19 October 2002]
Working on Indiana Jones
“Harrison always wanted to do the stunts. I said ‘Look Harrison, you’re earning plenty of money on this movie and I am doing reasonable well but you’re costing me a fortune on add-ons for stuff over and above the call of duty. You keep doing all the stunts and I get nothing.’ He said: ‘Shit man, I am sorry. Next time I am so ignorant kick me in the ass.’ Just something that the odds weren’t right for and wasn’t worth it. You look at the movie and you can’t tell who it is.”
“I think the action sequences from Raiders stand up very very well after all those years… It’s a classic. I seriously think it’s ageless. I’ve looked at old movies I’ve did in the past and they do seem as though they’ve aged. I don’t think Raiders has because I think they got the mixture just right between computer graphics and live action. Good story telling and tremendous music has helped it stand the test of time.”
Recent movies/TV series Vic Armstrong worked on
- 2018 Johnny English Strikes again
- 2017 American Assassin
(second unit director)
- 2016 Mechanic: Resurrection
(second unit director)
- 2016 Penny Dreadful (TV Series)
(stunt performer – 2 episodes)
– Good and Evil Braided Be (2016)
– Predators Far and Near (2016)
- 2014 Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
- 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man
(stunts – uncredited)
- 2011 Thor (supervising stunt coordinator)
- 2011 The Green Hornet (stunt coordinator)
- 2010 Salt (stunt coordinator – uncredited)