Sonny Hooper (Burt Reynolds) is a veteran stuntman who is entering the twilight of his career as years of being “The Greatest Stuntman Alive” has taken a severe toll on his body. His best friend and fellow stuntie Cully (James Best) is concerned for his Hooper’s health all the while reluctantly feeding him Percocets to ease his pain. His long-time girlfriend Gwen (Sally Field) wants to settle down but hopefully with a non-paralyzed Hooper. New on the scene is a hotshot kid Delmore "Ski" Shidski (Jan-Michael Vincent) who is of the new breed of stuntmen that are replacing the old guard.
A very handsome and dashing breed.
“Damn, that's pretty high.”
“Short people got no reason to live.”
The plot, if you can call it a plot, is about a mad director Roger Deal making a huge James Bond type film starring Adam West called The Spy Who Laughed at Danger, and how he keeps upping the stakes to the point where there is a good chance someone is going to die in the process. Will Hooper agree to do the dangerous rocket-car jump for the end of the movie, or will he walk away while he can still walk?
Yeah, that really was never in question.
“Adam, I’ll do the stunt if you marry Sally Fields."
Trivia: The title character "Hooper" is a reference to the name "Hooker" as in Buddy Joe Hooker who is one of the best stuntmen in the business and who also worked on this film. The character of Hooper though is mostly based on the Jock Mahoney, one of the greatest stuntmen of all time and stepfather to Sally Field.