Richard Hammond Meets Evel Knievel

Top Gear star Richard Hammond travels to Butte, Montana, to interview his childhood hero, 70s stuntman Evel Knievel. But will the sick and aging icon warm to his fan?
Nigel Simpkiss
Richard Hammond
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Ben Devlin
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3.5 out of 5 stars

38 global ratings

  1. 40% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 25% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 6% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 18% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Original Toe KneeReviewed in the United States on December 27, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Definitely disappointing, yet revealing.
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Ok... if you do know about Evel knievel, grew up on him like I did, then it's a solid dose of reality his stunts and fame represent alongside his broken body for life of pain, isn't it? Why did I tune in to watch this? I admit I "worshipped him" in my youth.. but long ago my own broken bones and stupid life mistakes took hold and gave me a clearer insight, and I chastised myself for ever believing in myth's like the one's showman such as Evel Knievel create... It's interesting that my own quest to understand the idiocy of his motivations somewhat were rewarded years later in life; Evel appeared in an info-mercial a friend of mine helped create in '95, by then I'd learned a lot through my own life set-backs, and hoped to see something close to the "truth" come out of Evel. Well, it did... the infomercial product was for pain relief, and Evel told a very tiny series of truths regarding the pain he lived with daily for 40+ years... all because of his "stunts". So... if you understand what I am saying, then you understand why I was dissapointed in this last interview, and simultaneously grateful for it's revelations. Out of curiosity, i watched this, since I had always hoped that Evel would publicly acknowledge that fame went to his head, that he made silly ego-driven mistakes, that he had ruined a beautiful strong body through stupidity... but, alas, he has never admitted this simple fact. Pride, I guess.... yet somehow it gets "sort of" revealed in this film thorough is refusal to answer or speak these truths, and then simply runs away... over and over...runs away from similar questions. In other words, in my opinion; in this film, we see that perhaps he actually is embarrassed for his stupidity, but just won't say it or feel it due to his own shame...AS FAR AS HIS FAILED STUNTS: I am not a stunt expert. So, I don't expect to be right about what I think regarding the lack of planning, the lack of true research that might have prevented many of his injuries. For example, he was jumping with the wrong motorcycle. What he used was just too heavy. He had many alternatives that were more practical for stunt jumps... yet he stupidly jumped with Harley Davidson as a sponsor, that must have gained him a pretty penny, but ultimately is the main reason for many of the failures. . Just the wrong motorcycle. TOO HEAVY. Also, if you watch the films of many of his worst accidents, those accidents may have been prevented if just a tiny element of adjustment had occurred, in other words, just a little faster, or just a little slower, or better shocks, or how he landed on the front wheel rather than rear wheel... over-shooting his goal or undershooting his goal seems like nit-picking, but, it caused the chaos that resulted in his going head-first into the pavement... he missed some jumps by just a foot or two ... just not quite hitting a landing he could resolve.... All these years later, wouldn't he admit that he jumped when he was not prepared... Why wouldn't he point out the actual causes for these errors I judgement? Only he knows, but it seems OBVIOUSLY no secret he was living a lifestyle that was way out of line for the kind of discipline the jumps required. I forgot that Evel beat up the author, with a baseball bat breaking bones, the author who told the facts about Evel's lifestyle on tour in those days. All of Evel's failed jumps were doable, back then, they were goals he could have easily attained... But ehre are reasons why he missed these jumps...and I suggest EVEL KNOWS WHY... I wish he could name it for us... it would be so helpful. So, anyway, the author he beat-up is the reason he lost what was left of his career. I found this out/remembered it seeing this film, so, I guess I had some resolution as a result of this film, and it was beneficial for me... however, what I had always hoped for, I will say again was this; That Evel might have someday looked out at the crowd and suggested to youth that they shouldn't do the stupid things he did to placate his own ego. I apologize if my opinion offends any readers, I hope I am wrong about all these things.
5 people found this helpful
DBMReviewed in the United States on December 21, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
"Richard Hammond Annoys Evel Knievel" might be a more apt title
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This is an interesting look at the legend that was Evel Knievel. Interviews filmed just four months before his death in November 2007 are spliced with footage of his famous crashes and other events throughout his career.

Richard Hammond capably narrates at times, and at other times expresses his frustration that Knievel is making it difficult for him to complete his documentary. The result reveals many of the flaws in Knievel's life and unintentionally reveals some of Hammond's own character flaws as well.

At times Hammond seems completely invested in delivering his project and at other times, he appears to be a pretentious jerk pestering a dying old man. His disdain at times extends beyond Knievel to other elderly people. For example, there's one random scene of a old man standing outside his (Hammond's) hotel room. Hammond speaks to him in a condescending manner until the man walks away. It's not clear why that scene was included in the documentary as it has nothing to do with Knievel.

This is well made to the point that it's worth watching if you have an interest in Knievel. A better option, though is _Being Evel_ (2015). That is a more objective and comprehensive documentary about Knievel's life.
2 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on December 1, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Evil is such a narcissist. Richard is such a team player to put up with it all and soldier on.
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Wow....I have never seen a documentary about such a clear narcissist. Evil is such a narcissist. Richard is such a team player to put up with it all and soldier on.
6 people found this helpful
JS in NYReviewed in the United States on November 29, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very moving and honest journey
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This is a moving, honest walkthrough of a man having the opportunity to meet and talk with a legendary childhood hero. Richard Hammond presents his honest discoveries while managing to not openly hand hold us to definitive determinations. This has a rawness and truthfulness to it that is thought provoking. We found ourselves talking about it long afterwards.
6 people found this helpful
John WernerReviewed in the United States on December 5, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Knievel's Legacy Gets A Unique Look
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Hammond does a pretty good job at a late life remembrance of Evel Knievel's legacy with snippets of interviews often abbreviated due to Knievel's poor health. This film centers around Knievel's history of spectacular crashes and his hometown of Butte, Montana's annual Knievel Days celebration. For those of us who were young and impressionable in the early seventies it will probably strike a chord. It's poingnant at times and generally interesting overall.
2 people found this helpful
ThomReviewed in the United States on December 15, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Really Good Documentary!
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I really like this although at times it's a little tedious and slow but it's a real picture of him being him. There is so much stuff that they did not go through in his past and I'm glad because you can find all that if you want to.

If your a fan I highly recommend a fairly recent documentary here on Amazon Prime called "Chasing Evel: The Robbie Knievel Story" because he has done things, good and bad, that goes way over what his dad did in his heyday.
One person found this helpful
ThomasReviewed in the United States on July 17, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Love it or Hate it - No Middle Ground Here.
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The title to this review is at odds with the film - thus the abundance of 3 star reviews. The film pulls at the dichotomy of emotions childhood hero vs. facing possible reality that one's hero maybe a cranky selfish angry person - perhaps only interested in his self image at the expense of all those around him. Hammond does a good job of reflecting on his own personal emotions when facing the hero myth against the reality of everything he sees in when actually meeting his childhood hero.

This film seems a bit offensive to Americans living in Butte - the stark contrast a Brit like Hammond faces and the culture shock he shows is not subtle - he should have tried to remember that rugged individualism is a treasure to many Americans. What is clear and evident is that it does no jibe with those who treasure living under aristocratic monarchies - Both sides are proud of their own cultures - this film, like Evil's Snake River, demonstrates that the deep valley of two cultures can be too large for most to cross.
Good, Bad, Indifferent, it is worthy of a view however - there are very valid points made. Lots to love about the film whatever side you are on - RIP EVIL!
TrashmanReviewed in the United States on August 4, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hammond vs Evel
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Richard Hammond's efforts to have a fulfilling documentary with the legendary Evel Knievel seemed to be stifled by the ego and frustration of man who's facing mortality. Evel was passive aggressive in dealing with Hammond. A good attempt on Hammond's part but likely fell short of what he expected to achieve. I'm sure there was plenty of planning involved leading up to the project but ultimately Evel often seemed annoyed and contractually cooperative to the extent that he seemed forced to give Hammond the time that was agreed upon.

A good attempt on the film but would guess Hammond's image of the man he once held in such high regard seemed to have disappointingly lost some of its luster. A somber film.

Watching this through a second time allows the personality subtleties to be more pronounced. Evel is quite the character.

I disagree with some other reviews pertaining to Hammond, he was respectful. Evel seemed bitter. It couldn't have been an easy film to create and the results were certainly more complex given the personalities of those in the documentary. Hammond should be proud of his efforts and releasing something that must not have matched up with his expectations. Hammond did his job well and didn't quit.

The film is imperfect, but that's what makes it so good.
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