Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Fall Guy

A Reel Leadership Article

My latest book, Reel Leadership, is now available on Amazon. If you love movies and leadership, you will love this book.

The Fall Guy is a funny, likable movie about stuntman Colt Seavers (Ryan Gosling) and the love of his life, Jody Moreno (Emily Blunt). They drifted apart after Colt was injured performing a stunt for the leading actor, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

Tom is an unlikable, big-shot movie star. He doesn’t care about others or whose path he crosses; it’s all about him.

As the movie progresses, we discover just how much he thinks of himself. It’s part of the reason Colt was injured in the stunt that almost crippled him. 

Ryan Gosling in The Fall Guy.
Blonde man in sunglasses. His arm is outstretched. His hand is against the wall

It’s also a slight remake/reboot of the classic TV series The Fall Guy starring Lee Majors. 

If you’re up for a few laughs, check out The Fall Guy. If you’re looking for a love story, The Fall Guy fits the bill. Or maybe you’re looking for intrigue and mystery, The Fall Guy delivers there as well.

More than that, The Fall Guy delivers in the Reel Leadership department. You can watch The Fall Guy, pick out leadership lessons, and apply them to your life. This article will show you some of the ones we saw.

Quotes And Leadership Lessons From The Fall Guy

1. Recognize those whose work goes unrecognized:

The Fall Guy opens with a statement about stunt performers. They’re in almost every film we watch. They take the bumps and bruises with little to no credit.

The problem? People don’t see them. They go unrecognized. Still, they go out and do it because it’s their job.

Think about your organization. Who works for you that does work that goes unrecognized? 

Change that today. 

Begin to recognize the people who do the tedious work. It may be the janitor who cleans the bathrooms. It could be a number cruncher. Or it could be the secretary who has to deal with you when you’re difficult.

Find ways to bring light to the great work they’re doing. Without them, you would be less effective.

2. Great leaders can bring back great talent:

Colt is injured filming a stunt for one of Tom’s movies. He becomes a recluse and quits the movie business, leaving behind everyone he knows.

Out of the blue, Gail Meyer (Hannah Waddingham) contacts him through his new phone number. Colt is surprised. He had gone to great lengths to be unreachable.

Gail had a proposition for Colt. She wanted Colt to come see her about a new movie. Colt responds negatively.


Gail drops the fact Jody, his love interest, would be directing the movie. She lies and tells Colt that Jody wants him to be a part of the film.

This ropes Colt into the film.

Great leaders have a great influence on great people. They’re able to gain the interest of the best talent. They’re also able to land great talent.

Work on increasing your leadership skills. The more you do, the better the talent you attract will be.

3. Dan Tucker (Winston Duke):

It’s time for you to start rolling cars again, not parking them.

After Colt left the film industry, he became a valet. He was parking cars!

As Colt returns to the set of the new film, he’s apprehensive about doing dangerous stunts. One of those stunts was to roll a vehicle.

Dan, the stunt coordinator for the movie, pushes Colt hard. He confronts his friend about his fear. Dan tells him he needs to get back in the saddle and do the stunts.

Sometimes, we shirk the hard things because we’re afraid we’ll mess up or get hurt. We begin to do the things that don’t matter.

Is it time for you to get back into the leadership saddle and begin leading? I think it is.

4. Jody Moreno:

This is why they’re doing it. They don’t respect you, Nigel (Adam Dunn).

Nigel was the explosives expert on the movie set. He had set controlled explosives to go off at specific times.

This didn’t happen. 

The crew of the movie set them off early. This caused issues as there was a budget for the explosives. 

Nigel was getting frustrated with the crew. Jody confronted him and told him why they were setting them off.

He doesn’t have their respect.

Do you wonder why your team members rebel against your requests? It could be they don’t respect you.

You can’t walk into a leadership role and expect your team to respect you. You have to earn your team’s respect.

Work on showing them you care. Help them understand your vision. Show them you are for them.

Once you earn the respect of the people you lead, leading becomes much easier. 

5. Leaders see things differently:

Tom went missing. His disappearance could derail the movie. 

Gail calls Colt over. She requests Colt to find Tom and bring him back to the set. The movie needs him. More importantly, Jody needs Tom there.

Colt heads to Tom’s apartment. He pulls his truck and parks it. Then he does what only a stuntman does: He climbs up a ladder near the building, hops the fence, and begins to seek Tom.

Colt could have used the front door. Instead, he saw another way to enter.

Leaders are like Colt. They look at a situation differently than others. They see possibilities where others see danger, issues, or nothing at all.

When you look at the situations you’re facing, try to see them differently. What solutions are there? How can you approach a situation? What other answers are there?

6. What leaders do is impressive:

Colt winds up at a club Tom frequents. He meets with Tom’s drug dealer, Doone (Matuse). The two get talking and Doone asks Colt if he’s done any stunts yet.

Colt responded, “Yeah… but just a car roll.”

Doone responded that it was awesome!

We see our activities as mundane. They’re things we do day in, day out.

But you know what?

What leaders do is impressive. Others will look at what you do and see it as something to aspire to.

Know that your work isn’t simple, mundane, or plain. You’re doing work that others can’t.

7. Missing information makes people wonder:

Gail tells Colt to go home. She books Colt a ticket, hands it to him, and tells him to go.

This was all done without Jody’s knowledge. 

Gail eventually tells Jody this information. Jody begins to wonder why Gail wouldn’t tell her. Colt has become important to the film, and this missing information would hinder the film.

How often have you made an executive decision and failed to fill in the people affected? Once, twice, fifty times?

We can forget to let the people impacted by a decision know. And that’s a huge no-no.

Make sure you’re filling people in as you make decisions that impact them, their people, and their department.

8. It’s not always our fault:

Colt’s accident was frustrating. He thought he’d done things right, but something still went wrong. He couldn’t be a great stuntman if he didn’t trust himself.

Flash forward to later in the movie and we discover something.

Colt’s accident was no accident. Tom had pushed the button to cause Colt to fall. 

Uh oh…

We love to take on the weight of the world. We believe everything is our issue and the outcome is our responsibility. 

I won’t deny that leaders are ultimately responsible for what happens in their organization. However, that doesn’t mean it’s your fault.

There are times when someone in your organization may sabotage it. You may find out a vendor didn’t produce the right parts. Or, what if a customer didn’t submit the correct order?

These things happen. You have to be willing to accept you can’t control everything. It’s not always your fault.

9. Colt Seavers:

We have different ideas of simple.

Tom tells Colt they’re framing him for Henry’s murder. Gail and Tom had planned for Colt to come in, be scanned for the film, and then digitally placed into the video showing Henry’s murder.

It was a great plan. Tom would even say it was simple.

Colt disagreed. They would have differing views of what simple was.

I’ve seen this play out in the business world. A person in a leadership position would hear about a new technology, business plan, or acquisition and tell others it would be simple to implement.


We have to understand what we think is simple may not be as simple as we think. There are complex steps needed to make a lot of what works work.

Understand simple isn’t simple. It’s a lot of complicated work.

10. Bad leaders will be replaced:

It comes to light that Tom was the bad guy, along with Gail. The film Metalstorm had almost everything recorded when the truth came out.

What happens when the big star is accused of murder? He gets replaced.

For Metalstorm, Tom was replaced by actor Jason Mamoa. 

Organizations can tolerate poor leadership for only so long. Eventually, something has to be done.

What normally happens is that the bad leader is replaced, like when Mamoa replaced Tom.

Be aware that if you’re not a good leader, you will be replaced.

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