Both The A-Team TV series and movie are fun, albeit extreme, hallmarks of the campiness that once flooded American pop culture. Though the franchise’s concept has never taken off to wider appeal, it has a fiercely dedicated cult following that warrants a look back today. Let’s take a look at the cast and see what they are up to now.
A-Team Then, A-Team Now
A Team Then
The good ole’ A-Team was a cult hit series from the 1980s focused on a group of wrongly convicted do-gooders. Hannibal was the leader and idea man, Bosco Albert “B.A.” (Bachelor Of Arts … just kidding, it means Bad Attitude) Baracus was the mechanic, Face was the front man, and finally, Mad Murdock was the pilot.
The 2010 A-Team movie was quite different from the original. However, it was able to capture the general feel of the TV series and pay a respectful homage.
Bosco Albert “B.A.” Baracus
Known for his one-liners, gold chains, and strength. While he was the mechanic, B.A. wasn’t afraid to throw enemies into the air or break down doors when the occasion called for it. B.A. was played by the equally bombastic Mr. T, and was easily the most popular character on the show.
Mr. T used his popularity from the show to enter the then-WWF, demand top-dollar film appearances, and recently appear in several commercial campaigns.
I Pity The Fool!
In one of pop culture’s most popular misconceptions, B.A. never actually uses the phrase “I pity the fool … ” in The A-Team. The character commonly calls individuals “suckers” and throws out numerous other one-liners.
The famous line actually belongs to Mr. T’s character James “Clubber” Lang, who appeared in Rocky III. The phrase has become synonymous with Mr. T, and is often incorrectly attached to his B.A. character from A-Team.
The more you know, right? Don’t go being a fool and you won’t be needing the pity … sucka.
Dirk Benedict Then
Templeton Peck, better known as “Face” (or Faceman) was the conman of the group. When the team needed anything, they sent the pretty boy out to use his peculiar set of skills to fetch it. He was a “wheelin’ dealin’, stylin’ and profilin’ ” son of a gun.
Actor Dirk Benedict has unfortunately not had too much success since his role in A-Team. His decision to try his hand as a stage actor immediately following the show (and receiving poor reviews) probably had a lot to do with that.
John “Hannibal” Smith
Hannibal always had an idea in the back of his head and a cigar in his mouth. The character was famous for the “I love it when a plan comes together” phrase. Hannibal was also a master of disguise and often took on various personas when the team needed him to.
George Peppard played the role of Hannibal on the show. He stayed busy in Hollywood working on projects up until his death in 1994 at 65 years of age.
Hannibal Was Loosely Based On A Real Life Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel Gordon “Bo” Gritz
That’s correct, Lieutenant Colonel Gordon “Bo” Gritz was an actual Vietnam veteran who was at the height of his popularity when A-Team was created. Hannibal was seen as a way to show Gritz respect. “Bo” was a controversial Special Forces officer who went to great lengths to recover lost Vietnam soldiers.
Compared to “Bo,” Hannibal lived quite the boring life. While there are quite a few challenges which exist surrounding his exploits, there is no denying that he was never bored.
Howling Mad Murdock
“Howling Mad” was an effective character who was known to be incredibly unstable, earning his nickname after a stint inside a mental hospital. Oddly enough, producers weren’t a fan of “H.M.” but he tested well with audiences and was written back into the show. What would have the team done without their pilot?
The character was played by Dwight Schultz, who went on to have a successful acting career. He is known for his roles within the Star Trek franchise and now performs voice acting for video games.
Amy Amanda Allen
Amy Amanda Allen
There’s a theme we’re about to uncover, and if you remember the beautiful Amy Amanda Allen from the first two seasons of A-Team, then you get a prize. This feisty journalist wasn’t afraid to get involved with the dirty work and was helpful when she was needed.
Actress Melina Culea played the role of Amy and went on to act in a number of projects after her short A-Team run. However, she hasn’t acted since 2001.
Tawnia Baker was the second journalist to tag along with the team. She saw how Amy’s association with the group helped her career and wanted the same boost. Tawnia was willing to cozy up with the bad guys in order to help the A-Team with their various missions.
Marla didn’t do much more acting after her time on the show. Her role on the A-Team is by far her most famous.
The Cast Turned On Melinda & Marla
Melinda + Marla
George Peppard was responsible for leading the cast to push against both Melina and Marla, explaining both of their short runs (it’s clear why he didn’t play the ladies man). Later, Dirk Benedict stated the following:
It was a guy’s show. It was male-driven. It was written by guys. It was directed by guys. It was acted by guys. It’s about what guys do. We talked the way guys talked. We were the boss. We were the God. We smoked when we wanted. We shot guns when we wanted. We kissed the girls and made them cry … when we wanted. It was the last truly masculine show.
Evidently running off two beautiful women made the show more “manly.” Do you still feel bad that Dirk’s career crashed and burned?
The movie version of Hannibal was quite different from the 80s television show. Far more intense, less flappable, and visibly disturbed, the writing of the character upset numerous fans who loved the original.
Since the movie, Liam Neeson, who played Hannibal in the film, has been extremely busy. Whether it’s voice acting or using his on-screen presence to portray an intense character, Neeson remains active to this day. There doesn’t seem to be anything that can slow him down.
This is definitely not the same Templeton Peck. Face begins a relationship with Charissa Sosa, and later matures into an essential team member instrumental in planning out missions. A far cry from the Face that was seen in the TV series. Yes, this trend of changes to the characters continues…
Luckily for Cooper, his role in The Hangover preceded A-Team. Since the release of the movie, Bradley has gone on to have a successful career and has received several Oscar nominations.
By the end of the 2010 A-Team movie, Bosco Albert Baracus is nothing like his TV counterpart. In fact, much of what made the character so popular was stripped away from him. Also, the character never wore the famous gold chains that the TV version of the character made iconic.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson played the film version of “B.A.” The role was supposed to launch him as the next big action star, however that’s not exactly what happened. While Jackson is still acting, he has yet to find his breakout role.
Thankfully, much of the Howling Mad Murdock character stayed the same in the film version. However, writers couldn’t help themselves — for some reason they decided not to have Murdock begin the film as part of the team. Other than that peculiar decision, this Murdock stayed closest to his TV counterpart.
Sharlto Copley is also thankful his big break came just before his role in A-Team, with the credit he received for his work in District 9. To be fair, Copley received the best reviews of the cast for his work as Murdock. He remains active in Hollywood to this day.
Charissa Sosa … Wait Who?
Charissa Sosa is the “former” lover of Face, who is an original character to the A-Team film. She is an agent who spends most of the moving chasing the crew in an attempt to bring them to justice. Of course, there are a few tense sexual scenes with her.
Jessica Beil, who played the character, is still active in Hollywood. I highly doubt Dirk Benedict pulled her aside and told her that she didn’t “belong” in the A-Team film.
Did You Know?
Sharlto Copley, who played Murdock in the film adaptation, was a huge fan of A-Team as a child. His parents would not allow him to watch the show due to its violent nature, but he often would record the audio to listen while he was in bed or he would watch the show at a friend’s house.
Upon landing the role of Murdock, he called his mom and told her the following, “that I was just getting her back for not letting me watch the series when I was a kid.”
The TV Series Inspired 10 Novels
Are you a bookworm? Do you love the show? Good news for you then. There are books available that were inspired by popular episodes of the television series. While not seen as great works of art, you have to give author Charles Heath credit. Today the entertainment industry makes a fortune off of tie-in novels and comic books. Whether the film or video game industry, many franchises publish novels in order to feed their fans craving for more.
George Peppard Liked The Smokes
Just like Hannibal, George Peppard liked to smoke. However, unlike the character he portrayed, Peppard stuck to mainly smoking cigarettes and not cigars. George was known to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day for most of his adult life. His habit is believed to play a major role in a cancerous tumor he had removed in 1992 and his eventual death in 1994. While the official cause of his passing was pneumonia, he was undergoing treatment for lung cancer.
The “Fini” Mistake
Someone at NBC made a major “opps” and forgot to run the episode “Without Reservations,” the series’ second-to-last episode during the original run. In that episode, Murdock wears a shirt that reads “almost fini.” During the “Grey Team” episode, he wears a shirt which reads “fini,” which is the French word for “end.”
The shirt is popular, and can be found online for purchase today, no doubt helped by the mistake made by NBC.
The Success Then & Now
Through the first three seasons, the show received remarkable ratings, yet would begin to see a decline midway through season three. The fourth season was a disaster for the show, and the fifth saw the show drop out of the top 50 in ratings. So while a cult hit, the show did not have that long of a run.
While not a complete box office bust, the A-Team movie performed far below expectations. The initially-planned movie franchise came to a screeching halt after the poor box office performance and mediocre reviews.