Film & TV

The Big Screen’s Greatest Ever Stunts

Written by Sam Skelding

What are the most insane stunts ever captured on camera?

Fast & Furious 7 and Avengers: Age Of Ultron may pride themselves on containing only the best CGI special effects, but we still pine for the days of classic film making, when an action sequence kept you on the edge of your seat instead of making your eyes glaze over at the fast moving pixels.

Mad Max: Fury Road is currently taking the box office by storm, and with creator George Miller confirming that all of the film’s car stunts are real, we have the perfect excuse to remind ourselves of the greatest and most dangerous scenes ever given the gift of life.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

The iconic scene where Indy climbs down the front of a Nazi truck, crawls underneath while it’s moving, then gets dragged behind by his own whip before climbing up the back, was deemed so dangerous by the stuntman charged with performing it, that he would only try if his trusted stuntman friend drove the vehicle. Miraculously, the stunt was finished in just one take and is now deemed one of the greatest chase sequences in movie history.

The Dark Knight

Christopher Nolan remains a director who favours real-life stunts over CGI and this is evident in his impactful work, whether it’s the incredible plane scene at the start of The Dark Knight Rises, or the 100ft 360 degree revolving corridor built to create the head-spinning fight scene in Inception. However, perhaps his most impressive stunt scene to date was pulled off in The Dark Knight, when he challenged his team to flip a 16-wheel truck in Chicago’s financial district with a driver behind the wheel.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Aside from Mad Max, Mission Impossible is perhaps the last franchise to pride itself on having its actors doing stunts – perhaps unsurprising when you consider that Tom Cruise leads the cast. As much as we want to mention the fact that he hangs off a plane as it takes off in the upcoming fifth installment (watch the trailer), the film isn’t out yet, so instead we’ll direct you to the equally crazy fact that the actor actually climbed the tallest building in the world in Ghost Protocol. When you get a chance, check out the jaw-dropping photo of him sitting at the top WITH NO WIRES!

The Man with the Golden Gun

Bond films are again well known for their reliance on insanely dangerous stunts, and have tended to pull off seemingly impossible feats to successfully position 007 as the greatest spy ever to exist on screen. Honorable mentions go to the stunt man who ran over crocodiles in Live and Let Die and the tense and explosive tanker chase in Licence to Kill. But for pure ‘that can’t be possible’ reactions, the car jump in The Man with the Golden Gun was conceived by boffins at Cornell University and patented by the filmmakers to ensure that they were the ones who could pull it off on screen first.

Bullitt

Although Blues Brothers holds the record for the most cars destroyed in a single car chase, Bullitt is worth watching for its incredible chase alone. In the iconic scene, a Mustang GT reaches speeds of over 100mph as it races across the streets of San Francisco, bouncing down hills and skidding around corners, sometimes even with Steve McQueen behind the wheel. The chase ended when a car, with dummies in it, crashed into the set and burst into flames – luckily they were able to make this look intentional in post-production.

Ben Hur

In this Charlton Heston epic, a pivotal scene sees a deadly chariot race take place in an arena full of people. As 82 horses stampede around 1,500 extras, with dynamite going off every time a chariot was destroyed, a car was used to capture all the action and had to stay just feet away from the rampaging stallions in order to avoid a catastrophic pile-up. The scene took five weeks to shoot, destroyed two cameras and injured the stunt man doubling for Heston when he was flung out of his chariot into the path of the horses behind him. The things we do for entertainment…

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