By no means have I done any kind of exhaustive analysis of movie stunts, how dangerous they were, or anything else. This is just a list of the five movie stunts that I could come up with that impress me the most.
Sky Movies did a poll of movie industry folks a few years back to come up with a similar top ten list, but the difference between them and me: they actually knew what they were talking about. I, on the other hand, do not.
Greg's Top Five Movie Stunts
- 5. Live and Let Die is not one of my favorite James Bond films, but it's got a crazy stunt in it that I didn't realize wasn't fake when I first saw it. Remember that scene when James Bond runs across the backs of four crocodiles? Those were real freaking crocodiles. Apparently, a man named Ross Kananga, after whom the movie's main villain was named, performed the stunt. During his fourth run of the stunt, one of the crocs bit through his shoe and into his foot. The shot used in the film is the fifth take, when the crocs were actually tied down.
- 4. Mission Impossible - not sure, but I think it was the second one. I've never been a huge fan of the movies, and for the record I think Tom Cruise is a freak. But apparently one of the stunts he did himself involved riding on a motorcycle towards another rider, jumping off, and colliding with him midair. Now I believe they had some kind of rope or bungee cord to slow them down before the collision - you know, to avoid that whole death thing - but I'm pretty sure I heard that somebody cracked a rib on that one. I'd have figured this would be a stunt they'd do with CG.
- 3. Jackie Chan in Project A 2 - I saw Project A, but never saw this movie - its sequel. I did see the footage of this stunt though, and it's hard to believe that anyone actually went through with this. The scene in the movie involves him fighting some bad guys on top of a skyscraper, and falling off. The side of the building is glass, and is at about a 45 degree angle, so it's like a very long, very steep slide. Twenty one stories. Yikes.
- 2. The Poseidon Adventure - I remember reading about this one in a very old issue of Maxim. I used to subscribe to the magazine before it became nothing but pictures of half-naked women. I figure if I want to see that, why go only halfway? The good thing about the magazine used to be the articles, and when the good articles dried up, I didn't resubscribe. Anyway, apologies for the tangent. I read in Maxim about the stunt in Poseidon Adventure where a guy falls through a glass skylight sixty feet down onto a mattress. Sixty feet onto a mattress!! That is freaking crazy. Apparently, the guy was knocked unconscious, and I believe he had to go to the hospital. But you can still see the stunt in the movie, and it's insane that anyone actually ever did it.
- 1. The Man with the Golden Gun is one of my favorite two James Bond movies, the other being The Spy Who Loved Me. There is a scene in it in which he jumps a car across a river using a destroyed bridge for a ramp, and the car does a 360 barrel roll midair. When I first saw that, I shouted "whoa!", sat up, and rewound it about six times to rewatch. They really did that stunt. I looked it up. "Bumps" Williard was paid 30,000 British pounds for it, and it still amazes me today.
- Honorable Mention: Steamboat Bill, Jr is an old 1928 Buster Keaton movie. In it, there's a scene which has been repeated in movies and cartoons so many times as to become cliché. The front façade of a building collapses, and the innocent bystander only escapes being crushed because he's standing in the exact space where a window falls. Classic.
So if you've got any favorite movie stunts, throw down a comment. I'm interested to hear.