Posted on 22 September 2010.
Movies are never complete without its stunts performed either by the actors themselves or their doubles. Making a stunt successful involves hours of hard work and expense from the entire crew of the film in production. Here is looking back at the some of the best stunts in Hollywood history.
1. Crane Jump; Casino Royale (2006)
Daniel Craig’s death-defying acrobatics performed in the opening scenes of Casino Royale is one of the best stunts in 007’s movie history. In the scene James Bond chases a suspect down the streets and buildings and finally on top of a 200 foot crane. It showed of the agility and fitness of the actors involved in the scene. This scene also won the stunt team the ‘Best High Work’ in the prestigious World Stunt Awards.
2. Boat Chase, The World is not Enough (1999)
In this chase James Bond leaps his boat into a 360 spin to wreck the gun placement in the villains’ boat. The 14 to 15 minute chase has been voted one of the most exciting boat chases of all time. This scene took seven weeks to shoot, as the speed limit of boats at 9 MPH on the river Thames had to be factored in. This scene was not supposed to be included in the movies opening sequence, however, after it was shot the reactions and shot looked very real and hence was edited and added.
3. Jump Stunt from car to Bus; Speed (1994)
In this sequence cop Jack tavern jumps from a moving Jaguar onto the speeding bus. He rips the door of the Jaguar to leap into the bus, though he loses balance and his feet drag on the ground. Keanu Reeves performed this stunt himself in spite of director Jan de Bont calling for a body double.
4. Hijack Stunt; Cliffhanger (1993)
The stunt performed by stuntman Simon Crane, had corrupt treasury agent Richard Travers hijack a plane carrying $ 100 million. After recovering the money he slides down a cable to Eric Qualens’ Learjet. This stunt cost $ 1 million to execute. Apparently the film’s budget was insufficient to complete this stunt, so Sylvester Stallone cut his salary by that amount to allow the stunt to be finished.
5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The stunt where the Terminator is chased by his arch-villain T-100 in a helicopter is another dangerous stunt performed. The helicopter chased the truck under an overpass and crashes on the freeway. To make the stunt look real the pilot flies the helicopter up to the underpass but flies away in the last second.
6. Police Story (1985)
This movie is full of dangerous and real-life stunts performed by Jackie Chan. Stunts such as Jackie Chan hanging onto a double decker bus window through an umbrella handle, the mall fight in which Jackie Chan and his stunt team members perform tumbles, flips and jumps through escalators, windows, stairs etc were very difficult to co-ordinate and make it look natural. The finale scene where Jackie Chan jumps and slides down a mall post covered with lights before smashing into a wooden canopy. All these scenes make Police Story a must watch movie for stunt lovers.
7. Truck Chase Stunt; Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
This truck chase stunt was performed as homage to a similar stunt performed in John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939) and is considered as one of the most exciting stunts performed. Stuntman Terry Leonard tried to execute it a year earlier for a movie but failed. In this stunt Indiana Jones is dragged under and then out behind a moving truck and climbs up and throws off all the German soldiers. This stunt took eight weeks to complete.
8. Ski Jump; The Spy who Loved Me (1977)
A favorite James Bond stunt, the opening sequence featured James Bond jumping down a parachute and skiing down a snow covered mountain dodging bullets was shot at Asgard Peak, Baffin Island, Canada. This stunt could’ve gone horribly wrong as a disengaged ski prevented the chute from opening as the stuntman was falling. However, things fell in place and the shot passed uncut and complete.
9. Chariot Race, Ben-Hur (1959)
This incredible dangerous sequence was directed by the then legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt. In the scene, during the chariot race Ben-Hur’s chariot jumps over a crashed chariot and he is thrown off to the front of his chariot; while barely holding on, he manages to climb back onto the chariot. The body double just suffered a minor cut on his chin in this performance.
10. House-fall; Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)
A dangerous stunt performed at that time. This involved Buster Keaton standing in front of the house and the wall of the house collapses around him. He however remains standing, unhurt and stone-faced.