Hollywood’s most acclaimed movies range from dramas to romantic comedies, but there’s one thing that every spectator enjoys if it’s executed correctly: a thrilling action sequence full of adrenaline. Yes, I’m talking about those scenes which instantly make us attack our popcorn. Well, the problem with those scenes is that they require dangerous stunts with great risks for the protagonists. Some can’t pull them off and resort to stuntmen, others receive special training specifically for the occasion. Read on to discover some of the most iconic menacing scenes in Hollywood’s history, and don’t miss #14 and #4 for a surprise!
Photo: Courtesy of DailyMotion.
#24. The Princess Bride
Who can define The Princess Bride? Some movies escape categorization, and this one is a clear example. Some may consider it a romantic comedy, others an adventure film, a fantasy/action flick… Anyways, this movie, which was released in 1987 has become a cult classic as the years went by.
Photo: Courtesy of GreekTyrant.
One of its scenes shows the unbelievable extreme to which an actor can go when playing a role with passion. At one moment some soldiers attack Buttercup (Tobin Right), and Westley, played by Cary Elwes. Christopher Guest’s character then hits Westley with his sword’s butt. This hit was actually real, but Elwes endured the pain, finished the scene, and later ended in the hospital!
On Damien Chazelle’s 2014 drama we watched the story of an ambitious and determined jazz drumming student, striving for success and improvement, but most of all, for his strict and sometimes abusive teacher. This intense movie received acclaim by fans and critics, winning three Academy Awards from the five categories to which it was nominated.
Photo: Courtesy of Digital Spy.
The student, played by Miles Teller, has to endure a lot of pain, both physically and psychologically, because of his fierce instructor. However, it was J.K. Simmons, who brilliantly portrays the strict professor, who got badly hurt on one scene. When Andrew (the student) finally can’t tolerate any more pressure, he runs and tackles the teacher. What viewers didn’t know was that Simmons wasn’t using any pads, and two of his ribs got broken by the hit. Ouch!
#22. The Evil Dead
Written and directed by Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead has become a classic for horror movie fans across the globe. Since the Ash Vs. Evil Dead series came out, its fame has only continued to increase, achieving legend status. Back in the day, this supernatural, low budget horror film saw modest success in the United States, but when Stephen King gave it a positive review, it started to make some noise internationally.
Photo: Courtesy of Writeups.org.
The filming process in Morristown, Tennessee, proved to be extremely uncomfortable, according to the actors. However, though they had to tolerate tough conditions, the director was the one who almost got very unlucky. When Ash is alone, fighting with a shotgun against the dead in one scene, he gets startled by a noise and shoots right at the camera, where Sam was sitting. That was too close!
#21. This Is The End
This Is The End was starred by a lot of recognizable faces in Hollywood, including Jonah Hill, James Franco, and Craig Robinson, also known for his role at The Office. Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen on their debuts, this comedy horror film narrates the ridiculous events leading to a Biblical Apocalypse.
Photo: Courtesy of TV Guide.
The actors didn’t face that many dangerous scenes or intense action. So, where was the danger here? Well, the actor who did face danger was Michael Cera, and the danger’s name was Rihanna. On this movie, he plays a rude guy who gets immediately slapped by Rihanna after groping her. This was real, and Cera was left dizzy in the aftermath. So, lesson learned, don’t mess with RiRi!
#20. Cast Away
Did we see Tom Hanks’ prime on his Cast Away role? Was it on the charismatic Forrest Gump? The Terminal? Anyways, controversy aside, what’s undeniable is his talent for portraying characters with vigor and intensity, making the viewer feel what he’s watching with great emotion.
Photo: Courtesy of Vulture.
Cast Away, however, was probably the movie in which he faced the most danger as an actor in his whole life. First of all, he had to lose a dramatic amount of weight (about 50 pounds). But the worse part was when he got a deep cut on his knee, later developing an infection which can be deadly. Fortunately, he didn’t ignore it and received medical attention.
Roar, released in Europe in 1981, proved to be a commercial failure despite its mystique of danger. Indeed, this movie has been called several times “the most dangerous movie of all time”. One might ask why, and the scene from the picture is a big clue. Many actors and crew members were facing the threat of real lions during the production process!
Photo: Courtesy of Business Insider.
Yes, today this seems unbelievable. Nowadays, the action sequences full of adrenaline and dramatic chases could be achieved with special effects, thanks to the incredible technological development which can be used by directors and producers. But back in the day, about 70 people involved in Roar had to tolerate several injuries due to animal attacks. Yikes!
#18. Premium Rush
Everyone knows how stressful it can be to drive through a traffic jam or to avoid buses and other large vehicles moving at high speed. Well, if you have already started sweating by picturing yourself in that situation, imagine that you’re in a bike instead of a car! Not everyone has the courage to do that…
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.com.
On Premium Rush, directed by David Koepp, the risk of driving a bike across New York’s frenzied boulevards was taken by the main protagonist himself, Joseph Gordon Levitt. He played a bike messenger who was being chased by a corrupt police officer. Once, he was actually hit accidentally by a taxi, but 31 stitches on his arm were enough to heal the wound.
#17. Kill Bill
Unsurprisingly, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill is filled with violent scenes. If you have seen any of his other classic films, such as Pulp Fiction or Django Unchained, then this is already a well-known fact. With its epic sword duels, Kill Bill is no exception, but the most dangerous scene didn’t involve any extraordinary fight, though.
Photo: Courtesy of Houston Chronicle.
Most people would bet that if an actor or actress faced real danger when filming Kill Bill, it happened on one of those sequences with martial arts and weapons. But little do they know that Uma Thurman actually got hurt on a driving stunt. She ended up crashing against a tree, but luckily without any serious damage. That was a close one!
#16. Casino Royale
Picking an actor to play the legendary James Bond is always a tricky decision. You know that the world will be ready to criticize the chosen actor, and this was exactly what happened when Daniel Craig was announced as the new 007 for 2006’s Casino Royale.
Photo: Courtesy of BuzzFeed.
However, he definitely proved the negative comments wrong, portraying the agent with a license to kill with style and elegance. In fact, he wanted his performance to be so believable that he took intensive training in order to do almost every dangerous stunt scene. That’s how he was capable of executing the famous opening chase sequence, which was so hard that it took 3 weeks to shoot!
#15. The Passion Of Christ
The Passion of Christ is a biblical drama from 2004, directed by no other than Mel Gibson. The movie, which concentrated on Jesus’ twelve final hours and his resurrection, sparked a lot of controversy and discussions. While some immediately considered it as a classic, others disregarded the excessive violence as unnecessary.
Photo: Courtesy of FIlmAffinity.
Yet, whatever stand you’ve taken if you saw The Passion Of Christ, it’s a fact that the main actor, Jim Caviezel (who played Jesus of Nazareth), had to undertake some pretty hardcore stuff. Rumor has it that he got a shoulder dislocated when carrying that extremely heavy wooden cross which you can observe in the picture. That’s one fearless actor right there!
#14. The Lone Ranger
This is the only movie of the list in which the actor who was put in jeopardy was Johnny Depp. I know what you’re thinking after reading that, though: how come he didn’t face more risk while shooting The Pirates Of The Caribbean or Edward Scissorhands? Indeed, most would assume that the chances of getting hurt were more likely on those films, but they’d be wrong.
Photo: Courtesy of Variety.
Actually, Johnny Depp survived some of his life’s most dangerous moments when riding a horse on The Lone Ranger. We all know how enjoyable this activity can be. Nothing can be compared to the feeling of feeling the wind against your hair when the horse starts to gallop… but Johnny might beg to differ! Though he didn’t get hurt, Depp did fall from the horse and learned how dangerous horseback riding can be.
Waterworld is a cult classic from 1995, directed by Kevin Reynolds. The story is supposed to take place in the distant future, though no specific year is mentioned. What we do know is that the characters face the terrible threat of the inevitable melting of the polar ice caps, which triggers the preoccupying rise of the sea level for the fictional characters.
Photo: Courtesy of PIkabu.
Another fact is that they weren’t the only ones who faced danger. Actually, actor Kevin Costner also faced Mother Nature’s fury, but for real. At one moment, he was tied to a boat for a scene, when suddenly a raging storm broke out. He had to wait for the wind and the water’s thrashing to stop in order for the crew to rescue him. If you liked this scene, then don’t miss the next slide!
#12. Police Story
I bet you were impatiently waiting for the appearance of Jackie Chan, weren’t you? Indeed, a list consisting of hazardous movie scenes would feel incomplete without the legendary martial arts fighter and cinematic icon. It’s no surprise that the actor born in Hong Kong has had to face numerous dangerous scenes through his life, really.
Photo: Courtesy of Enews.
And one of these occurred while shooting Police Story, a movie from 1996. As always, Jackie Chan insisted on doing all the stunts himself, and one was particularly risky. On the famous scene, trying to escape from the bad guys, he jumps from a mall’s top floor, sliding through a pole, and later falling through the glass and into a kiosk. I know I wouldn’t sign up for that! But we’re talking about Jackie Chan here, so yes, he basically didn’t care all that much about the injuries.
#11. Point Break
2015’s Point Break was a remake of the original one from 1991. Its plot follows the story of a young FBI agent who infiltrates a group of extreme sports athletes, suspected of serious crimes. Though the original movie has become a cult classic, the remake was extremely underwhelming according to almost every critic.
Photo: Courtesy of USA Today.
Despite the harsh reviews, the film did have some scenes full of action and adrenaline. As the picture shows, on one part, four wing-suit pilots had to dangerously glide through a narrow valley. Numerous obstacles had to be evaded by the stuntmen, I’m already scared by thinking about it! Check the following slide for another awesomely dangerous scene.
GoldenEye was the seventeenth film from the James Bond series. The movie came after a six-year hiatus in the franchise, due to legal disputes, and one of the consequences was the resignment of Timothy Dalton as 007. Director Martin Campbell picked Pierce Brosnan for the role, and he didn’t disappoint him.
Photo: Courtesy of James Bond Museum.
As the previous actors had accomplished, he perfectly portrayed the secret agent’s elegance and suave charisma. What stands out the most from GoldenEye, though, is the legendary opening sequence. Pierce’s stuntman was the one who successfully did the great bungee jump off the 720 foot tall Contra Dam, in Switzerland.
Keanu Reeves, just like Jackie Chan, is a fan of doing the most stunts as possible. This isn’t much of a surprise after looking at the photograph. Just watch him escape from that vehicle which has caught fire. The intensity and concentration are palpable on his face as he strives to escape from the blaze.
Photo: Courtesy of Dailymotion.
Though we could later delight ourselves with some of his coolest moves on Matrix, the action-thriller Speed, from 1994, also tested Keanu to his maximum capacity. In fact, for the epic scene in which he has to accomplish a daring jump from a moving car onto a bomb-rigged bus, he had to take special training. That’s what I call dedication!
#8. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Whenever people hear the words “Indiana Jones”, they instantly associate them with adventure and action. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Well, the franchise’s legend on cinema started with this movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was directed by no other than Steven Spielberg and starred by Harrison Ford.
Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest.
On this movie, which would turn out to be the highest grossing film from 1981 and a winner of 5 Academy Awards, Harrison Ford’s stunt double actually faced a lot of risk on one particular scene. When Indiana Jones is pulled under a 10-wheeler truck, a ditch was logically dug along the stunt route. Precautions were taken, yes, but that was one dangerous moment! Check out the famous scene from one of this century’s most beloved films on the following slide.
#7. The Dark Knight
Generally, for people who say that their not a fan of superhero movies, there’s a unique exception to the rule. Indeed, I bet that you heard at least once someone say something like: “yeah, I don’t really dig those superhero movies, but I loved that Batman movie!”. Well, that Batman movie is The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan.
Photo: Courtesy of elcomercio.pe.
Though many tend to recall Heath Ledger’s stunning performance as The Joker, Christian Bale’s acting skills were also on point as Batman, undoubtedly. But the one which deserves more recognition is stuntman Jim Wilkey, who was behind the wheel when The Joker’s semi-truck dramatically flips in one of Gotham’s streets. Wilkey resulted unharmed; impressive!
The action thriller film Salt was directed by Philip Noice and written by Kurt Wimmer. The plot follows the story of Evelyn Salt (played by Angelina Jolie), a fierce woman who is accused of being a Russian agent. It’s a fact that Angelina’s characters are packed with personality, but it’s probably here where we see her ferocious side at its wildest.
Photo: Courtesy of Stardust.
In fact, Angelina was so engaged with her role that she undertook specific training in order to perform all the stunts. Yes, absolutely all of them! Impressive, right? On the film’s most dangerous scene, she had to jump from a bridge onto two moving trucks, and then into a motorcycle to escape at full speed. That’s some badass woman!
At the time it was released (1959), Ben Hur broke several records. It boasted the largest ever built set for a movie, and the largest budget. But these aren’t the only extraordinary numbers from religious drama classic: more than 10,000 extras, 2,500 horses and 200 camels were used during the shooting!
Photo: Courtesy of Classical MPR.
If you saw it, then the last fact and the four white horses will probably let you figure out the film’s most dangerous scene. Indeed, the epic nine-minute chariot race accidentally put one of the stuntmen under a great threat. At one moment he was thrown from his carriage after hitting a bump. The unstoppable group of horses was fortunately evaded by a couple of seconds.
#4. The Wizard Of Oz
The Wizard Of Oz successfully took the novel from L. Frank Baum to Hollywood’s screens, earning a well-deserved spot on everyone’s most beloved movies list. Therefore, you might be surprised for the movie’s appearance on this list, and I bet you’re trying to figure out which could be the dangerous scene.
Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest.
Well, it’s true that people don’t usually associate danger with The Wizard Of Oz, but the truth is that actress Margaret Hamilton got very lucky. At one moment, she was supposed to fall through a trap door in order to vanish spectacularly. But the set-piece didn’t work right apparently, and Margaret was left very close to a hazardous pyrotechnic device. The resulting burns didn’t stop her from returning to the set some weeks later, though. How brave!
#3. Mad Max: Fury Road
Finally, here we are, the top 3! To start off the podium of Hollywood’s most dangerous scenes, we have Mad Max: Fury Road. This is contestant was a no brainer really. If you have already watched the epic post-apocalyptic film which is the fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise, then you know that almost any scene could have ranked here.
Photo: Courtesy of Syfy.
Indeed, this film, which was hailed as one of the best action movies of all time, and received ten Academy Awards nominations is full of scenes in which the actors had to drive vehicles in a real desert. This was the case when Charlize Teron was holding onto fellow co-star Tom Hardy as he hung upside down when suddenly a cable slipped and both fell off. Luckily enough, a couple of scratches were the only consequence.
Titanic, James Cameron’s epic romance and disaster film is one of those movies that everybody saw at least once. The challenge of taking the tragic story of the sinking ship to Hollywood proved to be a phenomenal success, with memorable performances from both Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Photo: Courtesy of Popsugar.
However, recreating that particular setting was really hard, and the protagonists had to face hazardous conditions. Winslet was the one who faced the most danger once when after shooting many water scenes she started to suffer the effects of the freezing cold temperature. Fortunately, she was wearing an insulating wet suit underneath her gown.
#1. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
At last, our number one! If we’re talking about instantly recognizable movies from famous franchises, like Indiana Jones and James Bond, the Mission: Impossible film series just had to be mentioned in this list of dangerous scenes. Besides, we all know Tom Cruise’s knack for challenging stunts, from motorcycle races to dangling from cliffs and helicopters.
Photo: Courtesy of IndieWire.
Well, there was a particular scene on Mission: Impossible-Fallout, the sixth release of this series, in which Cruise faced a huge amount of risk. When shooting a scene with Henry Cavill which consisted in him jumping from one building’s rooftop to another, he actually fell short and broke his ankle, provoking a several months long pause in the filming process. That’s gotta hurt!