Related Videos

Another Top 10 Continuous Movie Shots

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Akil Goin. One scene, one shot, one take! In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for ANOTHER top 10 continuous movie shots. For this list, we’re looking at scenes that aren’t interrupted by even a single cut, or at least appear not to be, which can often be a director’s way of highlighting a movie’s meticulous timing, great choreography, or the talent of the actors in a single take. If you didn’t see a shot you thought should be on here, be sure to check out our first video of the Top 10 Continuous Uninterrupted Shots in Movies. Special thanks to our users jkellis and Mikey Webb for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Share
WatchMojo

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Transcript
Script written by Akil Goin.

Another Top 10 Continuous Movie Shots


One scene, one shot, one take! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for ANOTHER Top 10 Continuous Movie Shots.

For this list, we’re looking at scenes that aren’t interrupted by even a single cut, or at least appear not to be, which can often be a director’s way of highlighting a movie’s meticulous timing, great choreography, or the talent of the actors in a single take. If you didn’t see a shot you thought should be on here, be sure to check out our first video of the Top 10 Continuous Uninterrupted Shots in Movies.

#10: One-Shot Shoot Out
“Breaking News” (2004)

Hong Kong director Johnnie To breaks ground with this action film’s opening scene, which is not only a cut-free tracking shot, but also one full of complicated crane-based camerawork. Even before the bullets fly, it’s hard to believe that there aren’t any optical illusions or editing techniques that cheat at the remarkable achievement of being completely uninterrupted. And it’s not just use of style for its own sake; it’s a plot-relevant display of how the police force can fail miserably to catch these crooks under the unblinking eyes of live television.

#9: Move to the Music
“Kill Bill: Vol. 1” (2003)

This shot from the first “Kill Bill” took six hours to rehearse and 17 takes, but the Steadicam operator made it look easy. Paced in time to the music, we travel over narrow walls and ceilings with the camera. One wall actually needed to be removed during the shot to bring in the crane that gets the cameraman into the restroom. When the wall is quickly replaced, he blindly travels backwards by ground. Meanwhile, stagehands rushed to build a ramp, which takes us to the top of the staircase after the singer’s close up.

#8: One Way Trip
“Magnolia” (1999)

Paul Thomas Anderson loves his long takes, and “Magnolia” has quite a few. A good one is this tracking shot through the TV station that hovers through the hallways from one character to the next. While most tracking shots this elaborate are used to establish the setting, this one’s notable for creating a sense of kinetic energy in its people instead. The fact that it’s unbroken also keeps us in the immediacy of it, like a reminder that we’re heading in with no way out.

#7: Best Seats in the House
“The Secret in Their Eyes” (2009)

Over twenty technicians toiled for 9 months of digital work to make this long take look as impossibly realistic as it does from its bird’s eye view downward. This Oscar-winning crime film from Argentina sports a five-minute showdown between the FBI and their suspect Isidoro Gomez at a full house football stadium mid-game. It keeps us glued to every moment of the chase it’s been leading to, with a sequence that makes for good suspense by appearing to be uncut.

#6: Fallow the Leader
“The Bonfire of the Vanities” (1990)

Bruce Willis’ portrayal of alcoholic writer Peter Fallow sees him being paraded through stardom and press coverage as filmed by Larry McConkey, the same Steadicam operator responsible for the “Kill Bill” shot in our number nine entry. This scene led to several injuries and took 12 takes from dusk until dawn to shoot. The entire sequence stands out for its collaborative effort between cast and crew, especially with this many moving parts and extras. The fact that it’s also dialogue-heavy makes it very impressive.

#5: Walk This Way
“Raging Bull” (1980)

It’s been hailed as a Martin Scorsese classic for good reason. The Jake LaMotta story about a boxer’s obsession with violence is an unflinching, unwavering focus on his character. One sequence that particularly highlights the tough-guy’s focus and dedication is the unbroken take that follows him into the ring for his title fight. Psychologically, this slow-paced type of character study both contrasts and complements the assault that follows, making the blows the fighters exchange more visceral than anything this scene could prepare us for.

#4: Keep It Moving
“Strange Days” (1995)

A fast-paced, violent, one-take robbery reminds its audiences of the frailty and sensitivity of life and human nature, and you can’t help but panic right along with these guys as they mobilize their botched heist both in and outdoors. The 35mm camera was custom-built to be light, which might be why this shot looks like it’s an odd version of the human eye. Our eyes dart around faster than traditional film cameras would encourage, and the found-footage simulation here makes the whole thing slightly surreal.

#3: Long Walks on the Beach
“Atonement” (2007)

When British soldier Robbie traipses across the war-torn Dunkirk beach, it doesn’t get more elaborate than a thousand extras and several horses choreographed to contribute to the sum of this long take’s intricate parts. With little dialogue, what makes this tracking shot interesting besides all the coordinated cues is its cinematography. Since the extras were only available for a day, that’s exactly how much time they had to shoot the scene, and it took 3 takes along with the complete exhaustion of their crew to get it right.

#2: Going Nowhere
“Gravity” (2013)

The foreboding doom of the Explorer’s impending assault by satellite debris is played out in torturous real time, forcing its audience to watch the crew hastily prepare for the trouble that’s a few minutes away. If you’re not easily rattled by the tension of their situation, the swelling music certainly helps. The long take is one of director Alfonso Cuaron’s trademarks, but with the confines and conflict of space’s altered physics, never has this film technique been so nerve-wracking… especially when disaster does strike.

Before we track our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- For Your Amusement
“The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013)
- Room With a View
“The Passenger” (1975)
- Coordinated Chaos
“Werckmeister Harmonies” (2000)
- Burn, Baby, Burn
“The Mirror” (1975)
- Neighborhood Watch
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

#1: Underground & Pound
“Hanna” (2011)

If Eric Bana looks nervous, it might be genuine. A dolly, Steadicam and other camera equipment are tracking him, completely dependent on the perfect performance both before and during the pressure-filled moments of his fight scene in “Hanna.” Director Joe Wright, a fan of these continuous shots and also responsible for the one in “Atonement,” claims this stylistic sequence was efficient for his budget constraints. An added challenge was the 45-minute “magic hour” lighting limitation to film shortly after sunrise, which was successfully achieved within 6 or 7 takes.

Do you agree with our list? Which continuous movie shots did we miss? For more uncut Top 10s daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Comments

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs