Top 10 Most Dangerous Movie Scenes to Shoot

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Movie Scenes to Shoot

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Mimi Kenny
These stunts will blow your mind! For this list, we'll be looking at the movie scenes with the biggest risks of danger or resulting harm. Our countdown includes “Transformers: Dark of the Moon", “The Man with the Golden Gun”, “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”, and more!
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Top 10 Most Dangerous Movie Scenes to Film


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Dangerous Movie Scenes to Film.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the movie scenes with the biggest risks of danger or resulting harm. We won’t be including any instances in which an actor or stunt performer lost their life.

Which of these scenes seems riskiest to you? Let us know in the comments!


#10: Skydiving

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (2011)
The “Transformers” movies use CGI and green screen effects to sell a world of cars turning into giant fighting robots. You might think this scene from the third film was also faked, but it’s more than meets the eye. During the Decepticon invasion of Chicago, the NEST strike team don wingsuits and dive down. Actual wingsuit skydivers were hired for this scene, filmed at the 1,450-foot high Willis Tower. It was considered risky enough that six agencies - including the Federal Aviation Administration and Chicago Police Department - reportedly had to sign off on it. While these movies are full of eye candy, arguably no moment is as jaw-dropping as this one.

#9: Wicked Witch Disappearing

“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
“The Wizard of Oz” might be more than 80 years old, but its effects still hold up amazingly well. However, in the pre-CGI days, there was a lot more risk in shooting certain scenes. When the Wicked Witch of the West exits a scene, she disappears in a puff of red smoke and fire. So, what did they use to create the fire effect? Fire. Actress Margaret Hamilton was to avoid the flames by escaping through a trapdoor. While shooting one take, the door didn't open in time, causing Hamilton to receive second-and-third-degree burns on her face and hands, respectively. It took six weeks for Hamilton to recuperate. She later insisted on “no more fireworks.” Can you blame her?

#8: Gorge Jump

“Hooper” (1978)
This seventies action comedy starring Burt Reynolds is a highly entertaining ode to stunt performers. And, as you’d hope, contains some great stunt sequences. However, one stands out as the most incredible. Stunt coordinator Sonny Hooper - played by Reynolds - comes up with an idea for a rocket car to jump 325 feet across a gorge for a movie stunt. It's considered extremely dangerous within the film’s reality, but the filmmakers genuinely had a rocket-powered Pontiac Firebird make that jump. Famed stunt coordinator Buddy Joe Hooker was behind the wheel and thankfully nailed the landing. They certainly didn’t teach us this in driver’s ed.

#7: River Jump

“The Man with the Golden Gun” (1974)
“The Man with the Golden Gun” has a pretty poor reputation among James Bond fans. However, there is one sequence that almost redeems the whole movie. Roger Moore's Bond chases after titular villain Francisco Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee, in a stolen AMC Hornet. With Sheriff J.W. Pepper, last seen in “Live and Let Die,” in tow, Bond performs an incredible 360-degree “corkscrew jump” over a river. How did they accomplish this? By having a stunt driver twist their car 360 degrees mid-air. Driver Loren “Bumps” Willert had to make it over a ramp at precisely 48 miles per hour. Fortunately, he made it in just one take. And you thought the "Fast and the Furious" movies were intense.

#6: Arrows

“Throne of Blood” (1957)
“Throne of Blood” is a retelling of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” transported to feudal Japan. So, you know there’s going to be some death. However, one incredibly risky scene could’ve killed its star. At the end of the film, Toshiro Mifune’s Washizu Taketoki is attacked by his own troops in a barrage of arrows. And yes, director Akira Kurosawa had actual arrows fired at Mifune. Granted, these were shot by experienced archers, and Mifune used body language to indicate his movements and avoid being hit. But we have to imagine his terrified expression during this scene wasn't just good acting.


#5: Pole Slide

“Police Story” (1985)
This list could be composed entirely of Jackie Chan stunts, but if we have to pick one, it’s this incredible feat towards the end of “Police Story.” At a shopping mall, Chan's Sergeant Chan Ka-Kui pursues crime boss Chu Tao by leaping onto a lightbulb-covered pole. He then slides down before crashing through a glass ceiling and continuing his pursuit. Sparks literally fly during this scene, and Chan literally performed this stunt in a single take without any safety equipment or even rehearsal. If Chan had missed the pole by even a few inches, it could've spelled disaster. There’s brave, and then there’s Jackie Chan.



#4: Free Fall

“Sharky’s Machine” (1981)
Another Burt Reynolds movie with a mind-blowing stunt is “Sharky’s Machine.” At the end of the film, villainous Billy Score is chased up the Westin Peachtree Plaza by Reynolds' Sergeant Tom Sharky. This ends with Billy falling hundreds of feet to his death. While thankfully no one involved with this stunt was hurt, stunt performer Dar Robinson actually performed a 220-foot free-fall. We only see the beginning of the fall in the movie, but this still holds the record as being the highest building free-fall in any movie. Considering Robinson had already fallen from Toronto’s far taller CN Tower twice, we doubt he was too nervous about this one.

#3: Helicopter Scene

“Mission: Impossible - Fallout” (2018)
Think being a movie star like Tom Cruise is easy? Try doing what he did in the sixth “Mission: Impossible” film. In the thrilling climax, Cruise's Ethan Hunt commandeers a helicopter to stop one carrying Henry Cavill's villainous August Walker. If it looks like Cruise is actually flying and hanging from his helicopter, well, that's because he is. Filming the whole sequence took six weeks to accomplish, and the 56-year-old Cruise insisted on performing it himself. Even with some safety measures in place, it was still extraordinarily risky. But fortunately, this mission didn't prove impossible. We're dying - and terrified - to know what Cruise kind of stunts as planned for the next installment.


#2: Truck Drag

“Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
Indiana Jones’ first adventure is a tribute to the exciting movie serials of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ youth. And much of the thrill comes from how palpable the danger is. One particular scene wasn’t just dangerous for Jones but also for his real-world counterpart, Harrison Ford. When Indy learns of a truck carrying the Ark of the Covenant, he mounts his trusty steed and runs after it. This results in him being dragged from behind the truck over some very rough terrain. While Ford didn't handle all of this stunt by himself, he still ended up with some bruised ribs. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

#1: Chariot Jump

“Ben-Hur” (1959)
There are plenty of reasons to watch classic biblical epic “Ben-Hur.” But the greatest is the film’s famous chariot race, an iconic sequence full of great moments of action and human drama. In one heart-stopping moment, Judah Ben-Hur, played by Charlton Heston, leaps his chariot over a wrecked one and is flipped over without falling out. Stunt performer Joe Canutt was actually thrown up in the air, which was not supposed to happen. He only sustained a slight chin injury, but it could’ve ended up much worse. The days of chariot races are long over, as are perhaps movie scenes as dangerous as this one.
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