One of the most satisfying experiences when watching a film is seeing the perfectly choreographed, filmed and edited action shots. Despite many films today relying on CGI and green-screens to create many of their iconic scenes, some directors prefer to rely on good old-fashioned reality. These directors often ask their crew to participate in some of the craziest and most dangerous stunt work you can imagine.
When watching films such as “John Wick” and “Mission: Impossible”, it’s incredibly exciting to know that the film’s stars actually put their lives and multi-million dollar careers at risk just to provide you, the viewer, with a satisfying movie experience. Even though some films still use classic stunts, the number of films where an action star actually does the scenes himself is growing smaller everyday. That’s where stunt doubles come in. We’re going to go behind the scenes and check out some of the most dangerous stunts Hollywood has ever performed.
If there’s one actor that has built a name for himself around daring and dangerous stunts, it would certainly be Sylvester Stallone. He has played in many successful action movies since the ‘70s, but without a doubt, his most recognizable action franchise is "Rambo". In the film, Stallone plays a Vietnam veteran who gets betrayed by a group of evil men and decides to take his slow and gruesome revenge on them. It was a critical and commercial success, spawning the action hero films of the past few decades.
When the actor shot his first Rambo film, one action scene had John Rambo falling from a cliff and using a tree to break his fall. As you might have guessed, trees aren’t as fluffy as pillows and tend to hit a lot harder when you crash into them at fast speeds. Instead of asking for a stuntman to do the job for him, Stallone decided to just do it himself. The scene was shot successfully and is a great and entertaining part of the film. Unfortunately, the actor broke three ribs in the process.
The Princess Bride
Almost every movie fan from the ‘80s can recite lines from this classic film. This film helped raise the bar on what people expected from fantasy films, and was only surpassed in quality when "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy came out. It featured some amazingly talented actors, including even Andre the Giant, a 7 ft 4 inches WWE wrestler who weighed 520 pounds at the time.
"The Princess Bride" had many incredible action scenes that involved swords and stunts. Cary Elwes, who played the film’s star, Westley, was so into his role that he managed to get a concussion during one of the action scenes. Actor Christopher Guest, who played the Count Tyrone Rugen, was supposed to hit Elwes with the butt of his sword. The committed Elwes asked him to use his full force instead of pretending, which ended up making for a great scene — but also sent the actor to the hospital with a mild concussion.
"Scarface" shocked audiences when it came out in 1983, proving itself to be one of the best gangster crime drama films of all time. The film featured Al Pacino in an iconic role as Cuban refugee Tony Montana, who arrives in Miami, Florida and builds himself into a successful drug lord. The film was a box office success, despite originally receiving negative reviews due to its violence, depiction of Cubans, profanity and graphic drug use.
"Scarface" has since turned into a cult classic, and has been adapted into everything from toys, to comic books, and even video-games. During production, Al Pacino accidentally grabbed the scorching-hot barrel of a gun that was shot repeatedly just moments before. He ended up burning his hand badly in the process and production was delayed by two weeks as a result. When asked about the injury, he said: "My hand stuck to that sucker".
Daniel Craig surprised fans and film journalists when he was slated to take up the role of the new James Bond, also known as 007. Critics were initially skeptical that the blonde hunk would be able to portray the role as well as his predecessors. His debut film, "Casino Royale", proved that the actor was a successful James Bond, although a much darker and less charming one at that. He went on to portray the character in four different films, and will take up the role one last time in the upcoming "No Time to Die".
The actor has suffered various injuries during filming in each one of the movies. Daniel Craig's injuries include losing two front teeth during a fight scene, dislocating his shoulder, spraying his knee, hurting his ankle, and even slicing off the tip of his finger. When asked whether he would be interested in taking up the role again, Craig replied: "I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on."
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
While he’s not exactly known for being Hollywood’s most talented actor, Tom Cruise is certainly known as one of the most insane ones. He brings a level of passion and commitment to his projects that is almost second to none in the acting industry. One way that Cruise does this is by being unequivocally determined to do every single one of his movie stunts, which says a lot when you realize that he stars in some of the most intense and jaw-dropping action films of all time.
The actor suffered many injuries and near-death experiences for his beloved "Mission: Impossible" franchise, which helped put him on the map many years ago. One example of a recent injury that the actor sustained was in the latest film of the franchise. Cruise was doing a chase scene where he runs after the bad guy across rooftops in full-speed. During one of the jumps, the actor must have missed the timing on his jump and accidentally landed straight into a building with his foot. The impact broke his ankle and delayed production by a few months.
James Cameron’s iconic historical drama film, "Titanic", helped launch the careers of many of its actors. Released back in 1997, this loosely-based-on-real-life story of Jack and Rose, who fell in love aboard the Titanic, quickly became one of the world’s most recognized and popular films. It was a revolutionary film for many reasons, not the least of which were its groundbreaking special effects, which literally took months to render due to computers being about 0.1% as powerful as they are today.
Many precautions were taken while filming the later part of the film, when the Titanic crashed into an iceberg and began sinking. Despite their best efforts, Kate Winslet found herself with a serious case of hypothermia due to being submerged in cold water for the last scene. She was also in a near-drowning experience when her coat latched on to one of the set piece gates which was submerged and going down into the water fast.
"Ben-Hur" might just be the most revolutionary action film of its time. The film is mostly remembered for its action scenes involving chariot-riders sitting behind multiple horses and racing around dirt paths while fighting for their lives. This film was made in 1959, meaning that stuntmen in the film put their lives in serious jeopardy to accomplish a perfect shot, and the result was obviously worth the effort. "Ben-Hur" is considered to be the epitome of action in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
One of the film’s most dangerous and iconic scenes was its nine-minute chariot race, which is considered to be the highlight of the film. During the scene, a stuntman was thrown off his carriage by accident. He was left helpless on the floor while groups of horses passed by him towing wheeled carriages. It was a miracle that nobody ended up crushing him, or the film would have had a very different ending.
This 1995 entry in Pierce Brosnan's popular portrayal of 007 was quite a popular one in the franchise, and even got one of the most popular video-games of all time made after it. It had the usual fast cars, beautiful women and crazy stunts that you’d expect from a bond film. "Goldeneye" was also a debut for both Pierce Brosnan as James Bond and Judi Dench as the first female M. This was also the first Bond film to ever use CGI, making it a very special entry in the franchise that would set the tone for much of what came next.
One of the most important and memorable action scenes from the film happened right at the opening of "Goldeneye". It included Bond bungee jumping from the Contra Dam in Val Verzasca of Ticino, Switzerland. Brosnan’s stuntman, Wayne Michael, could not do the scene, which meant it had to be performed by 007 himself. Why, you ask? The stuntman accidentally went unconscious during the jump, which would have been quite dangerous if he wasn’t fitted with a safety rig.
Unfortunately for Kevin Costner, the film "Waterworld" didn’t only get mixed reviews at best, but was also a huge commercial flop, making only around $30 million profit against a budget of $235 million. When you hear what Kevin Costner went through in the making of the film, you might agree that he should have probably skipped this one.
In one of the scenes, Kevin Costner’s character, The Mariner, gets tied to the mast of a ship. The film was made on an actual ship in high waters, which means that when a storm broke out, the actor was stuck on the mast for quite a few minutes, and he actually almost died. Poor Costner had a stunt double, but ended up getting waves splashed into his face for thirty minutes. Luckily, the crew ended up getting him out just before he couldn’t fight the waves off anymore.
The Wizard of Oz
When we look back at this classic 1939 fantasy film, the last thing that comes to mind is the word “dangerous”. However, "The Wizard of Oz" was quite an effect-heavy film at the time, and included many scenes that involved traps, fire and makeup made of dangerous materials. Back in the day, there was no CGI, so everything had to be produced in real time on set. The only other alternative was to “draw” things frame by frame (such as light-sabers in the original "Star Wars" trilogy), but that wasn’t really an option here.
"The Wizard of Oz" had many examples of injuries and near-accidents. One example is the scene where the Wicked Witch of the West was in Munchkinland and suddenly disappears into fire. She was supposed to drop safely down through a trapdoor, but a malfunction caused her to stay in the flames. The actress, Margaret Hamilton, was severely burnt in the process. This is just one example out of a myriad of accidents in the film. At least we can take comfort in knowing it became a cult classic.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" was the first official installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. It helped launch the careers of famous Han Solo actor, Harrison Ford, at a time when he was just a regular set worker. This film is considered one of Steven Spielberg's best, and was actually written by George Lucas, the creator of "Star Wars". It’s one of the greatest films of all time and also one of the most commercially successful, thanks to brilliant storytelling, excellent acting and some fine action set-pieces sprinkled throughout.
Some of the film's most iconic scenes, such as the popular boulder scene, were filmed using a fiberglass prop. Other action scenes did involve a lot of actual stunt work. One of the most dangerous scenes in the movie was the one where Indy is caught and dragged by a ten-wheeled truck. It was performed by stuntman Terry Leonard, who almost got killed but managed to pull it off. The stuntman has since performed in over 100 films, including some recent hits, such as "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" and Tarantino's "Django Unchained".
1988's action thriller "Die Hard" is one of the most popular and highly acclaimed action films of all time. The film turned actor Bruce Willis into a real life action star and was nominated for four academy awards, which is a rare feat when it comes to hardcore action flicks."Die Hard" is full of intense action scenes that involve acrobatics, gun violence and fighting. Most of the action scenes that involved Bruce Willis's character, John McClane, were done by the actor himself.
During the film, there's a scene where Willis shoots a prop gun with extra-loud blanks while under a table. However, the crew apparently forgot to take into account what happens when you shoot a loud gun in a small enclosed space. Bruce Willis was shocked at how loud the bang was, and ended up losing two-thirds of his hearing.
"Kill Bill" is another excellent entry from legendary film director, Quentin Tarantino. It’s a classic samurai-western film and a homage to classic grind-house cinema, martial arts films, blaxploitation films and more. There’s a good reason why it’s considered one of Tarantino’s best films, after "Pulp Fiction", of course.
"Kill Bill" contained a large amount of action scenes with actress Uma Thurman as the killer bride. Unfortunately, Tarantino is known as a very dedicated director who gives his actors quite a hard time. Recent allegations against the directors were made by Uma Thurman alleging that he abused her on set. One example is that the actress claims Tarantino forced her to perform a driving stunt that ended up in a crash and almost left her disabled.
"The Crow" was a classic 1994 superhero action film based on the comic of the same name. The film stars Brandon Lee, the first child of famous martial artist and actor, Bruce Lee. The film was well-praised for its unique visual style, emotional depth and eventually went on to gain a cult following. "The Crow" tells the story of Eric Davis, a rock musician who comes back to life and seeks to avenge his death and the murder of his fiancée.
In an early part of the film, Lee was supposed to get shot by a fake .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 629 revolver. Due to a set of unfortunate mistakes, the prop gun was accidentally loaded with live powder, and promptly hit the actor in the abdomen, mortally wounding him. Brandon Lee was rushed to the hospital, but he died a few hours later, at age 28.
When "The Exorcist" came out back in 1973, it was widely considered to be the scariest horror film ever made. The film was based on a book of the same name by William Peter Blatty, and featured the exorcism of a girl who was possessed by a demon. Many cities tried to ban the film but failed, after children were accidentally taken to see it. It was the most commercially successful R-Rated film for almost two decades and is considered a culturally significant film.
While many people don’t exactly look at this film as an action movie, it did have a few dangerous stunts involved. One of the most dangerous is when Regan, the young girl who was possessed by the devil, slapped her mother so hard that she flew across the room. It was actress Ellen Burstyn, the one who played Regan’s mother, that was yanked by the stunt cable. It apparently pulled her so hard that she broke her tailbone.
The Dark Knight
One of the things about Christopher Nolan is that he really likes his action scenes to be authentic and real. The director insisted on having real action scenes, even if that meant putting his actors at risk. One of "The Dark Knight’s" most recognizable scenes was when Batman flipped Joker’s truck using tripwires in the middle of the street. While most fans thought this was CGI, it was actually 100 percent real.
The stunt was done using a massive metal spring that jumped below the truck and flipped it into the air. The truck’s driver was a stuntman named Jim Wilkey, who was literally inside the truck while this happened. He got out of it without any injuries, and got paid an estimated $15 thousand for his role, as opposed to Christian Bale’s $15 million. Go figure.
This masterpiece centers around a young and aspiring Jazz drummer named Andrew Naiman, who attempts to become the world’s greatest drummer. His journey is contrasted by Terence Fletcher, a psychotic music teacher/mentor who terrorizes him to perform at his peak throughout the film. "Whiplash" received critical acclaim and won Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Supporting Actor for J. K. Simmons, who played the music teacher.
"Whiplash" had quite a few intense scenes between Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons which included a lot of physicality. In one of the scenes, Fletcher yells at Neiman until the young student snaps and tackles him out of anger. Teller allegedly hit Simmons so hard that he broke two of his ribs while filming this scene. Needless to say, the pain on the actor’s face was completely real.
The Passion of the Christ
When Mel Gibson decided to direct a film that centered around the last twelve hours of Jesus Christ's life, critics were initially skeptical that he would pull it off well. The film ended up becoming the highest grossing Christian film of all time, with polarized critics, who either loved or hated it.
There were a lot of brutal scenes in "The Passion of the Christ", especially in the last half of the film. Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus, suffered various wounds during production. It’s been claimed that he was whipped multiple times (with real whips), dislocated his shoulder, caught a bad case of hypothermia, and even got hit by lightning. Although we tend to be skeptical of the last one, it’s clear that he had one hell of a time during filming.
2014's biographical true crime drama film, "Foxcatcher", was a huge hit when it came out. The film is based on the real-life event of multimillionaire wrestling coach and enthusiast, John du Pont, who recruited two 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medalist wrestling brothers and helped coach them. du Pont shot and killed one of the brothers, Dave Schultz, in real life, which became a news sensation at the time. The film was highly acclaimed for its acting, particularly Steve Carell, who is mostly known for lighthearted comedic roles. "Foxcatcher" was nominated for five Oscars and three Academy awards.
One of the film's stars, Channing Tatum, played the pro-wrestler Mark Schultz. The actor wanted to make his role as realistic as possible, and almost received a concussion in the process. During a scene that occurred right after he lost a match, Mark Schultz paces around the room angrily before smashing a glass mirror with his head. The move made Tatum bleed from his forehead, and he claims to not even remember it happening.
The Expendables 2
The original "Expendables" film was an action film tribute to all the classic action heroes of the ‘80s. The film was created solely to satisfy action film fans hungry for some classic ‘80s action, including big guns, muscular dudes, stylish explosions and more. Although it was quite thin on the plot side, "The Expendables" more than made up for it with its bombastic action scenes. A few years later, a sequel was released due to the success of the first film, and featured even more action heroes, bigger explosions and more action than its predecessor. This unfortunately led to a fatal accident.
During filming of one of the movie's many explosions, the equipment malfunctioned and caused a stuntman to die, and another to become severely wounded. The wounded stuntman survived the injury and went on to sue the studio, claiming it was recklessly made without regard for safety. "The Expendables" franchise featured a total of three films and grossed almost $800 million worldwide, against a budget of about $300 million (not including marketing). Hopefully, the production took some of that profit and paid it forward to its stuntmen.
"Nightcrawler" was director Dan Gilroy's first film, and it hit with a bang and won various awards, while receiving widespread praise. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis Bloom, an aspiring freelance journalist who records violent events in Los Angeles. The film was a serious criticism to the news consumer culture, which thrives on sensationalism, and the unethical journalists who produce it.
During one of the film's dramatic scenes, Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Louis Bloom, screams at a mirror and hits it as hard as he can, breaking it to pieces. Gyllenhaal wasn't originally supposed to hit the mirror, and did it out of a spontaneous impulse. He began bleeding from his hand, but kept acting. The scene ended up being so good that it was put in the film.
Now You See Me
The 2013 thriller "Now You See Me" starred a diverse cast of extremely talented actors, including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman. It revolves around four street magicians who attempt to pull off the world’s greatest heist.
In one of the scenes, Henley Reeves, an accomplished escape artist played by Isla Fisher, attempts to pull off the ultimate escape as she unlocks herself from handcuffs and chains while stuck inside a tube of water. Due to an equipment malfunction, the actress found herself stuck in the container for about three minutes as she struggled for her life. Luckily, the crew got her out of there just before she lost consciousness.
"Gold" featured Matthew McConaughey as Kenny Wells in a loosely based-on-reality film about a guy who supposedly finds a massive gold deposit in the jungles of Indonesia. The film was a box office disaster and lost a few million dollars. It also received mixed ratings, commending it for McConaughey's performance, but bashing just about everything else about it.
One of the film's actors, Edgar Ramirez, describes how he almost died during an avalanche that hit the region during filming. He claims that while they were shooting a scene inside a little hut, the crew suddenly heard a weird sound that kept getting louder. The actor reported that the Thai crew began screaming in horror as they fled the coming avalanche. Luckily, everyone survived and came out of the situation relatively unharmed.
This action thriller starring audience favorite Joseph Gordon-Levitt had a really cool premise. Imagine a bicycle messenger getting pursued around New York City by a gambling-addict police officer who wants one of his envelopes. This was quite an action-heavy scene, and involved Joseph Gordon-Levitt performing most of the stunts. Driving a bicycle around 30 miles per hour doesn’t sound so dangerous, until you realize he’s doing it in the middle of New York City.
Gordon was injured during production when he drove straight into a taxi cab. The impact launched him straight into the taxi's rear windshield, and he had to get 31 stitches as a result. The film was a box office failure and received decent reviews, so hopefully it was worth it for the actor.
The Lone Ranger
Johnny Depp was one of the most popular Hollywood stars during the success of his "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. He became widely famous for his role as Jack Sparrow. Depp was on a serious roll and decided to try doing a film called "The Lone Ranger". This western film was a commercial failure, just barely grossing as much as it cost. It was also a critical failure, as audiences criticized it for having a "bland script, bloated length, and blaring action overkill."
Depp really believed in this film and wanted it to work. One of the things he did to insure authenticity was to insist on doing some of the action scenes himself. This is quite commendable when you consider that he wears a mask throughout most of the film, which made it very easy for a stuntman to impersonate him. Unfortunately, Johnny Depp was almost killed during production. He was doing his own horse riding scene, when he was thrown off a moving horse and was nearly trampled. Perhaps the actor better stay at sea.
If you were born after the '80s, there's a good chance you haven't heard of 1981's adventure comedy film, "Roar". The film centers around the family of a man who lives with lions, tigers and other predators in Africa.. The film was three years in production before a real-life flood in California destroyed most of its equipment. It took 11 years to produce "Roar", and the film ended up bombing in the box office and receiving negative reviews.
"Roar" was notorious for almost getting its actors killed multiple times, with as much as 70 crew members, including the stars, getting seriously injured during filming due to animal attacks. During a recent interview with star John Marshall, he claimed that the total was probably much closer to 100 people injured. The crew suffered from every dangerous situation you can think of, including getting bit by lions, clawed by cheetahs, and more.
The Lord of the Rings
This film series was directed by Peter Jackson and is based on J. R. R. Tolkien's novel by the same name. It features a wide cast of extremely talented actors and is widely regarded as one of the world's most successful and influential film series in history. The films grossed a combined $3 billion, and that's without counting the countless merchandise, video-games, novels and comic book sales that came as a result. "The Lord of the Rings" films were also critically acclaimed and won a record-shattering 17 out of 30 Academy Award nominations.
The film contained many action scenes that were mostly performed by the actors themselves. Actors Viggo Mortensen, who portrayed the fallen king Aragorn, went through a number of dangerous accidents during filming. In one scene, he kicked a helmet with all his force, not knowing it was made of metal, and broke both his toes. In another scene, a real dagger was accidentally thrown at his face, which he managed to swing away from using his sword to stop the other in mid-air. This accidental set-piece was so cool that it ended up being included in the final film.
Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio starred in the brilliant revisionist Western masterpiece, "Django Unchained", which was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The films is an amazing tale of an African-American slave who does everything in his power to find and recover his slave wife, Broomhilda. During his journey, he partners with a headhunter, Dr. King Schultz, and becomes his student and later, his partner. This gory lovefest is truly one of the best action films of the decade, and received numerous awards and nominations.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the "Monsieur" Calvin J. Candie, a psychopathic plantation owner who owns Django's wife. During one of the more intense scenes of the film, DiCaprio got so into his monologue that he accidentally smashed a glass in his hands and was profusely bleeding for the rest of the scene. Instead of stopping the scene, he not only continued to act, but also smeared the blood on actress Kerry Washington's face to make it more intense. Now that’s what intense method acting looks like!
Quentin Tarantino has built himself quite a reputation as one of the toughest and most brutal directors to work with. He is known for sometimes taking things a bit too far when it comes to action scenes in his gory films. One example that would probably be considered as an overreach by the director, happened while filming his popular film, "Inglourious Basterds".
Tarantino caused his actress, Diane Kruger, to lose consciousness for a few moments, after he strangled her during one of the film's scenes. Her character was choked by the German Hans Landa, but you can only see his hands, so Tarantino chose to do it himself. The actress visibly turned red and was clearly shocked at being choked so aggressively.
Armour of God
Jackie Chan is known in Hollywood as one of the top action actors in history. The actor would routinely perform his own dangerous stunts, which included fighting with and without weapons, and extremely dangerous parkour. When he finally had a chance to write and direct his own film, the actor went all out, and paid a serious price for it. During one of the film's action scenes, he came as close as he has ever been to dying (which is saying something, given we're talking about Jackie Chan here).
Jackie Chan performed a fairly routine stunt where he jumped onto a tree from a ledge, but this time, the branch snapped and he was sent flying down into a 25 foot fall. Chan hit his head on a rock and was rushed to the hospital. To this day, the actor still has a hole in his skull.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Jennifer Lawrence became a household name when she played Katniss Everdeen in the dystopian action franchise, "The Hunger Games". The films were based on a novel of the same name, written by Suzanne Collins. Lawrence received $500,000 for her first portrayal of the character, but went on to receive roughly $10,000,000 for the two sequels. The films were a huge critical and commercial success, earning billions of dollars and launching the actress's career.
During filming, Jennifer Lawrence accidentally became deaf in her left ear while filming a water stunt. The actress jumped into a strong stream of water and had one of the water jets spray directly into her ear, puncturing her ear drum. She reportedly lost her hearing for about two and a half weeks.
The 2015 remake to the classic 1991 action flick was one of the very first remakes ever done before redoing ‘70s to ‘90s films for a quick buck became the norm. Sadly for the producers, "Point Blank" ended up being a high-cost film with very low box-office returns. One thing that’s highly commendable about this action flick, is that almost all of its action scenes (which involved everything from riding giant waves to flying in a wingsuit between mountains) were actually performed by stuntmen.
Arguably, the most risky scene was the opening 5-minutes of the film, which shows our hero and his crew flying in wingsuits while bobbing and weaving between mountains. Needless to say, hitting one of these cliffs at such a high speed would have been instantly fatal, or potentially cause permanent disability. Lucky for all, nobody got hurt during production, especially considering that its horrible commercial performance probably didn’t leave a lot of money for on-the-job medical injuries compensation.
"True Lies" is a 1994 action comedy film by the legendary James Cameron, starring none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger and the talented Jamie Lee Curtis. The film revolves around Harry Tasker, played by Schwarzenegger. Tasker lives a double life, as both a boring computer salesman, and a covert counter-terrorism U.S. operative. During the film, his wife, Helen (Lee Curtis), gets kidnapped, which leads to some very frightening action scenes that were done by the star herself.
Jamie Lee Curtis celebrated her 36th birthday by hanging off of a helicopter during filming. This stunt was performed as part of a scene where Schwarzenegger's character was supposed to save his kidnapped wife. The actress was initially hesitant to perform the stunt, but was convinced by director James Cameron after he promised her that he would be dangling out of the helicopter right next to her.
Robert Downey Jr. became a household name after playing the role of the crime-fighting billionaire Tony Stark, in Marvel's 2008 superhero film, "Iron Man". The following year he played the role of Sherlock Holmes, in the mystery action film of the same name. The film portrayed a more realistic version of the character and received positive reviews for its story, performances, fight scenes and the musical score, which was done by legendary composer Hans Zimmer.
During one of the earlier scenes, Robert Downey Jr. was set to fight against the 6 foot 11 inch giant, Robert Maillet. During filming, the actor was accidentally hit in the chin by a raging hook from the large actor. He went flying in the air and was knocked out cold for a while. When Robert Downey Jr. finally woke up, he asked to stay on set, but eventually ended up needing six stitches.
Often considered as the best TV show ever made, "Breaking Bad" gave audiences five and a half seasons of pure bliss, as it told the story of a chemistry teacher suffering from terminal cancer who turns into one of the world’s most successful meth producers and distributors. The show features actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, who went on to win numerous awards for their performance. They have since gained almost a cult-like following from fans of the show.
Aaron Paul cheated death during production for one of the show’s episodes. The actor, who played Jesse Pinkman in the show, was nearly smashed by a boulder during the first season of "Breaking Bad". The large rock was positioned on the roof of their iconic RV, but was accidentally moved and proceeded to fall right where the actor was standing just moments before. Ironically, Paul asked the director if he could try to film the scene from a different position just seconds before the boulder fell.
Action films often feature dangerous stunts that include explosions and high-speed stunts, and are notorious for having a variety of malfunctions due to deadline pressures. In almost all of these cases, it's the stuntmen who perform the dangerous scenes, and not the actors who are often paid about 100 times more than their expandable counterparts. Vin Diesel’s 2002 action film, "XXX", went through such an event, which ended up in a fatal accident.
While filming an action scene, Vin Diesel's stunt double, Harry L. O'Connor, had to rappel down a line and land on a submarine. The stuntman's rope accidentally hit a bridge while he was descending at a very high speed. The collision caused O'Connor to die on the spot.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
The last film in the iconic "Harry Potter" franchise was also considered one of its weakest releases. Both parts, which were directed by David Yates, grossed a combined total of about $2 billion, without including the many billions more from merchandise, comic books, video-games, costumes and more. The film series turned young child actors Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, into widely known celebrities.
During production, the stunt double for Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter, David Holmes, suffered severe spinal injuries while filming an aerial action scene. The stuntman was hit by an explosion which was part of the stunt and fell to the ground. The fall left him paralyzed, but he has since vowed to return to stunts.
Marvel’s action film, "The Avengers", was 2012's highest grossing film, and spawned a series of some of the most profitable films of all time. This film was the anticipated union of various superheroes, such as Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk, who have all been developed through their own solo films. It's listed as one of the 100 greatest films of all time, according to Empire magazine.
During production in Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of the film's stuntmen, Jeremy Fitzgerald, suffered a severe head injury in one of the action scenes. He did a stunt involving a 30-foot fall from a building after getting hit by an arrow. The fall caused him to lose part of his scalp, resulting in permanent damage to his head. Hopefully, he got reimbursed for his trouble, as the film and proceeding movies went on to make billions of dollars for Disney.
The first "Deadpool" helped turn Ryan Reynolds into a household name. The actor’s quirky sense of humor and incredible charisma helped turn the film into the most successful R-Rated film of its time. When "Deadpool 2" came out, audiences were thrilled to discover that the sequel basically improved everything they loved about the first one. The film raked in almost $800 million worldwide, making it the new highest earning R-Rated film of all time, before being overthrown by "Joker" this year.
"Deadpool 2" included even more action scenes with incredible setpieces, but all the fun and action unfortunately cost a stuntman’s life. A stunt-woman, Sequena Joi Harris, died in a motorcycle accident when she crashed into Shaw Tower in British Columbia, Canada, while filming an action scene for the film. This was her first ever stunt for the film and she was not wearing a helmet because the character wasn't supposed to wear one. Harris was chosen over a veteran stunt double because her skin color more closely matched that of the character. The film credited her at the end by writing "In memory of Sequena Harris".
The Walking Dead
AMC's "The Walking Dead" is one of the network's most successful shows to date. The show follows Rick Grimes, a former sheriff's deputy in a small town who has to contend with the world devolving into a zombie apocalypse. The show is extremely successful and launched various spinoffs and video games. "The Walking Dead" is currently in its tenth season, with season eleven already in production. While reviews have declined over the seasons, the show maintains a fairly high rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
During filming for season eight, a stuntman named John Bernecker had to do a stunt on a 20 foot high balcony. He tripped and fell down onto a concrete floor, severely hurting his head. The stuntman didn't survive the accident, and AMC Networks was sued for the tragedy.