Fast & Furious 7 and Avengers: Age Of Ultron pride themselves on containing only the best CGI special effects, which is great for them, but we still pine for the days of classic film making, when an action sequence kept you on the edge of your seat instead of making your eyes glaze over as they’re inundated with fast moving pixels.
So with the news that you can now book tickets for upcoming cinematic extravaganza Mad Max: Fury Road, whose creator George Miller has confirmed that all of the car stunts are real, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most insane stunts ever captured on camera.
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Apart from Mad Max, Mission Impossible is perhaps the last franchise to still pride itself on its actors doing stunts – this is unsurprising though when you consider that Tom Cruise leads the cast. As much as we want to mention the fact that he hangs off a plane as it takes off in the upcoming fifth installment (watch the trailer), the film is not out yet so instead we’ll direct you to the equally crazy fact that the actor actually climbed the tallest building in the world in Ghost Protocol.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
The iconic scene where Indy climbs down the front of a Nazi truck and crawls underneath while it’s moving, then gets dragged behind it by his own whip before climbing up the back was deemed so dangerous by the stuntman charged with performing it, that the only condition in which he’d do it was if his trusted stuntman friend drove. Miraculously the stunt was performed in one take and it is now deemed one of the greatest chase sequences in movie history.
The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan remains a director who favours real-life stunts over CG and this is evident in his impactful work, whether this is the incredible plane scene at the start of The Dark Knight Rises, or the 100ft 360 degree revolving corridor built to create the head-spinning fight scene in Inception. Perhaps the most impressive stunt he pulled off was in The Dark Knight, when he challenged his team to flip a 16-wheel semi truck in Chicago’s financial district with a driver behind the wheel.
The Man With The Golden Gun
Bond films are also quite well known for their reliance on insanely dangerous stunts, and tend to pull off seemingly impossible feats to successfully position 007 the greatest spy to exist on screen. Honorable mentions go to the stunt man who ran over crocodiles in Live And Let Die and the tense and explosive tanker chase in License To Kill. But for pure ‘that can’t be possible’ reactions, the car jump in The Man With The Golden Gun was conceived by boffins at Cornell University and patented by filmmakers to ensure that they were the ones who would pull it off on screen first.
Although Blues Brothers holds the record for the most cars destroyed in a single car chase, Bullitt is worth watching for its car chase alone. In the iconic scene, a Mustang GT reaches speeds of over 100mph as it races across the streets of San Francisco, bouncing down hills and skidding around corners, sometimes even with Steve McQueen behind the wheel. The chase ended when a car, luckily with dummies in it, crashed into the set and burst into flames – luckily they were able to make this look intentional in post-production.
In this Charlton Heston epic, a pinnacle scene sees a deadly chariot race take place in an arena full of people. As 82 horses stampede around 1,500 extras, with dynamite going off every time a chariot was destroyed, a car was used to capture all the action and had to stay just feet away from the rampaging stallions in order to avoid a catastrophic pile up. The scene took five weeks to shoot, destroyed two cameras and injured the stunt man doubling for Heston when he was flung out of his chariot into the path of the horses behind him.
Mad Max: Fury Road stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, and brings its unique brand of mayhem to cinemas May 14. Book your tickets here.