We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the magic of the movies is only contained within the film itself. The reason why editors, cinematographers, special effects teams and designers get paid the big bucks is because they are able to make the audience believe that they’re seeing something real when, in reality, it’s all trickery. We’ve all seen generic shots of an actor working in front of a green screen, pretending to drive a car or even hanging from wires instead of flying, but what about the most iconic scenes from the biggest movies? Where are those behind the scenes photos? Well, we’ve found them. And we’re going to ruin how you look at these iconic scenes with them.
Every one of these scenes is instantly recognizable. In some of the behind the scenes photos, we’re catching a glimpse of what happened directly before or after they began filming that iconic shot. In some of the scenes, we’re seeing what the filmmakers didn’t want us to see, the shot without the magic. Sure, we kid about ruining the experience, but it might actually work that way. If you find yourself saddened or disillusioned by what you see, cheer up. The movies aren’t real. Not at all. If you just learned that here, we apologize. But hopefully, it doesn’t ruin anything for you. Maybe it’ll add a sense of wonder and amazement to the movie watching experience. Maybe it’ll help you feel closer to the film by knowing how the magic was achieved. If nothing else, we want these photos to let you see a side of major films that you’ve never seen before, the reality and the real people behind the scenes we all love. Here are 15 behind the scenes photos that ruin (or not) iconic movie scenes.
15. Best Friends – The Dark Knight Rises
In the massive brawl on the streets in The Dark Knight Rises, you would be forgiven for believing that Batman and Bane actually hate each other. After all, they are punching each other in the face. But, believe it or not, it’s all just an act. These two actors, Christian Bale and Tom Hardy, are actually good friends in real life. It’s true. This shocking picture even shows them hugging. In all seriousness, it’s shots like these that remind us how convincing great actors can be. In between takes of their classic brawl, Bane and Batman share a little hug and a laugh before they got right back to smashing on each other. It just melts your cold dead heart doesn’t it?
14. The Truth Behind Juggler – Labyrinth
David Bowie was a magical dude in Labyrinth. Don’t believe me? Check out how sweet he juggles those crystal orbs and then tell me he’s not. While it is within the realm of possibility that Bowie could do all things, he actually couldn’t perform this trick of contact juggling. So, the filmmaker mastermind, Jim Henson, hired Michael Moshen, one of the world’s premier contact jugglers, to come in and do the tricks for Bowie. In order to do this, Moshen would stand behind Bowie and put his arm through the Goblin King’s sleeve and do the trick as if it were actually Bowie’s arm and hand. The issue here is that Moshen couldn’t see what he was doing. You know what’s more impressive than Bowie juggling those orbs himself? A guy hiding behind him juggling those balls without even looking at them.
13. Just Getting Eaten by Freddy Krueger – Dream Warriors
There’s a lot to love about A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, but one of the best moments in the film is when Freddy Krueger tries to eat up Kristen (Patricia Arquette). A major reason why Arquette shines so much in this film is how great she is in the extremes of fear and happiness. In this behind the scenes shot, we get to see Arquette flipping between these two extremes, screaming and crying one moment and posing and smiling the next. This is really just one of the many excellent photos available from A Nightmare on Elm Street films. It looks like the cast and crew had a lot of fun on set.
12. Crashing the Titanic – Titanic
Considering that the real Titanic ship sank in 1912, it would be tough to have actual footage from the event. To make due, James Cameron filmed all of his shots in a studio. These behind the scenes shots show the studio tank that was used to get the final moments of Jack’s… SPOILER… life. There were 350,000 gallons of water in this tank, and while it wasn’t ice cold water, the actors were cold when they were exposed to the air. There was a hot tub nearby which they would be able to use to warm up between shots, so don’t start feeling too bad for these poor souls. That means that the blue lips and pale skin was all makeup—illusion shattered.
11. The Real Richard Parker – Life of Pi
One of the saddest scenes in Life of Pi is when the tiger, Richard Parker, has lost all his strength, is malnourished and looks to be on the brink of death. As the boat drifts through the ocean, Pi can do nothing but watch as the tiger fades away. Even if you’re not an animal lover, it’s a hard scene to watch. But, when you see the behind-the-scenes photos, it’s hard not to feel a little silly about feeling anything. Richard Parker, this big beautiful tiger, is nothing more than a blue stuffed animal… thing. But again, like many of the photos on this list, it gives you a new appreciation for the acting abilities of Suraj Sharma (Pi) because he’s able to create and portray a deep connection with the animal to the audience, when he’s actually just holding onto a stuffed animal. It’s both disillusioning and impressive at the same time.
10. Pig’s Blood Ain’t so Bad – Carrie
In the incredibly iconic prom night scene in Brian De Palma‘s Carrie, Carrie is famously covered in pig’s blood which makes her get all killy with everyone at prom. Well, to get the pig’s blood looking just right, the team made a concoction of corn syrup and food coloring and dumped it all over her. Since the sequence afterward took three days to film, Sissy Spacek (Carrie) didn’t bath or shower and even slept in her dress to ensure that the blood stains on her skin and dress all stayed consistent throughout the filming. Now that’s dedication. Spacek also insisted that as many of the shots that involved her character were done by her, even if they could have been done with stunt doubles. This includes the final hand out the ground scene. Spacek was buried in a box on set and shot her hand up all by her lonesome.
9. Not Exactly 1:1 Scale Models – Mothra vs. Godzillla
Even though the Mothra photo is from the 1961 film, Mothra, much of the design was used again in 1964 with Mothra vs. Godzilla. First showing his face in the 1954 film Godzilla, this big beautiful monster, has been a mainstay in the science fiction genre ever since. While Mothra may never have gotten as popular as Godzilla did in the Western world, both characters are cultural icons in monster flicks. These behind the scenes photos show the great lengths that the designers went to to create scale models of the city and the creatures themselves. Whenever the shot of Godzilla only required feet, the actor would be able to walk around without the headpiece, which is why we get candid shots like the one above.
8. BFG Cameo – E.T. the Extraterrestrial
This amazing behind the scenes shot of E.T. looking down over the city lights from a hilltop is a shot that was used for many of the promotional pieces for E.T. the Extraterrestrial. These city lights are the same that the gang flies over in their bikes, a sight you too can see if you ever go to Universal Studios Orlando. The team at Industrial Light & Magic had a clear plan to execute this scene best, but we better let them describe it:
“We realized the shot using a combination of a miniature set in the foreground and a matte painting in the background for the city. E.T. was a small puppet mounted to a rod that slid down a track, which gave the appearance that he was walking down the hillside toward the city. A lot of what makes this shot successful is the lighting and composition. The foreground looks a bit foreboding, whereas the cityscape has an almost magical quality about it. Hundreds of twinkling lights beckon him. In a way, it reflects what E.T. is feeling at this point in the story.”
7. The Man Behind the Hand – Terminator 2
So you watched the Arnold rip the skin off of his robotic arm in Terminator 2 and you’re thinking, gross, but also, how’d he do that? Guess what? It wasn’t even his arm. He ripped the skin off of some other dude’s arm. No, it’s just a fake arm. Hell, it’s not even attached to anything. There’s just a guy on the ground holding up this random arm for the camera. The craziest part of the whole bit, is that the only thing about the fake arm that isn’t quite right is that the fake bicep isn’t even close to the size of Arnold’s real biceps, which makes sense because God broke the mold when he made that one.
6. Liver, Fava Beans, Chianti and McDonald’s Fries – Silence of the Lambs
When Anthony Hopkins takes a break in between takes of Silence of the Lambs, he gets snacky. The director, Johnathan Demme, knows what he likes, so he feeds him French fries. This is how movie friendships work. It’s weird seeing Hannibal Lecter in his famous mask having a little fun. We’re so used to being terrified by the character that it lightens the mood a little bit. Then again, maybe that’s a child’s finger that he’s being fed. Maybe Lecter was being good while he was being transported so Demme decided to give him a treat.
5. She’s Lost Her Head – Metropolis
Before Rotwang’s robot takes on the likeness of Maria in Metropolis, we get some amazing shots of the pre-C-3PO costume design. The robot from the 1927 Fritz Lang classic has become a model for all things science fiction since its creation. While there have been numerous amazing behind the scenes photos released from the making of the film, this one shot of the robot unmasked is perhaps the best. The actress, Brigitte Helm, played Maria, the robot and the robot Maria. Here she is drinking some juice before filming one of the foundational shots of the science fiction genre.
4. A Kiss Between Siblings – Halloween
First they fight, then they make up. First he tries to stab her and then she kisses him. Classic brother and sister. Honestly, after all they’ve been through, it is a bit weird to see Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers having a smooch. It just feels wrong and not just because they are related in the film. This is supposed to be the most menacing and heartless killer of all time, and this scene (not the kiss) was one that was used as a promotional still everywhere. Seeing it next to a picture of them kissing, a moment they shared either immediately before or immediately after filming one of the most thrilling scenes in horror, is a bit uncanny.
3. She’s Lost Her Head – Kill Bill: Volume 1
The Bride (Uma Thurman) may have just scalped O-Ren Ishii with her Hattori Hanzō blade, but that doesn’t mean that two women can’t be friends after the shot. Well, that’s just what this behind the scenes photo shows. After the final showdown between the two warriors, after “cut” had been yelled and it was confirmed that the fight was complete, these two women shared a hug and a few photos. We have a big question though; if every photo of this event is like the one we have posted here, who has the photo of the women looking directly at the camera? Who is this mysterious photographer who was more important than our own? If only we had a behind the scenes photo from behind the scenes.
2. It’s All About Perspective – Raiders of the Lost Ark
When Indiana Jones, Marion and Sallah first find and uncover the mystical Ark of the Covenant, it’s all very serious and dramatic. When the Ark is first lifted, it’s beautiful, big and heavy looking. As they walk through the room with it, the camera shifts to the iconic shadow scene for added effect. The scene is unbelievable and looks great, but the behind the scenes shot of this sequence, which is essentially a shot from the far end of the room, makes the whole thing rather hilarious. These guys aren’t carrying an Ark at all. They’re carrying a cardboard cutout to get the proper shadow. What a sham.
1. The Bleak Reality – Star Wars
Truth be told, there were too many amazing behind the scenes photos from Star Wars to just choose one, so we chose four. The first shows just how small the Millennium Falcon really was. That thing probably couldn’t even fly. The other photo shows a different, insanely nerdy side of Boba Fett. When George Lucas came back to shoot the remastered versions of the original trilogy, he had animator Don Bies stand in for the bounty hunter. Bies may have been able to pull off the cool Fett with a helmet on, but when you take it off, he looks every bit the computer guy he is in real life, not that there’s anything wrong with that. He just doesn’t look like the kind of guy to strike fear in you, unless you haven’t paid your taxes, of course. The third photo shows how they accomplished the awesome AT-AT walker fight in The Empire Strikes Back. Finally, in the fourth photo, we have the legendary scene with Luke hanging off the ledge, screaming like a little baby after he learned the truth about his old man and making the ugliest face in cinematic history. Turns out the fall off that ledge wouldn’t have been so bad. Actually, it looks like it would be quite pleasant.