Movies today are loaded with special effects and crazy stunts in scenes that intensify the movie and put viewers on the edge of their seats. These extreme scenes often require that stunt men and women are brought in to act in these death defying scenarios. Yes, we know most of what you’re seeing is created by special effects, but some of it is actually real. Sometimes when you see a main character falling off a building, someone is actually falling off a building… Albeit, a much lower one, and onto a foam pit, but someone is still jumping.
Tons of safety precautions are followed and stunt men are trained professionals who know how to fall in just the right way so that they don’t injure themselves. In fact, so many stunt men had from the 1900s to the 1970s that stricter safety laws had to be enacted to protect these daredevils. While many injuries stem from these stunts, sometimes actors and actresses are just clumsy and end up seriously hurting themselves after falling off a prop or something else that menial.
Some actors prefer to do their own stunts instead of hiring a profession; this arrogant act can lead to tons of disasters. A few of the accidents on this list made for such good filming that the directors ended up using the footage in the final product. Check out the lists of almost deadly accidents below; who knew being an actor could be so dangerous?
10. Pass out during The Call
Halle Berry is one of the most famous actresses of our time, but even she can’t escape accidents on set. During a fighting scene she was filming, her opponent was too strong for her and actually succeeded in knocking her down. She hit her head on the concrete floor and was rushed to the hospital where they determined she was fine. If the fall had been any harder she could’ve seriously injured or even killed herself.
Berry isn’t a stranger to getting injured on set. She’s faced a broken foot, a broken arm and an injured eye all while filming. However, she’s never let the fear of an injury prevent her from filming a killer scene, which could be why she’s one of the most revered actresses of our time… Either that, or her body.
9. A tragic in fall in Thor: The Dark World
Jaimie Alexander, who played a big role in the film Thor: The Dark World, seriously injured herself while on set. Even though the filming had stopped, Alexander was walking down a large metal staircase that was just used for filming. It was raining and early in the morning when the young star slipped off the slick wet metal and smacked to the ground.
Even though this wasn’t the result of some death-defying stunt, she was still pretty severely injured. She slipped a disk in her spine, dislocated her shoulder, chipped 11 vertebrae and tore a rhomboid on her left side. Miraculously, she was only out of filming for a month and made a full recovery.
8. Golf cart flip in Jackass
The guys of the Jackass shows and movies are notorious for doing crazy stunts; that’s what their entire empire is built on. Out of all the crazy things they’ve done, it’s a surprise that this lame stunt was the one to prove pretty dangerous. This scene involved them squishing into a golf cart and riding around full speed over rough terrain.
Johnny Knoxville (the leader) and late Ryan Dunn decided to try to jump their cart over a plastic pig and failed miserably. The cart flipped over and Dunn was flung far away, while Knoxville remained inside. Knoxville only ended up suffering a concussion, which is extremely lucky since the cart managed to miss falling on his head by a few inches.
7. Getting dragged in The Lone Ranger
Johnny Depp, we all know him for his performances in The Pirates of the Caribbean and tons of other films, but what you may not know is that he was dragged behind a horse on set. A scene of The Lone Ranger required Depp to ride a horse, which isn’t anything too exciting, except partway through filming the saddle came loose. Once the saddle jolted him he lost control on the reigns and was flung to the side of the horse and forced to cling to its mane for dear life.
In an interview after the incident, Depp discussed his internal debate during the turmoil: he was trying to decide whether to let go on his own or wait for the horse’s hoof to hit him in the face. After being dragged for 25 yards he let go and the horse miraculously lifted its legs to prevent Depp’s face from being crushed.
6. Drowning in Now You See Me
You know those magic tricks where a magician is locked in a cage of water and escapes at the last second? Well, when Isla Fischer was filming a scene just like that she wasn’t so lucky. She was placed in the box of water and chained down, just like a real magician, except for one major problem – when she tried to escape, the chain around her hand got hooked on something at the bottom of the tank and prevented her from getting out.
The people who were filming just thought she was a fabulous actress and had no idea she was actually drowning. She was able to hit the quick release switch and a stunt man who thankfully happened to be off camera realized what was happening and rushed over to help her out. After being trapped in the tank for three minutes she finally escaped and has stated she isn’t yearning for another near death experience any time soon.
5. A real shot in Shootout at Wadala
Seems like the movie was named for this incident! Shootout at Wadala is a Bollywood film that features John Abraham. In one scene, his co-star, Anil Kapoor, was supposed to shoot a blank bullet at him to intensify a shooting scene.
In order to safely shoot a blank and incite no injury, it has to be fired from a distance of at least fifteen feet, which everyone was aware of (the producers even brought in gun safety experts to monitor the shot). However, the actors weren’t informed that they were standing too close together and that it would compromise their safety. When the shot was fired it burst into flames and made contact with the side of Abraham’s neck. Thankfully Kapoor had bad aim otherwise the incident would have been fatal.
4. Car accident in The Hangover Part II
The accident that happened while filming this left quite a different kind of hangover. Stuntman Scott McLean was filming a scene in Bangkok where he had his head out of the taxi window. While this isn’t dangerous or thrilling, the taxi driver wasn’t paying much attention and didn’t dodge another car, which caused McLean to smack his head right into it. He had a huge gash on the right side of his face and his skin was torn away from his skull. It was so serious that he was put in a medically induced coma and ended up with permanent brain and physical injuries.
Warner Bros. was kind enough to pay his hospital bills, but that wasn’t enough for him because once he was in stable condition he sued the company for damages. Driving in Bangkok doesn’t seem too safe, but you would think someone hired for that purpose would be paying enough attention not to nearly decapitate their passenger. That probably ended his career with a bang.
3. Plane crash in Wings
This movie about WW1 had a lead that was actually played by a guy who fought in the war. Dick Grace played a pilot in this film that displayed the atrocities of war. In one of his scenes, he was required to crash land a plane that had been modified to crumple on impact so that it was completely safe. He was trained for what to do and had tons of safety belts and a helmet to protect him.
Unfortunately, whoever built the plane built it a little too sturdy. When he went to crash the plane, the landing gear failed to crumple and resulted in a crash that wasn’t going the way he planed – it turned it into a real crash landing. Upon impact, his safety straps broke and he was flung forward to where his head connected with the control panel. He was dragged out with four cracked vertebrate and a broken neck. Six weeks later he made a full recovery and went on to fight in WW2.
2. Multiple injuries in The Expendables 2
It’s no surprise that near fatal accidents happen while filming intense action movies. There were serious accidents in both The Expendables 1 and 2. In the first movie, Sylvester Stallone and Steve Austin were filming a fight scene that went awry. Stallone injured his neck so badly that he had to have surgery to get a metal plate inserted to stabilize it.
In The Expendables 2, a staged explosion on a rubber boat ended up giving multiple people injuries. The stunt man who was the closest to the explosion was killed on impact and the other was so badly injured that he underwent a five hour surgery that stabilized his condition. Sylvester Stallone (again) and Arnold Schwarzenegger were both impacted by the explosion and had to undergo shoulder surgery.
1. A real paralysis in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Seems like the Stupefy spell from the movie actually worked… While filming this movie, Daniel Radcliffe‘s stunt double, David Holmes, was severely injured. In a scene that involved him “flying” through the air with an explosion in the background didn’t go as planned. Amidst the action, the planned explosion knocked him to the ground. He landed poorly and injured his spine so badly it resulted in permanent paralysis. Radcliffe was probably seriously relieved that he had a stunt double to take the fall for him.