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10 Movie Stunts That Went Horribly, Horribly WRONG!

We watch all of these movies and we got all fascinated by the action scenes and incredible stunts, and we are like ” way to go Hollywood.”

But the little that we know, is that the stunt doubles are basically the heroes of those movies who sacrifice their lives. While some directly blame Hollywood and poorly secured productions, others go by inertia and claim “accidents happen.”

Nevertheless, below is a list of movie stunts that went terribly wrong and people have lost their lives.

A Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)


You remember the comedy-horror where Eddie Murphy is a “stud”-vampire attracting girls so he can chew on their neck?- Of course you don’t, it was a disaster movie that you just want to forget. As a matter of fact, a real disaster has happened on the movie set.

The stunt double for Angela Bassett, Sonia Davis was a respected and skilled stuntwoman who had performed in action films like Timecop and Deep Cover. She was not an amateur, and had done  a great deal of ‘free falls’, (a stunt in which the performer leaps from a great height and lands on a soft pad or net hidden off-screen.)

However, on the set of  this movie,  Davis’s execution of a 45-foot backward drop ended in tragedy.Sonia missed the improperly placed airbag during the fall and smashed into the pavement. She died of her injuries 2 weeks after the accident.

Paramount Pictures were later cited for providing the stuntwoman with an airbag not equipped for a fall from such a height — one of the contributing factors which lead to her death. Although Davis landed on the landing pad, her head smacked the pavement just outside its edges.

Top Gun (1986)

Art Scholl, one of the Hollywood’s best stunt pilot was hired to perform most of the in-flight camera work for Top Gun. Scholl was incredibly talented and experienced and had done aerial filming for commercials, television and film like The Right Stuff and The A-Team.

During a maneuver called a flat spin, Scholl was unable to recover the airplane to its regular position, “I have a problem,” he said, “I have a real problem,” before crashing into the Pacific Ocean.

His plane plunged into the Pacific Ocean in no time, resulting in his death. Unfortunately, his body wasn’t recovered.

Top Gun was dedicated to the memory of Art Scholl.


The Dark Knight (2008)

Apparently, Heath Ledger wasn’t the only one to die during  filming of Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga “The Dark Knight.”

Conway Wickliffe, 41, a stunt technician, was killed in an accident when one of the camera trucks crashed into a tree. Wickliffe was riding in the back seat of a Nissan 4×4 when the car crashed into a tree at 20mph. He had been leaning out of the window and operating a camera, which was shooting a stunt car traveling parallel to his vehicle.

Flight Of The Phoenix (1965)


Paul Mantz, an aerial stuntman, was a legendary pilot in Hollywood. Unfortunately, he met his end in a lethal plane crash while filming a scene of “Flight of the Phoenix.”

Flying a very unusual aircraft, the Tallmantz Phoenix P-1 built especially for the film, Mantz struck a small hillock while skimming over a desert site in Arizona for a second take.

As Mantz attempted to recover by opening the throttle to its maximum the over-stressed aircraft broke in two and nosed over into the ground, killing Mantz instantly. (Bobby Rose, a stuntman standing behind Mantz in the cockpit and representing a character played by Hardy Kruger, was seriously injured.)

The plane snapped in half, and Mantz was pinned beneath the wreckage.


The Crow (1994)


Brandon Lee, son of the famous actor Bruce Lee, was fatally wounded while filming a scene for “The Crow.”

In the scene in which Lee was accidentally shot, Lee’s character walks into his apartment and discovers his fiancée being beaten and raped by thugs. Actor Michael Massee’s character fires a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 629 revolver at Lee as he walks into the room.

As the scene was being filmed, Brandon Lee was killed after Michael Massee (who played the villain Funboy) fired the gun at Lee as intended.

The bullet unseated from a dummy round was lodged in the barrel of the handgun. The bullet was not noticed and the gun was loaded with a blank cartridge.

When the blank was fired, the bullet shot out and hit Lee in the abdomen.



Shark (1969)

During production in Mexico in 1967, one of the film’s stuntmen was attacked and killed on camera by a shark that was supposed to have been sedated. When the production company used the death to promote the film, (even retitling the film to Shark!)

Samuel Fuller, the director of the film,  who had been arguing with the producers on several major issues relating to the film, quit the production.

The Lord of the Rings (2001)

Viggo Mortensen is generally known as that badass dad from The Road, but he started in a much different place. While performing his breakthrough role as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Viggo was referred to as ‘the walking wounded’ by the film’s director. He performed all of his own stunts and frequently suffered injury while doing so; he even knocked out one of his teeth during one scene. The tooth was repaired during the crew’s lunch break and Viggo promptly returned to work afterward.via

Noah’s Ark (1928)

“Noah’s Ark” was released in 1928. While filming a flood scene, so much water was used that three extras drowned. One of them was so badly injured that his leg had to be amputated.

Twilight Zone: The Movie

The making of the movie had consequences which overshadowed the film itself. During the filming of a segment directed by John Landis on July 23, 1982, actor Vic Morrow and child actors Myca Dinh Le (age 7) and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (age 6) died in an accident involving a helicopter being used on the set. The helicopter was flying at an altitude of only 25 feet (8 meters), too low to avoid the explosions of the pyrotechnics used on set. When the blasts severed the tail rotor, it spun out of control and crashed, decapitating Morrow and Le with its blades. Chen was crushed to death as the helicopter crashed. Everyone inside the helicopter survived sustaining minor injuries.

The accident led to legal action against the filmmakers which lasted nearly a decade, and changed the regulations involving children working on movie sets at night and during special effects-heavy scenes. Hollywood also avoided helicopter-related stunts for many years, until the CGI revolution of the 1990s made it possible to use digital versions. As a result of the accident, one second assistant director had his name removed from the credits and replaced with the pseudonymous Alan Smithee. The incident also ended the friendship between director Landis and producer Spielberg, who was already angered before the accident that Landis had violated many codes, including using live ammunition on the set.

The Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones is one of the most popular action series ever produced, and each film is packed full of dangerous and thrilling stunts.

Although all Indiana Jones movies have been completed safely and successfully, the Walt Disney World’s version of the Jones legacy at Hollywood Studios was not as lucky. Called The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, the performance was intended to imitate a movie set that was capturing a series of fights, explosions, and flying stunts — all live.

Stuntman Anislav Varbanov died from head injuries while practicing a fast tumbling roll, only a week after a similar stunt show in the studios took another man’s life as well. Mark Priest was another to die of head injuries after hitting his head on a wall during a show based on the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Although he joked about his condition on the way to the hospital, Priest quickly fell into a coma and died. via



Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News