Ah, the magic of cinema, when something appears to be so real on screen that...it just actually might be. Though we live in an increasingly litigious, politically correct and safety-conscious time, over the years we've seen Hollywood throw caution to the wind and place both actors and stuntmen in abject danger...often for little reason other than it looking more authentically badass than a far safer, even cheaper option. Though these results absolutely speak for themselves, it's a testament to the balls-out bravery of the performers involved that they spat in the face of insurance premiums and just manned up for the sake of their art. Many have argued over the years that there needs to be an Oscar category for the stunt folk, and these 10 stunts, in so brazenly putting lives in danger, absolutely attest to that fact. Here are 10 amazing movie stunts achieved through reckless endangerment...
10. Pulling An Actual Steam Liner Over A Mountain - Fitzcarraldo
Werner Herzog is known for his physically grueling movie shoots, yet few thought that the director could top the strain he put upon his actors in his masterful Aguirre: the Wrath of God, whereby the entire cast and crew were freely floating down a river on makeshift rafts, just doing it all for real. Herzog's 1982 film, however, blew that out of the water with its ambitious central set-piece, involving a man who wanted to pull a steam liner over the top of a mountain. So, rear projection and some clever miniature work, then? Nope, Herzog did it for real. Herzog wasn't going to let things like health and safety and unions compromise his picture; he largely employed local tribesfolk to help haul the liner up by a number of steel cables which, if any one of them would have snapped, would have sent the liner careening back down the mountain, likely killing most if not all of the operators. In addition to this, the tribesmen quickly grew tired of actor Klaus Kinski's notorious on-set tantrums, and summarily offered to murder him for Herzog, though the director, keenly noting that he required Kinski to finish his movie, politely declined.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.