Hollywood is all about smoke and mirrors: grand deceptions that contribute to the magic of those moments that grip. They are the shots that draw gasps and keep fans coming back for more – regardless of how successful little indie films can be both critically and commercially, the box office figures released every week suggest that it is generally the biggest and boldest films that rake in the big bucks.

Outside of star pulling power, for the biggest blockbusters, it is special effects and intelligent, innovative shots that really sell tickets, and there is good reason why come award season, there is a whole section of gongs given out to the technical wizards who pull off the grandest deceptions of all.

We all know Punch and Judy is a puppet show – it’s pretty much stated in the marketing – but that didn’t stop us from all being pant-wettingly terrified of the little grotesques beating the snot out of each other inside their little stripey tent. And to a certain extent, we never really wanted to know how the magic was created – sure there might have been that one child who peaked behind the canvas, but he was only hurting himself, and he’s probably now the kind of person who wonders vocally why anyone could be so invested in the industry when they’re “just films”.

Seeing the strings of the puppets is the same as glimpsing how great scenes were achieved – it pulls us away from the magical deception of the moment, and as film fans, there’s very little worse. That’s why there’s such a big online community dedicated to pointing out mistakes, plot holes and continuity errors: we like to be fooled, and the release of behind the scenes shots, like the charming Hulk model image above, take that exchange away.

So with that in mind, here are ten of the biggest magic-destroying shots from cinema history.


1. Big Fish Story

  • Jaws (1975)

Wait… Steven Spielberg didn’t train a giant killer shark to act in his watery horror flick? But that big fish had so much charisma, and such screen presence…

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This article was first posted on November 3, 2012