Jaw-dropping stunts and heart-racing sequences transcend the boundaries of imagination in Hollywood's spy and thriller movies.
You may already know that Avengers: Endgame and Avatar have battled it out for the all-time biggest box office haul but what about some of the lesser-known feats? These 10 films and stunt masters shattered records with death-defying jumps, explosive spectacles, and daring deeds.
Jackie Chan, lifetime achievement
Can anyone match the indomitable Jackie Chan? In 2012, he was awarded the Guinness World Record for most stunts by a living actor while launching Chinese Zodiac. He has made more than 200 films including Police Story, Drunken Master, and the Rush Hour series. Chan’s The Young Master (1980) beat previous box office records set by Bruce Lee and established Chan as Hong Kong cinema's top star. Chan has also released 20 albums since 1984 and sings in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese, and English. His first musical recording was Kung Fu Fighting Man, the theme song played over the closing credits of The Young Master.
GoldenEye (1995) Record-breaking bungee jump
Bond’s record-shattering stunts are legendary including Jerry Comeaux’s 120-foot speedboat jump for Live and Let Die (1973), stuntman Adam Kirley’s most cannon rolls in a car (seven) for Casino Royale (2006), the team’s largest film stunt explosion ever for Spectre (2015), and the Guinness Record for No Time to Die’s explosive finale. We’re still in awe of 007’s adrenaline-pumping leap from Switzerland's Verzasca dam. British daredevil Wayne Michaels plunged a staggering 722 feet, captured in a single take for GoldenEye (1995). With a meticulous two weeks of preparation - and with six cameras there to capture the moment - Michaels etched his name in history with a thrilling Guinness World Record jump.
Cliffhanger: Most expensive aerial stunt ever
Sylvester Stallone’s rock climbing/heist thriller Cliffhanger (1993) nailed the Guinness Record for most expensive aerial stunt in history at the time. Stuntman Simon Crane had just one crack at the zip wire stunt which saw him move between two jets at an altitude of 15,000 ft (4,572 m). The stunt cost $1m and Stallone reportedly took a pay cut to ensure it was included in the movie. Watch closely as an unexpected gust of wind prevented Crane from entering the second plane and he parachuted away instead.
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones showrunner David Benioff revealed that Season 7 of the series features the most instances of setting people on fire in one scene - a whopping 73 fire burns. “No film or TV show has ever done that in a whole show,” he said. “We also set 20 people on fire at one time, which is also a record. I think in Saving Private Ryan they had 13 on a beach, and in Braveheart they had 18 partial burns.” Check out GoT’s Spoils of War episode and the sequence when Daenerys attacked the Lannister army with her dragon Drogon. While GoT’s stunt coordinator was hoping to get the Season 7 burns into the Guinness World Records, it seems they don’t track setting people on fire (go figure) so we’ll take Benioff’s word for it!
True Lies (1994)
James Cameron’s comedy spy flick True Lies brought stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Arnold Schwarzenegger to the brink. Schwarzenegger has revealed that the two scariest stunts of his career involved almost drowning on the set of The 6th Day and a near-death experience while riding a horse on True Lies. Curtis said the shoot was as dangerous as it looked: “I asked for two things,” Curtis recalled. First, she wanted a knife in the limousine to cut herself free if her limo went off the bridge during filming. She had a similar request for the helicopter, asking for a man with wire cutters to be nearby to cut her free in case of emergency. It seems money wasn’t an object - True Lies was the first Hollywood movie to have a record-breaking budget of US$100m).