Stunts are still necessary in this day and age, but as you might guess a lot of them are still kind of expensive ventures since a stun often requires a lot of planning, a capable stuntperson or two, possibly more, and the setting that will be just perfect for the moment. But the fact is that while stunts are usually planned and meticulously set, they are insanely expensive for something that’s over so quickly. While the costs have definitely gone up over the years pertaining to materials, actors, and stunt people, the fact is that some of these stunts are easily worth more than others since the detail and the safety involved are so extensive that multiple people have to be trained before said stunts can be done. CGI is great and all, but it can’t replace everything as the actual experience is still highly preferred since there’s nothing quite like the real thing, no matter how great the current technology is. Real stunts are likely never going to go away completely, but the cost of them is bound to go up as they continue to be used.
Here are the five most expensive stunts that were used in movies.
5. The Spy Who Loved Me – $30,000
Jumping off a 3,000 drop while skiing might look majestic and even daring when it happens in a movie or even in a documentary about daredevils, but even with a parachute this kind of move is still risky and the producer had to pay out for it. In order to make James Bond look just as impressive as always it was necessary to bring in someone that knew what they were doing when it came to risking life and limb. You can bet that not a single James Bond actor would ever be seen doing such a thing, at least not in the movie since the producers would never stand for it, as risking their stars isn’t what producers are known for.
4. The General – $42,000
You’ve got to give Buster Keaton a lot of credit since he did pretty much everything when it came to bringing this movie to life, with some help obviously. But from a creative standpoint he was in charge of everything, and this stunt of burning down a bridge was the most costly stunt of the time. A lot of people might look at the era of the silent movie these days and state without any passion that it was the beginning of cinema, but wouldn’t really understand just how much went into this project. Keaton was one of the true visionaries that inspired a great number of people moving forward thanks to his designs.
3. Cliffhanger – $1 million
For such a dangerous stunt it’s very likely that a lot of people don’t even remember this scene in Cliffhanger since it involved a British stuntman traversing a rope between two aircraft without a safety harness. Recall just why the villains had to make a pit stop in the mountains and then the air transfer scene will make sense considering that the rogue agent that helped the villains had to have a way to get the money off of the plane, right? Trying to do so at the airport after all would have meant game over, but one could have guessed even without knowing the premise of the movie that this would happen.
2. Ben Hur – $4 million
When you have to gather a crew to build an actual stadium out of a quarry then it’s obvious that the cost is going to rise and rise. But that wasn’t all, since for the chariot race Kirk Douglas and company had to have a massive number of extras, horses galore, and chariots that could ride around the track. Realism is great and all, but sometimes it can be so amazingly expensive that one can’t help but stand in awe of how much a producer is willing to put down in order to get the movie made. And like it or not, Ben Hur did go on to be something of a hit in its own time, especially since it’s still remembered today.
1. Iron Man 3 – $120 million
Want to know what’s amusing about this? Iron Man 3 wasn’t even the best of the trilogy but it ended up having the most expensive stunt since the president and his cabinet that were sucked out of Air Force One when a hole was blown through the side of it had to have skydiving lessons, at times jumping 8 times a day, which as any avid skydiver knows is bound to cost a pretty penny. The cost though went into creating a movie that people still enjoyed and somehow became one of the MCU movies that people could easily get behind.
Stunts are definitely pricey, but at the very least the safety that’s provided from constant training is worth the cost.