Modern movie fans are used to seeing crazy action scenes and extravagant stunts. There are many eye-opening moments in blockbuster cinema, including flying cars and exploding skyscrapers. These scenes are, unfortunately, largely created with Computer Generated Imagery, also known as CGI.
Practical effects are the best. The human eye can be extremely perceptive, and can quickly detect when something didn’t happen. These are ten stunning movie moments that were entirely made using practical effects. These moments are becoming increasingly rare, but they can add the wow factor to blockbuster cinema.
10 The Man with the Golden Gun (1974).
The James Bond production team is known for their preference for practical effects. Although there have been some blips in this impressive track record—Pierce Brosnan surfing down a huge CGI wave on a painfully obvious green screen being one example—they have done some remarkable things.
1974’s The Man with the Golden GunRoger Moore stars in a series of car stunts that are among the most unlikely. The location for this truly bizarre trick was a corkscrew spin, which was actually performed on a bridge that had been broken. Bond had to lift one side of the bridge and then twist 360 degrees in midair to land safely on the other side. Although the idea was possible in a computer simulation, it had never been attempted.
The production team used precise mathematical calculations to determine that the car must be travelling at exactly 77kpm (48mph). Loren Willert was the stunt driver and received a $30,000 bonus. The press was also invited from all corners of the globe to witness the trick. The TV show was created in 2008. Top GearThe original feat was so impressive that the unsuccessful attempts to recreate it were unsuccessful.
9 The Dark Knight (2008)
It is well-known that Christopher Nolan prefers practical effects over CGI. The film that really sparked this trend was The Dark Knight2008. There are many stunts in 2008. The Dark KnightThere are many other buildings that could be included, not to mention the one they actually destroyed. The truck flip is the most remarkable in terms of sheer awe. Batman stops the Joker from wreaking havoc on a freight truck. How? To flip it upside-down, Batman uses steel cables.
Nolan could have asked CGI artists to create this scene digitally. Nolan wanted the actual thing. This was done in Chicago by the crew using a carefully positioned piston to lift the truck upside down. This procedure was fraught with danger—not least the presence of actual bank vaults beneath the street. The stunt was a success, the driver was safe, while the audience was treated to one of most memorable scenes in recent cinematic culture.
8 Fitzcarraldo (1982)
Werner Herzog isn’t a well-known director beyond film schools, but his cinematic accomplishments are quite remarkable. Although many of his sixty feature films are considered masterpieces of cinematography, none of them are as ambitious as the others. FitzcarraldoSince 1982
FitzcarraldoThis film was inspired by the true story about Carlos Fitzcarrald (Peruvian-Irish rubber baron), who transported a disassembled steamship to land in late 1890s. No doubt, if such a film was made in 2022 it would have green screens and CGI. Herzog wanted realness. His film crew traveled to the Amazon and towed a 320-ton steamship up a hill. The crew suffered injuries to several members. wreck of the steamshipYou can still see the film to this day. Although the film was not without drama and difficulties, it was made.
Herzog famously quipped after the release of Fitzcarraldo that “every man should pull a boat over a mountain at some point in his life.” Easier said than done, but it made for magnificent viewing.
7 Dunkirk (2017)
Christopher Nolan was not content with flipping trucks. His Oscar-nominated 2017 film about war was DunkirkThe film, which was widely praised because of its immersive qualities, also had practical effects. Dunkirk’s sound editing and set design gave audiences a visceral impression of the Second World War, but what really wowed filmgoers were the scenes of Spitfires dogfighting over the English Channel.
CGI has become so commonplace that audiences have assumed these scenes were created using digital trickery. No—they were real. Nolan borrowed Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum and had Royal Air Force pilots fly them. The planes flew twelve times a day over the English Channel, simulating combat or flying in formation. These were planes built in 1940s for the Second World War. Nolan also filmed these planes. DunkirkIn the exact same place where the events of this film took place seventy years ago.
6 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
George Miller, an Australian director, has had a fascinating career. The cult film “The Great Gatsby” was his first hit in the 1970s. Mad MaxIt was followed up by two sequels. Miller made films about talking pigs, which surprised everyone.Babe) and dancing penguins (Happy Feet). He returned to the franchise that made he famous in 2015
Despite being a post-apocalyptic action flick, it is quite funny. Mad Max: Fury RoadThe film grossed hundreds of millions and was nominated for several Oscars. One of the most memorable scenes is when our heroes attempt to escape across desert roads in a customized oil truck. An army of goons attempts stop them. This was possible without using CGI or green screens.
Brave stuntmen raced through the Namibian desert at speed. They climbed to the pole ends of moving cars and swung at high speeds, jumping from the poles onto their trucks. This required over 150 stuntmen and eight weeks of preparation. One reason is that these scenes were shot in real life without the use of CGI. Mad Max: Fury RoadIt was a remarkable feat.
5 Apocalypse Now (1979).
Apocalypse NowIt is known for its brutal production. A typhoon destroyed the sets, Marlon brando arrived late, Martin Sheen had an attack, and the film cost tens to millions more than it was budget. Despite these huge difficulties, the film was successfully completed. Apocalypse NowIt is widely regarded as one the greatest films ever made.
One such problem was procuring military equipment. Francis Ford Coppola hired an army to film his film. He maintained a close relationship with Fernando Marcos, the President of the Philippines. It was used to soothe relations with the government which was understandably concerned by a regular American citizen purchasing hundreds of pieces of military hardware. However, the result was amazing.
When Sheen’s character lands on the beaches of Vietnam (it was filmed in the Philippines but set in Vietnam), he finds himself surrounded by a huge battle. Helicopters, fighter jets, and hundreds of soldiers are flying through the sky. Battleships fill the sea and entire villages are on fire. All of this was not done in post-production. Real soldiers, helicopters, and real flames.
4 Live and Let Die (1973)
James Bond is a must-see on any list of practical film stunts. Live and Let DieThe film crew accidentally created a Guinness World Record for Creating a Remarkable Set-piece in 1973.
Bond, who is driving a speedboat, has been pursued by Caribbean drug peddlers down a canal through Louisiana. However, the canal is crossed by a gravel road. Bond is determined to escape the situation, so he drives his speedboat onto the gravel road’s bank and is thrown into space. Bond flies through the air, crosses the road and lands safely in the canal at the far end.
It shouldn’t surprise you to find out that Bond’s team did this. It was not an easy task, and Jerry Comeaux, the stunt driver, had very little margin for error, as the canal was only 50 feet wide. In his own words, either he made the jump correctly “or else.” Everything went to plan, and Bond fans were given yet another iconic moment to enjoy. This stunt, which was 110 feet long, set a World Record for the longest speedboat jump. It was only discovered later.
3 Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Fans Harry PotterYou will be familiar with the stunning scene in The Prisoner at AzkabanHarry accidentally inflates Aunt Marge. Not only does it serve as an excellent moment of comedy—showing the wacky and wonderful possibilities of magic—but it explores the darker side of Harry’s personality.
What might surprise fans is that Pam Ferris, the actor who played Aunt Marge, was actually inflated—sort of. She wore a 53-pound (23-kilogram) costume made of inflatable rubber. This could be inflated one layer at time, as well as layers over her face. The meticulous process of shooting this sequence involved hidden wires, 38 tweed suits and various sizes. However, the result is a remarkable piece of cinema that allows audiences to experience the closest thing possible to someone being inflated. Pam Ferris, when she was at her largest, was four-and a-half feet in width and couldn’t walk or eat while wearing the suit.
2 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
Also with Star Wars, Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost ArkThe modern blockbuster was actually invented by him. The film is full of memorable one-liners and thrilling action scenes. It also features unforgettable music. The boulder chase is a scene that has been defining the spirit of Indiana Jones, as well as adventure films in general. It only lasts a few seconds and occurs right at the beginning. Few movie moments are as instantly recognisable.
How did they do this? The film crew constructed a 168-kilogram, 3-meter (300-pound) fiberglass boulder (12 feet). Harrison Ford had no choice but to run down the track 36.5 meters (40 yard) ten times. Spielberg realized that a stunt double was not plausible enough and convinced Harrison Ford to run away from it down a 36.5-meter (40-yard) track ten times. He decided to recreate a real-life boulder chase instead of resorting to green screen or camera trickery (it was available even back then!). It is a testament of the power and practicality of practical effects. It should also serve to teach modern filmmakers.
1 Tenet (2020).
Christopher Nolan’s preference for practical effects took on new heights in his most recent film, the controversial and confusing Tenet. It was the first major release since the global epidemic of Covid-19. Many hoped it would be the beginning of a new era. TenetThis would be the film that gets people back to the cinemas.
Well, even if TenetAlthough it received mixed reviews, everyone could not fault its spectacle. The Oslo airport plane crash is the most notable of a number of amazing and bizarre sequences. We all know about explosions and disasters that involve airplanes as filmgoers. These are almost always made with CGI. These are not. Tenet. Christopher Nolan actually purchased a retired Boeing 747 and crashed it into a building. He then filmed the entire thing for our entertainment.
Tenet’s visual effects supervisor, Andrew Jackson, revealed that “all of the flames, all the collapsing” were real events. Jackson claims that Nolan and his team realized that it was cheaper to perform the stunt in real life than to use CGI.