Top 10 Movie Sequences That Went Terribly Wrong



Top 10 Movie Sequences That Went Terribly Wrong

VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio WRITTEN BY: Matt Demers
Who said actors have it easy? For this list, we're looking at motion picture moments, shots and sequences that took disastrous turns for the worst, excluding on set deaths and incidents involving stunt performers. Our countdown includes Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Sylvester Stallone, and more!

Top 10 Movie Sequences That Went Terribly Wrong

Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Sequences That Went Terribly Wrong.

For this list, we’re looking at motion picture moments, shots and sequences that took disastrous turns for the worst, excluding on set deaths and incidents involving stunt performers.

Be sure to let us know in the comments which unfortunate instance had you wincing the most!

#10: Harrison Ford & J. J. Abrams

“Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens” (2015)
Turns out Harrison Ford’s return to the Millennium Falcon was a painful one! While aboard Han Solo’s trusty spaceship on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a hydraulic door unexpectedly slammed down on the actor, knocking him to the ground and pinning his ankle beneath its weight. Making matters worse, when director J.J. Abrams jumped in to assist with lifting the door off the star, he ended up breaking his own back. And, while Harrison’s damaged leg healed rather quickly, J.J. was forced to wear a back brace for the remainder of filming. As for Ford’s speedy recovery, perhaps Han said it best:

#9: Bruce Willis

“Die Hard” (1988)
“Die Hard” reigns as a celebrated action film, a hotly debated Christmas movie, and the cause of Bruce Willis’ hearing impairment. Yep, turns out the movie star suffered permanent inner ear damage while on the set as officer John McClane. The incident stems from director John McTiernan’s request to have extra loud blanks used for added realism. And so, in the scene where McClane takes out a terrorist by shooting him while underneath a table, Willis lost two-thirds of his hearing due to the volume intensity in the restrictive area. Thankfully, the actor persevered, even returning to the “Die Hard” franchise with 4 more outings. Guess you can’t keep a good McClane down!

#8: Ellen Burstyn

“The Exorcist” (1973)
1973’s horror classic “The Exorcist” is often praised for its eerily realistic acting, but in one particular scene, actress Ellen Burstyn’s pain wasn’t just acting. The moment in question comes when 12-year-old Regan MacNeil, in a full bout of possession, strikes Burstyn’s matriarch character, sending her flying across the room. The fall was achieved by having a rig placed around her waist, all while a crew member yanked at a wire to send her soaring. The force was too strong however, and the incident resulted in a permanent spinal injury that’s plagued the actress for well over 40 years! This is definitely NOT the lasting production memory one wishes for.

#7: Margaret Hamilton

“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
From Judy Garland’s infamous strict diet to Buddy Ebsen’s Tin Man makeup reaction, “The Wizard of Oz” had no shortage of on set incidents. But perhaps the scariest instance occurred during the filming of the Wicked Witch's exit from Munchkinland. The scene, which sees Margaret Hamilton’s character descend in a blaze of fire, turned dire when the flames rose too quickly, scorching the actress in the process. The ordeal gave Hamilton second degree burns, not to mention the incredibly painful experience of having her green paint removed from her burned skin with alcohol! Margaret returned to the set just a few short months later, but naturally had one request: no more fire!

#6: Linda Hamilton

“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)
With all the barrage of bullets and explosions, action flicks can get pretty loud - but you don’t need to tell Linda Hamilton that. While shooting a sequence for the blockbuster “Terminator” sequel, Hamilton made the error of forgetting to insert her earplugs between takes. The detrimental scene sees Linda’s character escape a psychiatric hospital with her son John and the “good guy” Terminator. But when they head into an elevator, an intense shoot-out with a T-1000 goes down. It’s here that the actress was subjected to the unadulterated sounds of extreme gunfire. While Linda continues to suffer hearing loss in one ear, it didn’t stop her from returning to the franchise 28 years later to take out more Terminator scum!

#5: Cary Elwes

“The Princess Bride” (1987)
Sometimes actors bring their own suggestions to set. Sometimes those suggestions don’t go as planned, as was the case with Cary Elwes during filming of “The Princess Bride.” One particular sequence required actor Christopher Guest to hit Elwes’ character in the head with a sword in order to “knock him out.” Unfortunately, the scene wasn't working on account of Guest being too gentle with his fellow actor. Elwes proposed the sword strike be made more realistic, so that he could react authentically. This proved problematic however, as the resulting blow sent Elwes to the hospital in an unconscious state. On the plus side, the take provided the right amount of believability, making it into the final cut.

#4: Brad Pitt

“Seven” (1995)
For an actor who has participated in a fair share of on-screen fisticuffs, gladiator battles, and gun fights, it’s rather surprising that Brad Pitt’s most serious on set injury was the result of… rain. During filming of the infamous “alley chase” scene in David Fincher’s morbid thriller Seven, Brad slipped on the slickly wet ground while his character was in hot pursuit of the killer. Worse, the actor’s misstep took him through a car windshield, resulting in a severed tendon in his arm that went all the way to the bone. For the rest of the film, Pitt can be seen wearing an actual cast, as the filmmakers had to write the injury into the script. Luckily enough, it ended up working quite well for the movie!

#3: Tom Cruise

“Mission: Impossible — Fallout” (2018)
Notorious for doing his own stunts, Tom Cruise has done everything from hang off the door of a cargo plane to scale the world’s tallest skyscraper! But not all of the movie star’s death-defying feats go according to plan. While filming a scene for “Mission: Impossible - Fallout,” Cruise badly miscalculated a jump from one building rooftop to another. The actor came slightly short of his target and ended up breaking his ankle in the process. But, because Tom Cruise is apparently near superhuman, he immediately gave it another go in order to get the shot. From there however, he went straight to the hospital.

#2: Sylvester Stallone

“Rocky IV” (1985)
The Russian brute known as Drago famously ended Apollo Creed’s career and life in the fourth installment of the Rocky series. Turns out the boxing behemoth was just as deadly during the filming of the movie as well, with franchise star Sylvester Stallone being the unfortunate victim. Following Stallone’s directions, Dolph Lundgren went full force during the pair’s climatic boxing match, literally pulling no punches. The resulting body blows sent Stallone to the emergency room where his life was in serious danger. The bombs Lundgren threw at his co-star were so hard that his heart slammed against his breastbone, causing it to swell. But, in true Rocky fashion, Stallone beat the proverbial 10 count and returned to finish the job!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Channing Tatum Puts His Head Through a Wall
“Foxcatcher” (2014)

Michael Imperioli Breaks His Hand
“GoodFellas” (1990)

Robert Pattinson Tears His Butt Cheek
“Twilight” (2008)

Daniel Craig Loses the Tip of His Finger
“Quantum of Solace” (2008)

George Clooney Injures His Back
“Syriana” (2005)

#1: Jackie Chan

“Armour of God” (1986)
ALL stunts can be dangerous, no matter where they fall on the “routine scale.” Exhibit A - 1986’s Armour of God. Directed, written and starring Jackie Chan, the martial arts master found himself seriously close to having his lights permanently turned out when a rather simple stunt went incredibly wrong. Shooting the second take of a sequence requiring Chan to make a short jump from a wall to a tree, the action star’s hand slipped on a branch, resulting in a plunge to the ground. The fall fractured Jackie’s skull and required emergency surgery to have bone removed from his brain. The surgery proved successful however, and despite the now permanent plastic plug in his head, the legendary actor didn’t slow down one iota!