How Realistic Are the Most Exciting Movie Stunt Scenes? An Interactive Guide Breaks Them Down

Lucasfilm / Lucasfilm

Action movies can be wildly entertaining, but are the stunts in them wildly far-fetched? Betway Insider asked scientists and industry experts to review 12 popular films released between 1997 and 2018 to find out which films pass a fact-check—and, spoiler alert, very few do.

It’s perhaps no surprise that filmmakers tend to stretch the truth a little, but what about the death-defying feats that are theoretically possible? A scene in Skyscraper (2018) where Will Sawyer (played by The Rock) climbs up a crane, runs down the arm, and then leaps to the ledge of a nearby building is implausible but not impossible. The fact that Sawyer has a prosthetic leg complicates matters a little, but NHS occupational therapist Beth Williams tells Betway she doesn’t think it would have affected his jump. The more unrealistic element, she notes, is the part where he runs across the crane “because of how carefully he’d have to place his feet.”

Likewise, a scene in Fast & Furious 7 (2015) where Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner drive off of one skyscraper and land on another “has feasible parts,” according to stuntwoman Alice Ford. “If the buildings were close enough together it is possible that the car could make it from one to the other,” she says.

As for the totally unrealistic scenes, consider the part in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) where the titular hero survives a nuclear blast by getting inside a lead-lined fridge. Not only is the material probably not strong enough to withstand the radiation, but as physics academic James Beaumont puts it, “The force exerted on Indy and the fridge is just shy of that required to send him to the moon. It’s highly unlikely that Indy would survive being catapulted into the air, never mind landing safely on the ground!” So there you have it—Indiana Jones should have died long ago.

Check out the "Mission Implausible" feature below to find out how accurate (or inaccurate) some of your favorite action flicks are.

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