30 of the most dangerous movie stunts

Some survived these perilous stunts, while others didn’t make it alive

Hooper jumping over a 325-foot gorge (Hooper, 1978)

30 of the most dangerous movie stunts 1

A tribute to stuntmen, Hooper follows Sonny Hooper (Burt Reynolds), an aging Hollywood stuntman who signs up as the stunt coordinator for a big-budget action movie with a pushy director (Robert Klein) and a clueless star (Adam West). Ready to retire from the physical abuse of his profession, Hooper is gearing up to make the film’s climactic stunt his biggest ever, but cocky young stuntman Ski Chinski (Jan-Michael Vincent) aims to steal the glory with his more scientific, technology-oriented stunt methods.

Hooper’s climax features a Mayan Red 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am car jumping across a 325-foot gorge. Stuntman Buddy Joe Hooker doubled for Reynolds in the scene, which some people believe to be fake. Director Needham, however, once told NPR that he hates fake stunts: “A guy jumps off a 250-foot dam, and it cuts to the water and he bobs up, like he’s a duck. And you go, ‘Wait a minute. Give me a break. A guy would kill himself doing that. There’s no way he could do it.’ To me, it takes all of the reality out of the show. I just can’t stand it. Even as a director, I never did that stuff. We did it for real.”

ADVERTISEMENT