30 of the most dangerous movie stunts

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

Chariot race scene (Ben-Hur, 1959)
30 of the most dangerous movie stunts 1

The climax of William Wyler’s Ben-Hur features an electrifying chariot race around Rome’s Circus Maximus that sees Charlton Heston’s titular hero jumping over a fallen chariot. Professional stuntman Joe Canutt doubled for Heston in the scene, and the former can be seen in the final print actually toppling forward in the seat as the chariot lands.

Considered as one of the most dangerous movie stunts ever, the heart-stopping scene made a lot of people believe for years that Canutt was killed in the crash. But according to John Baxter’s 1974 book Stunt; The Story of the Great Movie Stunt Men, Canutt’s only injury was a gash on his chin which required four stitches.

ADVERTISEMENT