Dont try this at home...
When hunkering down for a night of outlandish movie watching, the sheer audacity of stunts on offer in today's titles surely means one thing - its got to be CGI.
As the technology now available to filmmakers allows for a whole host of craziness to be rendered, theres still plenty of movies that prefer to create their stunts without it.
The impossible truly is possible with the right stunt coordinators onboard, as evidenced in Fast & Furious 7 (Furious 7 in the US) that hits our screens this week. One particularly show-stopping sequence from the high-octane sequel was created entirely without the aid of CGI. So if the petrolheads can do it, what other movies have wowed us with practical effects we never knew about? Read on...
The Evil Dead (1981)
The scene: Let's kick off with a nice wedge of horror grit! After most of his friends have been possessed by the Dead, Ash (Bruce Campbell) at last thinks hes got a moments peace from the mocking tones of the Deadites...
The stunt: The cackling deranged Linda (Betsy Baker) - well, to be fair she IS possessed by an ancient evil - attacks Ash with a ceremonial dagger and slices away at his face.
How they did it: This particular stunt may not seem as flashy or hi-tech as others, but Sam Raimis low-budget movie had to stretch its creativity to the limit when it came to stunts.
To give Bakers eyes that washed-out blank stare of a demon the actress was instructed to wear contacts; which were pretty cheap and rendered her blind. So with that in mind when it came to wielding a knife and jabbing at Bruce Campbell - his well-timed dodges were imbued with genuine terror as Baker couldnt see a thing.
Back To The Future Part II (1989)
The scene: Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) hops back in Doc Browns DeLorean and treks to 2015 wherein he must assist his madcap pal in a spot of space-time tomfoolery.
The stunt: The inclusion of hoverboards into the uber-futuristic 2015 leads Marty to nab one in order to fit in. And to speed away from Biffs gang. Well, until he winds up over a pond wherein their hi-tech properties fail to yield...
How they did it: Director Robert Zemeckis opted to craft a real technique to usher Fox and the other hoverboarders around the Hill Valley square - by utilising a system of harnesses and pulleys that guided the actors.
Need For Speed (2014)
The scene: Race car driver Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) and his crew decide to take part in the infamous De Leon street race in San Francisco. The winner-take-all contest finds Tobey behind the wheel of a souped-up million-dollar Shelby Mustang headed for the city by the bay, with less than two days to make it.
The stunt: In order to boost their chances - and avoid a crew out to get them - Benny (Scott Mescudi) commandeers a helicopter stolen from the National Guard to airlift Tobey and the Mustang out of harms way.
How they did it: Instead of heading to the computer suite to conjure up the Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King an actual helicopter was piloted. It scooped up the car and carried it across the Moab desert before dropping it into the desired canyon.
The scene: Former racing star Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is hot on the trail of his wifes kidnappers, after being instructed by a mysterious caller to steal a nearby Shelby Mustang and follow his orders if he wishes to see her again.
The stunt: While being pursued by a couple of motorbikes, Magna pulls into a train station and ramps up onto the platform. Careening down the tracks with two bikers nipping at his heels, he fires at one of the men whose vehicle smashes into the platform causing several explosions all around the Mustang.
How they did it: A phenomenal feat of coordination, the train station sequence was created entirely through well-timed real-life explosions set to blow while a stunt driver barrelled down the tracks. Mind the gap, indeed.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
The scene: Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield)s evolution from a teenager with typical high school problems shifts as he bitten by a spider and becomes.... Spider-Man. Naturally he doesnt grow fuzzy all over and sprout additional limbs, but he is gifted with wrist-webs that let him swing all over the city.
The stunt: Testing out his new-found ability, Peter makes his way across the city without touching the ground. Those handy spurting webs allow him to leap from building to building like a majestic ballerina. Except far more manly.
How they did it: Director Marc Webb was insistent on creating real-life web slinging, and enlisted stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong to devise a way. He designed a 300ft rig that moved down a track via high-speed winches and cables, which pulled along a stuntman.
Death Proof (2007)
The scene: The second crew of Tarantinos fast-talkin ladies to appear in the movie hit the open road to test drive a Dodge Challenger.
The stunt: Zoe climbs onto the bonnet of the vehicle while Kim (Tracie Thorns) drives so they can play an old game called Ships Mast. The purpose of which is to hold on to two leather belts hooked inside the doors whilst draping yourself over the front of the car - thats going like the clappers - and trying not to foul yourself.
How they did it: The Zoe of the movie is actually real-life stuntwoman Zoe Bell, whose phenomenal work can be seen in the likes of The Matrix trilogy. She is actually on the car thats charging down the highway.
Police Story (1985)
The scene: Hong Kong Detective Kevin Chan (Jackie Chan) is hot on the tail of crime lord Chu Tao (Chor Yuen), whose nefarious illegal activities have been captured on a computer that hes keen to get his mitts on.
The stunt: Events conclude in a shopping mall, where Detective Chan is about to lose the data after it drops from the top storey to the ground floor. Refusing to quit, he leaps onto a nearby pole thats wrapped with tiny lightbulbs, and slides down it 100ft. Crashing through all the lights, ceilings and other brittle things one finds in a mall.
How they did it: Chan, ever the enthusiastic stuntman, did the entire thing without taking proper safety precautions and braved the smashed glass and inevitable inner thigh chafing. No protective gear, no special cup thingy like cricketers wear... Dang. He did end up with second-degree burns and a dislocated pelvis though.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The stunt: Not wanting to let the Connors out of its sight for even a moment, the T-1000 remains on their tail. From way up high it shoots down, hovering above the ground before shooting beneath the low overpass on the Los Angeles-Long Beach Terminal Island Freeway, until it eventually crashes.
How they did it: At the behest of director James Cameron, helicopter pilot Chuck Tamburro did a dry run where he pushed the copter through the tunnel on its wheels to test the space.
For the actual shoot, crew members laid out miles and miles of lights to guide the pilot and but none of the camera crew dared film the scene as it was too risky. Cameron himself filmed the entire sequence with the aid of a stunt camera operator - which Tamburro nailed on the second take.
In the commentary for T2 Cameron even says it was one of the most exhilarating moments Ive ever had as a film director.
The Dark Knight Rises (2013)
The scene: The opening sequence finds Bane (Tom Hardy) trapped on a government plane with absolutely no chance of escaping the law. His loyal crew of underlings wont let that stop them from freeing their master!
The stunt: Banes minions - in a plane high above the one in which hes captive - freefall from a great height, rescue the beloved leader and send the government aircraft spiralling to a fiery explosion to make the whole thing appear as an accident.
How they did it: The smaller of the two planes (the one Bane is rescued from) was replaced by a folly, which was rigged so as its wings and tail would fall off. Once the stuntmen were clear of it and safely inside the bigger plane above - the mock version was sent careening into the Scottish mountainside. Twice. They did the stunt twice.
The scene: Tracking down an assailant in possession of a valuable flash drive, Bond (Daniel Craig) ends up in a fist fight with the bloke on top of a speeding train. His partner Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) observes the entire scuffle through the sight of her gun thats trained on the squabbling pair...
The stunt: The struggle over the flash drive culminates with Miss Moneypenny popping off a shot aimed at Bonds opponent. Which, sadly hits Bond and sends him plummeting from a rather high drop and into the sea.
How they did it: Thats it - they just did it. Two stunt men rode atop the train and fought, while ducking underneath bridges. One of the gifted performers - who we can only assume drew the short straw - completed his performance as Bond by diving into the sea from a height of 300ft.
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon (2011)
The scene: N.E.S.T. soldier Lt. Lennox (Josh Duhamel) and his squad try to reclaim downtown Chicago from the Decepticon occupation.
The stunt: On the top of the Sears Tower, the N.E.S.T. crew leap from its roof and fly down to the ground below fully decked out in wingsuits.
How they did it: After catching a TV special on base jumpers director Michael Bay hired a team of professional skydivers tackle the terrifying jump. JT Holmes and his crew of experienced jumpers choreographed the entire sequence perfectly to ensure no-one was hurt by the ever-shifting weather patterns in Chicago.
The Matrix (1999)
The scene: Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie Ann-Moss) re-enter the matrix to rescue Morpheus from a legion of Agents.
The stunt: Less a stunt, and more a gigantic sequence stuffed with a whole array of mini ones, the government lobby scene includes tons of gunfire, explosions, breaking pillars and general chaos. Trinity and Neo manipulate the malleable nature of the Matrix to completely wipe the floor with their opponents.
How they did it: It was intensely rehearsed. The entire sequence took roughly ten days to shoot due to the intricate nature of so many set-ups, timed explosions and the like. None of the explosions or gunfire were computer generated - and nor was Carrie-Anne Mosss badass corkscrew wall kick.
The scene: Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) and his crew of dream-extractors are in the midst of a dream-within-a-dream. While theyre actually in a van plummeting from a bridge, the Matryoshka levels of consciousness infect the dream with that same physical sensation.
The stunt: Poor Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) not only has to escort the napping bodies of his coworkers through a gravity-less hotel, he also has a fight with someone in the midst of it all. The room spins, he spins, and everything looks utterly bonkers.
How they did it: The production designers concocted a gigantic 100-foot set that would rotate, not unlike a wheel, with cameras attached to the walls and ceilings to capture the action.
The actors then underwent lengthy rehearsals to choreograph their exact movements for the fight, which took place on the bespoke set. Each time they practiced the spins would get faster and faster, until they eventually were able to do it without even noticing.
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)
The scene: Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is on yet another impossible mission, this time hes tasked with infiltrating a server to deactivate a satellite that will enable a series of nuclear launch codes to be executed.
The stunt: Desperate to get inside the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Hunt scales the worlds tallest building using a spindly-looking rope so as to infiltrate the computer server room 123 storeys up.
How they did it: After approximately 200 hours of rehearsals on a mock version of the Burj Khalifa constructed in L.A., Cruise donned a harness and dangled 1,700 feet above the ground to capture the scene.
The Dark Knight (2008)
The scene: Batman (Christian Bale) and The Joker (Heath Ledger)s feud takes to the streets as the enemies pump the gas trying to take one another out.
The stunt: The 16-wheel semi-truck driven by The Joker is barrelling down a dark, low-lit Gotham backstreet about to make its escape... when it hits a perfectly-placed piece of wire, does a complete 180 flip and smashes onto the ground.
How they did it: Nolan and his stunt coordinators used a gigantic remote-controlled piston in the middle of a street in Chicagos Financial District to tip the vehicle, which was commandeered by stunt driver Jim Wilkey.