30 Greatest Gravity-Defying Movie Scenes

Chronicle (2012)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: What would you really do if you found out you had superpowers when you were a teenager?

Chronicle answers that question with this stunning scene, in which Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell) and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) go for flying lessons - and a bit of football throwing.

Coolest Element:
The guys only narrowly miss getting squashed like bugs on the windscreen of a passing plane…

Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: We'd seen quidditch before in the first two HP movies, but never like this. Recalling all those miserable, drizzly football matches you went to as a kid, quidditch as shot through Alfonso Cuaron's lens is grey, intense and really flippin' dangerous.

Especially when dementors decide to crash the party…

Coolest Element: Harry's quidditch goggles, surely.

Peter Pan (1953)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: "Think of a wonderful thought!" advises Peter in this Disney adaptation of JM Barrie's play. "Watch me now, here I go!"

Thinking up the happiest things they can, John, Michael and Wendy are soon defying gravity - and swooping right out the window…

Coolest Element:
The Disney version of Edwardian London, which includes an absolutely ginormous Big Ben.

Poltergeist (1982)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Long before Christopher Nolan built a rotate-y set for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to play in, Tobe Hooper made JoBeth Williams flip-flop out of bed, up the wall and across the ceiling in one of Poltergeist's coolest/scariest sequences.

Coolest Element: Not Williams' awesomely floofy '80s hair, but the fact that it's just the latest bed-related scare scene in the film. Hooper really didn't like beds back then…

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Wonka (Gene Wilder) takes Charlie (Peter Ostrum) and his grandfather on the weirdest elevator ride ever.

That’s because the 'Wonkavator' isn't rigged to a shaft of pullies, as we discover when it busts out of the roof of the chocolate factory and soars over the city…

Coolest Element:
The Wonkavator, which is the epitomy of bling. That Wonka's got class.

Spider-Man (2002)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) discovers he's been gifted some pretty nifty superpowers after that spider bite.

First he clambers up the side of a building using nothing but his bare hands (and those microscopic, genetically-mutated barbs in his skin), then he flings himself over rooftops.

Coolest Element: It's pure wish-fulfilment in motion, and so cool that Marc Webb didn't mind pinching it for his Amazing reboot.

How To Train Your Dragon (2010)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: The first time Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) flies, it's a soaring, emotional high note.

But the best gravity-defying scene comes at the film's action climax, as Hiccup and his buddies all ride dragons in an attempt to take down titanic fire-breather the Red Death.

Coolest Element:
The Red Death, obviously - not only does it have a cool name, it's also insanely terrifying. And BIG.

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: A nightmare in living Technicolor as Wes Craven unleashes the films first shocking death scene. Tina (Amanda Wyss) dreams that Freddy Krueger's coming to get her.

Meanwhile, her wide-awake boyfriend sees her get flipped up into the air and eviscerate by some invisible force.

Coolest Element:
Tina winds up on the ceiling screaming her lungs out - well, you would too, wouldn't you?

Up (2009)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Who says you have to leave home to have an adventure?

In a big 'up yours' to urban development, old codger Carl (Edward Asner) ties an array of colourful balloons to his house and sets off on the biggest adventure of his life. With boy scout Russell in tow.

Coolest Element: That image of the house floating through the city is instantly iconic.

Labyrinth (1986)

The Gravity-Defying Scene : Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) has made it to the Goblin King's (David Bowie) castle, only to face one last trial as she attempts to get baby Toby back.

In a seeming ode to M.C. Escher's 'Relativity' print, staircases defy the laws of gravity as Sarah attempts to reach Toby, but discovers up means down and down means sideways and sideways means... You get the idea.

Coolest Element:
David Bowie croons throughout the entire sequence, which just makes it even more spellbinding.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.