30 Greatest Gravity-Defying Movie Scenes

GoldenEye (1995)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Bond (Pierce Brosnan) has already thrown himself from the Contra Dam during the opening of his 17th feature film, but things are about to get better.

Not to mention crazier, as Bond rides a motorcycle off the edge of a mountain in order to chase a plummeting plane, then drags himself inside and pulls the plane up just in time. Talk about gravity defying AND death defying…

Coolest Element:
The moment gravity kicks in and Bond goes flying over the mountainside. Genuine heart-in-mouth moment.

Looper (2012)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Yes, it sort of resembles a similar scene in X-Men: The Last Stand , but that doesn't stop this from being a standout moment in a fantastic film.

When little Cid (Pierce Gagnon) trips down the stairs, he gets very, very angry. Considering he's got killer telekinetic powers, that doesn't bode well for Jesse (Garret Dillahunt).

Coolest Element:
It's pretty much the worst tantrum you've ever seen. And then some.

Also the non-CGI floaty effects are lovely.

The Exorcist (1972)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: The film's terrifying exorcism scene. Regan (Linda Blair) is shackled to her bed, which starts rocking and levitating up off the floor as Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) performs the ceremony.

Also terrifying - the moment when Regan levitates clean off the bed, stretched out like she's on the cross…

Coolest Element: The breath steaming in the air. The set was refrigerated especially for that effect, and it works brilliantly.

The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: The Wicked Witch has dispatched her evil cronies to kidnap poor Dorothy (Judy Garland). And those evil cronies just happen to be monkeys with wings.

Cue Dorothy being wrenched up into the air and carried off, her screams echoing out over the Land of Oz…

Coolest Element: The supremely creeping 'whooping' sound that the monkeys make.

Superman (1978)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Trumpets blare and John Williams' unmistakable Superman score swells as Superman (Christopher Reeve) takes Lois (Margot Kidder) for a night-time fly around Metropolis.

Coolest Element : It really made us believe a man (and a woman in a powder blue dress) could fly.


Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: Yoda proves that "size matters not" by using the Force to levitate Luke's sunken X-wing out of the Dagobah swamp.

The look of awe on Luke's face says it all.

Coolest Element: Yoda's imminently quotable advice, delivered just before he shows Luke up: "There is no try."

Inception (2010)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: In the dream world, Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) fights off some generic goons while also discovering that gravity's having a bit of a party.

While dodging blows and throwing a few of his own, Arthur has to contend with the hotel revolving around him and constantly changing his centre of gravity.

Coolest Element:
The scene's intercut with scenes of the 'real world', where a car chase is happening, too. Talk about action.

Man On Wire (2008)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: In 1974, Philippe Petit goes out on a limb - and a wire - to attempt a high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in New York.

Armed with just a balancing pole and his own iron will, he steps out onto a steel cable and carefully begins to step across…

Coolest Element: Petit didn't only make the crossing once - he completed it eight times in 45 minutes. Well, once you've started…

The Matrix (1999)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: There are, of course, a ton of gravity-defying scenes in the Wachowskis' stunning sci-fi extravaganza, but the opening scene packs particular punch because it's so unexpected.

Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) is cornered by the police, but she has an ace up her PVC sleeve as she jumps into the air Mantis-style and time freezes as the camera swoops around her.

Coolest Element: Not only can Trinity defy gravity, she's also got some of the coolest movie clobber we've ever seen.

E.T - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

The Gravity-Defying Scene: With a little help from ET, Elliott (Henry Thomas) cycles his bike off the edge of a precipice and just keeps on cycling into thin air.

Includes that gorgeous/iconic/unforgettable shot of Elliott and ET bicycling in front of a full moon - an image so iconic that it became the emblem for Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment.

Coolest Element:
Elliott keeps pedalling, even though there's nothing for him to get traction from.

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.