19 Actors Injured On Movie Sets Stories

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Jackie Chan and Tom Cruise have escaped death SEVERAL times.

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which celebrity on-set injury stories have stuck with them the most. Here are the wild results.


Tom Cruise broke his ankle while leaping from one building to the next in Mission Impossible 6, and during that same shot he continued to run on it to finish the stunt.

BBC One / Paramount Pictures

Suggested by clothildedauphin

The stunt went exactly as planned…sort of. Cruise leapt from one building to the next and was supposed to dangle from the ledge of the second building, which he did. However, his foot smashed into the wall, resulting in a broken ankle. During an interview, Cruise said that he “knew instantly that it was broken,” but he pushed through the pain because he didn’t want to have to film the stunt again, so he pulled himself on top of the building and hobbled past the camera to secure the shot.


Ellen Burstyn permanently injured her spine after being purposefully slammed into the ground twice while shooting a particular scene in The Exorcist.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Suggested by lumos47

In the scene, Ellen Burstyn’s character was supposed to be thrown to the ground by her possessed daughter. Burstyn was wearing a wire, and to make everything look real, the person controlling the wire would pull on it, which would fling her body to the ground.

Burstyn landed hard on her back during the first take, and the director called to redo it, so she responded, “Billy [Friedkin], he’s pulling me too hard…I know it has to look real, but I’m telling you, I could get hurt.” And so he said, “OK, don’t pull her so hard.” Burstyn was apparently pulled just as hard the second time, and that’s what hurt her spine. In 2014, over 40 years after filming the scene, she said, “I did injure my lower back and had to work with it ever since. But it’s okay.”


Sean Astin accidentally cut his foot open on a shard of glass that was sticking out of the water while filming a scene in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

New Line Cinema / youtube.com

Suggested by kathryno42

In the behind-the-scenes feature for Fellowship of the Ring, you can see Sean Astin run to a boat in the water and hobble back to land, immediately knowing that he stepped on something sharp. The onsite staff quickly sat him down and removed the Hobbit-like foot covering he was wearing as blood seeped out of it. While they were stitching up his foot, Elijah Wood walked over and said, “That’s a lot of blood, man. That’s a lot of blood.”


Jason Statham almost drowned at the bottom of the Black Sea because the brakes on his truck stopped working while filming a stunt in The Expendables 3.


Suggested by spenceralthouse

The truck went over the nine-foot edge of the dock and quickly started sinking into the water: “We start sinking fast, straight to the bottom. So, like, 60 feet at the bottom of the Black Sea, stuck in the mud, and I’m thinking, ‘How am I gonna get out of this?'” Statham tried to compose himself, pulled himself out of the truck’s window, and started swimming to the surface as quickly as possible. When he got to the surface, Sylvester Stallone was on the edge of the dock with his iPhone out, capturing the whole thing on camera. Luckily, no one was injured.


Margaret Hamilton, aka the Wicked Witch of the West, suffered second-degree burns on her face and third-degree burns on her hand after a stunt went wrong while filming The Wizard of Oz.


Suggested by victoriaannb2

This particular incident occurred when the Wicked Witch was supposed to make her dramatic, fiery exit from Munchkinland. There was a trap door on set that didn’t open fast enough, so Hamilton got caught in the flames. She spent six weeks recuperating in the hospital and at home.

This was back in the 1930s, so the only reason Hamilton returned to the production and didn’t sue the studio after the incident was because she knew it’d seal her fate and ruin her acting career: “I know how this business works, and I would never work again. I will return to work on one condition — no more fireworks!”


And Betty Danko, Margaret Hamilton’s stunt double in The Wizard of Oz, spent 11 days in the hospital after a pipe in the character’s broomstick exploded.

Hal Roach Studios / MGM

Suggested by georgie45

There’s a moment in the movie when smoke comes out of the Wicked Witch’s broomstick in a skywriting sequence. To make this happen, a pipe was attached to the bicycle seat saddle on the broomstick. However, during one of the test runs, the pipe exploded.

According to Danko, it “felt as though my scalp was coming off. The explosion blew me off the broomstick.” Among other injuries, there was a “two-inch-deep wound that nearly circled Danko’s leg, which was full of bits of her costume.” Danko made only $35 for completing the broomstick stunt and $790 for everything else she did in the movie.


Halle Berry broke her foot while chasing her daughter (who was chasing a goat) on her day off from shooting Cloud Atlas.

Warner Bros. Pictures / AOL / youtube.com

Suggested by tessafahey

OK, so this one didn’t technically happen on the set of Cloud Atlas, but it’s too good to ignore. Apparently, Halle Berry went to Spain to shoot the movie, and on her day off, she saw her daughter run off to chase a goat outside their villa. Berry caught up to her daughter, and on their way back she tripped over a rock, resulting in the broken foot.

Berry was given about three weeks of rest, and because of that extra time off, she joked that she “got to read the script about 10 more times, so that helped.” Really, though, she admitted to costar Tom Hanks that it was “a bit of a hinderance because I was well into the process, and then it stopped. Instead of being on the set with you guys, I was sitting somewhere with my foot up.”


Buster Keaton fractured his neck while performing a stunt in Sherlock Jr., but he didn’t realize it until years later.


Suggested by kellenf45

In the scene, a flood of water was supposed to fall on Keaton from a water tower. The force was so strong that he literally broke his neck, only he didn’t even know it. Keaton didn’t find out until several years later, when a doctor was curious about some X-rays that were taken.


In Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, live birds were tied to Tippi Hedren and also thrown at her while filming that infamous attic scene, and she got severely pecked all over her body.

Universal Pictures

Suggested by hulaladancer

Hedren was originally told that the birds would be fake, but there were mechanical issues, so real birds had to be swapped in. One of the birds that was tied to her shoulder almost pecked at her eye, and that’s when she yelled out “I’m done!” and started sobbing. Upon visiting the set and seeing the filming circumstances, Cary Grant said to Hedren, “You’re the bravest woman I’ve ever seen.”


Jeremy Renner fell about 20 feet while shooting a scene in the comedy Tag, and he broke both of his arms.

New Line Cinema / youtube.com

Suggested by sarahas1516

Renner texted one of his costars a picture of him in the hospital and said, “This isn’t a bit. I broke my elbow, and I broke my wrist.” The actors on set assumed production would be immediately shut down, but Renner “went right back to work in the afternoon and finished shooting.” He had removable casts, and apparently in some scenes they even CGI’d the shots, so everything else went as scheduled.


Sylvester Stallone wanted to make sure the boxing scenes looked so real in Rocky IV that he instructed Dolph Lundgren to actually hit him. After getting hit in the chest, Stallone had to stay in the ICU for nine days.

United Artists / youtube.com

Suggested by quentin93

During the shoot, Stallone pulled Lundgren aside and said, “Forget what we’ve been practicing, Dolph. I want you to get out there and just try to clock me. Knock me out.” Lundgren listened, and later that day Stallone knew something was wrong. He played back the footage and realized one of Lundgren’s uppercuts did him in. According to the doctors, the punch was so powerful that it “caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage.”


Bette Davis and Joan Crawford hated each other so much while filming What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? that during the “fight” scene, Davis kicked Crawford so hard that she actually needed stitches.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Suggested by sammachado

Their relationship was so infamous and wild that Ryan Murphy developed an entire season of TV on it called Feud: Bette and Joan. In interviews, Davis always praised Crawford’s work ethic, but at the end of the day, they just weren’t a good fit together: “As far as making the film with her, she was on time, she knew her lines, and she basically was a pro. But we’re very different kinds of women.”


And Joan Crawford retaliated by putting weights in her own pockets before shooting a scene in which Davis had to carry her. This caused Davis to strain her back.

Warner Bros. Pictures

Suggested by Elizabeth Howard, Facebook

This incident was accurately illustrated in the TV series. It also showed Crawford and Davis purposefully messing up each other’s takes. That meant Bette Davis had to drag Crawford’s body across the room several times, which definitely didn’t help her strained back.

Years later, Davis got the last word. A reporter wanted a quote from her about Crawford’s recent death, and Davis nastily responded: “You should never say bad things about the dead, only good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good.”


In Now You See Me, Isla Fisher almost drowned in front of the entire cast and crew while filming a scene in which her character was supposed to perform an underwater magic trick.

K/O Paper Products / youtube.com

Suggested by rileyteja

In the scene, Fisher was chained and submerged in a tank of water. Her handcuffs had quick-release magnetic chains, which should have given her an easy escape, but “the chain that went between my legs couldn’t be broken, and it got stuck.” Fisher said that the crew didn’t catch on right away because they all just thought she was great at acting.


Buddy Ebsen was the original Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, but the aluminum dust from the makeup nearly killed him, so he was replaced by Jack Haley.

Wikipedia / Fair Use / MGM / en.wikipedia.org / CBS

Suggested by horsebeast

Ebsen, who’s famous for playing Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, was ultimately hospitalized and forced out of Oz‘s production. When Jack Haley replaced him, they started using a safer aluminum paste as makeup. Ebsen claimed to have breathing problems for the rest of his life because of “that damned movie.”


Silent film star Harold Lloyd was doing a publicity shoot on the set of Haunted Spooks when a prop bomb (which turned out to be a real bomb) went off, instantly removing his thumb and index finger.

Pathé Exchange

Suggested by Amy DeRosa, Facebook

Lloyd was posing for a shot on the set, and “he remarked to the photographer that, for a fake, the bomb was producing an awful lot of smoke.” A few seconds later, the bomb actually exploded. It “blew the photographer clear across the room, injuring his assistant and taking off the roof.” Lloyd lost two fingers on his right hand and was blinded for several months.


David Holmes, Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double for the Harry Potter movies, was paralyzed while testing a stunt for the seventh movie.

Warner Bros. / youtube.com

Suggested by dylana4f

Holmes was the lead stunt double for Radcliffe throughout the first seven movies. During production on Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Holmes was testing a flying stunt when he was thrown into a wall and fell to the ground. He immediately knew something was wrong, saying, “I can’t feel my legs.” Holmes was rushed to the hospital with a broken neck and was paralyzed from his chest down: “My injury is a C7 tetraplegic. I have use of my arms, but I don’t have any dexterity in my hands and fingers.”

Holmes and Daniel Radcliffe are still close. Radcliffe even hosted a celebrity charity auction to pay for Holmes’ medical bills.


While filming Move Over Darling, James Garner picked up Doris Day from the ground and accidentally broke two of her ribs.

20th Century Fox

Suggested by lindsayw43

Doris Day said that James Garner was so big and strong that he “picked me up under his arm a little too enthusiastically and cracked a couple of my ribs. I made that movie mummified with adhesive tape, which made it difficult to breathe and painful to laugh.” The two remained friends for years, and she even joked about the incident with him later on, saying, “Jim, if we don’t speak for a while, I forgive you for breaking my ribs. Both of them. Don’t give it another thought.”


And Jackie Chan has broken pretty much every single body part — and he even got a hole in his head — throughout his entire career as an action star.

The WB / youtube.com

Suggested by spenceralthouse

During an interview, Jackie Chan started listing every single injury he’s had on set. He pointed to dozens of body parts, saying, “Broken, broken, teeth gone, jaw, cheek broken, broken, crack, crack, crack, scratch.” He even had Steve Harvey feel the hole in his head. Chan simply explained that while filming his older movies, they didn’t have the money to add special effects or to CGI anything, so when he needed to jump from one building to the next, he’d just jump to the building.

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