As the leaves littering our American cousins' driveways will attest, Monday 28th of September is the first day of Fall. Because we're such literal-minded movie fans, we've rounded up a killer list of the 20 greatest movie falls - features plummeting, plunging, swan-diving and more. Warning: not suitable for those with a fear of heights or spoilers.
Once upon a time, Alec Trevelyan and James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) were the best of friends. Then Trevelyan was killed during a mission toward the end of the Cold War, and Bond continued to be a boozy womanizer.
This being a Bond film, however, it turns out that Trevelyan merely faked his own death, and has now stolen the keys to the GoldenEye satellite, which is capable of emitting an electromagnetic pulse that can knock out any electronics, and he is holding Britain hostage as revenge for the deaths of his parents. Bond is sent to stop his former chum, and they end up fighting atop a massive radio antenna cradle that is situated high above the ground.
After a grueling battle, Bond tosses Trevelyan off the cradle, and the villain plummets to the ground. Miraculously he survives the fall...at least until the antenna cradle comes crashing down on top of him. Worse, Trevelyan can't even hit the reset button on his N64 and simply start the level over.
Chev Chelios is just trying to stay alive. See, earlier he was injected with a slow acting poison, and the only way to keep the poison at bay is to keep his adrenaline flowing. So Chev has been running around town, engaging in all sorts of extreme behavior as he searches for the man who killed him.
When he finally gets his hands on the guy, they both just happen to be in a helicopter that is flying high above the city. Chev pulls the guy out the chopper, and they both plummet toward the ground at high speed. Not content to let gravity do the job, Chev strangles his murderer to death, and then lets the limp body go sailing away.
Chev then pulls out his cell phone and says good-bye to his girlfriend before bouncing off the hood of a car and landing on the ground with a thud. Then he blinks, thus setting up an even crazier sequel, with the tagline: "He was dead... but he got better."
Dar Robinson has huge balls. To paraphrase Bill Hicks, he probably needed specially fitted jeans and a wheelbarrow to transport his massive cojones around. For those who don't know, Robinson still holds the record for the highest free-fall stunt ever performed for the time he leapt off of Atlanta's Westin Peachtree Hotel and plunged 220 feet with only a safety wire and an inflatable airbag standing between him and the sidewalk below.
Despite the fact that Dar "Steel Testes" Robinson actually jumped off a building for his art, director Burt Reynolds only used a split second shot of the actual stunt, substituting footage of a falling dummy in the final film. Nonetheless, Robinson's willingness to toss himself of a building all in the name of authenticity is enough to earn him a spot on this list.
Norville Barnes is having a bad day. Hours earlier, he was the Golden Boy of New York; his new invention, the hula hoop, made him an overnight sensation, and he managed to catch the eye of the lovely reporter, Amy Archer (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Unfortunately, he also ran afoul of Sidney J. Mussberger (Paul Newman), who has convinced the world that he actually invented the hula hoop, and Norville simply stole the idea.
Now an angry mob is out for Norville's head, and he escapes to the top floor of the Hudsucker skyscraper. Norville slips and falls off the building at the stroke of midnight, but is saved at the last minute when the ghost of Waring Hudsucker (Charles Durning) stops time and informs Norville that he now owns the controlling shares of Hudsucker Industries. Time resumes, and Norville lands safely on the ground, where he reunites with Amy and goes on to invent the Frisbee.
Pity poor Smeagol; first the dim but well-meaning hobbit finds the One Ring, and while it bestows upon him long life, it also shrivels him up and turns him into a dead ringer for one of those dried apple granny dolls.
Then he loses the ring, and gets captured and tortured by Sauron's goons. Then he has to spend two whole movies watching Elijah Wood and Sean Astin make moony eyes at one another, and then after all that, when he finally gets his precious back, he falls to his death into a pit of molten lava. Not the most noble of deaths, but at least he was spared of having to suffer through the three different agonizingly long endings that Peter Jackson tacked on to Return Of The King.