Flying Nazi Station Wagons (and Other Outrageous Movie Stunts)

I do my own stunts. ~Slogan on T-shirt

What we need is a distraction. You got an atomic bomb? ~H. M. Murdock to B.A. Baracus, The A-Team

I ran across a post the other day which so much intrigued me, I just had to write my own version. If you could somehow get away with performing some of the stunts you’ve seen in TV and movies, which ones would you choose? As it turns out, this is the equivalent of walking into a gourmet candy shop and being given carte blanche to select a number of sweet delicacies. I gave the matter some thought and came up with the following morsels of action awesomeness. Mind, we’re assuming that this, like the world of The A-Team , is one in which nobody gets hurt thanks to a blend of CGI, skilled stuntpersons, and spandex. Jump into a virtual helicopter and let’s let ‘er rip! (For the record, this post is not my entry for the Movie Tournament sponsored by EduClaytion, but consider it a sort of play-in game. My real entry is on its way.)

#10: “Do I Feel Lucky?” from Dirty Harry (1971)

Not a stunt/action scene as such, although Harry Callahan’s .357 is an action hero all its own. I’ve often impersonated Clint Eastwood doing this scene for friends and family…without the live rounds, of course. It never fails to, ahem, slay the audience.

#9. “Flying a Tank” from The A-Team (2010)

Director Joe Carnahan said of this scene: “If you don’t like it, you don’t like movies.” I would tend to agree: first there’s a C-130 carrying an Abrams tank, then, before we even get back from the concessions stand, the tank is flying. The movie may have been a fairly run-of-the-mill action flick, but this sequence is a riot.

#8. “Desert Chase” from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

“Wo ist Joooones???”  All the Indiana Jones movies bring back the best kinds of memories for me, and this one is the crown jewel. You’ve got some very pissed-off Afrikaner Korps Nazis, Indy riding an Arabian horse at full gallop, near-death experiences, and Sean Connery squirting a bad guy in the eye with a fountain pen. They don’t get much better than that, ladies and gents.

#7. “The Battle For All Mankind” from Independence Day (1996)

Has it really been fifteen years since this movie came out? And do I still watch it every time it’s on TV? Yup and yup again. It’s pretty much a silly 1950s alien invasion flick trying to take itself seriously, but somehow it works. I’m a sucker for aerial dogfights and this one is among the better ones. I have to love a movie in which a crazed, alien-abducted Vietnam vet ends up playing the hero. (The original storyboards had the pilot flying his little red biplane into the heart of the mothership, which is even cooler.)

#6. “The Chatty Duelists” from The Princess Bride (1987)

Intense, well-choreographed, hilarious…everything a good swordfight should be. There are so many great sequences in this classic, but this one always stands out.Plus, it features Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin both at the peak of their eye-candy greatness. For the record, the clip is not as it appears in the original, but perhaps should have been. Woulda been beyond epic.

#5. “The Battle of Carthage” from Gladiator (2000)

This movie’s relentlessly jingoistic in parts and has been relentlessly copies and parodied within ten years, but damn, I love it. You’ve got speeding chariots, Nubian warrior women, a Roman phalanx of spearmen led by the one and only Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe). If you’re an action fan or a fan of historical epics, you owe it to yourself to watch this one on the big screen.

#4. “The Bus Jump” from Speed (1994)

I haven’t seen this movie in forever, but I remember this scene with fond memories. It’s everything an action movie should be. Loud, obnoxious, utterly unbelievable, Keanu Reeves spouting nonsense. This jump would put even the most jaded Evel Knievel wannabes to shame.

#3. “Jump to Freedom” from The Great Escape (1963)

I was tempted to put this one at the top of the list. It’s one of the forefathers of modern action extravaganzas, and McQueen remains one of the most kick-ass action heroes in Hollywood history. If you haven’t seen The Great Escape, you haven’t seen action. I remember the first time I watched it: I was transfixed.

#2. “The Death Star Trenches” from Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

This is one of those movie scenes that made me a die-hard fan of dogfights and flying in general. George Lucas freely admits borrowing footage for the Star Wars films from old footage of World War II dogfights, and why not? The irony is, once I actually got on the Star Tours ride at Disneyland, which simulates many of the high-speed flying scenes, I puked my guts out. Guess I’m not cut out to be a starfighter after all.

#1. “The Last Ride of the Illinois Nazis” from The Blues Brothers (1980)

I’d argue that this is an even better use of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” than the napalm scene in Apocalypse Now. The whole last 20 minutes of The Blues Brothers are nirvana for action/car chase junkies like me, but this little snippet of a station wagon soaring over Chicago like a wayward rocket? Unbelievably awesome. I also like the lieutenant’s line to the Kommandant as they fall towards their inevitable doom (“I’ve always loved you.”) More on The Blues Brothers to come. Who the hell wouldn’t want to zip down Lower Wacker Drive at suicidal speeds evading scores of police cruisers?

Got some favorite action scenes of your own? Like or dislike, or even hate, my choices? Drop me a line anytime, and be sure to add P&Q to your blog subscriptions!


~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on March 12, 2011.

5 Responses to “Flying Nazi Station Wagons (and Other Outrageous Movie Stunts)”

  1. Hello.

    I like your site and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links.

    Thanks in advance

  2. I just sat here (shhh @ work) noddign my head and enjoying your videos.

  3. Oh my God, THE GREAT ESCAPE! lol. I could not have been happier to see this in your list haha. The first time I saw that, I wanted to do it haha. And I wished I was Captain Hilts AND Steve McQueen (as my penname clearly states haha) 😉 I love all the sequences you have chosen, too–I have to say the Indiana Jones one is right up there for me, too. Thanks for the lovely post!

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