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10 Ridiculous Movie Sets Created For A Single Scene

Watching blockbusters such as The Hobbit or Avatar, we are well aware that the coolest effects were done by computer. But some directors insisted to make some scenes as realistic as possible. It cost a lot of money, but the effects are a lot better than those obtained by using CGI. Check out these 10 ridiculous movie sets created for a single scene.

1. Apocalypse Now

Francis Coppola was a famous director when he directed Apocalypse Now (he’d recently made The Godfather), so he was pretty much allowed to do what he wanted. When he came up with an idea of burning the large portion of jungle with napalm to make the scene more realistic, no one objected. With the support of the Philippine army, he burned several acres of real jungle to the ground using military helicopters dropping gasoline on the palm trees. I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

2. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones hates snakes. You can see his fear and disgust in the scene below where Indiana faces thousands of them crawling over every inch of an ancient Egyptian tomb. For this scene, Steven Spielberg decided to use thousands of real snakes. Some of them were venomous. Some sources say there were 6,000, but Spielberg himself claims that there were about 9,000. Only the cobras were kept away from the cast and crew behind glass.

3. Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers is a musical comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. It was a miracle the film even managed to be released due to Belushi’s insane cocaine consumption and increasing costs (the film had even its own cocaine budget).

In the scene when Jake and Elroy are being chased by the Chicago police department and a group of American Nazis, we can see the Nazi car falling from the sky. Landis got permission from the FAA and the city of Chicago to use a helicopter to lift a Pinto 360 meters (1,200 ft) over the city and then drop it. The car was crushed from a height of 130 centimeters (50 in) to just 45 cm (18 in).

4. The Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix is full of car chases, guns and martial arts fight scenes. The Wachowskis (then) brothers featured in The Matrix Reloaded probably the best car chase in film history. In order to shoot the climactic scene, the Wachowskis had built an actual 2.4 kilometers (1.5 mi) long road, complete with off-ramps and a 5.8-meter (19 ft) wall (which hid the city of San Francisco just on the other side). The cars were also real. General Motors donated over 100 for the scene, all of which were destroyed by the Wachowskis.

5. Gandhi

It’s estimated that over a million people attended the Gandhi’s funeral. When Richard Attenborough made the funeral scene in his epic biopic Gandhi, he hired 3,000 people who marched in the style of 1940s Indian military. In addition, he announced that he is searching for more extras. At least 250,000 people turned up in response to adverts. Another 98,000 were bussed in. The final number was somewhere between 350,000 and 400,000 real people.

6. The General

The 1926 silent film The General features the most expensive scene of the silent era. Buster Keaton, who directed the film and starred as a main character, purchased a real antique train and collapsed the bridge as it was going across. Everything here is real (there are no miniatures involved). They had one shot to do it right. The scene cost $42,000 to make, which is over $500,000 of today’s money.

7. Ben-Hur

Ben Hur might look quite dated by today’s standards, but the filmmakers create the huge, climactic chariot race arena. The arena was the biggest movie set ever built. It covered a gigantic 18 acres and included a 450-meter (1,500 ft) straightaway and 9-meter (30 ft) statues. It took one year and 1,000 men to build. Filming the race scene took five weeks. The actors have been specially trained. Stuntmen threw themselves under the wheels of the chariots, beacuse puppets looked too artificial. Amazingly, no one was killed or seriously injured during the filming.

8. Full Metal Jacket

The scene blow shows American soldiers walking through the apocalyptic landscape of a bombed-out Vietnamese town. In fact, the scene was filmed at Beckton Gasworks in London. The gasworks, which were due for demolition, had a similar architecture to the Vietnamese town of Hue. At first Kubrick wanted to blow up a gas plant, but the British army strongly objected. So he took some people with hammers and sent them to bust some buildings.

9. Inception

Christopher Nolan is a director who does not likes to use computers for special effects. But when he was filming Inception, he built a real train who smashed real cars. The only CGI element is the damage done to the street by the train’s wheels.

10. The Dark Knight

Once again, Christopher Nolan shows his love for explosions. He refused to use CGI to blow up a building in the scene where Joker blows up a hospital. He and his crew built the hospital around unused parking lot and spent weeks just to rig the various charges that would allow the building to collapse sequentially. The scene was filmed in one shot.

Did you like these movie sets? Share them with your friends and check out these Abandoned Movie Sets.

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Geralt Nowak

There will be something about me. I'm too lazy now.

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