19 Tragic Mistakes That Occurred On Movie Sets
In todays colloquial, "Murphy's Law" is commonly defined, "Anything that can go wrong, will -- at the worst possible moment." That same doctrine applies to the film industry, especially when it pertains to stunts and accidents.
The original meaning of ML, created by Edward A. Murphy, Jr., in 1947, was phrased differently, but the meaning was clear: "If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it."
Murphy learned the hard way when, during an experiment with rocket sleds, things went haywire -- quick, fast, and in a hurry. During the tinkering, all 16 thruster devices were affixed in the wrong direction. You can just imagine what happened. Let's just say; it wasn't pretty.
Today's film productions, some shot on-location, others on sets built in elaborate studios, are not exempt to ML. Despite the best efforts put in place by producers and regulators, things invariably go wrong -- sadly, some with deadly circumstances. We mined the Internet and found these 19 tragic accidents (not ranked).
1. Top Gun (1986)
Arguably, the Paramount film, directed by Tony Scott, put actor, Tom Cruise on the map and shot him to stardom. Unfortunately, the project was marred by tragedy. Although the actual dogfights were not real, shots of the planes doing aerial maneuvers, taking off and landing were the real deal.
Seasoned pilot, Art Scholl, was in the middle of doing a flat-spin drill when he lost control and crashed his aircraft into the Pacific Ocean while trying to recover. His remains were never located. The film is dedicated to him.
Art Scholl in his Super Chipmunk N13Y at a 1984 California airshowSource: Wikimedia
2. The Crow (1994)
The Alex Proyas-directed fantasy action film was, by all accounts, supposed to catapult Bruce Lee's son, Brandon Lee, to martial arts movie stardom. Sadly, it wouldn't come to pass, due to a tragic accident during production.
In preparation for a death scene, which used real guns, the crew miscalculated and didn't modify the live rounds correctly to make them harmless. Instead, the negligence led to Lee taking an accidental shot to the abdomen. The discharged slug contacted his spine, causing his death. Brandon is interred next to his famous father.
3. The Jumper (2008)
Doug Liman's science fiction film involved many stunts and action sequences. However, the production team supposedly took many precautions.
While David Ritchie, the set director helped take an artificial wall apart, a portion became dislodged and fell onto Ritchie. Reportedly, he died instantly from the freakish accident.
4. Twilight Zone: The Movie (four segments)
The anthology science-fiction fantasy horror film shook up the public and entertainment tarmacs. As the story goes, John Landis made a fatal production decision to use a real copter during filming.
The pilot of the helicopter, who was challenged with flying close to actors, lost control of the aircraft. Consequently, the rotor blades decapitated actor Vic Morrows and a 7-year-old. Another child was crushed in the accident.