Whether it’s doing stunts or just freak accidents, even the biggest Hollywood stars aren’t immune to getting injured on set. While we mostly think of stars chilling in their posh trailers while their stunt people take the biggest risks, sometimes it’s the celebrities themselves who get the worst of things. Here is our list of big stars who have been injured while filming, and what happened after.
You can’t just pick one of the James Bond movies that Daniel Craig was injured during the filming of, because the truth is, he’s been injured a lot. In No Time To Die, it was his ankle, which required surgery and he was off-set for a couple of weeks recovering. In Casino Royale, he knocked out two teeth filming a fight scene. In Quantum of Solace, he injured his shoulder, and in Spectre, it was his knee. It’s easy to see why Craig has retired from the role, filming James Bond movies can be dangerous.
Tom Cruise famously does many of his most intense and dangerous stunts himself. It’s become his brand, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t get hurt. In fact, while filming Mission: Impossible – Fallout, it was one of his more innocent stunts, jumping from building to building, that caused an injury when Cruise broke his leg landing the jump. Filming halted for a few months while Cruise recovered, but the footage was included in the movie.
Harrison Ford has a long history of getting injured on movie sets. Maybe the most high-profile time was when a door fell on his leg while shooting Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He broke his leg and director JJ Abrams injured his back helping pull the door off the Han Solo actor.
Sylvester Stallone is one of the premiere action stars of the last 50 years, and as such, he’s been injured a few times on set doing stunts. The worst, according to Stallone, came while filming the boxing match with Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in Rocky IV. Lundgren hit him so hard in the chest at one point that it caused his heart to swell and he ended up in intensive care for eight days.
One of the best scenes in Now You See Me is when Isla Fisher‘s character performs the underwater escape trick. It wasn’t so great for the actress though, as she nearly drowned during the filming. Luckily a stuntman was there to flip the safety switch and save her.
One of the most intense scenes in Django Unchained is Leonardo DiCaprio‘s speech after dinner. He bangs his hand on the table and slices his hand on a glass. DiCaprio, ever the pro, kept going without missing a beat. It’s so good, director Quentin Tarantino left that take in the final cut.
TV stars aren’t safe either. Kristin Chenoweth was almost killed on the set of The Good Wife when part of the lighting rig fell on her. According to the actress, she had a “skull fracture and a rib issue and a hip issue” as a result.
Like a lot of action stars, Bruce Willis has had his fair share of injuries in stunts gone wrong. In Live Free or Die Hard, the Hollywood legend suffered a serious cut above his eye that required stitches, after Maggie Q’s stunt doubled kick him with high heels on.
Sometimes, the extent of the injury isn’t immediately understood, as was the case with Mariska Hargitay after a fall on the set of Law & Order: SVU. Hargitay performed a stunt that required her to land on some pads, but, in her words, something went wrong. She shook off the injury at first, but a few months later, she felt a sharp stabbing pain and ended up in the hospital with a collapsed lung. She recovered after surgery, though a second surgery was needed later.
Æon Flux is not one of Charlize Theron’s best movies, and it did almost leave her paralyzed. The actor fell on her neck performing a stunt and had she not been lucky and fallen just a centimeter differently, according to her, it could have been very bad.
One of the more terrifying scenes in A Clockwork Orange is when Malcolm McDowell’s character is “rehabilitated” by being forced to watch violent videos while his eyes are held open. For McDowell, it was even worse, as the setup caused his corneas to be scratched and he was blinded temporarily as a result.
In the weirdest of coincidences, there is Brad Pitt in Troy. In the film, Pitt plays the Greek hero Achilles. Achilles is famous for one thing, his armor not covering that one tendon in a person’s heel… Well, it just so happens that while filming Troy, Pitt tore his Achilles Tendon.
During the filming of the Kill Bill movies, Uma Thurman crashed a car she was driving into a palm tree in Mexico and suffered injuries to her knees and a concussion. Years later she exposed what she claimed was a cover-up by the film’s producers in an Instagram post.
The great Orson Welles really gave everything he had to make Citizen Kane. That includes chipping a bone in his ankle that forced him to use a wheelchair on set for two weeks while he directed. The injury occurred when he fell down some stairs while filming, and the scene made it into the final cut.
During the iconic scene in The Exorcist when Linda Blair’s character, Regan, thrashes around as the bed levitates, the scream queen injured her back due to a mechanical default. The injury caused scoliosis, which still causes her problems today, though she’s found ways to make it less painful.
The list of injuries that Jim Caviezel suffered while filming The Passion of the Christ has become the stuff of internet legend. Some injuries are hard to verify, but others aren’t, the most notable of which is that as Caviezel prepared for the Sermon on the Mount scene, he was actually struck by lightning. That’s got to be some sign, right?
The head injuries George Clooney sustained while filming the torture scene in Syriana were so debilitating that the actor says he even contemplated suicide. Eventually, doctors were able to alleviate the headaches after surgery, but in the meantime, Clooney called it “the most unbearable pain I’ve ever been through.”
There were a few injuries on the set of the Lord of the Rings movies, and one notable one was Orlando Bloom. Bloom broke some ribs when he fell from a horse while filming LOTR: The Two Towers. His fellow cast members gave Bloom a little…uh… ribbing in a behind-the-scenes video as well.
There may be no more infamous Hollywood production than Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. No one had it worse than the film’s star, Martin Sheen. As told in the documentary about the filming, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Sheen not only suffered a near-fatal heart attack during production, but he also suffered a nasty cut on his hand. In the famous opening scene, Sheen punched a mirror and sliced his hand open and it bled badly. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what it looked like, because Sheen continued the scene and all the blood is very real.
As an actor known for doing her own stunts, it’s no surprise that Michelle Yeoh has been injured a few times on set. The most notable came when Yeoh tore her ACL during the production of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She was flown from China to Baltimore where surgery was performed to fix the injury at Johns Hopkins.
Sometimes the most innocent-sounding injuries can be the worst. Such is the case for Tom Hanks, who cut his leg filming Cast Away. While a cut doesn’t seem all that serious, it caused sepsis and landed Hanks in the hospital, who almost died as a result of the blood poisoning.
The Beverly Hillbillies star Buddy Ebsen could claim one of the weirder injuries on this list. Ebsen was the original actor cast to play the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz and as part of the role, he was painted silver. The aluminum powder in the paint caused a reaction that landed Ebsen in the hospital due to breathing problems and he was recast by actor Jack Haley in the role.
Accidents happen, even on movie sets of comedies, not action movies. Such was the case for Winona Ryder while filming Mr. Deeds with Adam Sandler. While filming the scene on the bike in Central Park, Ryder took a tumble off it and broke her arm in three different places. Ouch.
Injuries even happen on sitcoms. Even the biggest ones. While filming a scene for Friends, Matt LeBlanc fell into a chair and dislocated his shoulder. Production was delayed briefly, but the evidence is still on the screen, as LeBlanc was seen wearing a sling for a couple of episodes as his shoulder healed.
Michael J. Fox
One of the scariest injuries didn’t happen during a proper stunt. In Back To The Future III, Michael J. Fox almost died in the scene where his character, Marty McFly, is hanged. A mishap meant that he was actually getting choked and at first no one noticed. He passed out before he was lowered to the ground.
Ed Harris was almost killed while filming The Abyss. In one of the many underwater scenes in the movie, Harris ran out of oxygen and no one else on set realized he’d signaled that he did. He passed out from a lack of oxygen, but luckily someone finally noticed and they got him some air.
Marine boot camp is intense, even for actors just playing Marines. Vincent D’Onofrio, who played Private Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, injured his knee so badly during filming one of the training scenes that he ended up needing surgery to fix it.
One of the most notoriously dangerous movies ever shot is Roar by director Noel Marshall. In the 1970s, Marshall was married to Tippi Hedren, which also made him Melanie Griffith’s stepfather. The movie filmed Hedren and Griffith (who was a kid at the time) living with lions. Real lions. According to legend, at least 70 people were injured by the big cats, including Griffith, who was “mauled near the eye” and needed plastic surgery to fix it.
One actor you won’t be surprised to see on this list is Jackie Chan. The martial artist and stuntman has pulled off some of the most insane stunts in film history, so it’s no surprised he’s been injured along the way. One notable time was while shooting Police Story. In one scene, Chan slides down a metal pole, which he did so quickly he suffered third degree burns on his hands. The shot was used in the movie.
Injuries can occur when actors don’t quite make the best decisions. Take, for example the great Al Pacino. While filming a scene in Scarface, Pacino grabbed the business end of a gun that had just been fired and severely burned his hands. According to Brian De Palma, the actor was off for the next two weeks.
Every now and then, one actor will injure another one, as is the case with Terry O’Quinn and Matthew Fox on the set of Lost. In a fight scene, O’Quinn stabbed Fox with a knife, which O’Quinn thought, incorrectly, was a prop knife, but it was very real. Thankfully, Fox was wearing a protective Kevlar vest that saved him from actually being stabbed.
Dylan O’Brien was almost killed while shooting The Maze Runner: The Death Cure. While shooting a scene, the star of the movie was struck by a car. According to Vulture, O’Brien had a “concussion, facial fracture, and brain trauma among his injuries.” Production on the movie was halted as he recovered, which, according to O’Brien, was one of the worst periods in his life.
Even without stunts and other action, injuries happen. Prison Break star Dominic Purcell broke his nose and had other facial injuries while filming for the show in Morocco. It was a freak accident as a lighting truss fell from the set and hit him. It could’ve been very scary, as those kinds of accidents have killed people, but luckily for Purcell, his injuries healed quickly and production on the show wasn’t impacted.
Most of the time, when actors are injured on set, the injuries are minor, thankfully. Of course, that isn’t always the case, and though deaths on movie sets are rare, they happen, so anytime someone is injured seriously, production is usually halted. Just looking through this list, you can see just how close some of these big names came to serious injury, and in a way, they’re lucky (and we’re lucky) that they are still around.