6 Greatest Cinematic Falls

Posted by Toyiah Murry August 14, 2013 3 Comments 8273 views

Since it’s conception, cinema has been filled with pivotal moments of characters falling in love, falling out of love, and falling in line to the beat of their own drums. But there are epic falls that have been featured in films that should be given more attention. From the tension created, the method of filming, and the impact of the fall, these are some of the greatest falls in films.

6. Vertigo

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is filled with an array of marvelous scenes depicting characters falling to their deaths. The most impressive sequence, however, is when a vertigo ridden detective,”Scottie” Ferguson, misteps during a chase and finds himself dangling off the edge of a roof. An officer in pursuit of the criminal turns back to aid Scottie, only to be met with misfortune as his helping hand causes him to plunge downward with a haunting echo of a scream being the resulting impact.

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5. The Omen

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Tricycles in 70s films meant creepy business. A tricycle wheeled by the spawn of Satan, Damien, in the 1976 spookfest The Omen, lends itself to one of the greatest fall scenes in movie history. Rapid upclose crosscutting between an ill-willed Damien biking while his mother hangs a plant beautifully turns into a tragedy as a bump of the table sends Mrs. Blaylock’s goldfish bowl crashing over the railing before the camera reveals her holding onto the banister for dear life. She slips until slowly, but surely, she free falls through the air before landing with a thud on the first floor.

4. Con Air

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There’s a million and one reasons why I consider Con Air among one of the greatest films in existence, but that’s an argument for another day. Among many golden moments in the film, a highlight is the death of character Pinball. Recently paroled Cameron Poe is desperate to get off a hijacked plane of criminals headed to Vegas. He decides to use fellow prisoner, Pinball, as a personal letter to police on the plane’s whereabouts. Innocent patrons on the ground below are in for a surprise in this awesomely choreographed fall.

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3. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

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The Lord of the Rings set up one of the most amazing tales of heroism as well as a gut wrenching portrayal of materialism. In Return of the King Gollum, once a human being, is transformed by the power of the ring, causing him to spend his entire life desiring his” precious” above all other necessities. After starving, suffering and fighting tooth and nail for the ring, the moment Gollum and his precious are reunited results in one of the best falls one in which so much is expressed through his physical descent.

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2. The Other Guys

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I mean seriously, watch this and tell me this is not one of the best falls in cinematic history. The play on expectations matched with the high octane soundtrack makes for not only a hilarious fall but a slightly shocking one.

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1. Psycho

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This is the film and fall that made me even take notice of falls in other movies. Everything about the fall is perfect; the camera as it follows the ascending and ultimate descent ever so smoothly, the string symphony that sends jolts to the gut, the bewildered expression on the unsuspecting detective Arbogast’s face, and the pitter-patter of shoes banging against the stairs. It’s simply brilliant.

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About Toyiah Murry

Twenty-something film reviewer, social critic, and cultural analyst searching for a place in the sun. Passionate lover of discourse about film and music and its affects on the human brain and society. Equally loves the taste and science of food as well.

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There are 3 Comments

  1. Ted
    - June 20, 2014
      -   Reply

    I love your great lists, and generally think you’ve covered everything that makes sense. In the case of jumps, though, I’d put the end of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid high on the list.

  2. pablo
    - October 8, 2014
      -   Reply

    i would add: Sean Young in No way out, Michelle Joyner in Cliffangher, Billy Drago in The untouchables, Dinah Manoff in Chucky, Carey Moore in Friday the 13 th part 4,

    • Toyiah Murry
      - October 9, 2014
        -   Reply

      Awesome additions! Definitely wish I remembered about Chucky and Cliffhanger when I wrote this. I’ve actually never seen the Untouchables or No Way Out (slacking of my Kevin Costner game) but thanks for the great suggestions!

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