The Costliest Film Crew Accidents

author photo or placeholder By: Joseph Taylor | Published: Sep 13, 2023

Lights, camera, destruction! Movie sets are no stranger to costly accidents, with some of the accidents reaching jaw-dropping sums in the millions.

Source: Roadside America

Yet, not all wreckage is accidental. Some buildings and items are usually obliterated intentionally as part of the plot. So, what’s the damage? From pyrotechnic chaos to staged demolitions, discover the most expensive things ever destroyed on film sets by clicking the next arrow!

The Hateful Eight - A 145-year-old Martin Guitar

An iconic prop met its tragic end in Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight as Kurt Russell’s character destroyed a rare 1870s Martin guitar.

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Source: Getty Images

Despite the availability of a replica, the scene was filmed with the original instrument, causing heartbreak for co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh. The actress had spent time learning to play the guitar and even planned to purchase it after the film wrapped.The Martin Museum’s director only discovered the truth after the movie’s release.

Skyfall - A Centenary Bazaar Shop

The adrenaline-fueled chase sequence in Skyfall climaxes as Bond races after Patrice on a motorcycle through the bustling Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Nevertheless, the pursuit took an unexpected turn when the stuntman careened out of control, smashing through the window of a centuries-old jewelry shop.

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Source: Travelvui

The accident left the shop’s proprietor with an arduous and costly repair job. The scene’s unintended consequences serve as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Grand Bazaar and its ancient merchants.

The Dark Knight - An IMAX Camera

During a thrilling chase scene, the Caped Crusader zoomed through Gotham’s streets in breakneck speed, leaving the IMAX camera struggling to keep up. Alas, the camera met its tragic end as the stunt proved too intense to handle. 

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Source: No Film School

Yet, it wasn’t just any ordinary camera – this half-a-million-dollar IMAX gadget was one of only four in existence, making the loss even more devastating. The risk was high, but the reward was a stunning visual experience that still lives on in cinema history.

Con Air - The Sands Casino

In a notorious scene from the 1997 blockbuster Con Air, a fiery plane crashes into the glittering Las Vegas Strip, wreaking havoc on the iconic Sands Casino. Yet, did you know that the filmmakers destroyed the real casino, which had already been partially demolished by its new owners?

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Source: Touchstone Pictures/ Getty Images

With some convincing, the owners agreed to delay the demolition so that the lobby destruction scene could be filmed. The result? A jaw-dropping sequence that saw a US$110 million building reduced to rubble, producing a movie magic at its most explosive.

Bad Boys II - A Mansion

The cost of making a Hollywood blockbuster goes beyond just actors and special effects; even filming locations can carry a hefty price tag. The waterfront mansion featured in the action-comedy Bad Boys II was valued at over $10 million, but it didn’t escape unscathed. 

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Source: Aesthetics of Design

The production team wreaked havoc, demolishing walls, shattering windows, and even exploding a car in the living room. The mansion was left in ruins, but the movie’s explosive action scenes were unforgettable.

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Furious 7 - Nine Lykan Hypersport Cars

Known for its death-defying and over-the-top action scenes, the Fast and Furious franchise In its 2015 installment Furious 7, took car destruction to a whole new level.  They smashed not just one or two, but nine ultra-rare Lykan Hypersport cars in a high-flying sequence in Abu Dhabi.

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Source: Motor1

Each car was valued at a whopping $3.4 million, this scene goes down in history as one of the most expensive on-screen car carnages ever captured on film.

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The Outlaws - A Banksy

In the 2021 action-thriller The Outlaws, a heist scene caused a stir for destroying a genuine Banksy artwork worth over US$12 million. The anonymous street artist’s politically-charged pieces make them highly sought after, adding another layer of meaning to the film. 

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Source: ARTnews

The filmmakers obtained permission from the artwork’s owner to destroy it for the scene, but it still sparked controversy among art enthusiasts. The destruction of this Banksy proves that sometimes, life imitates art in unexpected and controversial ways.

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The Master - A Historic Toilet

During the filming of the 2012 drama The Master. A historic $1 million gold-plated porcelain toilet was destroyed during a scene in a California mansion. The toilet was originally part of the wealthy Doheny family’s bathroom in the mansion.

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Source: Getty Images

Its demolition shocked both audiences and historians. The film’s star, Joaquin Phoenix, accidentally shattered the toilet not realizing its historical significance. These incidents demonstrate that even seemingly insignificant objects can have unexpected value both on and off the screen.

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Twister - Blocks of the Town of Wakita

In the 1990s, Twister was one of the biggest movies in the theater. The production used several effects to reveal the power and danger of tornadoes, but not everything happened like magic. Dozens of houses appeared to be torn down, which truly happened. 

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Source: MUBI

Two years before making the movie, Wakita had a severe weather disaster that destroyed their town, so the producer bought dozens of damaged houses to ruin them as well. After filming, they restored all the old buildings.

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The Fugitive - A Train and a Bus

The Fugitive is not only one of the best action movies, but it is also one of the best taglines ever. One of the movie’s iconic scenes was when Harrison’s character narrowly escaped from the destruction of a prison bus just before a derailed train collided with it. Well, to film this scene an actual train and bus were used.

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Source Strange Carolinas

Interestingly, the wreckage can still be seen today and has become a popular destination for tourists in Dillsboro, North Caroline.

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Blade: Trinity - A US$300,000 Camera

The movie Blade: Trinity was a real test of Jessica Biel’s archery skill. She had to learn how to shoot straight for the movie, which she did well. Her performance was so well that the producer challenged her to shoot directly at the camera.

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Source: reddit

Jessica shot from where she was positioned and was able to hit her target. While shooting right at the camera seems fun and impressive, that single act destroyed a 300,000k camera.

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The Sacrifice - A Whole House

Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1986 movie The Sacrifice had a whole building go up in flames. Fair enough, burning down the house was part of the plan, and the cameras were expected to capture the moment. However, this didn’t happen because they filmed from afar as the flames were unbearable.

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source: getty images

A behind-the-scenes video captures the director expressing his frustration while the house was on fire. The house was restored, albeit at a great price, and the movie lives on as one of a kind.

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The General - A Locomotive

Director and actor Buster Keaton didn’t benefit from the special effect used in contemporary movies, but he decided to make an impression during his era. In the movie The General there was an incredible scene that involved a locomotive hitting a burning bridge and crashing right through into the river below.

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Source: Getty Images

This stunt was expensive as the train cost a sum of 42,000k; you are looking at 682,000k by today’s standard.

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