36 Pulse-Pounding Facts About Your Favorite Action Films

Updated on July 15, 2019
Rachel M Johnson profile image

Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.

Action films are loud, pulse pounding, and extremely entertaining for movie goers. Many of these films have become beloved classics that we can't help but watch over and over again. Let's take a look as some fun facts about Hollywood's top action flicks.


1. In Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992), Michelle Pfeiffer had to be vacuum-sealed into her latex Catwoman suit. She could only wear it for limited amounts of time and crew members had to follow her around to make sure she wouldn't faint.

2. O.J. Simpson was almost cast as the Terminator before Arnold Schwarzenegger won over the role. When Simpson was being considered, director James Cameron said he thought he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a killer cyborg.

3. During the filming of The Expendables (2010), Sylvester Stallone sustained 14 injuries including a broken tooth, ruptured ankle and a hairline fracture in his neck that required the surgical insertion of a metal plate.

4. Before Bruce Willis was cast as as the iconic John McClane in the Die Hard series, other actors like Richard Gere, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood were offered the role but ultimately turned it down.

5. Neither Michelle Rodriquez nor Jordana Brewster had driver licenses or even learner's permits before production of The Fast and the Furious (2001).

6. 1987's Lethal Weapon was the first movie to show a modern cell phone. It was a portable Shack Model 17-2003 launched circa 1986 (around the time of filming).

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.
Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. | Source

7. In Django Unchained (2012), during a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio's character smashes a glass in a fit of rage, he actually cut his hand and made it bleed. This was an accident, but director Quentin Tarantino liked it and kept it in the movie.

8. Batman Begins (2005) inspired producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to reboot the James Bond franchise, and reinvent the character as someone darker and more realistic. This was represented in 2006's Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig.

9. Darth Vader is an iconic character, but surprisingly he had only 12 minutes of screen time in the original Star Wars.

10. Sean Connery actually wore a toupee in every one of his performances as James Bond.

11. In Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) actually outran the the boulder in the opening sequence. Since the scene was shot twice from five different angles, he had to outrun it 10 times. Ford's accidental stumble was deemed authentic and was left in.

12. The character of Jack Sparrow was originally written especially for Hugh Jackman, thus the name "Jack Sparrow." However, during this time he was not as well-known outside of his native Australia so Disney cast the more famous Johnny Depp.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained.
Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained. | Source
Sean Connery as James Bond.
Sean Connery as James Bond. | Source
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow & Hugh Jackman.
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow & Hugh Jackman. | Source

13. In The Dark Knight, when the Joker crashes Bruce Wayne's party and Alfred is confronted with him for the first time, he is portrayed as speechless and stunned. This wasn't simply acting; in reality Michael Caine had lines to recite but completely forgot them due to seeing Heath Ledger in character for the first time.

14. For X-Men (2000), Hugh Jackman modeled Wolverine's fighting style on videos of boxer Mike Tyson.

15. The final choice for the role of Thor came down between brothers Chris and Liam Hemsworth. Chris found the whole experience funny, having said, "We both came all the way over here from Australia and ended up battling against each other."

16. Chris Pratt allegedly stole his Star-Lord costume from the set of Guardians of the Galaxy, for the sole purpose of having it available so he could show up in costume and visit sick children in the hospital.

17. For The Bourne Identity (2002), Matt Damon went through hundreds of hours of training in order to look comfortable holding a gun. He also also trained in the Filipino martial art Kali, which involves using the aggressor's energy against him and conserving your own.

18. Clint Eastwood performed all of his own stunts in 1971's Dirty Harry. This included the stunt where he jumps onto the roof of the hijacked school bus from a bridge. His face is clearly visible throughout the shot.

Heath Ledger as The Joker.
Heath Ledger as The Joker. | Source
Brother Liam & Chris Hemsworth.
Brother Liam & Chris Hemsworth. | Source
Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. | Source

19. Heath Ledger kept a journal of his journey into the dark and twisted mind of The Joker. A few months prior to being found dead, he wrote an eerie note on the last page of his journal, where he scrawled the words "Bye Bye" after completing The Dark Knight.

20. The sunglasses used in Men in Black are the Ray-Ban "Predator 2" glasses. After the film's release, Ray-Ban reported that sales of these glasses tripled from $1.6 million to $5 million.

21. Clive Owen and Sam Rockwell are among the actors who were considered for Tony Stark in Iron Man. While Robert Downey Jr. was ultimately cast, Rockwell went on to play Stark's rival Justin Hammer in 2010's Iron Man 2.

22. Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal were the studio's top choices for the role of Jake Sully in Avatar. However, director James Cameron decided to cast the less-known actor Sam Worthington. At the time of auditioning, Worthington was living in his car.

23. Upon the release of 1993's Jurassic Park, both the movie and book generated so much interest in dinosaurs that the study of paleontology had a record increase in students.

24. Before accepting the lead role in the remake of Mad Max, Tom Hardy had lunch with Mel Gibson in order to discuss taking over the iconic role. Gibson said he was fine with it and gave Hardy his blessing.

Mel Gibson & Tom Hardy in Mad Max.
Mel Gibson & Tom Hardy in Mad Max. | Source

25. Robert Downey Jr. kept food hidden all over the lab set for The Avengers (2012), and nobody could find where it was, so they just let him continue doing it. In the film, the food he's offering is actually his and when he ate it it wasn't scripted; he was just hungry.

26. In The Matrix (1999), for the slow-mo bullet ripple effects, sound designer Dane A. Davis put bullets on strings and whirled them around his studio. He also digitized raindrops against window panes to create the sound of the Matrix code.

27. In Die Hard, director John McTiernan had to cut away from Hans Gruber's face whenever he fired a gun, because of Alan Rickman's uncontrollable habit of flinching from the noise and the muzzle flash. If you look at him when he shoots Takagi, you can see Rickman wincing.

28. While filming the famous scene where Tom Cruise drops from the ceiling and hovers inches above the floor in Mission Impossible (1996), Cruise's head kept hitting the floor until he got the idea to put coins in his shoes for balance.

29. In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), Jack Black jokes that he was not acting in the scenes when his character is infatuated with Dwayne Johnson's character. He was in fact actually infatuated and the cameras just kept rolling.

30. In Deadpool (2016), Ryan Reynolds' full body make-up took eight hours to apply. Once it was on, he was not able to sit or lie down.

Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard.
Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. | Source

31. During the filming of Enter the Dragon (1973), Bruce Lee actually struck Jackie Chan in the face with one of his fighting sticks. He immediately apologized and insisted Chan could work on all his movies after that. Sadly, Lee passed away before he could keep that promise.

32. Liam Neeson expected Taken (2008) to bomb, but took the role in order to spend four months in Paris and learn karate, as well as play a role he was never offered before. Not only was the film a box office hit, but it also helped Neeson become an action hero.

33. For 2012's Skyfall, Daniel Craig performed many of his own stunts, including the signature roof top fight on the top of a moving train travelling thirty-one miles per hour during the opening sequence.

34. Sylvester Stallone hated the first cut of Rambo: First Blood (1982) so much that he actually tried to buy back the film to destroy it. When he couldn't, the producers heavily edited the film and it was cut down to 93 minutes; the finished product was approved and shown in theaters.

35. Quentin Tarantino only had Uma Thurman in mind for the role of The Bride in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003).

36. The real Top Gun School imposes a $5 fine to any staff member that quotes the movie.

Bruce Lee & Jackie Chan.
Bruce Lee & Jackie Chan. | Source
Liam Neeson in Taken.
Liam Neeson in Taken. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Rachel M Johnson


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      • Rachel M Johnson profile imageAUTHOR

        Rachel M Johnson 

        10 months ago

        Hi Michael, thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      • profile image


        10 months ago

        This was a great list! Most of the items I never knew about. I was aware of only three stories on this list. Keep up the good work!


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