Published: May 6, 2015
There are a lot of movies out there that feature a skydiving scene or two, and even a handful that focus solely on skydiving (some of more questionable quality than others, Cutaway anyone? ), but only a few have managed to positively impact the sport of skydiving by inspiring spectators to become jumpers.
The Top 5 Most Influential Skydiving Movies
1. Point Break (1991)
The heyday of skydiving was definitely in the early 90s. ESPN featured skysurfing on the X-Games, the World Free Fall Convention began in 1990 and Point Break came out in 1991. The movie showcased jumpers enjoying five minute long, conversation filled free falls (that happens right?). Yet, despite its liberal use of poetic license, Point Break captured the imaginations of future skydivers everywhere resulting in a surge of new memberships with the USPA.
Point Break Trivia
- Patrick Swayze was an accomplished skydiver and took part in the big skydiving scene. Swayze did 55 stunt jumps for the film.
- Patrick's brother Don Swayze had over 500 jumps and was a regular jumper at Perris Valley Skydiving in California.
- The two primary freefall cameramen were Tom Sanders and Ray Cottingham.
- The famous speedster was filmed above Lake Powell, Utah.
- Matthew Broderick was originally offered the role of Johnny Utah. Others who auditioned were Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen.
- Willem Dafoe turned down the role of Johnny Utah.
2. Gypsy Moths (1969)
Starring Burt Lancaster, Gene Hackman and Scott Wilson, this movie highlighted skydiving in its earliest of days as it became more commercialized. Interestingly, this movie showcased the earliest blueprints of wing suit flying. The movie was well ahead of its time and brought many to the sport in its earliest of days.
Gypsy Moths Trivia:
- The skydiving equipment the Gypsy Moths use in the film was sport parachuting state-of-the-art for the late 1960's. The three jumpers' gear consisted of Para-Commander main parachutes in "Piggyback" containers and harnesses made by the Pioneer Parachute Company, Pioneer jumpsuits, Bell helmets, Altimaster wrist altimeters, and French-designed and manufactured "Paraboots". The goggles they wore were a commercially-available type identical to the Polaroid M-1944 military goggle, their light gloves a commonly-available work or trucker's driving glove.
3. James Bond
OK, OK, technically it's not ONE movie, but the Bond franchise has showcased skydiving A LOT. And why wouldn't it? Any secret agent worthy of the title should be able to skydive his way into or out of a tricky situation with ease. There is no doubt that Bond movies through the decades have inspired thousands of people to become skydivers. Here are a few movie titles and video clips of these epic skydiving scenes.
Moonraker (1979 - Roger Moore as Bond)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977 - Roger Moore as Bond)
Octopussy (1983 - Roger Moore as Bond)
A View to a Kill (1985 - Roger Moore as Bond)
The Living Daylights (1987 - Timothy Dalton)
License to Kill (1989 Timothy Dalton as Bond)
GoldenEye (1995 - Pierce Brosnan as Bond)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997 - Pierce Brosnan as Bond)
Die Another Day (2002 - Pierce Brosnan as Bond)
James Bond Trivia
- BJ Worth of the World Team played many of the stunt double roles for the skydiving scenes in many of the Bond movies.
- BJ was featured in People Magazine on September 4, 1989 for his many stunt roles. Read it here.
- 80 jumps were made to complete the amazing skydiving scene in Moonraker (1979)
- BJ Worth came up with the idea for the BASE jump off of the Eiffel Tower - he took a three second delay before deployment.
- BJ Worth was the first person to jump on every single continent in the world.
4. Honeymoon in Vegas
The Flying Elvises featured in this film captured the imaginations of thousands and would become a demonstration jump favorite!
Honeymoon in Vegas Trivia
- Little Elvis was played by a 5-year old Bruno Mars (AKA Peter Gene "Bruno" Hernandez).
5. Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk (2002)
This movie never received the acclaim it deserved as it wasn't so much a movie, but a documentary. What made it spectacular was that it was produced for IMAX! It also included a beautiful title song "When You're Falling" by Peter Gabriel.
Adrenaline Rush Trivia:
- Current Red Bull Air Force Athlete, Jon Devore was part of the cast.