Determined to prove that actors in their sixties are entirely capable of risking life and limb for the perfect shot, actor Tom Cruise is promising his most impressive stunt ever—in a late career defined by them—in the awkwardly titled Mission: Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One. Cruise says the movie features “the most dangerous thing we’ve ever attempted,” and it involves driving a motorcycle off of a cliff and leaping off of it into a BASE jump. Better him than me.
Cruise has been upping the ante for practical stunts with each subsequent film in the M:I series, so his claims don’t seem like mere hype. Since at least the fourth installment, the films have featured at least one sequence each that could rank on the all time list of most impressive movie stunts. (Perhaps it’s best that the saga is coming to an end before it kills its star.)
No modern movie doesn’t involve at least a little digital trickery, if only for safety, but even the current CGI-drenched landscape, there’s still a market for death-defying practical stunts—and in most cases, we really can tell the difference. And of course, in days of movie yore, real-life stunts were all that there was. Here are 18 of the wildest ever captured on film.