Is there anything cooler than a skydive? OK, maybe Tom Cruise as IMF agent Ethan Hunt executing a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump during a lightning storm in this summer's Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
Yeah, that's pretty cool. And you know what makes it cooler? Cruise performed said stunt no less than 106 times.
Here are seven other utterly nuts skydives in film.
1. The Gypsy Moths (1969) – Cape Jump
The Gypsy Moths is a film all about skydiving, so it's only right that it takes a spot on this list. And while there are many memorable skydives in this 1969 drama, it's the film's saddest, yet most thrilling, scene that takes the top spot.
The scene in question sees professional skydiver Mike Rettig (Burt Lancaster) execute a 'cape jump' at over 200mph. Seemingly in an effort to thrill the crowd, he leaves it until the last moment to pull his ripcord. Only, he leaves it a moment too long, and plummets into the ground at a speed of over 200 mph, rendering him dead at the scene.
2. Moonraker (1979) – A Gnawing Concern
The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy and GoldenEye are just some of the Bond films that put the skydive right at the forefront of the action. And while the skydiving scenes on offer here are all high-flying, the one in Moonraker is truly out of this world.
Why is it so good? Well, aside from a few brief close-ups, the scene was filmed entirely in free fall via cameras attached to the stuntmen's helmets, imbuing the whole thing with a sense of realism arguably lacking from some purely green-screened dives. There's also the matter of everyone's favourite grinning giant, Jaws (Richard Kiel), who pursues Bond (Roger Moore) after kicking him out of a moving plane with no parachute.
Naturally, Bond escapes his grasp (or bite), and Jaws plummets at terminal velocity into a circus tent. We're sure Bond would've uttered some pithy one-liner if he were able to...
3. Point Break (1991) – Mid-air Conundrum
This '90s classic may focus on a bunch of criminal surfers, but it's their skysurfing pursuits that really steal the limelight.
The film's most iconic scene sees FBI agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) engage in a mid-air pursuit of gang leader Bodhi (Patrick Swayze), sans parachute, and pistol in hand. He skilfully catches up to Bodhi, who luckily has a parachute, yet must choose between shooting his adversary or pulling the ripcord. It's the tense standoff between the two that make this climactic scene so memorable.
Fun fact: Swayze was actually an experienced skydiver before filming for Point Break began, and performed around 50 skydives for the film himself.
4. Honeymoon in Vegas (1992) – The Flying Elvises
Nicolas Cage dressed up as Elvis skydiving from a plane above Las Vegas. Enough said.
5. Drop Zone (1994) – Cut Away!
To 'cut away' means to disconnect from the main parachute to allow the deployment of a reserve chute. Such an action is usually only performed when something goes wrong… as in Drop Zone when Selkirk Power (Corin Nemec) gets his wires tangled during a mid-air performance with his team.
This unfortunate scenario makes the whole scene incredibly suspenseful, as it's unclear if Selkirk will make it to the ground in one piece. Luckily, he lands safe and sound in a nearby lake – though something tells us he would've been soaked through well before he hit the water…
6. Godzilla (2014) – HALO Jump
A HALO jump involves leaping from a plane at a minimum of 25,000 feet and flying to Earth at speeds of over 200mph. The jump is often used by the military to get troops into the heart of enemy territory quickly and quietly. And that's exactly why a squad of paratroopers use it in Godzilla.
The skydive itself goes smoothly, but it's the way the scene is portrayed by Monsters and Rogue One director Gareth Edwards that makes it truly special, as the flare-wielding troopers plummet through sheer blackness past the gnashing jaws of Godzilla, with Gyorgy Ligeti's Requiem playing in the background. It's captivating stuff.
7. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) – Rushing Roulette
Here's another stomach-churning skydive that doesn't quite go according to plan. It starts off well enough, with the six Kingsman candidates (including Taron Egerton's Eggsy and Sophie Cookson's Roxie) leaping from a plane at around 35,000 feet, all enjoying the thrill of the dive without a care in the world.
But what's this? One of the group doesn't have a parachute. And what's worse, it turns out none of them actually knows who it is. A terrifying race against time ensues, as the six characters rush to figure out who the doomed diver is before they go splat.
Liam Turner is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.