10 Great Movie Scenes Filmed In Only One Take Because There Was No Other Choice

Usually, it takes 2 or more tries to get a scene right. However, in these cases, these movie crews have no choice but to nail it on their first tries. The reason can be due to the low budget, strict timeline, or life-threatening danger that comes with the scene. Whatever the case is, these movie scenes filmed in only one take came out great and super epic.
It takes a lot of effort and praying for these scenes to go smoothly, but mostly it’s hard work from the actors and everybody else on the set. So let’s find out how far would these crews go to create their masterpiece films. Here are 10 movie scenes filmed in only one take that comes out really mind-blowing.

1. The Hospital Explosion in the Dark Knight

scenes filmed in only one take Source: Warner Bros. Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

The crew only got one building to blow up and they couldn’t blow up a building twice without turning the whole scene into a mess. And because Heath was walking out of the building mere seconds before it exploded, they had to get the timing right so he wouldn’t get hurt or in danger during the scene.
So they knew they had to get everything right on the first try, no second chance was available here. What did they do? Well, the whole sequence was rehearsed around 12 times before it was filmed. The explosion scene came out perfect and the timing was impeccable. It even sparked the rumor about a premature explosion and Heath being forced to improvise his lines.

2. The Solar Eclipse Scene in Nomad

scenes filmed in only one take Source: @nomadthefilm

Instead of using CGI like every other movie, the crew of The Solar Eclipse Scene in Nomad decided to take it up a notch and waited for a real solar eclipse. They only got two minutes and 18 seconds to film this sequence. Everything got to be super precise. One mistake and they would have to wait years for the next eclipse. Probably reconsidering the special effect option?

3. The Scene in Times Square from Vanilla Sky

scenes filmed in only one take Source: Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

This is probably one of the most challenging movie scenes filmed in only one take ever. Times Square is a very popular spot and you can imagine how hard it is to turn this place into a vacant street. However, Producers Don Lee and Paula Wagner, along with Tom Cruise, decided to challenge the impossible. They asked the then-mayor of New York to shut down the intersection so they could film a scene there.
In the end, they were able to convince him to give them a single Sunday morning to finish the scene. However, they weren't allowed to do a lot of takes. The mayor also told them that this would never be allowed to happen again. Under heavy pressure, the crew rehearsed for weeks before the shoot, and they completed it with an hour to spare before Times Square was opened again.

4. The Chest Waxing Scene In The 40-year-old Virgin

scenes filmed in only one take Source: Universal Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Everything in this painful scene was real, including the pain and the hair. Steve was actually screaming for his life here because it was his real chest hair that got waxed off. The actress who got assigned the job lied about her experience with waxing, so it was really painful for him.
And because it was Steve's real chest hair, they only got one chance to film this scene right. Hair takes time to grow back!

5. The Makeup Scene in I, Tonya

scenes filmed in only one take Source: Neon / 30WEST / LuckyChap Entertainment / Via Youtube

This emotional scene where Tonya Harding quickly applies her makeup while smiling through her pain was not only dreadful for many audiences but also for the filming crew. They got about 10 scenes to shoot and they only got half a day to wrap everything up before losing the stadium that night to the hockey teams.
Margot and the crew had no time for her to reapply her makeup, so she had to give this performance perfectly in one go. Thankfully the talented actress was able to pull it off.

6. The Climbing Scene In Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Source: Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

In this scene, Tom Cruise had to climb outside the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. They only had 30 minutes top to shoot the scene because of many safety reasons. More than 30 minutes and Tom's harness would start to cut off his circulation, the IMAX cameras they were using would run out of film, and they would exceed the 30-minute flight limit for the helicopters used for filming. It’s really a go big or go home situation for them.

7. The Car Scene In The Man with the Golden Gun

Source: United Artists/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Speaking about dangerous scenes filmed in only one take, the car scene in The Man with the Golden Gun must be on top of the list for how dangerous it was. The whole crew was praying during the shooting. Despite having all the angle, speed, and rotation carefully calculated, they still feared the worst. They even had several ambulances watching from the sidelines!
Luckily, stunt driver Loren “Bumps” Williard was able to nail the whole scene in one take. That scene was just pure epicness.

8. The Car Chase in the French Connection

Source: 20th Century Fox/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

The car chase in The French Connection also was a scene that could only be shot once. Why? Well, because it was shot on the real streets of Brooklyn without closing down anything. The pedestrians and other drivers you see in the scene were not actors but real people who were in real danger!
The scene was 100% illegal. Thankfully no one got hurt during the filming process. The director of the movie expressed heavy regret afterward.

9. One Of The Car Crashes in Drive

Source: FilmDistrict/ Courtesy of Everett Collection

Another famous car crash in cinema history is one car scene in Drive. Due to the low budget that the movie was given, they didn’t have a lot of cars to waste around. In short, they couldn’t afford to wreck another car. It had to be perfect at the first attempt.

10. Peter and Ned's Handshake in Spider-man: Homecoming

Source: Marvel Studio

Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon came up with the special handshake between Peter and Ned all on their own. Due to their tight schedule, the movie director only gave them about five minutes before they had to move on to the next scenes. The duo nailed the impromptu handshake in one take.
There is no doubt that these movie scenes filmed in only one take are cool as hell. We have discovered the reasons why they only have one chance to shoot these scenes, so why not unveil how they did it too? These hilarious behind-the-scenes pictures will show you how some of the most magical moments in movies are made.
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