Actors who were injured on Oscar-winning movies

·5 min read
The stars of Black Swan, Gladiator and The Godfather all suffered for their art. (20th Century Fox/Universal/Paramount)
The stars of Black Swan, Gladiator and The Godfather all suffered for their art. (20th Century Fox/Universal/Paramount)

Film sets can be dangerous places and even prestigious Oscar-winning pictures have had their fair share of accidents and injuries.

Here are 10 actors who did themselves a mischief on the set of an Oscar-winning movie.

Leonardo DiCaprio cut his hand open on Django Unchained

<p>As slave owner Calvin Candy, Leo slammed a glass so hard down on a table it cut his hand and it gushed blood. Ever the pro, he acted through it and it of course ended up in the final film. </p>
As slave owner Calvin Candy, Leo slammed a glass so hard down on a table it cut his hand and it gushed blood. (Sony Pictures)

Leo may not have won an Oscar as plantation owner Calvin Candie, but he would have if there were one for best on screen injury. 

Read more: Oscars 2021 nominations

The actor slammed his hand onto broken glass during a dinner table confrontation with Django injuring himself so badly he required stitches. Tarantino kept the take though, using it in the final scene.

Viggo Mortensen broke two toes on Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

The Aragorn actor fractured two toes when he kicked a steel Uruk helmet while the cameras rolled. Peter Jackson assumed his cry of despair was a fancy bit of acting but it was real, genuine pain.

George Clooney suffered a spinal injury on Syriana

George Clooney accepts award for Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for
George Clooney accepts award for Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for "Syriana" (M. Caulfield/WireImage)

The Cloonster still suffers back pain from the injury he sustained on the set of his Oscar-winning geopolitical drama. 

Read more: Clooney visits hospital for decade-old back injury

He says the injury, which happened while filming a torture scene with Mark Strong, was so painful he even considered suicide while recovering in hospital.

Ellen Burstyn permanently damaged her spine on The Exorcist

American actress Ellen Burstyn caressing American actress Linda Blair in The Exorcist. 1973 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio by Getty Images)
American actress Ellen Burstyn caressing American actress Linda Blair in The Exorcist. 1973 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio by Getty Images)

During one scene of William Friedkin’s supernatural chiller, the possessed Regan throws Burstyn’s Chris McNeil to the floor. An overzealous stuntman pulled her to the floor via a hidden wire just a little too violently, leaving her with a permanent lower back injury that has plagued her ever since.

“[William Friedkin’s] a brilliant director,” Burstyn told HuffPost, “and I don’t want to knock him, however, I did injure my lower back and had to work with it ever since. But it’s okay.”

Natalie Portman displaced her rib on Black Swan

Natalie Portman transformed for Black Swan (Credit: Fox Searchlight)
Natalie Portman transformed for Black Swan (Credit: Fox Searchlight)

Natalie Portman’s training regime for Darren Aronofsky’s psychological ballet thriller was extreme: the already-slender star shed 20lbs in weight. The punishing dance routines would leave her and co-star Mila Kunis in agony, but it was a displaced rib, which saw one rib painfully slip under the other, that would be her most painful.

Margaret Hamilton suffered third degree burns on Wizard Of Oz

Kino. The Wizard of Oz, USA, 1939, aka: Das zauberhafte Land, aka: Der Hexer von Oz, aka: Der Zauberer von Oz, Regie: Victor Fleming, Darsteller: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton. (Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)
Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton in 1939's Wizard of Oz (FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images)

The actor who played the Wicked Witch was lucky to be alive when her costume caught fire after a trap door failed to trigger. The star was supposed to disappear from Munchkinland in a puff of smoke, but instead the pyrotechnics set her costume alight. 

Read more: The cursed production of The Wizard of Oz

She suffered second and third degree burns and was off set recovering for a month. She refused to work with fire again when she returned.

Orson Welles chipped his anklebone on Citizen Kane

(Original Caption) Scene from
Scene from "Citizen Kane." Orson Welles at the banquet. (Getty)

The writer-director-star damaged his ankle during a scene where Kane chases Gettys down the stairs. He tripped, chipped his anklebone, and had to continue directing from a wheelchair for two weeks while he recovered. For scenes that required him to act, he wore metal leg braces to ease the pressure from his leg.

Russell Crowe broke multiple bones on the set of Gladiator

Russell Crowe facing off against another man in a scene from the film 'Gladiator', 2000. (Photo by Universal/Getty Images)
Russell Crowe facing off against another man in a scene from the film 'Gladiator', 2000. (Photo by Universal/Getty Images)

Russell Crowe is one of Hollywood’s most battle-scarred actors thanks to injuries he picked up on Cinderella Man, Les Miserables, and in his most famous role of Gladiator. On the set of Ridley Scott’s epic he broke bones in his foot and his hip, as well as injuring both bicep tendons. Yes Russell, we ARE entertained.

Al Pacino twisted his ankle on The Godfather

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 15: (From left) Al Pacino as Michael Corleone and Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone in 'The Godfather, ' the movie based on the novel by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This scene takes place in the Don's garden, 1955. Initial theatrical release on March 15, 1972. Screen capture. Paramount Pictures. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone and Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone in 'The Godfathe,' (CBS via Getty Images)

It may not sound like the most serious of injuries, but try telling that to anyone who’s done it, it can be agony. In the scene where Michael Corleone assassinates Sollozzo and McCluskey, Pacino mistimed the jump onto the getaway car’s running board, twisting his ankle. The injury forced him to use crutches and a cane for two weeks on the set of Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar-winning epic.

Harrison Ford ruptured a disc on Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom

Harrison Ford rides an elephant in a scene from the film 'Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom', 1984. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)
Harrison Ford rides an elephant in a scene from the film 'Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom', 1984. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)

Many hours of mounting and dismounting elephants during the Sri Lankan shoot on the Indy sequel resurfaced an old back injury, so by the time Harrison Ford arrived in London to shoot interiors, he was in agonising pain. Spielberg jetted him off to LA for treatment where a ruptured disc was diagnosed. He required urgent treatment which resulted in a $1m insurance bill for Paramount.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, in case you were wondering.

Watch: New Indiana Jones game announced