Sylvester Stallone’s 1993 ‘Cliffhanger’ Featured One of the Most Expensive Stunts in Movie History

by Samantha Whidden

It’s one of Sylvester Stallone’s well-known titles, and nearly 30 years after its premiere, 1993’s Cliffhanger is getting credit where it’s due. 

According to LadBible, Cliffhanger notably features one of the most expensive stunts in the film industry’s history. While on the set of the action thriller, British stunt coordinator, Simon Crane, helped create the aerial stunt. This would involve one of the villains traveling from a DC-9 plane to a smaller Gulfstream JetStar below. The villain had to glide along a zipline as the two aircraft actually continued to fly through the sky at 150 mph. 

Guinness World Records revealed that Crane performed the stunt at an altitude of 4,572 m (15,000 ft). The stunt, which was only performed once due to it being completely dangerously risky, cost $1 million. Lad Bible further reports that in order to complete the sequence, Crane had to wear a prosthetic mask and a pair of concealed emergency parachutes just in case anything went wrong.

Crane previously spoke about the Cliffhanger scene during an interview with AMC’s Hollywood’s Greatest Stunts. “If something went wrong, it was then very, very dangerous. Other things you could do are still dangerous. But it’s not curtains. You know, yes, you get hurt. But with Cliffhanger, if something went wrong, I could have easily been killed.”

According to IMDb, Cliffhanger follows a botched mid-air heist that results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains. The film starred Stallone along with John Lithgow and Michael Rooker. It was even nominated for three Oscars. A remake is currently in the works, with Justice League star Jason Momoa making an appearance.

Neal Moritz Set to Direct ‘Cliffhanger’ Remake

During a May 2019 interview with Deadline, Neal Moritz spoke about directing the upcoming remake for Cliffhanger. She told the media outlet, “We are setting out to create a thrill-ride on the mountain, which taps into the primal side of an action movie.”

The filmmaker noted that with the addition of high-stakes espionage and a “badass” female mountain climber as the lead, the remake is set to become a truly “epic reinvention” of what made the original Cliffhanger film both fun and thrilling. 

She then declared, “I’ve been wanting to remake this adrenaline-filled survival thriller with a strong female protagonist for some time. The elements came together with Ana Lily and Rocket Science We look forward to gathering the rest of the pieces.”

Moritz went on to add that she’s always wanted to create the movies she wants to see. “Big at their core with characters which connect to the audience while simultaneously encouraging them to leave their house and go to a theater. Cliffhanger is just that. In what we hope will be the first of an entirely new franchise.”