December 19, 2023 | Miles Brucker

Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Acclaimed Movies

Who doesn't love a little movie magic? From the Terminator series to Titanic, here are 43 behind-the-scenes facts about some of history's best-loved films.

43. A Dirty Movie

The first American movie to show a toilet flushing was Psycho in 1960. The scene was an issue with censors, but ultimately made the cut. It’s shown when Marion flushes an incriminating piece of paper right before the infamous shower scene.

Acclaimed Movies

42. Mother Wouldn’t Be Pleased

Walt Disney was so disgusted by Psycho that he refused to let Hitchcock film at Disneyland.

Walt Disney FactsWikimedia Commons

41. He’ll Be Back

James Cameron lived in his car for part of the time that he was writing The Terminator, and he sold the script for a dollar—under the condition that he could direct the film.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images

40. Hasta la Vista, O.J.

O.J. Simpson almost played the Terminator, but James Cameron thought he was too “likeable” and “innocent” to be believable in the role.

Acclaimed Movies factsWikimedia Commons

39. Come With Me If You Want to Make Bank

In Terminator 2, Arnold Schwarzenegger was paid an average of $21,429 per one word of dialogue.

Movies factsGetty Images

38. Bloody Bad Guy

While filming Django Unchained, Leonardo DiCaprio, who played an evil slave owner, badly cut his hand when he smashed a glass during a prejudiced rant. He stayed in character, and DiCaprio’s real blood can be seen all over the table.

Will Smith FactsDjango Unchained,Columbia Pictures

37. Toothless

For much of The Hangover, Ed Helms walks around missing a front tooth. There was no movie magic at work here: Helms has a prosthetic tooth in real life, to replace one that never grew in, that he had removed for the movie.

Acclaimed Movies factsThe Hangover,Legendary Entertainment

36. A Bloody Surprise

The reactions in the famous chest-burster scene in Alien are real—the effect was a surprise to all of the actors. When actress Veronica Cartwright was hit by the blood, she passed out.

Acclaimed Movies factsAlien,20th Century Fox

35. Alien Phone Home

Steven Spielberg originally conceived of E.T. and Poltergeist—two 1982 films about a suburban family whose lives are changed by a supernatural alien entity in their home—as one movie, called Night Skies.

Steven Spielberg speaking at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con in suit looking at the cameraGage Skidmore, Flickr

34. B.A. in Best Picture

Spielberg earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach—33 years after dropping out. In 2002, he submitted Schindler’s List as a final project.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images

33. Magic Man

Spielberg turned down an offer to direct the Harry Potter films because, as he said, "it’s just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There’s no challenge in that".

Saving Private Ryan factsShutterstock

32. Almost as Good as Magic

Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double in the Harry Potter movies, David Holmes, was injured while rehearsing a flying scene, and became permanently paralyzed. Radcliffe hosted a celebrity auction to pay Holmes’s medical bills.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix FactsGetty Images

31. Presumably All Muggle-Born

More than 500 baby girls have been named Hermione since the first Harry Potter film was released.

Emma Watson factsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), Warner Bros.

30. May the Odds Be Ever in Their Favor

As of 2014, only 29 girls have been named for Katniss in The Hunger Games.

Acclaimed Movies factsFlickr

29. Team Scream

The Wilhelm scream is a sound effect recorded in 1951, and it’s been used in more that 360 films, including Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Titanic.

The Original Star Wars Trilogy factsStar Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983), Lucasfilm

28. Where No Murderer Has Gone Before

The mask Michael Myers wears in Halloween is a Captain Kirk mask painted white.

Horror's Scariest Monsters factsShutterstock

27. A Good Year

If you went to the movies in October of 1994, you could choose between seeing Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and The Shawshank Redemption in theaters.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump wearing red hatParamount, Forrest Gump (1994)

26. Turtle-riffic

The velociraptor noises in Jurassic Park were actually the sound of tortoises mating.

Animals FactsWikipedia

25.This Film Will Go On

The scenes in the film Titanic that are set in 1912 last exactly two hours and 40 minutes—the amount of time it took for the original ship to sink.

Titanic Movie factsTitanic (1997), Paramount Pictures

24. Just the Tip of the Iceberg

The film’s most famous line—“I’m king of the world!”—was improvised.

Titanic Movie factsTitanic (1997), Paramount Pictures

23. A Good Icebreaker

Kate Winslet didn’t want to wear a wetsuit under her costume, and as a result caught pneumonia.

Acclaimed Movies factsTitanic ,20th Century Fox UK

22. Kick Off Your Sunday Shoes

Footloose, which tells the story of a town that outlaws dancing, is based on a true story.

Acclaimed Movies factsFootloose,Paramount Pictures

21. Coulda Bought a Lot of Lifeboats

It cost more to shoot the movie Titanic than it did to build the actual Titanic.

Titanic Movie factsTitanic (1997), Paramount Pictures

20. A Weighty Situation

…And the movie Gravity cost more to shoot than it cost India to run the Mars Orbiter Mission which actually sent a probe to Mars.

Acclaimed Movies factsGravity,Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

19. A Monster Take

In the 2014 Godzilla film, the titular monster is only seen for eight minutes.

Horror's Scariest Monsters factsShutterstock

18. Back to the Drawing Board

The script for Back to the Future was rejected more than 40 times and by every major studio—some more than once.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images

16. Cool Runnings

In an early draft of Back to the Future, the time machine was a refrigerator. The idea was changed because Spielberg was afraid kids would climb into fridges to imitate the film and get stuck.

Acclaimed Movies factsWikimedia Commons

15. Blast From the Past

Again in the original finale of the Back to the Future script,  the time machine was sent back to the present day with a blast harnessed from a nuclear test site.

Acclaimed Movies factsMax Pixel

14. Future Tense

Movies with time travel, and movies that could potentially misrepresent historical figures, are banned in China for treating "serious history in a frivolous way".

Acclaimed Movies factsWikimedia

13. The Brad Ban

Also banned from China: Brad Pitt, for his performance in the 1997 movie Seven Years in Tibet. He was only legally allowed to re-enter the country in 2016.

Acclaimed Movies factsSeven Years in Tibet, TriStar Pictures

12. Mr. Green in the Hall With the Revolver

When the film Clue was shown in theaters in 1985, each screening location was given one of three possible endings.

Acclaimed Movies factsClue,Paramount Pictures

11. The One?

Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, and Will Smith were all considered for the role of Neo in The Matrix.

Keanu Reeves FactsShutterstock

10. Better Than Blue Pill 

The Matrix’s directors, the Wachowskis, have said that, if given Neo’s choice, they would both take the blue pill (the one that allows you to continue believing the illusion).

Acclaimed Movies factsFlickr

9. Welcome to the Desert of the Real

French philosopher Jean Baudrillard’s text on postmodern hyperreality, Simulacra and Simulation, was required reading for The Matrix cast.

Acclaimed Movies factsFlickr,Sudhee

8. I’d Like to Thank the Academy

According to a 2015 study of Oscar acceptance speeches, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and Peter Jackson have all been thanked more than God.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images

7. Where No One Can Hear You Scream

NASA keeps a movie library on the International Space Station. Among the films included are Apollo 13, Around the World in 80 Days, and Armageddon.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images

6. Niiiiiiiice

The Kazakh title character in Borat is actually speaking Hebrew. Because of this, the film was a huge hit in Israel.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images

5. They Found Love in a Post-Apocalyptic Place

The stunt doubles for Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road fell in love and got married.

Stranger Things FactsMad Max: Fury Road(2015), Village Roadshow Pictures

4. Lord of the Body Count

The Lord of the Rings film Return of the King has the most deaths of any film: 836 characters were liquidated.

Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King factsThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King New Line Cinema

3. Hurts, Don’t It

John Hurt (not Sean Bean, to the surprise of many) holds the record for most on-screen deaths: 43. His cinematic deaths include being consumed by a magic pot (in The Black Cauldron) and interplanetary collision (Melancholia).

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows FactsGetty Images

2. 11 Oscars and Bad Food

One of the final days of the Titanic shoot, the lobster chowder was spiked with PCP, and 80 crew members got sick. To commemorate the event, a t-shirt was made with an image of the ship going down in a bowl of chowder.

Acclaimed Movies factsGetty Images

1. Not-So Alternate Timeline

Donald Trump was the inspiration for the casino-mogul character—and Marty’s nemesis—Biff Tannen in the Back to the Future trilogy. In the future scenes set in 2015 in Part II, Biff’s political influence fills Hill Valley with offence and corruption.

US Presidents factsGetty Images


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39


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