A lot of movies involve a lot of punching. It’s usually done with some technical camera wizardry and careful choreography, to avoid multi million dollar earning actors to get hit too hard in the face. From an insurance standpoint, that makes a lot of sense.
Some movies, however, go for the realistic approach. They actually let the punches connect and keep the footage. Imagine screwing up your lines and having to redo that entire scene. Suddenly your job isn’t so bad, is it! Let’s take a look at some of the best times we’ve seen actors actually get punched in the face.
Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher)
There’s a specific scene where Channing Tatum gets hit by his coach, proceeds to hit himself and bashes his head into a mirror until it breaks. All of those hits (and the pain that came with them) are 100% real, meaning Channing Tatum really did a number on himself in that scene.
Michael B Jordan (Creed)
It’s a boxing movie, so you can expect to get boxed at, I guess. During the final battle when Creed gets knocked out from taking a swift punch to the face, the punch is a genuine blow to the face. Michael B Jordan admitted afterwards that the blow made him see stars afterwards, but I guess he fully recovered. Oh, small sidenote: he had to get hit twice, because the first take wasn’t good enough.
Brad Pitt (Fight Club)
When your movie revolves around an underground fighting club, you’re bound to take a few hits. The scene where Edward Norton punches Brad Pitt in the ear, despite being literally the easiest scene on this list to fake, is actually a real punch to Pitt’s ear. Norton wasn’t supposed to hit Pitt in the ear, so the reaction to the blow and everything after that is pretty much improvised by both actors.
Pretty Much Everyone (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
You’d think the over-choreographed style of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and the fact that it’s a Disney property) would mean that no one gets injured during filming, but then they cast Frank Grillo in the second Captain America movie. According to all actors involved in fighting scenes with him, Frank didn’t pull his punches because he felt it made the action look more realistic.
De Niro & Stallone (Grudge Match)
Both of them having starred in successful boxing movies and then doing a boxing movie together, there had to be some trading blows there. According to the director, they actually hit each other several times throughout the filming process. And they encouraged each other to do it, too!
Jake Gyllenhaal (Southpaw)
At this point you’re probably seeing a pattern here: if you get casted in a boxing movie, you’re going to get hit in the face. After months of intensive training, Jake decided he was ready to take hits like a boxer, so all the punches he takes in the movie are absolutely real.
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
The legendary scene where Jon Bernthal punches Jonah Hill square in the face is actually a real punch. Scorsese asked in advance if Jon could throw a real punch, and Hill agreed. The resulting blow caused Jonah Hill’s prostate teeth to break and his face to swell, meaning Jon really wasn’t holding back at all.