Stunt people are not movie stars, but they are the hidden heroes of many movies.
They were around long before films.
Even Shakespeare may have used them in fight scenes.
To be good, a fight scene has to look real.
Punches must land on enemies' jaws.
Sword fights must be fought with sharp swords.
Several actors are usually in a fight scene.
Their moves must be set up so that no one gets hurt.
It is almost like planning a dance performance.
If a movie scene is dangerous, stunt people usually fill in for the stars.
You may think you see Tom Cruise running along the top of a train, but it is probably his stunt double.
Stunt people must resemble the stars they stand in for.
Their height and build should be about the same.
But when close-ups are needed, the film focuses on the star.
Some stunt people specialize in certain kinds of scenes.
For instance, a stunt woman named Jane Davis does all kinds of jumps.
She has leapt from planes and even off the top of waterfall.
Each jump required careful planning and expert timing.
Yakima Canutt was a famous cowboy stunt man.
Among other stunts, he could jump from a second story window onto a horse's back.
He invented the famous trick of sliding under a moving stagecoach.
Canutt also figured out a new way to make a punch look real.
He was the only stunt man ever to get an Oscar.