5 Amazing Performances by Actors Who Weren't Acting (Part 3)

Sometimes the acting in a movie feels so genuine that you can't help but think the performer should take home every Oscar that year -- even the ones they're not nominated for. Best Movie? Whatever Daniel Day-Lewis is in. Best Actor? Daniel Day-Lewis. Best Special Effects? Fuck it: Daniel Day-Lewis. But sometimes it turns out that these moments only feel so real because they absolutely are ...

#5. Conan the Barbarian Tried to Murder Arnold Schwarzenegger; Everybody Else

Universal Pictures

If you're not familiar with the filmic masterpiece Conan the Barbarian, first things first: Shame on you, Philistine. Second: Imagine watching someone else play a German-language copy of Skyrim with poorly translated English subtitles and lots of titty/gore mods. That's Conan the Barbarian, and it was pretty badass. Especially when you consider that Conan wasn't so much a fictional epic as a Funniest Home Videos compilation of Arnie clumsily falling off things and getting attacked by animals.

In one scene, we see the barbarian, Conan (that's what it says on his license), being chased by vicious wolves. Or, to put it more accurately, in a piece of disturbing candid footage, we see Arnold Schwarzenegger being chased by actual vicious dogs. Here's the "wacky" blooper where one of the dogs catches him before the camera cuts away and tries to tear his face off, but only partially succeeds.

Luckily he was rescued by the dog's trainer and survived to bring us Junior.

It wasn't just Arnold's infamous dog-infuriating musk, either: During the scene where Conan's father is killed by Rottweilers in leather jackets ...

Universal Studios
And tea-bagged for good measure.

... the actor claims that they were actually mauling him pretty bad, and one was trying to get at his throat. Luckily, the director yelled cut just before the dog sank its teeth into his arm and dragged him 50 feet.

Universal Studios
This is the sort of thing the Baha Men were trying to warn us about.

Now, for your amusement, here is the future governor of California awkwardly falling into a cave:

Universal Pictures

Once again, that's not a stuntman, and there were no hidden pads. Or at least none that helped. As soon as the cameras cut away, Arnold told director John Milius that he was bleeding, to which Milius replied, "The pain is only momentary, but the movie is forever."

Further, the actress playing Valeria had her index finger severed during a fight scene where they inexplicably used a real sword instead of a prop, and then even more inexplicably gave it to an extra instead of a trained stuntman. The random dude parried the actresses' blow, the sword slipped, and off came her finger.

Universal Pictures

It's less like a movie and more like somebody got permission to enter Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Hunger Games and film the results.

#4. The Director of Kes Traumatizes Children Emotionally and Physically

United Artists

Kes is the 1969 British equivalent of Old Yeller, except it's set in a world where the sun never shines, human beings have been replaced by pale wights, and hope has been forgotten from the land forever: Yorkshire, England.

United Artists
Young Billy, wondering if one simply walks into Yorkshire.

The story centers on a troubled young boy named Billy Casper, who forges an uplifting friendship with a kestrel called Kes. If you still believe there's magic in the world, you should probably stop reading now. Still here? Good for you, you cynical bastard. Later in the movie, Billy's brother kills Kes and dumps it in the trash after an argument. Here's the scene in which Billy, an emotional wreck, confronts his older brother about the birdicide.

The kid's a good actor, isn't he?

Maybe. Or maybe he had a little awful, soul-crushing help. You see, in order to get an authentic emotional reaction for the scene, director Ken Loach told David Bradley -- the boy playing Billy -- that the actual kestrel he'd been working with and grown attached to had been killed just before filming the scene. Then they handed him its corpse and fired up the cameras. If that sounds like an excessively bleak and cold-hearted move for a kids' film, we would like to once again remind you: Yorkshire.

United Artists
They then made him eat the bird with savory pudding.

Of course, the real bird wasn't actually dead -- the world isn't quite that awful. They'd just procured a dead one from an animal sanctuary (don't worry: natural causes). Unfortunately, because the world is very nearly that awful, no one ever told the child actor that. It was a full year after filming before Bradley would travel to Scotland and find his bird friend alive and well.

But that wasn't the worst abuse that Loach subjected his child actors to: In another scene, featuring children being caned by a teacher, the director insisted that the actor actually hit the kids with a cane so their expressions would be genuine.

Of course, this was the 1960s, when men were men, women were objects, and children were an inconvenience. We're pretty sure they have laws against this kind of thing now.

Or do they?

#3. Adam Sandler Really Beat Up Some Kids in Billy Madison

Universal Studios

Billy Madison was a movie in which Adam Sandler played a loud, mentally impaired man-baby. Wait, that may need clarification. OK, Billy Madison was a movie in which Adam Sandler played a character who was loved and cared for despite being dumb, violent, and borderline psychotic. Still needs narrowing down? Fine. Billy Madison was the one where he went back to school.

Columbia Pictures
A court-mandated course to deal with his ... wait, no, hold on.

In regard to the mannish babyism, one scene has Sandler using his adult strength and unfocused rage to smash a bunch of 6-year-olds with a dodgeball. Now, obviously most of that scene was careful editing, soft foam prop balls, and skillful acting -- nobody is going to let Sandler use his idiot-strength to maul children for our entertainment ...


Wrong! The night before filming, Sandler called the director and suggested that he really bash kids in the face as hard as he could with actual dodgeballs. Contrary to all common sense, he somehow managed to get permission from the director, the kids, and the kids' (almost certainly negligent) parents, all by simply insisting that "hurting kids is funny." Which is technically true, but still ...

According to director Tamra Davis, the reason that there are so many jump cuts in that scene wasn't to cleverly hide the fakeness of the blows behind careful editing, but because the kids would start crying immediately after Sandler pummeled them for real, and they needed to cut away before they accidentally wound up making a snuff film.

Recommended For Your Pleasure

To turn on reply notifications, click here


The Cracked Podcast

Choosing to "Like" Cracked has no side effects, so what's the worst that could happen?

The Weekly Hit List

Sit back... Relax... We'll do all the work.
Get a weekly update on the best at Cracked. Subscribe now!