6 Incredible Ways Movies (Accidentally) Saved Lives

Movies have their problems -- tired sequels, uninspired remakes, legit trauma inflicted on audiences and crew alike, etc. But that doesn't mean they're useless. Some movies can be life-changing ... or even life-saving. Here are a few times movies have actually helped people ward off the Grim Reaper, often in the unlikeliest ways.

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6
Sailors Survived A Sinking Ship With Strategies From Titanic

In 2004, the captain of the Bow Mariner ordered his crew to clean out some tanks that had once contained gas. Well, it turned out the tanks weren't empty after all, and everyone soon found themselves aboard a floating bomb. It also turned out that the captain was of the "Let's not and say we did" school of thought regarding safety drills. To make the scene a little more chaotic, he and his chief mate didn't speak the same language as the rest of the crew.

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The ship began to tilt, knocking the lifeboats on the left side out of reach. Which was inconvenient, because the ones on the right side were on fire. All they had left was a small inflatable raft, and the front of the ship was sinking rapidly. Decisions had to be made, and most of the crew landed on "dignified fleeing." Why delay the inevitable, right? Well, three of the sailors, apparently big fans of historical romance, thought back to the film Titanic and remembered Jack, Rose, and other passengers holding onto the rails of a sinking ship's stern until the last possible second.

For the first time ever, I <i>don't</i> want those three hours of my life back!Paramount Pictures"For the first time ever, I don't want those three hours of my life back!"

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So that's what they did. They clung to the railings for as long as possible. and then jumped into the water and onto the life raft. They ended up being three of only six survivors. Many of the sailors who had jumped straight into the water with their life jackets on quickly died of either shock or hypothermia. In some twisted karmic balancing act, Titanic saved lives.

Related: Entertainment That Changed The World In Unexpected Ways

5
A Man Escaped A Killer By Imitating Jamie Lee Curtis

There's a scene in Halloween wherein Michael Myers chases Laurie Strode to a neighbor's house, but she turns the tables and stabs him with a knitting needle. You probably know it:

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Oh right, spoiler warning for a 40-year-old movie you've all seen nine times.

Joseph Scott knew the scene, too. It certainly came to mind the evening he found himself trapped in his home with the phone lines cut and a man with a knife trying to break in. "I was scared out of my mind, and out of nowhere this thought came inside of me, 'What would Jamie Lee Curtis do?'" he recalled.

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Usually, attempting to reenact scenes from horror movies is a bad idea, but after grabbing some knitting needles from the trash and running to a neighbor's house, Scott survived. Years later, he got to thank Curtis in person at Comic-Con in 2018. Although he never explained why the needles were in the trash. Come on, man, don't give up on your hobbies. Maybe next time, you'll have to strangle a murderer with a nice handwoven scarf or something.

Related: The 6 Dumbest Things To Ever Save Important Lives

4
127 Hours Inspired Better Medical Training Dummies

In 127 Hours, James Franco plays a guy who gets trapped under a rock in the middle of nowhere and ultimately has to chop off his arm with a multi-tool. That's something everyone can enjoy, but Jane Kleinman was particularly excited. She teaches medical students how to deal with emergency situations, and she'd long bemoaned the quality of the dummies available for use in training exercises, which was somewhere between "stick figure" and "Miss Piggy." The fake arm featured in the film, however, had everything: skin, fat, muscle, tendon, and all in the right amounts in the right places. Kleinman immediately contacted Tony Gardner, the head of special effects on the film, because Hollywood FX virtuosos are apparently in the phone book.

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Together they launched a company called Simureal, which creates medical training dummies that actually look like the real thing. It's no doubt a delightful cross-section of the innovative and the unsettling, especially once you find out that they chiefly traffic in prosthetic babies. Every baby dummy has detachable accessories that simulate problems from spina bifida to umbilical cord complications, preparing medics for almost every life-and-death scenario.

Sadly, the dummies don't all look like James Franco. We guess pretending to sever limbs all day robs work of a sense of fun.Fox Searchlight Pictures Sadly, the dummies don't all look like James Franco. We guess pretending to sever limbs all day robs work of a sense of fun.

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Related: 5 Movies That Inadvertently Changed The Course Of US History

3
A Girl Realized She Had Leukemia After Watching My Sister's Keeper

My Sister's Keeper is the story of a girl conceived through IVF essentially to serve as a collection of spare parts for her cancer-afflicted sister. 17-year-old Alex Cooper was desperate for a relaxing movie night to make her forget how run-down she was feeling, and somehow wound up with that one.

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Well, that was a good thing. Cooper quickly realized the girl with cancer onscreen had the same symptoms as she did. She had been putting off going to the doctor, because some teenage girls would literally rather die than bother anyone, but she decided that maybe this was worth making a fuss about. She was right. Three days later, she was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia. Two years later she was cancer-free, all thanks to a downer of a movie.

Related: 5 Movies And TV Shows With Bizarre Real-Life Repercussions

2
A Woman Defended Herself From A Stalker With Techniques From The Walking Dead

Terra Newell didn't like her mom's new boyfriend, John Meehan ... probably because he was an abusive jerk who quickly set about isolating her mother, Debra, from the rest of the family. It was only after Debra married him that she found out he was a drug addict with a rap sheet and a long history of domestic abuse. When Debra decided that was a pretty good reason to call it a day, he proved her right and set her car on fire.

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Terra and Debra might have lost a husband and stepfather, respectively, but they had gained a brand-new stalker. One day he attacked Terra after she got out of her car in the parking garage of her apartment block, but Terra knew exactly what to do ... thanks to The Walking Dead.

Terra, who was an obsessive fan, remembered from the show that the eye is the softest point of entry to the brain, which we guess is a lesson only The Walking Dead teaches you. She wrestled the knife away from him, and stabbed him straight in the eye, "like killing a zombie." Turns out that works on people too. Who'd have thought?

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Related: 6 TV Shows You Won't Believe Saved People's Lives

1
Black Panther Educated A Child On Impalement First Aid

In 2018, 11-year-old Xavier Cunningham was playing in his tree house when he was attacked by a swarm of wasps. That was only the beginning of the poor boy's troubles. In his hurry to escape, he fell out of the tree house and face-first onto a metal skewer. All things considered, it wasn't a great day.

Relatively speaking, though, Cunningham got lucky. Not only had the skewer missed all his vital brain parts on its journey, bu he'd also been lucky enough to have seen Black Panther. In the movie, the conflict reaches its climax when T'Challa stabs Killmonger with a spear. Killmonger ends up dying only after he pulls it out.

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So Cunningham knew that pulling out the skewer was a one-way ticket to the great Wakanda in the sky. Doctors confirmed this, telling reporters that he likely would have died if he'd tried to remove it. Incidentally, how many lives has Green Book saved? That's right, zero. Not that we're bitter.

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Sarah is a freelance writer and copywriter. You can find her on Twitter or check out her blog on books.

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