July 7, 2015

The Most Dangerous Movie Ever Made: No Animals Were Harmed, But 70 Cast & Crew Members Were

Roar Movie
We've all heard about the troubled productions of Apocalypse Now and Fitzcarraldo. Now imagine combining that madness with 150 untrained, fully grown lions, tigers, cheetahs, and jaguars. 

In an excellent piece on Indiewire today, Emily Buder shared the story -- and it's an amazing one -- of how the most dangerous movie ever made was re-discovered and released by Tim League and the awesome people at the Alamo Drafthouse. That film is called Roar, and its premise is simply absurd and terrifying. It features writer/director/producer Noel Marshall, who stars in the film as a wildlife conservationist living in harmony with hundreds of wild animals, including the aforementioned large, deadly kitties. When his family comes to visit, all hell breaks loose.

Check out the Alamo Drafthouse trailer for the film:

And here are a few clips, which might give you an idea of just how crazy this film is:

The Wikipedia entry for the film details some of the injuries that occurred on the set. Fair warning, the following paragraphs are not for the faint of heart:

Roar Movie Poster

Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film. Cinematographer Jan de Bont had his scalp lifted by a lion, resulting in 220 stitches. Tippi Hedren received a fractured leg and also had scalp wounds. This occurred after an elephant bucked her off its back while she was riding it. She was also bitten in the neck by a lion and required 38 stitches. This incident can also be seen in the film. 

Melanie Griffith (Hedren's daughter) was also attacked, receiving 50 stitches to her face; it was feared she would lose an eye but in the end the wound was not disfiguring. Noel was attacked so many times that he eventually was diagnosed with gangrene. In one of those incidents, he was clawed by a cheetah when protecting the animals during a bushfire that occurred in 1979.

Amazingly, not a single person died on this production, which might very well be considered one of the greatest miracles in the history of cinema. Ultimately, Roar was in production for 11 years, costing upwards of 17 million dollars, much of which was Noel and Hedren's personal money. The film only made back $2 million.

If you want to read more about the absurd production of Roar and Tim League's singular drive to re-release the film through the Alamo Drafthouse, head over to Indiewire and check it out. You'll be glad you did.     

Your Comment

23 Comments

Life of Pi 2 ????

July 7, 2015 at 2:33PM, Edited July 7, 2:33PM

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This is AMAZING.

July 7, 2015 at 3:13PM, Edited July 7, 3:13PM

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Can't wait for the release, Drafthouse has been putting out some really great stuff.

July 7, 2015 at 3:30PM

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Yeah I would have passed on that job.

July 7, 2015 at 4:31PM

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Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
735

I agree Mike, but foolishly I didn't pass. I worked on Roar in 1978 as a camera assistant. It was my first professional film and I was overly ambitious (like many of the crew members) and anxious to get the work experience. It was incredibly dangerous and irresponsible - and I would never take that kind of risk again. But I'm glad that I lived through it. By the way, I know of at least 10 crew members who worked on Roar who later became professional DP's. We were a hungry lot.

July 10, 2015 at 2:32PM, Edited July 10, 2:32PM

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Randolph Sellars
Director of Photography
227

What's the story? Does anyone know? Wikipedia just gives the set up situation but not what happens.

July 7, 2015 at 4:42PM

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Michael Markham
Actor/Filmmaker
1027

ROAR

July 8, 2015 at 7:39AM

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Hey look! A movie trailer that doesn't give away the GD plot in 30 seconds.

July 7, 2015 at 7:27PM

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The trailer doesn't tell me that much about the film, except that no animals were injured, and 70 people were. As if that's the films "selling point". Also I think its horrible that someone would put a crew and actors in so much danger and harm; a production should be safe, or somewhat safe (sometimes you need a shot that is dangerous to produce), but putting a large crew through that for 11 years is a different story. That used as an advertisement for the movie kinda makes me sick.

July 7, 2015 at 9:42PM, Edited July 7, 9:46PM

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If you actually read into the story behind it, the time period, and why everything came to be. Its a perfect storm of one hell of fantastic film to experience. It really is like watching a real life Jurassic Park.

July 8, 2015 at 10:22AM

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Seth Evans
Editor
422

It is probably a great film, and will definitely give it a watch. But my point was merely related to the injuries and how it's used to capture peoples attention.

July 8, 2015 at 11:03AM

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I understand. In may ways it is the selling point, and why the entire movie feels so dangerous. Knowing that every scene someone, somewhere is probably hurt, and if the movie ended at any point you'd understand why. You constantly ask yourself, "why haven't they given up?" They don't and the movie just grows and grows, roars and roars. Its truly worth a watch, and research. Its a very special, odd, unbelievable film.

July 8, 2015 at 1:02PM

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Seth Evans
Editor
422

It looks pretty interesting

July 8, 2015 at 7:40AM, Edited July 8, 7:40AM

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Jules Maussion
French Indie Filmmaker - Photographer
163

Rediscovered? According to Amazon, it was realeased on DVD in 2003 :) But thanks for the tip. I cant wait to see it.

July 8, 2015 at 9:25AM, Edited July 8, 9:25AM

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I can't believe this is just now making the rounds? but sure am glad it is! This came to our theater a few months back and it really was one of the most amazing experiences in cinema. I haven't felt the way this movie made me feel since I was 10yrs old in a theater.
Just read about the DP/assistant editor alone, who went on to direct SPEED, helps understand how the film came to be. This guy was scalped and returned to set because he knew this thing was something special. pure insanity. The cutting of this film is one of the most enjoyable aspects. It hangs in corners it normally wouldn't considering this was/is suppose to be a FAMILY FILM.

It even played at 10am at our local theaters as the Kids Saturday Morning Movie, with parental guidance of course.

100% must experience.

July 8, 2015 at 10:25AM

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Seth Evans
Editor
422

This is like making a snuff film...

July 8, 2015 at 11:18AM

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Vidrazor
547

Tigers have lost 93% of their historical range, their habitat destroyed, degraded and fragmented by human activities.. Around 100 million sharks(!) are killed annually, targeted for their fins.. Gorillas are slaughtered for bushmeat trade..

How ironic that human fear of animals still sells.

and.. did you notice the text in the beginning of the trailer: «..untrained wild animals». A paradox in my opinion. An animal ceases to be wild once trained.

Anyway, enjoy the show!

July 9, 2015 at 1:48AM

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What do you mean, ironic? Are you serious? If you think these animals are not dangerous even if they've been trained, you're smoking crack!

July 16, 2015 at 3:03AM

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JAY T
227

This seems pure recklessness. What if someone had been maimed or killed? Many films involve risks, especially when using animals but those risks are usually controlled as much as possible. Lret's make an action movie and use as much live amunition as possible. That will make for a far more exciting film.

July 9, 2015 at 3:27AM

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Julian Richards
Film Warlord
1354

How does "what if?" help the situation at all? The point was NO ONE DIED and it's half the selling point. Not to mention it was awhile ago.
Q_Q

July 15, 2015 at 1:50PM

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Thanks for posting the article about "Roar." I worked on Roar in 1978 as one of several camera assistants. It was my first professional film - what an initiation! It was an incredible and crazy experience. I was one of the lucky crew members who didn't get seriously injured - only some minor scratches. Roar isn't a great film story wise, but it's definitely worth seeing as a visual spectacle. It features the most amazing footage of lions interacting with humans that has ever been filmed. For anyone who might be interested, I wrote a blog article about my experiences on Roar: https://www.stage32.com/blog/Surviving-Roar-The-Most-Dangerous-Film-Ever...

July 10, 2015 at 2:21PM

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Randolph Sellars
Director of Photography
227

This is stupid. Jackass with tigers. No thanks.

July 16, 2015 at 3:04AM, Edited July 16, 3:04AM

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JAY T
227

This is one set I would have passed on...

July 30, 2015 at 9:09PM, Edited July 30, 9:09PM

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Kudakwashe Mpambawashe
Editor/Director
81