Tag Archives: Ray Bunten

Best Stunts of the Year List 1930-1939


The best movie stunts for the decade listed for 1930-1939 as talked about in the book 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts:

1930:  Canyon Hawks

Yakima Canutt shows off his guts in this one with a buckboard ride with horses straight down the side of a hill.  Crazy, but I bet it was a whole lot scarier in person.Canyon Hawks stunt

1931:  The Phantom

The prison break at the beginning of this movie is just fantastic and ends with a really great train to plane transfer.  The frustrating aspect is that back then they didn’t record who the stunt man was or who the stunt pilot was.  Many stunts in the movies were uncredited during this time of studio filmmaking.The Phantom Stunt

1932:  Air Mail

John Ford directed two films on this list during this decade, this film and Stagecoach.  He was a supporter of good stunts and usually filmed them himself.  Paul Mantz does some nifty flying in this picture, specifically he flies a Stearman plane through an airplane hanger.air-mail

1933:  The Fighter and the Lady

Before they fought for the actual title fight for the Heavyweight belt, they fought in this feature film.  Max Baer and Primo Carnera mix it up on screen here, and Max later said he beat Primo in the real fight by studying his moves for the movie.The Prizefighter and the Lady Stunt

1934:  Murder in the Clouds

This decade is ripe with plane stunts and this film has them in droves.  This one has some fancy aerial tricks and the stunt photographers should get just as much credit for these fantastic shots as the stunt pilots themselves.Murder in the Clouds Stunts

1935:  The Crusades

Cecil B. DeMille is famous for his grand epics, and this film started that process for him.  It has stuntmen and actors fighting in full armor for a huge war on several fronts.demille crusade

1936:  Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin was a very talented skater, and shows off his chops in this movie in a nifty little bit of tension added to the fact that he was doing it right next to a missing railing.  The danger was not real, but the skating sure is.  He’s also got a few nifty bits with a great big machine and a little one attached to the front of his chest.  Fun Stuff.modern

1937:  Wells Fargo

Ray Bunten and Richard Farnsworth, along with a slew of other uncredited stuntmen did a lot of work on this film.  It has a lot of cowboys falling off horses, wagons, rocks and just about anything that moves.  The scene at the end where the Wells Fargo wagon fights Indians have at least two dozens stunts in a ten minute period.Wells Fargo stunts

1938:  The Adventures of Robin Hood

Howard Hill was a world class Archer.  It’s him doing all the fancy bow and arrow stuff in this movie.  A nod also goes out to all the stuntmen that lined up to be shot in the chest by Howard!robinhowardhill2

1939:  Stagecoach

This one is a classic in the stunt world.  Yakima Canutt has a great stunt that he was perfecting in several movies at this time.  This one actually shows the first half of the stunt and was perfected in Zorro’s Fighting Legion the same year.  The nod goes to Stagecoach because it was first but really should be co-presented with the later picture.Yakima Stagecoach


To learn more about these films, please read about them and the great trivia behind the scenes in our book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Richard Farnsworth, Ray Bunten and Wells Fargo


This is the era of film where it gets really hard to identify the stunt performers unless they were highly documented in autobiographies and biographies later on.  In this case, I was able to identify two of the many stuntmen that performed horse and wagon falls, from this picture.  The way that these directors worked is that they would set up a shot and then let the extras know that they needed a man to fall off the back of the wagon and then someone would volunteer and they would shoot the scene.  They only documentation being a witness or the stuntman himself writing it in a book later or telling the story in an interview.wells fargo rko

Ray Bunten just happened to give an interview a few years back that detailed the falls he took for Wells Fargo.  Now during the scene where the Wells Fargo wagons are fighting Indians, I took a look at the scene to see how many stunts would be present.  Just to be accurate, I counted 12 falls off horses and wagons and by Ray’s account, he does two of these falls, that leaves 10 falls unaccounted for, although, Richard Farnsworth has been attributed to a few of them.  You can still see how many left there are, just in a small section of the film I looked at, that are performed by unnamed stuntmen.  I will say it again, unsung heroes.  I saw Ray Bunten do at least two “stagecoach fall” stunts during this section of the film.wells fargo storyboard

Richard Farnsworth is an interesting case as he was a rodeo guy, just like Yakima Canutt and Ray here, and then a stuntman most of his life. His son even became a well known stuntman in his own right, so he passed that on. But then something wonderful happened. He was asked to act in a role in Comes A Horseman in 1978 when he was 58 and was promptly nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar!  It was a surprise to many, but he followed this up with many great performances thereafter in such films as Anne of Green Gables, The Natural, The Grey Fox and The Straight Story.Wells Fargo stunts

Wells Fargo was directed by Frank Lloyd for Paramount Pictures.

Things to look up (click on item to go to IMDB page):

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM