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Movies That Only Had One Take To Get It Right (And They Blew It)

Sometimes pulling off a scene in one take is more than a badge of honor, it's a necessity. Maybe there are time or budget constraints, or it's something you can't redo. That could be as dramatic as covering a room (or a costume) with fake blood or initiating a set-destroying explosion — but it could also just be giving an actor an on-screen haircut.

If you bet on nailing one take and deliver, your producers are happy, your crew is relieved, and you have the opportunity to join the fairly short list of classic movie scenes filmed in just one take. But sadly, hanging a scene on a single take doesn't always pay off. Even if the special effects work out, the actor can screw things up or a prop can break. And that's assuming the boom isn't hanging in the frame.

While filmmakers will happily gush about the times their single take worked out, far fewer are willing to admit that a plan didn't come together, especially when the shot ended up in the movie anyway. If you only have one take, you don't have much choice. However, a few filmmakers have opened up — and about pretty major movies no less. These are the movies that only had one take to get it right... and they blew it.

Kevin Bacon's Friday the 13th death scene took the wrong trajectory

Friday the 13th was only Kevin Bacon's fifth movie credit, but it ended up being unexpectedly memorable because of the creative way his character died. (It's actually the reason Bacon's Friday the 13th role still horrifies him to this day.) But the scene didn't go according to plan.

Bacon's character Jack is lying on a bed when something underneath grabs him and forces an arrow through his neck. He explained to Entertainment Weekly that the chest and neck in that shot were fake. Bacon was kneeling under the bed, with his head forced back at an angle that made it look like he was lying down. (He described holding the position while the team was applying his makeup and lighting the set as "torturous.")

Adding pressure to physical discomfort, Bacon was told they only had one fake neck to destroy with the arrow. Underneath the bed (alongside his lower body) was a person from the effects department, whose job was to operate the blood pump at the appropriate time.

But during the shot, the hose carrying the fake blood got disconnected. "So, that person I believe grabbed it and started blowing it with their mouth, since it was only one take," Kevin Bacon recalled. "As a result, the blood has a weird kind of trajectory." Of course, with no other options, they still used the shot — and the movie and scene became cult classics anyway.

This car crash in Drive was supposed to spin out of control

Big stunts might be the riskiest kind of scene to bet on a single take. Even if rehearsals go smoothly, the one big shot might not go according to plan. There's a reason there's a grim list of movie stunts that went horribly wrong.

That's what happened on the set of Drive. The movie had a relatively low budget and lofty ambitions, including multiple car chases. The team had to minimize the number of cars they destroyed, which meant the stunt team only had one take for a pivotal shot — and it didn't go according to plan.

As the New York Times reported, stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott shared that the Chrysler 300 that chases Ryan Gosling's character's Mustang GT around a mountain road was supposed to hit a barrier and spin dramatically — "like a rally crash." Gosling wasn't driving, but Christina Hendricks really was in the backseat. The team rehearsed the stunt, but they only had one chance to do it for real.

Instead of spinning, the car bounced into the air. "You could hear people on the set muttering, 'It wasn't supposed to do that,'" Prescott recalled.

Fortunately, director Nicolas Winding Refn was on board with the mistake. "He ended up just loving it. He thought it was the coolest car crash ever," Prescott said.