Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Did Keanu Reeves Really Skydive In Point Break?

It's hard to believe 30 years have passed since "Point Break" became the philosophical extreme sports crime movie the movie-going public never knew it needed. Released in the summer of 1991, "Point Break" found Keanu Reeves portraying Johnny Utah, a fresh-faced FBI Agent and former college football QB who stumbles onto the biggest case of his career the first week on the job. That case found him chasing a band of daring bank robbers he believes have deep ties to the local surfing community. It also found him going undercover as a surfing newb, and promptly landing in the intoxicating orbit of a charismatic would-be shaman named Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) who's fond of surfing, living life on the edge, and doling out dime-store philosophy with almost no prompting. 

After working his way into Bodhi's inner circle, Johnny eventually suspects his new surfing bro may be the leader of the very gang he's hunting, with the action-packed tete-a-tete of the decade ensuing once that fact becomes clear. Soon enough, Johnny finds himself being forced to first rob a bank, and later jumping out of an airplane sans parachute in pursuit of the bad guys. The latter sequence proved to be not only one of the best action scenes in "Point Break," but one of the best of the decade. It's also so convincingly shot, fans have continued to wonder whether or not Reeves actually jumped out of "a perfectly good airplane" for the film. The answer to that query might surprise you.

Keanu Reeves did not jump out of a plane for Point Break, but Patrick Swayze did

The ins and outs of that skydiving scene were recently explored in extraordinary detail by Film School Rejects, and at the risk spoiling any grand illusions about Keanu Reeves' dedication to his craft, it seems the beloved action star didn't do any real skydiving for "Point Break." Rather, the pulse-pounding scene was executed with a mix of stunt work, and closer-to-the ground crane work which, according to Film School Rejects, found Reeves, his co-stars, and the camera itself dangling from specially-designed rigs, and being blown around by giant fans designed to simulate the wind rushing by.

That clever setup creates a truly stunning effect, but it doesn't explain how the film accomplished one of the scene's most memorable moments, the one where Swayze's Bodhi jumps backwards out of a plane with a hearty, "Adios, Amigo!" Turns out, in preparation for his role in "Point Break," Swayze himself was bitten by the skydiving bug, and actually performed that daring jump (and around 50 more) himself. As noted in the FSR piece, in a behind-the-scenes "Point Break" featurette, Swayze claims he battled with the films producers (who were understandably worried about insurance issues) to do those jumps himself, "I had to battle insurance companies to get to do the skydiving in the movie." Swayze cattily went on to offer that he, "never came close to dying once."

So if you needed yet another reason to love "Point Break," Patrick Swayze's remarkable feats of derring do should more than suffice.