10 Movie Scenes With Hidden Tricks You Totally Missed

A magician never reveals his tricks! So it’s a good thing that “movie magic” doesn’t count then.

If you clicked here, it’s probably because you’re curious about how things are put together in movies, whether on set itself or in post-production. Practical effects, digital effects and everything in between: sometimes, if it’s done well enough, you might not even know something was done.

But that in itself is something we can brag about and something we moviegoers need to celebrate.

We want to hear the crazy stories and awe-inspiring feats of cinematic wonder that brought our favorite movies and their biggest scenes to life! Whether it’s something that’s obviously impressive from the get-go or something so subtle it slips our minds, if we’re lost in the moment, we won’t question it. It is only after that our brain starts to connect and we must know:

“How did they manage to do that?

The movie scenes on this list used all sorts of clever tricks to get the right effect and most of us didn’t even realize it at the time.

There’s a gag in an episode of The Simpsons about painting horses to look like cows because they look more like cows in a movie than real cows. It’s a great joke that gets even funnier when you hear about behind-the-scenes stories that somehow agree with that philosophy.

Steven Spielberg’s direction and Douglas Slowcombe’s cinematic work on Indiana Jones uses lots of silhouettes and shadows to incredibly memorable effect. This includes light locations, characters, and props. A particularly well-shot sequence in Raiders of the Lost Ark is when Indy and Sallah locate the Ark and, hoping to get away with it before they’re discovered by the Nazis, carefully attempt to extricate it from its temple.

Instead of using the intricately designed prop itself, to better retain its silhouette, actors Harrison Ford and John Rhys-Davies instead moved…a cardboard cutout. And, because they were professionals, they acted like the thing was heavy even though they were just moving paper around while holding on to cardboard spacers.

This helped to show and frame the shape of the Ark, providing a much clearer silhouette for the camera and therefore the audience, as opposed to the big, bulky chest itself.

Andrea G. Henderson