Have any actors ever gotten seriously injured by melee weapons?

While performing in a scene involving them? With all that metal being flung around (swords, axes, maces, what-have-you) the risk of injury has to be non-negligible. I know they carefully choreograph things beforehand at slow speed, and that the weapons (if edged) are dulled, but it’s something I’ve always wondered.

Billy Blanks supposedly suffered several knife wounds while filming Timebomb with Michael Biehn. An print article I read in a martial arts magazine at the time made it sound like his own damn fault too. He reportedly insisted on some of the scenes being filmed with real, sharp steel blades instead of blunt prop weapons.

In Conan the Destroyer, Grace Jones reputedly injured several extras with her wooden staff. This was 25 years ago, so I can’t find a cite.

Didn’t injure the guy, but Jimmy Smits almost stabbed another actor in the heart filming a scene in Dexter. He grabbed a real knife thinking it was fake. A piece of plastic is all that saved the guy.


Doing Romeo and Juliet, an actor I was fencing with didn’t follow the choreography, I tripped over his foot, fell and the handle of the dagger in it’s sheath on my belt stabbed me in the side pretty good.

Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed in 1982 filming “Twilight Zone” movie by a helicopter. Not really sure if this fits.

Watching the commentary with The Two Towers the other day, and Jackson said an actor broke a leg during the filming of the battle at Helm’s Deep – one of those grappling hooks caught him up against the battlement. He said that was the worst injury they had.

I have read that Jackie Chan has been injured MANY times doing the stuntwork for his films. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a few of those injuries were caused by melee weapons.

I remember once I was flipping past Court TV and there was a guy suing because he got his eye cut in a Van Damme movie.

Buck Henry got a gouge in his forehead from John Belushi’s samurai sword the first or second season of SNL.

In the scene where Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli come across the pyre of dead orcs killed by the Rohirim (and believing that Merry & Pippin were among the dead), Viggo Mortensen broke his toe when he kicked an orc’s helmet. The shot made it into the final cut of the film, so Viggo’s scream of anguish is actually genuine.

British actor Laurence Payne lost his sight in one eye when he aggravated a preexisting condition during either a stage sword fight or filming one for a film. His doctor had warned him against doing this, but he ignored the warning.

A helicopter blade is not a melee weapon, unless the combatants are from Brobdingnag.

“Celebs Missing Fingers” list. Not one fits the OP, though.

Wow, there really is a web site for everything!


Van Damme took out an eye in Cyborg. From the Wiki page:

Jackson “Rock” Pinckney, who played one of Fender’s pirates, lost his eye during filming when Jean-Claude Van Damme accidentally struck his eye with a prop knife. Pinckney sued Van Damme in a North Carolina court and was awarded $485,000. The scene where he lost his eye allegedly made it into the final cut of the movie.

I saw a girl get stabbed through (complete with exit wound) the arm just last year. A dull knife will still cut when put through an arm with the full weight of a body.

I heard a interveiw with the director of The Last Samurai, where he stated that during one scene Tom Cruise came inches from getting his throat cut by a sword. So close and yet so far.

I believe Viggo Mortensen also lost a tooth in one of fight scenes. Not serious but I bet it hurt!