One Take/One Camera Scenes

Got to thinking about the Daredevil Netflix series and that truly awesome “one take” hallway fight scene. It was a pretty lengthy scene, which made the fact that it was all one take more impressive.

Which brings me to the point … what other film or TV shows have done the whole “one camera/one take” bit? Do you think it would be possible to film an entire movie or TV show episode in one take? Has it been done?

Hitchcock’s Rope

(trying to post before others can, since it’s the quintessential answer)

Marvel’s Agents of Shield had a pretty long battle scene with Chloe Bennet rolling around, jumping over things, shooting, and fighting off a slew of attackers all in one take, recently.

My brother once described a film he saw at an international film festival, where the whole film takes place in the park around a lake, with the cameraman moving from one group of people talking to another, as they wander around the park. But, he said, it was a bit dull because a lot of time had to be spent getting around the park, so you would end up with 2-5 minute chunks where the cameraman was simply walking to the next location.

“Children of Men” had some amazing long tracking shots.

“Birdman” was one seemingly continuous shot until near the end of the movie.

There was a pretty cool Better Call Saul scene that went for I think 4 minutes and change that followed a drug smuggler across the border (although they admitted in the podcast it was actually two takes, but I couldn’t see the cut - and they thought most people wouldn’t either)

Birdman was shot exactly like Rope. Scenes lasted until the camera passed behind a seemingly black object, which is where the cuts were made.

Russian Ark is a famed 96-minute film shot in a single take, choreographing hundreds of people. Absolutely worth seeing.

Lots of music videos are done in one take. OK-Go has made a career of it.

Daredevil season 2 has a similar scene, maybe better IMHO (episode 3 IIRC).

Oldboy (original, not sure about remake) has a scene that’s often compared to Daredevil

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia did it S10E4 (“Charlie Work”), they said they thought of it before Birdman.

Goodfellas has a very impressive,and longSteadicamshot. A few recent TV shows have done live episodes as a novelty, forgetting that until the 1970s, most soap operas were always done that way.

Oh, the sinking of Marion’s car in Psycho was done in one take, because they only had the one car, so they worked pretty hard to get it right. It was actually on a lift, and was being pulled down into the swamp, and it stuck for a moment, which Anthony Perkins genuinely reacts to, because if the lift breaks, the whole scene is crap. But then it started working again, and Perkins reaction looks great, because it’s exactly the kind of startle Norman would have made if the car really had hit a bubble, or something, and stopped for a moment.

Mad About Youdid a one scene/ one take episode in the nineties.

That Goodfellas scene was the first thing I thought of.

The beginning of Robert Altman’s The Player.

Plus it’s about Hollywood and moviemaking.

The ur-text of the long take was the opening scene in Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil. No one had ever done anything like that before.

It was referred to and expanded on in The Player

The opening scene in The Player is over 7 minutes long and is one shot (they had to do several takes to get it right, but the end result was just one shot, nothing edited). One of my favorite films, too!

I’m not wild about mafia movies-- it’s on the bottom of my list of genres, but I watched Goodfellas to see that scene in context, because it’s so impressive.

That’s a good story but I doubt it. That would mean that there was one camera pointing at the car going into the water and another camera pointed back towards Perkins rolling at the same time and the footage was cut together with the same timing. :dubious:

Atonement has a long tracking shot of British soldiers stranded at Dunkirk.

Season 1 of the HBO series True Detective had a great six-minute tracking shot in the episode where McConaughey’s character is undercover at a drug dealer’s house and shit goes awry and he has to get out of the hood on foot.

One of the classics is in Superman, where Superman flies away, and then Clark Kent appears at the door.

Another nice one is in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, where the nighttime shot of Eddie Valiant’s office turns into morning in Hollywoodland. Understated and very smooth.

The TV show Leverage has a lot of one take scenes, including quite a few where they had the entire scene freeze as the cameraman would move around. And the scenes would have dozens of people in them. It was a trademark of their style of shooting, moving around the frozen people to each character in turn. Could be a really neat effect when they did it for a long scene at a cocktail party or such.