The most expensive stunt ever filmed was for 1959’s classic adventure movie Ben-Hur. Within the movie, it was the famous Chariot Race sequence that takes the title for the most expensive movie stunt, as it required so much planning, and so many people (and animals) to pull off.
However, right behind it is the famous highway-chase sequence towards the end of the second The Matrix movie, The Matrix Reloaded. This is the second most expensive movie stunt ever filmed, and an entire real-life highway was built for it.
The action movie sequence takes place towards the end of The Matrix Reloaded, as Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity are trying to defend The Keymaker from attackers so that he can lead Neo to The Source. It’s set across one long stretch of highway, involving multiple car, truck, and motorbike stunts and a lot of action.
In order to pull it off, the team behind the science fiction movie built a 1.5 mile-long highway at a decommissioned Naval Air Station in Alameda, with this alone costing well over $2.5 million. Huge walls were also erected on their side of the highway in order to add to the illusion that this was a real stretch of road, situated on the outskirts of some major metropolis.
The scene took a whopping 45 days to shoot, with Carrie-Anne Moss in particular choosing to perform a lot of her own stunts as trinity on the motorbike. To round things off, the American car manufacturing company General Motors also donated 300 cars to help with the production of the sequence, all in the name of supporting the creation of art.
And, art it is: the highway-chase is still one of the greatest moments in the entire Keanu Reeves movie trilogy, eliciting thrills and getting that adrenaline pumping. Plenty of CG was used to bring the scene to life, but it’s that dedication to moving away from a sound-stage and making the highway for-real that means the sequence still stands the test of time.
For more thrills, check out our guide to the best thriller movies, or learn more about the upcoming John Wick 4 release date. Or, take a look at our guide to the best movies of all time, and find out what we know about the Dune 2 release date.