The famous crocodile jump in Live and Let Die

One of the recurring features of James Bond films is how the villains devise increasingly outlandish schemes to kill him. If you have seen the 1973 film Live and Let Die which I reviewed here, you will recall the scene in which he is left standing on a tiny island surrounded by a moat containing crocodiles who can easily climb onto the island. The villains then leave him, presumably because they have other pressing things to do like iron their socks or something, and so miss Bond escaping by using three crocodiles as stepping stones, running over them to get to the safety of the other bank.

I had assumed that in filming the scene they had used realistic-looking but fake crocodiles, like the fake shark in Jaws, operated by people hidden underwater. But it turns out that the crocs were real. Here is a clip showing the stuntman who doubled for Roger Moore repeating the action several times before they got it right.

I was surprised that the crocs would stay for that long in the assigned positions and that the filmmakers would take the risk of the crocs grabbing the stuntman on the trial runs in which he fell into the water. The fact that the crocs did not tear him to bits immediately (though on one occasion they got dangerously close to grabbing him) suggests to me that they had been well-fed before the shooting and also had their legs tied underwater to prevent them from moving about too much, thus allowing the run to take place.

In the third part of Inside Live and Let Die, the backstory of the making of this film, they show how that famous scene and some other stunts came about. It turns out that the stunt double is the owner of the crocodile farm where the scene was filmed, who inherited it from his father who was eaten by one of them. Pretty grim.