Unusual Destinations: The Fugitive Dam

May 04, 2020 View Comments by

The Cheoah Dam is a hydroelectric facility located along U.S. 129 not far from Robbinsville, NC, in one direction and the Tail of the Dragon in the other direction. The Neoclassical-style architecture of the dam, which was completed in 1910, gives it a sinister appearance. This apparently made it the perfect setting for a dramatic action scene in the movie The Fugitive. To escape the clutches of pursuing law enforcement, Harrison Ford’s character jumps from the top of the dam into a swirling cauldron of water far below.

After the movie’s release in 1993, Cheoah Dam became known to many by its Hollywood sobriquet, “The Fugitive Dam.” Of course, Harrison Ford didn’t really jump off of the 225-foot high dam as portrayed in the movie, but he did stand on an overlooking precipice, with a safety wire attached, during filming. In fact, not even a stuntman was tasked to make the terrifying leap. Instead, six Harrison Ford lookalike dummies were used for the filming at a reported cost of $40,000-$60,000. Why were so many used? Not surprisingly, none of them survived intact from the drop! One can just imagine the response of a stunt person if asked by the director to make the jump: “Hey man, I ain’t no dummy!”

 

 

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