29th Apr2014

Ten Best: Free-Running / Parkour in Film

by Phil Wheat

Since being introduced back in 1997, Parkour has become a key part of many fast-paced action sequences. With the aim being to get from A to B as quickly as possible, it’s easy to see why our protagonists would favour this mode of ‘transport’. With the upcoming release of Brick Mansions on May 2nd, starring Paul Walker and Parkour founder, David Belle (pictured below), we’ve taken a look at some of the best Parkour and free-running scenes, as well as a few that we enjoyed for other reasons.


  1. District B13 (2004) dir. Pierre Morel

    David Belle, widely regarded as a founder of the modern parkour movement, eludes a gun-toting gang in a gut-wrenching chase through a French estate block. Impossible precision and stomach-churning drops are the order of the day although we’re unconvinced that the bit with the ladder is allowed in Parkour rules.

  2. Casino Royale (2006) dir. Martin Campbell

    Daniel Craig’s first foray as 007 sees him being led by Sebastien Foucan – free-running founder – on a thrilling crane-top chase across a Madagascan building site. As expected from Bond, there are plenty of near misses and perilous leaps. As if African safety regulations weren’t bad enough…

  3. Colombiana (2012) dir. Olivier Megaton

    Luc Besson’s *other* film about a young hit-girl sees 12 year old Amandla Stenberg dodging her pursuers – the vicious South American gangsters responsible for the murder of her parents. In an intense Parkour chase that sees Amandla escape through the sewers of Bogota, it’s a race against time to reach the U.S. Embassy.

  4. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) dir. Stephen Sommers

    The impressive fight scenes between the G.I. Joes and Cobra make up for the slight lack of plot in this 2013 film, starring Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson. The well-choreographed scenes are largely due to actor D.J. Cotrona’s intense 3-month training in which he learnt to get to grips with Flint’s parkour-heavy fighting style.

  5. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) dir. Paul Greengrass

    In the final chapter of The Bourne trilogy, master-of-everything Jason Bourne chases enemy asset Desh through Tangiers, before he can reach Bourne’s partner-in-arms Nicky Parsons and CIA chief, Neal Daniels. Naturally, it all ends in tears. Oh, and death, of course.

  6. Ong-Bak (2003) dir. Prachya Pinkaew

    Whilst on a quest to retrieve a sacred statuette from a thieving businessman, Tony Jaa finds himself scrambling, dodging and diving through various market stall obstacles. It’s very tongue-in-cheek – a lot of said obstacles seem very conveniently placed (how often do you see people carrying around barbed wire?) but even so, the sequence is masterful and exciting.

  7. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) dir. Mike Newell

    After being framed for his father’s death, a surprisingly muscular Jake Gyllenhaal demonstrates his Parkour skills whilst being chased through the Persian city, with some inept guards in hot pursuit. The scene is largely attributed to David Belle who was taken on to weave his magic as official Parkour choreographer.

  8. Cop Out (2010) dir. Kevin Smith

    Whilst not the most impressive parkour display you will see on film, it is definitely the funniest. The comedic scene sees someone who looks like they ate Seann William Scott attempting to scale a building in order to steal back a baseball card. Needless to say, tragedy and hilarity ensue in equal measure.

  9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) dir. Guy Ritchie

    After being attacked by an unusually lithe Cossack assassin, a Parkour chase scene through Victorian London follows, which is impressive yet suitably romp-y. We would expect no less from Sherlock.

  10. Brick Mansions (2014) dir. Camille Delamarre

    Set in dystopian Detroit, Paul Walker and David Belle (him again – Brick Mansions is a remake of District B13) team up as cop and ex-con partners to bring down crime lord, Tremaine. Released on 2nd May, Brick Mansions promises fast-paced action and violent fight scenes.


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