Only a few technological innovations can be said to have changed movies from top to bottom. The Steadicam, created by camera operator Garrett Brown, is one of them. Prior to the invention of the Steadicam, a moving shot could be accomplished in two primary ways: with a handheld camera, which introduces a lot of shaky motion. Alternately, a dolly could be used, offering rock-solid stability, but at the price of relying on a short length of track, or very smooth operating surface.

The Steadicam was a perfect middle ground, offering smooth movement uncoupled from the limitations of the dolly. The possibilities of the gear were made clear in films like Bound For Glory, Marathon Man, and Rocky, and then The Shining proved that it could be an invaluable new tool in a director and cinematographer’s arsenal.

Many film fans likely have a favorite Steadicam shot, whether from one of those movies, or Goodfellas, Fight Club, or Boogie Nights. A new supercut celebrates what the Steadicam makes possible, with footage from many of the best shots ever crafted.

Mentorless presents this supercut, created by Larry Wright.

The clips here are culled from the list of 50 greatest steadicam shots as chosen by the users at the enthusiast site Steadishots.org.

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