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Top Ten Best Tracking Shots
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Some people consider long tracking shots directors showing off. Others feel they're some of the hardest things to plan and pull off in cinema. The beauty of these shots are that, when done right, you don't even notice that they're all one take. Some directors are notorious for the long shots and we've selected 10 of the best (in no particular order) after the jump.

10. Goodfellas

A scene so well done, it's discussed in Swingers and then blatantly ripped off in the movie.

9. Children of Men
They cheated a bit with this one, using CGI to overlap the scenes, but it's still choreographed exceptionally well.

8. Touch of Evil
Uh... this was directed by Orson Welles. 'Nuff said.

7. The Player
At eight minutes long, Altman not only gets credit for the length of the shot, but for actually mentioning the tracking shot from Touch of Evil during the take.

6. Snake Eyes
Try as I might, I couldn't find a clip in English of the opening of Snake Eyes. (Brian de Palma probably had all copies of the film burned.) Still, the opening shot appears very long at 13 minutes, though there are a few cheats in the take.

5. Bonfire of the Vanities
de Palma is at it again (this time without cheats) for the opening scene of Bonfire of the Vanities. However, a lot of credit is due to Bruce Willis for the effort in pulling this scene off.

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4. Atonement
The powers that be have removed all videos of this scene from the interwebs, though you'd be doing yourself a favor to seek this film out if for no other reason than to see the scene of the Dunkirk Evacuation.

3. Boogie Nights
My apologies for the audio replacement on the video.

2. Carlito's Way
There are several long shots in this video, especially the scene about halfway through in Grand Central Terminal.

1. Breaking News
I've never seen the film before, but this opening scene is amazing - if only I had an idea of what they were saying.
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10 Comments

There are a couple on Road To Perdition that are very well done.


Quite impressive the Altman one. must be a logistical pain to get all those actors and camera movements all in sync.

The ones where they cheat (even though great looking like Children of men.... great work by Cuaron) dont really deserve to be in the list next to these great examples.

said etantao on November 24, 2009 11:04 AM.

ah! dont forget Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

said etantao on November 24, 2009 11:06 AM.

Aaron Sorkin loves the tracking shot. I think they were part of why I loved "The West Wing" so much ... Sam and Josh walking and talking and then realizing they'd walked in a circle because each was following the other guy.

said dcar85 on November 24, 2009 11:20 AM.

How come Rope from Hitchcock doesn't even get a mention here? The entire movie is made of a series of long shots.

said gerardi.jose on November 24, 2009 12:15 PM.

no mention of PVC-1 ? The whole film was shot in one single continuous take without cuts and won all sorts of international awards. See it if you haven’t already.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PJgS02uhE0

said jmgreear on November 24, 2009 1:05 PM.

I couldn't find the Confessions clip online. And while I couldn't find the Atonement clip online, I had to add that one to the list. It's just such an amazing scene.

I was sticking to movies, so clips from West Wing and Studio 60 weren't in the running.

Rope wasn't included because we'd have to include the whole movie. (Same could be said for Before Sunset)

said Ivo Shandor on November 24, 2009 2:00 PM.

I need to give a well done for featuring "Touch of Evil." It's the best one and an amazing film. I was trying to get my Dad to watch it last week.

said Johnny Wright on November 24, 2009 3:06 PM.

No, No, No, the best ever HAS to be 'Russian Ark'. A whole 90 minute, single shot tracking movie.

said Phil on November 24, 2009 10:55 PM.

The "Bonfire" clip was hysterical!! I want to see that movie now..

said Cindy on November 25, 2009 6:14 AM.

I understand there are a lot of tracking shots you left out, considering that this procedure is as old as the movie industry itself. But you really cant leave out the scene from Pulp fiction where Travolta and Jackson go through the hallways.

said Andu on November 30, 2009 7:54 AM.
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