In Broken City, there's a scene where the character, Jack Valliant, breaks his whiskey glass by squeezing it with his bare hands. I'd first like to know if this is actually physically possible. Second, I'd like to know how this might have been done in the movie especially from a safety POV.

Here are a couple of screenshots of the event.

enter image description here

enter image description here

I assume that the glass is a prop (that he actually drinks out of) which shatters very easily. However, won't it still be a safety hazard? While the actor appears to have mitigated some of the risk by cleverly concealing his face behind his arm, it appears to only be partial. Moreover, the bald guy (commissioner) is unprotected and has shards even falling behind him. These two are clearly not stuntmen either. How would this situation have been handled?

1 Answer 1


It's probably made from sugar glass, which is a very brittle glass like material made from sugar. It's easier to break safely than real glass. It is also commonly used to make windows that people crash through during movie fights and the like.

  • 1
    Thank you. According to WP, synthetic resins such as piccotex are preferred nowadays. Nevertheless, it'd only be stuntmen with insurance coverage and special contracts who would do stuff like this, right? Apr 24, 2013 at 17:52
  • @coleopterist - It's not unknown for actors to do stunt work. I'm not sure about contractual or legal ramifications though. Apr 24, 2013 at 18:04
  • 2
    Nowadays these kinds of things can also be done via CGI—bullet hits that in former times would've been achieved via squibs are often done with CGI, for example. (See The Departed.) But for this scene I'd bet it was practical, that is, with a sugar glass-like prop. Jul 20, 2013 at 6:16
  • @coleopterist We had a sugar-glass bottles (or piccotex, I don't know, I wasn't in charge of props) in a high school play; we certainly had neither stunt doubles nor special insurance. Though I can't quite remember what it was used for in the production, just remember playing with them backstage.
    – KRyan
    May 24, 2016 at 14:14
  • @coleopterist No stuntmen required for sugar glass smashing fun: 007museum.com/diana.htm
    – Ergwun
    Feb 19, 2017 at 23:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .