Needless to say that there are a lot of movies that contain a scene where a person is hanged, or commits suicide by hanging.

How are such scenes produced? How to both ensure the safety of the actor as well as make it realistic on tape. In other words: "what is the state of the art when it comes to filming hanging scenes?".

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    In the movie "Sherlock Holmes (2009)" , Sherlock explains that hanging from a noose can be faked with braces, belts and a coat hook. Feb 4, 2015 at 5:46
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    For reenactment fairs, we had a brace & harness construction (as mentioned in the answers) made from a parachute rig, i.e. all stress on the body, none on the neck. The noose was not connected to the rope with any more than a glob of wax. Had the rope snapped, the nose would come off with no more than a light tug on the neck. As additional safety, the hands of the "hanged" were not cuffed as we made believe; the "hanged" held them in place behind his back. Would anything have happened and his hands dropped (e.g. unconsciousness), that would have been the sign for immediate abort.
    – DevSolar
    Mar 31, 2016 at 15:40

3 Answers 3


The only technique I've seen used is when the actor wears a back brace/harness and the rope is attached to the brace. There is still a little jolt, but under careful supervision it's no more dangerous than any other stunt.

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    Plus, a lot of times they cover the hangee's head with a bag, allowing them to switch out the expensive person with a well-trained stunt double... or they don't actually show the hanging on screen, just the feet going through the floor (or off a chair) and then cut back to the person after the "abrupt stop", swaying (or if it fails to snap their neck, struggling), in both cases being held up as Johnny said. The suggestion is enough to make you think that you watched it happen, when you actually didn't.
    – Catija
    Feb 4, 2015 at 4:24
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    I like the "expensive". ;)
    – mattiav27
    Feb 4, 2015 at 8:22
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    We took the kids to a "reenactment" old-west theme park a couple years back. One of the shows featured a hanging in plain view of everyone. Afterward they told everyone about the brace the actor was wearing and to "never try this at home." Feb 4, 2015 at 16:06

Well, I doubt it's the same for movies but interestingly for theater they almost never use the harness method described by the other answers. This is because equity has decided it is too dangerous and has the potential to fail to put the actors in serious danger.

Often the trick used for equity (professional) productions is when the hanging platform is removed intending to leave the victim nowhere to stand and killing them there is actually a hidden platform below. This allows the actor to keep their feet firmly on the ground whilst making their body appear to be swinging and dying.


In this the trick lies is the rope used it has a secret mechanism which allow not to tight and also it acts as a pulley to the string attached to the top of roof no one can see.

For movies, they attach the "hanging" rope to a harness under the clothing, and the noose is just a prop. If there were close ups, then those were probably manipulated to make it appear he was strangling. People do not always release their bladders and sphincters when they die; a small portion of them do, but not everyone.


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