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5 significant staircases on the silver screen

At Budget Stairs, we're looking forward to the upcoming festive season – after a long 2020, it's the ideal time to wind down, kick back, relax and spend time with loved ones. And, with the lack of international travelling happening this year, many of us are embracing the idea of the 'staycation' – a holiday at home. Think backyard barbecues, family games night and, of course, hitting the couch, armed with popcorn and watching movies – everything from the latest blockbusters to those black and white Hollywood classics.

Of course, this got us thinking staircases and we thought it would be a fun idea to put together a list of the most notable staircases to appear in films. And, along with helping you decide the next movie to watch over the holiday period, you might even get some design inspiration from some of these cult movies.

1. Titanic

An iconic film and an iconic timber staircase. And, the sheer grandeur of the design is incredible in itself. Whilst there are no known photographs of the actual stairs from the Titanic, there are drawings and photographs of a staircase from another liner called Olympic, which supposedly was very similar and used as a model for the film. In real life, onboard these luxury liners, staircases would have been made entirely from oak, however, in the film, it was supported by a steel frame. And, artisans from Mexico and the UK were hired to produce some of the gorgeous oak carvings and detailed plasterwork. However, to save on costs, many of the 'wooden' panels were actually made of plaster. Fun fact: 90,000 gallons of water was dropped on the staircase to make the destruction as dramatic as possible, meaning it would be destroyed straight away – the famous scene had to be done in one take.

Image courtesy of Tumblr.

2. Home Alone

Home Alone is a cult classic and one of the most recognised Christmas film franchises in the world. When Kevin Mccallister is accidentally forgotten by his family as they go on holiday to France over Christmas, he's left to his own devices and ends up laying an array of booby traps for a pair of burglars that try to break into the house. This staircase, at the heart of the family home, features in a range of scenes including some of the traps.

Fun fact: Poland has a particular love for Home Alone with annual Christmas showings and the film considered a national symbol of importance. In 2011, over five million Polish people tuned in to watch, making it the most popular show during the festive season.

Image courtesy of Hooked On Houses.

3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

The Harry Potter movie series is one of the most famous in the world and loved by millions. This humble staircase, whilst not particularly special or interesting in design, is particularly poignant, as it's where we initially meet Harry Potter. After being orphaned, Harry was forced to live in a cupboard under a staircase until he was 11 by his Aunt and Uncle. Harry eventually receives a life-changing letter, humorously addressed 'Mr H Potter. The Cupboard under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey', which revealed he was in fact a wizard and was invited to attend Hogwarts.

Fun fact: The late Alan Rickman, who plays Severus Snape, was hand-selected by J. K. Rowling herself. In order for him to embrace the character, she secretly shared key details about Snape's backstory to Rickman that were only revealed in the last novel of the series.

Image courtesy of Mental Floss.

4. The Joker

Those who have seen The Joker will remember him dancing down a set of stairs in The Bronx, New York City. However, this scene, whilst a bit strange, is considered to be one of the most defining and metaphorically moments in the movie, when the main character Arthur finally 'becomes' The Joker. So much so, the stairs are now flocked with Instagram bloggers and influencers all keen to showcase their take on the famous scene. Who would have thought? Some humble stone steps in The Bronx are now a drawcard for tourists and fans alike.

Fun fact: You can now view 'Joker Stairs' on Google Maps with fans categorising the site as a 'religious destination'.

Image courtesy of the New York Times.

5. Rocky

Again, we've gone for a set of stairs that are outside – but how could we not mention Rocky? One of the most memorable moments in movie history, the staircase at the end of the iconic scene shown is actually the entrance of the Philadelphia Art Museum, however, most people refer to it as 'the Rocky stairs'. You can imagine, just like fans flocking to the Bronx, thousands of visitors have attempted to recreate the run-up the 72 step staircase and have their own 'Rocky' moment.

Fun fact: The grey training sweatshirt that Sylvester Stallone wears in the famous training scene still exists. Stallone revealed that it's in his own personal collection and has admitted he'll eventually donate it to the American History and Pop Culture section of the Smithsonian.

Image courtesy of Philly Mag.

We might love movies as much as we love stairs

At Budget Stairs we turn to all sorts of places for inspiration and ideas when it comes to staircase designs – movies included. And, whilst these are all notable mentions, is there a movie with an iconic set of stairs that we've missed? Can you recall a famous scene based around a staircase? Reach out to us; we'd love to hear from our fellow film buffs and add them to the Budget Stairs movie collection.


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