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OU on the BBC: Hollywood Science - Break-Ins

Updated Monday 22nd August 2005

In this episode, Robert and Jonathan take a close look at the science behind some classic Hollywood break-ins.

Robert Llewellyn and Dr Jonathan Hare with catapult Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team

First up is The Score, and Robert De Niro breaking into a supposedly impregnable safe, in order to get his thieving hands on a priceless golden sceptre. His method? To fill the safe with water, lower in some explosives, and then let the resulting shock wave do all the work! Would this actually have worked or is it just Hollywood Science?

In the next scene, taken from Robin Hood, Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman are attempting to rescue the lovely Maid Marian from the evil clutches of the Sheriff of Nottingham. Finding the castle gates shut, they hitch a lift on a handy catapult! Fortunately it’s their lucky day, as the merry men are thrown clear over the castle walls, with just the right trajectory to land safely on a pile of hay.

Finally, Robert and Jonathan turn their attention to The Thomas Crown Affair, and a classic break-in, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Faced with the problem of how to pinch a valuable Monet from under the nose of the museum’s thermal security cameras, Pierce Brosnan comes up with the ingenious solution of turning off the building’s air con. As the temperature rises, Pierce literally melts into the background, as the cameras fail to register his heat signature.

First broadcast: Wednesday 2 Apr 2003 on BBC TWO

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