We often think of stairs as some sort of background piece, but many of them have actually become a fixture of American culture. We’re not just talking about the many ancient staircases that have been standing for hundreds, if not thousands, of years; we also mean the staircases that have been featured on the Hollywood screen. From the hauntingly terrifying The Shining to the playful Home Alone, here are some of the most well-known movie staircases of the past several decades.
When Kevin McCallister realizes his family has left him behind on their Christmas trip to Florida, one of the first things he does is sled down the house’s staircase, straight out the front door. While we don’t recommend trying this in real life, it’s nevertheless an iconic scene. And don’t forget the Wet Bandits’ attempt to make it up the stairs in Home Alone 2, only to be shot down by several paint cans.
The Grand Staircase of the RMS Titanic had a second life in James Cameron’s box office hit. It pops up throughout most of the film, while also serving as the backdrop for key scenes including Jack and Rose’s first dinner date and their reunion after Rose passes away. The stairs themselves are extremely extravagant, filled with a grandeur that you would expect from the late Victorian period.
The Penrose Stairs don’t exist in real life, but they’re still among one of the most noteworthy staircases on screen. In Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt walks Ellen Page around the Penrose Stairs, the steps turning into themselves with, seemingly, no end. This never-ending staircase shows how dreamers can manipulate architectural designs to contain projections.
In our own muggle world, we haven’t been able to figure out how to make staircases move on their own. This isn’t the case in Harry Potter’s world. The Grand Staircase of Hogwarts shifts and moves at all times in order to get the students and professors where they need to be. And don’t forget about the cupboard under the stairs where Harry spends the majority of his childhood life. This is even where Harry’s wizarding journey begins with a letter addressed to The Cupboard under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Little Winging, Surrey.
These staircases are haunting in the movie and in real life. They’re most famous for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining where Shelley Duvall, wielding a baseball bat, inches backwards up the steps away from her crazed ex-husband Jack Nicholson. In real life, these stairs are a part of the supposedly haunted Stanley Hotel. According to legend, the staircase is haunted by the ghost of Lord Dunraven, the one-time owner of a nearby competing hotel.
Finally, it’s hard to talk about famous movie staircases without mentioning Rocky. These stairs became so iconic that they were renamed in real life. The “Rocky Steps,” as they’re now called, are actually the steps up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In the iconic scene, Rocky climbs the steps as a metaphor for the rising underdog. Now, there’s even a Rocky statue beside the staircase from the filming of Rocky III. The statue was originally commissioned for the film at the top of the steps, but it was later relocated to the bottom where it remains to this day.
Here at Acadia Stairs, we don’t expect our custom staircases to make the big screen anytime soon. However, we do expect them to transform your home. For more information on our custom staircases, give us a call today at 845-765-8600.