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They say parkour (freerunning) has been there for many decades (if not hundred years). They give lots examples on whoever has done this kind of stuff from long long time ago. But we all know that, the parkour as we know of today, was originally starting its popularity from Jackie Chan. More specifically, from Jackie Chan's Police Story (1985).
Sure, before that, there was Charlie Chaplin's fancy funny moves (including turning and smart jumping). And don't forget those early years' musicals, those actors did jump a lot (Mary Poppins, remember?). They were all talented, no doubt about it.
But Jackie in Police Story made those jumps and runs more purposely and more seriously! It's outdoor, it's real stuff, it's dangerous and it's stunning!
A hit is a hit. That I call a real parkour starting point. Well it's just my opinion, although a strong one ;-)