It’s not a secret that good movies depend on the talents and skills of the writers. Nevertheless, not every line that the stars say in movies is in the script. As a matter of fact, a bunch of the most unforgettable moments in your best-loved movies are probably not part of the original script. Let’s check to see if this is true.
There is a scary scene in The Fugitive where Harrison Ford’s character aims a gun at Tommy Lee Jones’ character and tells the latter that he didn’t kill his wife. Jones said, “I don’t care.” He was not supposed to say that. In the script, the actual line is “That isn’t my problem.” Jones had a conversation with the writer about changing a few things in the script to make them more in-character.
Did you love the movie Midnight Cowboy? Fun fact: During the shoot, a cab driver accidentally drove into the film set and almost ran over Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight. This is the actual reason that Hoffman shouted, “I’m walking here!” We dare say that you didn’t know about this.
For playing the role of a psychic in Ghost, Whoopi won an Academy Award. Nevertheless, who knew that the actress was gifted in improv as well? As proof of her quick wit, here is a bit of trivia: the “Molly, you in danger, girl” line wasn’t part of the original script!
A Few Good Men
When the public still talks about a movie 10 years later, you know that the film was a success. A Few Good Men is remarkably unforgettable for the line, “You can’t handle the truth!” Jack Nicholson is truly a cinematic icon, and to prove that, let me tell you a little secret. He actually improvised that line.
When Harry Met Sally
Can you recall the scene in the film When Harry Met Sally where the funny line, “I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie,” was said? Billy Crystal made that up on the spot. When you watch the scene, you can see Meg Ryan cracking up and then looking at the director to get some instructions. Apparently, the director loved the scene, told Meg to play along, and kept it in the final cut!
The Dark Knight
In The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger was so great that he has been acclaimed as one of the greatest ‘Jokers’ of all time. Even though his acting was definitely superb, the script was also outstanding. Despite that, the Nolan Brothers didn’t actually plan a few of the most iconic moments in the film. One really good example was when Ledger improvised the chilling scene where the Joker claps his hands sarcastically while the police officers are celebrating the promotion of Gordon.
Hollywood has been doing multiple movies about a bad vacation. Nevertheless, Deliverance managed to offer a new thing to the subgenre. There’s no doubt that anyone can forget the “squeal like a pig” scene, but it may take you by surprise to find out that it wasn’t in the original screenplay! It was reported that Ned Beatty (victim) and Bill McKinney (tormentor) ad-libbed that scene.
Good Will Hunting
Think about Good Will Hunting and the funny line, “Son of a bitch! He stole my line!” Robin Williams most likely created the line. The actor might have gone on to the next life, but his line will remain forever, celebrating his intelligence and humor.
Being John Malkovich
A lot of things are certainly weird in the film Being John Malkovich. Apparently, the screenplay allowed actors to improvise. Case in point: the scene where somebody throws a can directly at the main character and shouts, “Hey Malkovich! Think fast!” The extra was allegedly drunk and was responsible for that scene!
The Usual Suspects
There is a scene in The Usual Suspects that is totally different from how it should be and was actually improvised. During the filming of the scene, Benicio Del Toro kept farting, and they couldn’t stop themselves from laughing. During the break, the director, Brian Singer, reproached the actors, but they ended up laughing more because of that. Singer chose to accept the tone, and we bet that was the best thing he could do.
The most famous gangster film might be The Godfather. However, Goodfellas is also definitely one of the best. The writing in this film is superb, but a few of the best scenes in the movie were improvised. A perfect example is the line, “Do I amuse you?” Joe Pesci created the iconic line.
The Silence of the Lambs
The great movie The Silence of the Lambs has topnotch performances and great writing, but several of the best scenes in the film were improvised! Who could forget the “fava beans and a nice Chianti” moment? The disturbing hissing sound that Anthony Hopkins made was not in the original script even though that the line was. The director decided to include the scene in the film because he loved Jodi Foster’s reaction very much and the creepy gesture.
You’d be surprised to hear that the most popular line on TV “You talkin’ to me?” is not included in the original script for the film Taxi Driver. Scorsese gave De Niro the freedom to improvise. It’s a good thing the director did that because we just can’t imagine the film without that line in it!
The most unforgettable line in the movie The Warriors might be “Warriors, come out to play!” but this line was completely improvised by David Patrick Kelly. The actor is not just good at acting, but he is also good at improvising lines.
Marlon Brando didn’t just have a reputation for being a ‘bad boy,’ but he also carried himself this way in the set. The director of the movie Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola, was annoyed at how Brando was prone to mood swings. In fact, it showed in the way he wanted to ad lib his lines. However, it’s a blessing in disguise that the actor was given the freedom to do so because the movie wouldn’t be the same without those improvisations!
The ‘tears in rain’ speech in the film Blade Runner is the best one ever in science fiction. Most of the speech was improvised by Rutger Hauer but we bet you didn’t know that. Don’t worry, we will not hold it against you!
In the movie Jaws, there are numerous famous lines, but there is one specific scene we want to look at. We bet that you haven’t forgotten Roy Scheider saying, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” The fact is he improvised the scene, which was already disturbing. It makes the movie more awesome.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
We should really give Harrison Ford the title ‘King of Improv’. When they filmed the fight scene in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, the actor actually had a stomach illness. It was supposed to be an intense fight scene, but instead, Ford just wanted to use his gun and shoot the enemy. Needless to say, that is what happened.
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Do you remember the popular Willy Wonka played by Gene Wilder? Who could forget the first time the eccentric character was introduced? We are, indeed, talking about the character’s limping gait which he then changes into a somersault! It was actually improvised by Wilder. It was not in the script to begin with. We bet that it was a perfect fit for the character!
Game Of Thrones
While everyone is making a massive fuss about the season finale of the eye-catching and heart-wrenching series of Game of Thrones, there seems to be something we’ve all missed. In one scene, a coffee cup from Starbucks can clearly be seen on the table in front of Emilia Clarke. At first, people thought that it was just a publicity stunt, but the Game of Thrones director has debunked that theory saying that it was an irresponsible mistake.
In some instances, the director agrees to the improvisation. That is the case for the film Robocop. The director, Paul Verhoeven, approved actor Kurtwood Smith’s idea to say, “Give me my f*****’ phone call.” However, both Kurtwood and Paul chose not to divulge the plan to the crew. Since no one can act out being genuinely shocked, the look on everyone’s faces made the decision the best one for the scene.
A Clockwork Orange
Fun fact: Malcolm McDowell is the one who came up with the creepy “Singing in the Rain” sequence in the film A Clockwork Orange. Who could forget that? Stanley Kubrick got frustrated with filming the rape scene, so he told the actors to do whatever they want. Kubrick got inspired when Malcolm started singing the song. Both of them collaborated, and it went a long way in making the iconic scene!
Full Metal Jacket
Full Metal Jacket is another Kubrick film that we have on our list. Even though he wrote the script, the director allowed improvisation. You can see this by taking a look at the drill sergeant’s lines and how many of them were improvised! Since R. Lee Ermey was a drill instructor before he went into acting, it is safe to say that he was a perfect fit for the character.
Saving Private Ryan
The scene in Saving Private Ryan where some characters are telling each other stories is superb. The moment when Matt Damon’s character talks about seeing his eldest brother making out with a girl is genuine, earnest and completely off the cuff. The writers and directors are not the only people we should thank for that, but also Matt Damon who plays the main character. The actor improvised that scene and some other amazing scenes.
This is Spinal Tap
Let’s not forget This is Spinal Tap. There are several things going for this movie, but the unscripted scenes played a big part in its greatness. This classic comedy film was built on the improvisation of its actors–- apparently, including the cast members in the credits for the film’s writing ended up being necessary.
Yet again, we have Stanley Kubrick on our list. His film Dr. Strangelove is strange but so was the filming shooting stage. The crew went on to use the method of ‘retro-scripting’ and chose to waive a standard screenplay. The actors needed to come up with their own dialogues right then and there. This turned out to be a brilliant decision on their part, because how can you forget Dr. Strangelove’s Nazi salute? That was because of Sellers’ creativity.
Try to remember this genius scene in Zoolander. In the original script, David Duchovny explains to Stiller the reason why he thinks male models would be exceptional at carrying out assassinations, but Stiller asking, “Why male models?” was off the cuff. Anyway, Duchovny went along with it, and the outcome was way better than anybody could hope for!
The bit in The Shining with “Here’s Johnny!” must have been everybody’s first real taste of horror! This bit might be really clever but you won’t find that line anywhere in the script. To pay tribute to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Jack Nicholson ad-libbed that line.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
In the scene where Princess Leia tells Hans Solo, “I love you,” we all saw how he responds. Fun fact: his response, “I know”, was unscripted. Yup, it is true! Fortunately, it was a perfect choice of words to include in the film. That moment in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back could easily be the most famous romantic dialogue of all time!
Mel Brooks is one of the directors who promote ad libs in their work. The line, “What hump?” made the final cut of Young Frankenstein for that reason. It was Marty Feldman who went off the script and eventually pleasing everyone with the result.
The Animal House cast was undoubtedly comprised of talented actors. Several of the actors had improv theater backgrounds and were able to use their talents! John Belushi, who played the main role, was also guilty. The scene in the canteen and the line, “I’m a zit” was all him.
Dumb and Dumber
Of course, it would be that Jim Carrey would be on this list, what a legend! Jim Carrey came up with that really brilliant (and super annoying) “most annoying sound in the world” bit. The screenplay didn’t have a thing about it. Carrey thought it would be appropriate for the hitchhiker scene… and it was.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
If you can jog your memory a little, think back to the moment that Aragorn screeched after believing that Merry and Pippin had died. So other than making perhaps the most emotional scene in all of the The Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortensen was actually in crazy pain! He had kicked a helmet on set and broke his toe.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
It has stood out as a memorable moment in the Harry Potter series. During Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Mr. Weasley asked the question, “What exactly is the function of a rubber duck?” You guessed it – it was never in the script; he made it up on the spot.
Improv is a major part of acting, as we all know. But sometimes actors can really get caught up in the moment, and the rest, as they say, is history. During the shooting of Ghostbusters, Rick Moranis delivered a speech at the party that was totally created at that moment. It shocked the director, “Rick just made all of it up as he was doing it.”
We all owe Bill Murray a ton of praise for his remarkable acting skills. Apart from remembering his lines without fault, he is also a master in the art of improv. In the movie, Caddyshack, His epic Dalai Lama speech, and that Cinderella moment were all an improv job by this impressive star.
Seth Rogan has made quite an impressive stance on the comedy scene. When he acted in Knocked Up in 2007, he garnered a lot of attention. Making references to Munich was all improvised, and the reason for that is that director, Judd Apatow, encouraged his actors to make up lines as they went along.
Making a sequence after a great original hit is difficult work. But that wasn’t an issue for Aliens because they hit the nail on the head. Bill Paxton wasn’t in the original, but when he came for the sequence he truly delivered. It was his genius improv that delivered the line, “Game over, man!”
Yet again we have the talented Bill Murray. When Murray pulls out an incredible monologue at the party, everyone was in total awe… and that includes the cast and crew who knew that his improv was nowhere to be seen in the script. He knows how to turn acting into magic.
The Third Man
Orson Welles really took our breaths away in the movie, The Third Man. Do you remember his amazing speech? “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed. They produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace. And what did they produce? The cuckoo clock.” He made that up.
The Devil Wears Prada
Remember what they say, “Hate the character, respect the actor.” This could not have been truer for Meryl Streep and her insufferable sole in The Devil Wears Prada. We would expect that she would create some of her own lines, and she did with, “Everybody wants to be us.”
The Godfather is a masterpiece for all time. The trilogy is peppered with brilliant quotes that we all use for reference every now and again, but there was something that stood out. Most of us know that famous line, “Leave the gun— take the cannoli,” but most of don’t know that the second part, the part about the cannoli, was created by Richard Castellano!
One line that is well-known from the film Casablanca is “Here’s looking at you, kid.” The writers decided to throw it into the movie after Bogart Humphrey would say it over and over again during the breaks when he would play poker with Ingrid Bergman.
During the scene when Leonardo DiCaprio tells Kate Winslet to lie down, he mistakenly says, “Go lie on the bed… I mean the couch.”It seemed like a perfect part for the character of Leonardo DiCaprio, but it was an honest mistake! The director loved the genuineness of the scene and decided to keep it.
Lost In Translation
The ending of Lost in Translation shows Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson kissing and Bill whispering something into her ear. It’s an iconic moment in the movie, but most people don’t know that it wasn’t supposed to happen at all. All the pair was instructed to do was embrace one-another.
40 Year Old Virgin
40 Year Old Virgin has got to be one of the funniest movies of all time! Steve Carrell puts on an impressive performance, and especially when it comes to the scene where he gets his hairy abdomen waxed. Every single one of those painful shouts and curse words were completely genuine and improvised.
Clueless makes it onto this list with their own improvised and memorable line. Cher bumps into Murray at a party just as he is about to shave his hair off. There’s a moment when others are asking why he was doing that, to which he replied, “I’m just keepin’ it real.” Do you think that was planned? It wasn’t.
Wow, Bridesmaids was a different kind of movie, albeit horrifically hilarious. When the group of women is out shopping and simultaneously suffering from food poisoning, something unique happens. Maya Rudolph bolts outside to relieve herself on the street. Yeah, that was not supposed to happen.
In Pretty Woman, Richard Gere shows Julia Roberts a necklace in a box. As she reaches out to touch it, Gere promptly closes the box, just before she can reach it. This wasn’t an improvised line per se, but it wasn’t in the original script.
Tom Hanks is an absolute god when it comes to movies! One of the most iconic movie lines in the movie Forrest Gump was when he introduced himself to Bubba. Need a refresher? “My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.” Now that is a line that has remained in our minds forever.
American Beauty is one heck of a masterpiece. If you want to get into the specifics, let’s think about that epic dinner scene. The entire thing was just basically outlined to the actors, everything that happened after that was unscripted (and genius!).