This is Spinal Tap
“These go to 11.”
The scene: We all know Spinal Tap was practically made without a script, simply following the British rockers around documentary-style. It’s a mockumentary. So, when they get to the amp scene, it’s all ad-lib and it is one very memorable exchange.
Nigel’s selling a new amp and tells Marty, “The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven. . .” Finally, Marty interrupts and asks, “Why don’t you just make 10 louder?” Wait for it, deadpan: “These go to eleven.”
“I think we’ll go with a little Bohemian Rhapsody, gentlemen?”
The scene: The script called for a Guns N’ Roses, song but Mike Meyers was not having it. He absolutely refused to do the scene unless it was his own chosen Queen song. Good call! We nearly missed out on the most epic scene in “Wayne’s World.”
With four rocking dudes crammed into Garth’s old model Pacer, he slips in the cassette and the rocking-out commences. Apparently, both Meyers and Dana Carvey injured their necks in that bit.
*DiCaprio smears actual blood across Kerry Washington’s face*
The scene: Evil slaveholder Mr. Candie played by Leonardo DiCaprio slams his fist on the table unwittingly slicing it on a broken wine glass. Without pausing, DiCaprio continues with his lines, even after noticing his right hand is dripping.
The other actors have the perfect expression of shock and terror, especially when he uses his slave’s face to wipe the blood from his hand, effectively demonstrating his status as a master.
The Terminator 2
“I need a vacation.”
The scene: Arnold Schwarzenegger has made himself super prosperous throwing out character-defining lines like, “I’ll be back.” In this scene, the indestructible T-800 Terminator is about to glitch-out.
Wires dangling, the cyborg announces, “I need a vacation.”
“But let’s be frank here, you never wanted my friendship.”
The scene: The unforgettable opening act of “The Godfather” with Marlon Brando stroking a cat in his lap seems like a work of cinematic genius, but, in fact, the cat was never part of the movie.
The stray feline happened to be wandering around the set, so Francis Ford Coppola handed it to Brando. After having to edit out the cat’s zealous purring, the rest, as they say, is movie history.
The Jazz Singer
“Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothing yet.”
“The Jazz Singer” (1927) marks the transition from silent films to talkies and it happened with an improvised line. When sound first came to cinema, Warner Bros. thought it was all about the music. But between numbers, star performer Al Jolson decided to add in a few lines.
In a chatty interlude, like many musical performances, he tells the audience, “Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothing yet,” and strikes up the next tune. Movie audiences were floored and wanted more talking in movies.
The Breakfast Club
Allison: “Do you want to know what I did to get in? Nothing. I didn’t have anything better to do.”
The scene: This is one of the most famous scenes of all John Hughes’ repertoire of epic pop culture flicks. And, yes, Hughes allowed his young adult cast to cut loose and improvise the classic group chat in the library. The movie was filmed in sequence, so by the time they got to the emotionally-demanding scene, they’d inhabited the characters enough to bring a lot of authenticity to the film.
A lot of great lines came out of it. Ally Sheedy’s reason Allison got detention was as memorable as it was a break in the tension.
“The truth is, I am Iron Man.”
The scene: At the end of Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr. improvises one of his most iconic lines. He is standing in front of a packed press conference and proceeds to disclose his superhero identity. At first, denying it, he reads a note handed to him, and states, “I am Iron Man.”
At the time of the first Iron Man, it wasn’t customary for actors to ad-lib in superhero comic movies. Downey got that ball rolling.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
“If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead.”
The scene: Jim Carrey is notorious for making it up as he goes along, and many directors give him full rein. In “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the green and hairy Grinch is trying to talk Max into playing Rudolph. Carrey dons a ball cap, just like the one director Ron Howard wears and goes into character.
Max bats the red nose of his own. “Brilliant! You reject your own nose because it represents the glitter of commercialism. Why didn’t I think of that?! Cut, cut, cut, the tape, moving on.” Carrey didn’t expect it to make the cut, but Howard loved it.
“You hit me in the ear! Ow. Christ. Why the ear?”
The scene: Brad Pitt is Tyler, a soap maker who is ditching a debilitating dose of ennui for something real in the world. He runs into Edward Norton outside a convenience store and talks him into hitting him.
Norton told Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon the director said to hit Pitt, so he did. Who knows what Pitt’s line was supposed to be, but he belted out, “Ow! Why the ear?” It stuck.
The scene: The ex-husband C. K. and Macaulay have a drink before the wedding.
James Stewart almost made Cary Grant break in this scene when he improvised a little hiccup after drinking too much. Of course, in the original script, there was no hiccup at all!
The high-pitched bark Throughout the whole film, the Martians have an extremely bizarre way of communicating with each other.
It was voice actor Frank Welker who thought of this high-pitched barking sound. Even though they have no actual dialogue in the actual, the language comes into life in this terribly chilling voice that makes everything completely clear.
“Flames on the side of my face”
The scene: Mrs. White, admits to killing all of her annoying husbands.
Possibly the most iconic line in the whole film. This classic comedy film starring the late Madeline Kahn was a black comedy that gave us some serious laughs. While the script was great, Kahn’s ad-libbed moment was the cherry on top. According to Michael McKean who played Mr. Green, there was only one line, but Khan went on a hilarious rant that she repeated about 3 or 4 times, “each time funnier than the last.”
In Spider-Man: Homecoming
The “hug” scene.
This little tender moment in Spider-Man: Homecoming turned into a nice comedic bit. When actor Tom Holland (spiderman of course) tries to hug Robert Downey Junior, Robert’s instincts to turn it into something else just took over.
When he said ‘Oh, I’m not trying to hug you. I’m just trying to get the door,’ the producers all cracked up on set. It was clear that would stay in the final cut.
The poop scene.
The scene: After eating some sketchy meat at a Portuguese restaurant, the girls begin to suffer from a bad case of the runs. Lillian runs out into the street in her dress and loses control.
Comedienne Maya Rudolph truly shines in this dress-fitting scene. Running out to the street was not in the original script but Rudolph thought that this might make for a great comedic moment. She couldn’t have been more spot on. In an interview with the “Huffington Post,” cinematographer Robert Yeoman said that the scene was totally improvised.
“Does anybody wanna play parcheesi?
” The scene: Louis walks into the party and accidentally upsets the monster dog.
It’s kind of sad that we don’t get to see Rick Moranis anymore. His funny, and on-the-spot quips always got laughs. That’s why when director Ivan Reitman got him on board, he gave him free rein on many of the character’s lines. According to an article in Rolling Stone, Reitman said that Rick Moranis contributed many of the ideas. “Rick just made all of it up as he was doing it.”
Fast & Furious 6
“Better hide that big ass forehead.”
The scene: Hobbs arrives at the barbecue and tells Mia she”better hide the baby oil.
Looks like the Rock can do just about anything. The strongman tough-guy action hero has some comedy chops too. When shooting the barbecue scene in Fast & Furious 6, The Rock AKA Dwayne Johnson’s zinger causes Tej (Ludacris) to genuinely spit out his drink. If you can make tough rappers do an accidental spit take, you’ve made it in comedy.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
“I didn’t know you could read”
The scene: Draco Malfoy bullies Goyle
Tom Felton was perfect as Draco Malfoy, the little Slytherin meanie. The actor had quite a few zingers, and not all of them were scripted. The actor would throw out a few stings of his own throughout filming and he nailed it with that nasty insult to poor Goyle. In the Chamber of Secrets, the kid’s improvisational prowess really shines.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
The scene: Andy gets his chest waxed before his date.
Can you believe that this entire scene was actually improvised? Yup, director Judd Apatow actually set up the whole situation and put Steve Carrell through a real-life wax session, and just let the cameras roll. Carrel just yelled whatever came to his mind in that what might have been the most painful moment of his life. The actors were in hysterics when he blurted out ‘Kelly Clarkson’!
“I’m keeping it real.”
The scene: Murray gets his head shaved at the house party.
Actor Donald Faison portrayed the character Murray, just another rich kid from Beverly Hills. This is why this line held so much comic weight. According to the actor, in order to add some authenticity to that moment, he had taken some inspiration from kids in his neighborhood.
Lost in Translation
The scene: The two Toyko wanderers part ways.
In Sofia Coppola’s original script of the film, the scene called for Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murry to just hold hands. The actors decided to switch things up a bit and go in for the kiss. Johanson whispers a little something in Murray’s ear. The whisper got everyone on set very curious but the actors decided to never tell what was said. To this day nobody knows. Interesting!
“I’ve been impaled.”
The scene: Olaf walks right into a pointy ice crystal.
Comedian Josh Gad who voiced the character Olaf had a lot of fun doing this part. It’s a talking snowman in an animated film, so how can you resist. He never thought the line would make it in the final film. Guess he was wrong, it adds just the right amount of dark humor to this fantastical kids film.
“Uh-oh. Somebody found a souvenir.”
The Scene: Megan accosts an air marshall and tries to find out if he is carrying a weapon on the plane. The man insists he is not an air marshall.
It’s always fun to act with someone you love. And that’s exactly how it must have felt when Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone acted together in this scene. These lines were all hilarious and improvised There were, of course, a few slightly more risque comments that couldn’t make the cut, but we’re sure glad this one did.
“Where I come from, I’m not considered average”
The scene: Steve and Diana team up to end World War I together. On the boat, Diana asks Steve (since she has never seen one) if he is an average man.
Surprisingly, for a big-stakes film, there was quite a bit of improvising in the film Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine sure did have some fun shooting, especially on the boat scene, at least that’s according to director Patty Jenkins. Who wouldn’t have fun filming with Gal Gadot, she is not only stunning but funny too!
Devil Wears Prada
“I’m hearing this, and I want to hear this.”
The scene: Emily wants a quiet moment tries to shut Andy up.
It seems only fitting that the creators would name this Devil Wears Prada character after the actress herself. And it make sense that Emily would throw herself into the role. That snarky moment was so her that anything the script could just never compare.
“I’m funny how I mean funny like I’m a clown?”
The scene: The hyper-aggressive Tommy tells a story over dinner and drinks in a restaurant with his associates. The story makes Henry laugh and Tommy gets offended.
The now-famous Joe Pesci rant from Goodfellas struck a chord with many. Probably because it was so true. Pesci channeled some real-life feelings in that line and they made its way all into that iconic scene. In the scene was improvising with his co-star Ray Liotta. The actors didn’t know what to expect.
“I’m in a glass case of emotion.”
The scene: Ron Burgandy has a breakdown over his lost dog.
Leave it up to funnyman Will Ferrel to improvise. He has been a comedian for decades and of course made his make on the mother of all improv shows, Saturday Night Live. That line was just funny and completely off the cuff, it just flew out of Ferrel and everyone ended up loving it. It’s nice one the most quoted lines in the movie.
Dazed and Confused
“Alright, alright, alright.”
This scene: Wooderson casually cruises around looking for a joint.
This embodied the Matthew McConaughey persona we all know and love today. The reason it seemed so authentic is that it because it truly was and came completely from the actor himself. That line was never written in the original script but the actor just threw in his magical southern dust.
“I’m the king of the world.” The scene: Jack experiences being on a ship for the first time in his life.
There were countless iconic moments in Titanic, from “draw me like one of you French girls” to the heartbreaking ‘floating piece of wood scene’ (which we all know was terribly unjust). But of the many memorable moments, none can quite compare to Jack screaming “I’m the king of the world!” The director James Cameron loved Leo’s little input that he decided to leave it in.
“Give me my f***ing phone call!”
The scene: Clarence Boddicker is at the police station after being attacked by Robocop.
This line was kind of planned, but it was not officially written in the script. The director’s goal was to get the cast’s genuine reaction from blood being spat on the desk, and it worked!
“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass…and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
The scene: Armed Nada attempts to avoid the police by going into a bank.
Roddy Piper states that his direction that day was, “Roddy, you’ve got bullets on you, you’ve got a shotgun, you’ve got sunglasses, you go into a bank, you’re not gonna rob it, say something…action!” And chewing bubblegum is what he came up with!
When Harry Met Sally
“I would be proud to partake of your pecan pie.”
The scene: Harry and Sally are on a seemingly platonic date when Harry throws flirtatious comments her way.
Rob Reiner instructed Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan to make up their own lines in hopes of more authentic and real dialogue. Billy Crystal tells Meg Ryan that they will be speaking in goofy voices for the rest of the day, so he starts speaking nonsense. This exchange resulted in the iconic line that made Meg Ryan laugh so hard she almost broke character.
“I’m a zit. Get it?”
The scene: John Blutarsky sits down at a table in the cafeteria. As a joke, he fills his mouth with whipped cream and punches his cheeks, making the whipped cream appear to be a zit spraying everywhere.
You cannot have a movie about a Frat house if you don’t include young guys doing stupid stuff. Luckily, John Belushi was able to pull off an unscripted action of something a frat dude would definitely do. His work paid off, given this became a famous cult film.
A Few Good Men
“You can’t handle the truth!”
The scene: Kaffee is questioning Jessup in a courtroom about the orders given to the Marine defendants.
This statement is constantly repeating in everyday arguments all the time. Can you believe that this was completely unscripted? Jack Nicholson made this line up on the spot, and ultimately created one of the most popular one-liners in history.
The character: Colonel Kurtz only appears within the last 20 minutes of the film.
Marlon Brando and Francis Ford Coppola collaborated to make this an epic war film. Coppola turned his script into a paper hat instead of actually reading the lines. So, Brando was forced to come up with a new dialogue.
The Third Man
“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 that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
The scene: Main character Harry Lime is trying to convince an old friend of his to join his life of crime.
Orson Welles, who plays Harry Lime, is an acting legend. He is able to come up with full monologues off the top of his head, and this is his most famous line throughout his acting career. It is a quote that many people still talk about today.
*Uncontrollable Nazi salute*
The scene: Dr. Strangelove addressed the president, and when he did, he did it with a Nazi salute.
The saluting and Nazi behaviors he incorporated into the role of his character really made him stand out in this film. At first, the film started out as a vague concept, but it quickly began to gain more identity because of characters like his.
“My name is Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump.”
The scene: Forrest Gump and Bubba meet for the first time.
Tom Hanks carried this film with so many one-liners people use to this day. He plays this character perfectly and improvises his lines to support his role. When he introduces himself to Bubba, he delivers this unscripted line that perfectly matches the attributes of Forrest Gump.
The scene: Jack Torrance has gone insane, so he attempts to break into the bathroom while Wendy is in the shower. He presses his face between the crack of the door while yelling at Wendy.
This became one of the most famous lines in a horror film, and in cinema history, for that matter. In another film directed by Kubrick, he instructs his actors to improvise so they can come up with the most genuine lines, and it definitely worked this time.
“If any of us get laid tonight, it’s because of Eric Bana and ‘Munich.’”
The scene: The characters are chatting and mingling at the bar.
This film was written with the knowledge that most of the lines would be improvised anyway. Harold Ramis said, “the script is what we have if we can’t think of anything better.” And this comedy gem definitely didn’t need the script too much. In fact, most of this movie comes from the actors improvising.
“You talkin’ to me? “
The scene: The main character, Travis Bickle, is talking to himself in the mirror.
This is one of the most iconic lines in cinematic history, and it is all thanks to Robert De Niro. To this day, people utter this phrase in all different types of scenarios. The director’s instructions for this scene were loose and minimal, so they let De Niro take the reigns on this one, and he definitely succeeded!
The scene: Dr. Frankenstein arrives at the Transylvania Station where he meets Igor for the first time. Frankenstein says “I don’t mean to embarrass you, but I’m a rather brilliant surgeon. Perhaps I could help you with that hump.”
Marty Feldman very obviously has a hump that Dr. Frankenstein offers to fix. His straight-faced response referring to not having any hump on him led to one of the best satirical (and unscripted) lines in the film.
A Clockwork Orange
“I’m siiiiinging in the rain…”
The scene: Alex and the rest of the crew break into a couple’s home and attack them. During the attack, Alex is singing and performing while kicking to the beat for emphasis.
Another film by Kubrick, this film is filled with improvised lines and actions. They could not seem to get this scene right, so they just told the cast to improvise. One of the characters performed the song “Singing in the Rain” while using one of the victims as a percussion instrument, hoping to bring some comedy to the scene. Thankfully, it worked! And it made for a very unforgettable scene filled with darkness and madness at the same time.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
“What, exactly, is the function of a rubber duck?”
The scene: Harry Potter and Arthur Weasley meet for the first time. Weasley asks Harry all about the mysteries of muggles.
Chris Rankin performs the role of Arthur Weasley amazingly because he completely immersed himself into the character. For this reason, he was able to come up with the best one-liners (that only a Weasley would say) on the spot. He leans over to Harry with an expressionless face, seriously asking about the rubber duck’s function.
“Game over, man! Game over.”
The scene: After their ship crashes, Hudson is sobbing and going off about the doom of the situation.
Even though Bill Paxton claims he is not good at improvising on the spot, he clearly is mistaken. A good portion of his lines throughout the film were improvised and ad-libbed, and it led to incredibly iconic moments throughout the film.
Dumb and Dumber
“Mock… Yeah! Ing… Yeah! Bird… Yeah!”
The scene: Harry and Lloyd are on a road trip to Aspen. They pick up a hitchhiker who instantly regrets getting a ride from these fools.
These hilarious actors, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, brilliantly play two dumb guys in this iconic comedy film. They actually improvised 15% of the script for the film, including this popular scene where Lloyd is being quite annoying.
“I don’t care.”
The scene: Dr. Richard Kimble, who has escaped from prison, is cornered by US Deputy Samuel Gerard.
Tommy Lee Jones gives an amazing unscripted performance that led this film to receive an Oscar. This thriller is full of improvised lines, but this one is the most iconic. His original line was “that isn’t my problem,” but he thought “I don’t care” fit the character and situation much better. He trusted his gut, and he succeeded in doing so.
“OK, who brought the dog?”
The scene: Louis hosts a party at his apartment when he invites a couple to talk to them about their financial affairs. Then, he accidentally throws his coat on a monster dog in his bedroom.
In this classic film, Rick Moranis played little Louis, the nerdy accountant. The director said there was a whole script for this film, but they just let Rick improvise the entire thing because of how funny his lines were.
“Warriors, come out to plaaa-aaaay!”
The scene: Luther taunts and mocks the players from the comfort of his car.
Even though this movie did not do as well in the box office as they hoped, nobody will ever forget about David Patrick Kelly’s iconic performance in the car! And the lines were completely unscripted!
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
The scene: Indie confronts a man in black with a sword. After the man shows Indie his sword, he pulls out his gun and shoots him once.
In this scene, Ford was only able to work for a few minutes at a time, so they had to film the scene in one single cut. Ford revealed, “The poor guy was a wonderful British stuntman who had practiced his sword skills for months in order to do this job, and was quite surprised by the idea that we would dispatch him in 5 minutes!”
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade
“She talks in her sleep.”
The scene: Elsa has just betrayed Indie. Indie and his father are being held captive by the Nazis.
This line was completely made up on the spot, and the directors loved it so much that it made it to the final cut. Sean Connery’s brilliant improvisation caused them to cut the scene because everyone broke out in laughter.
“You know… morons.”
The scene: The Waco Kid is comforting Bart after the townspeople told him how much they hate him.
Gene Wilder is back again on this list with another famous unscripted one-liner. After saying this, he adds, “you’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West.”
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The scene: A boring economics teacher is calling students’ names and no one is responding.
In perhaps what is one of the greatest comedy films of all time, Ben Stein was able to take a boring character into a completely hilarious role that created an incredibly famous scene. He improvised the scene to make it more interesting, and he received a round of applause by the crew on set after the performance.
The Usual Suspects
“In English, please.”
The scene: The suspects line up at the police department. They all have a line they are instructed to say.
There really was not much direction when filming this scene. The cast was told to do what they wanted, and they would go from there. And it’s a good thing it happened! This scene is so legendary because of its comedy between the suspects and the off-camera cop.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
The scene: Martin Brody and Quint are standing on the boat, trying to catch a large shark. They notice that the shark is way larger than they imagined.
This line was actually an inside joke within the cast and production crew, so when Roy uttered this line in the scene (which was completely unscripted), the directors thought it was way too funny not to include. It just fit the scene so perfectly.
Shaun Of The Dead
The scene: Ed and Shaun are having a drink. Ed is trying to get Shaun to forget about his troubles.
Nick Frost made up his whole backstory for this scene, and it paid off! No one can ignore how hilarious his lines were, and that is why they are still remembered to this day.
Being John Malkovich
“Hey, Malkovich! Think fast!”
The scene: John has just had an angry confrontation with Craig Schwartz on the side of the road.
When filming, a drunk cast member throws a can at Malkovich’s head, which inspired this unscripted line. This was an extra that had no lines. But, instead of being kicked off, the directors thought it was so funny that they kept it in the final cut and gave them a pay raise.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
The scene: Roy Batty saved Rick Deckard’s life, but then ultimately caused his own death. He gives his last words in the rain about to die.
Rutger Hauer improvised lines about his short life that were incredibly meaningful and downright poetic. It is almost difficult to believe he came up with it on the spot, but he did. He didn’t believe the original script correlated to his character, so he made the lines up, surprising everyone on set.
“What an incredible Cinderella story!”
The scene: The main character Carl Speckler is ‘lopping the heads off bedded tulips’ when he practices his golf swing.
One of the best comedy actors in film history, Bill Murray, is known for his one-liners. In this scene, he was so focused on beheading the flowers that it made for one of the funniest moments in cinema history. The Cinderella reference he makes has basically become a popular saying until this day, thanks to Murray’s brilliant improvisation.
“I’m walking here!”
The scene: As Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight are walking through the street, a cab accidentally drives through the scene that they are filming.
They filmed this part of the movie outdoors in the street. This area was closed off for filming during the day, but the taxi driver was unaware of this and drove in the area anyway. Hoffman took this unpredictable event as an opportunity to deliver one of the best one-liners in cinema history.
“All I’ve got left is my bones.”
The scene: Kirk and Bones meet for the first time when they sit by one another on a spaceship. Bones is telling Kirk how much he despises outer space.
After ranting about how dangerous and terrifying outer space truly is, Karl Urban delivers this final line that sold the scene. It is one of the most well-regarded films of all time, and this scene specifically was carried by Bones’ character.
Full Metal Jacket
The director added a whole new character to the film after watching an impressive improvisation home video of him insulting marines.
R. Lee Ermey got cast in this film because of his impressive performance. The director, Stanley Kubrick, liked his rendition so much that he only wrote about 50% of the lines for this character. He wanted Ermey to improv the rest as the movie was being filmed, which worked in this film’s favor.
“Squeal like a pig.”
The scene: A group of hillbillies is attacking Bobby.
This gory, disturbing scene was reconfigured to fit both cinema and television showings. The dialogue was changed, so they would not have to film two versions of the same scene for the film. Whoever came up with the new line is unknown, but regardless of who did it, it made for an incredible scene.
The Silence Of The Lambs
The scene: Clarice Starling and frightening Hannibal Lecter are talking through the wall of the prison cell. He is describing in detail how he ate a human liver with “fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Anthony Hopkins plays a brilliant psychiatrist who also happens to be a complete psychopath who eats human flesh. In this eerie scene, as well as in the rest of the film, his goal was to be as spine-chilling as possible, which he definitely succeeded in doing. When filming this scene, he decided to include the sucking of flesh, which resembled eating the human liver, by making noises with his teeth and lips that is iconic to this film.
Saving Private Ryan
“Picture a girl who took a nosedive from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.” The scene: Captain Miller and Private Ryan reminisce about their lives.
As if the script wasn’t enough, Damon takes it a step further and adds a new layer of depth. He tells a made-up story about when he saw his brother kissing a girl. Luckily, it added a lot to his character, and it remains one of the most remembered scenes in this film.
Good Will Hunting
“Son of a gun. He stole my line.”
The scene: Will’s therapist is reading a letter written to him by Will.
Robin Williams has delivered some amazing performances in his career, but this is one of his best – and it was completely unscripted! Also, this wasn’t the only line that he made up for this film. He showed off his impressive improvisation abilities several times throughout this iconic movie.
The Dark Knight
*Clap, clap, clap…*
The scene: Everyone claps for Gordon’s promotion. The joker joins in with a slow clap that carries on after everyone else stops applauding.
As one of the most iconic bad guys in cinema history, the Joker has been played by numerous actors. But, Heath Ledger arguably did it best because of how immersed he was in his character, which allowed him to improvise a lot of his lines and actions. His extended clapping in this scene was a definite show-stopper.
This Is Spinal Tap
Believe it or not, this film is actually mostly unscripted. This movie is about a fictional 80s hair band starring in their very own spoof film.
Director Rob Reiner aimed to make this film as a relatable and hilarious look at the rock’n’roll lifestyle, so most of the script was left up to actors. It is even shown in the credits, as all of the actors are listed in the writer’s section.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The scene: Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are on the trails of hobbits. They come to a point where they think they are dead. Aragorn yells in frustration and kicks a helmet.
In this scene, both the yelling and kicking of the helmet were improvised. In fact, Viggo Mortensen accidentally broke his toe when filming the scene. But hey, it made for one of the most popular scenes in cinema history, so perhaps it was worth it.
“Why male models?”
The scene: JP Prewitt is explaining to Derek and Matilda the purpose of male models.
After David Duchovny’s lengthy explanation, Ben Stiller forgot his line. But, instead of asking for the line, he simply repeated the line from before when he first asked David the question that started the monologue. This was absolutely hilarious, and the directors decided to keep it in instead of the original line.
The scene: Wealthy businessman, Edward, presents a beautiful necklace to his love interest, Vivian, that completes her outfit for the opera.
In this classic movie, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere play an unlikely, but a fairytale-like couple. In this scene, when she reaches for the necklace, he jokingly and suddenly snaps the box closed, which led to one of the most recognizable laughs in film history. This unscripted moment was completely influenced by Julia and Richard’s off-screen chemistry.
The Devil Wears Prada
“Everybody wants to be us.”
The scene: Miranda and Andy are conversing in a car in Paris.
The brilliant Meryl Streep, who plays a famous fashion magazine editor, only changes ‘me’ to ‘us’ in the scripted version of this line, and it changed the dynamic of the whole ending of the movie.
“Here’s looking at you. kid.”
The scene: Rick and Ilsa say goodbye before she gets on a plane with Victor.
‘Casablanca’ has to be one of the most quoted and well-known films out there. But, did you know that some of the best lines in this movie were unscripted? There really was not much direction when filming this scene. The cast was told to do what they wanted, and they would go from there. And it’s a good thing this happened! This scene is a legendary scene because of its comedy between the actors and the off-camera chemistry.
“I wish I had a theater that was only open when it rained.”
The scene: The main character, Jeff Slater, goes on a rant while drunk at a party.
Again, we are bringing up comedy legend, Bill Murray. He is truly the king of improvised one-liners. Even though he is a side character in this film, he is no doubt the funniest character. In fact, Murray’s unscripted comedic phrases led this movie to win an Oscar!
“Molly, you in trouble, girl.”
The scene: Oda Mae finds Molly, and repeats to Molly what Sam said word for word, per Sam’s request.
Whoopi Goldberg is one of the most beloved actresses in Hollywood – and for good reason! Her refined and talented acting skills shine through all of her work, including this popular film where she improvises a line that went on to be very quotable among viewers.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
*Fall, roll, flourish!*
The scene: This line is delivered when we first see Willy Wonka in the film. He is greeting the kids that won the golden tickets to his chocolate factory. When he makes his way to the gate, he falls forward and rolls on the red carpet.
Gene Wilder brilliantly performs this role and actually made up many defining moments on the spot while filming, including this iconic entrance. He immersed himself into his character, which ultimately made this film so well-received.
The Empire Strikes Back
The scene: Darth Vader is about to split up Han and Leia. Before he does, they lean in for a meaningful kiss. After this, Leia says she loves Han.
This is one of the most well-regarded Star Wars movies in the entire series. Even with the success of the new movies, we will never forget the impact the classics had on film-lovers around the world. The love story between Han and Leia captured all of our hearts.
“Leave the gun, take the cannoli”
The scene: Two men have been sent to kill somebody after they attempt to overpower their boss. They leave once the deed is done.
Richard Castellano, who played Peter Clemenza in this film, is the guy who could not resist saying this unforgettable line. But, it’s a good thing he did, because it curated one of the most popular quotes from one of the most popular films of all time.