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Top 10 Improvised Movie Moments

Top 10 Improvised Movie Moments


Narrator: You can’t write this stuff! [In film] Mein Fürher… I can WALK! Narrator: Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Improvised Movie Moments! [In film] Tell me, tell me what’s funny. Narrator: For this list, we’ve chosen movie scenes or lines that were ad-libbed or otherwise changed by an actor in the heat of the moment. [In film] How about a magic trick? Narrator: Number 10: Delayed Gratification is No Joke. [In film] I’m gonna make this pencil disappear. Narrator: In “The Dark Knight”. [In film] *Slam* Ta-Da! Narrator: No one could have predicted the darkness Heath Ledger would bring to the role of Batman’s nemesis. [In film] You don’t have any say in the matter–Commissioner Gordon! Narrator: And no one could have scripted it either. Ledger improvised several moments that increased the moment tenfold. [In film] *loud clapping* Narrator: Most notable is The Joker’s “explosive” confusion. [In film] Ka-pew! [In film] *explosions* Narrator: Instead of simply boarding his bus between explosions as scripted, [In film] *explosions stop* Narrator: Ledger decided, on site, to fiddle with his detenator. Bringing some appropriate dark comedy to the scene. [In film] *explosions return, windows shatter* [In film] *crying* *singing* Narrator: Number 9: Singing in the Rape, “A Clockwork Orange” [In film] *singing* Just singing in the rape! *cry of pain* Narrator: Always a perfectionist, Stanley Kubrick shot and re-shot the scene where the main group of droogs engages in their brand of ultra-violence. Which in this case involved beating and gang-rape. But, the scene still felt empty. So Kubrick instructed actor Malcom McDowell to inject a little spontaneity. [In film] Just singin’! *crash* Narrator: Which he did to the tune of “Singing In The Rain”. [In film] *singing* Just singing in the rape. *crying* Just singing in the rape! Narrator: It’s a terrifying blend of happiness and evil. [In film] *singing* What a glorious feeling and happy again! Narrator: Number 8… [In film] I’m Joe Buck from Texas. Narrator: A Walk to Remember, “Midnight Cowboy” [In film] I wanna buy you a drink, the hell d’you think of that? Well, don’t mind if I do! Narrator: Though there’s some debate about whether this scene was actually unscripted, it’s still a memorable movie moment that Dustin Hoffman claims to have improvised. [In film] They can’t be trottin’ down at Time Square to pick up the merchandise! Narrator: He and Jon Voight are walking NYC Streets, discussing the ins and outs of Jiggalo Business, when BAM! [In film] *screeching, honking* HEY! Hey, I’m walkin’ here! I’m walkin’ here! Narrator: A taxi works its way into the shot, almost running Hoffman down. [In film] Get outta here! Narrator: But method-acting is his game, so he stays in character the entire time. [In film] Don’t worry about that. Actually, that’s not a bad way to pick up insurance, y’know. [In film] Hey, you’re head’s bleedin’. First Aid’s there. Narrator: Number 7: Boat Envy, “Jaws” This ain’t just any shark, and Chief Brody knows it. So did the actor, Roy Scheider. He was the one who invented the movie’s most famous line off-the-cuff. [In film] “Slow ahead”. I can go slow ahead, come one dow and chum some of this shit! Narrator: The first time we actually get a look at the giant Great White, Scheider decided to cut the tension with a one liner that earned it spot in the annals of film history. [In film] You’re gonna need a bigger boat. Narrator: Our laughter is nervous laughter. Number 6: Mirror Image, “Taxi Driver”. [In film] *weapon cocking* Huh? Huh? Faster than you. Narrator: Martin Scorsese encourages actors to contribute to his films and this is one case where he hit pay-dirt. [In film] You make the move, it’s your move! Narrator: The script read, “Travis speaks to himself in the mirror.” [In film] *weapon cocking* You try it, you f**k! Narrator: Robert De Niro turned those instructions into one of the most famous and oft-quoted sequences in cinema history. [In film] You talking to me? *silence* You talking to me? *more silence* Narrator: Perfectly capturing Travis Bickle’s lonliness and alienation, this scene has been cited as the one that says the most about his flawed personality [In film] Well, I’m the only one here. *silence* [In film] *laughter* Gee, I wish I was big just once! *laughter increases* Narrator: Number 5: Funny How? “GoodFellas” [In film] Really funny! Really funny. What do you mean, “I’m funny”? Narrator: Even if you’ve never seen this flick, there’s one scene you know. [In film] Don’t worry , it’s funny. You’re a funny guy! Narrator: Scorsese again allowed actors to invent dialogue which he would then retroactively add into the script. [In film] You’re funny! It’s just… y’know the way you tell the story and everything. Narrator: And Joe Pesci nabbed an Oscar by showing he could turn on a dime! [In film] Funny how? I mean, what’s funny about it? Narrator: Not only does his improvised diatribe explain his character… [In film] He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did you say? Funny how? Narrator:…it also stops his buddies dead in their tracks and has audiences holding their breath. [In film] I’m funny, like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh? Get the f*** outta here, now Tommy! *laughter* You motherf***er! I almost had ‘im! I almost had ‘im! Ya stutterin’ prick, you! *laughter* Narrator: Number 4: Hopkins is Hiss-terical, “The Silence of the Lambs” [In film] Good evening, Clarice. Narrator: Sir Anthony Hopkins is still haunting our dreams with his portrayal of cannibalistic serial killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. [In film] *screaming, moist chewing* Jesus Christ! Narrator: And the scene which he is introduced is arguably his creepiest. [In film] Good morning! Narrator: And yes, we’re counting the muzzle. The mounting tension and the quiet hostility is palpable. [In film] I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Narrator: But one sound sums it up best: [In film] *Hissing* Narrator: Call it a hiss, a slurp, whatever. Hopkins invented it as a joke and for that, he deserves his Oscar. [In film] I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old family for dinner. Goodbye… Dr. Lecter? *Hanging up* [In film] I am Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, your Senior Drill Instructor. Narrator: Number 3: Major Malfunction, “Full Metal Jacket” [In film] And the first and last words out of your filthy sewers will be “Sir” Do you maggots understand that? *all* Sir, yes, Sir! Narrator: What’s the best way to portray how brutal drill instructors are? [In film] You will not laugh, you will not cry! You will learn by the numbers, I will teach you! Narrator: Hire a real one, obviously! [In film] You had best un-f**k yourself or I will unscrew your head and shit down your neck! Narrator: Stanley Kubrick originally enlisted ex-Marine, R. Lee Ermey as a consultant for his war flick, thinking he wasn’t vicious enough for the Drill Sergeant role. [In film] It looks to me like the best part of you ran down the crack of your mama’s ass and ended up as a brown stain on the mattress! I think you’ve been cheated! Narrator: But Ermey proved him wrong, and wound up chewing out recruits for almost 40 minutes straight as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. [In film] What’s your name, scumbag? Sir, Private Brown, Sir! Bullshit, from now on, you’re Private Snowball. Do you like that name? Sir, yes, Sir! Narrator: Oh, and he invented about half of his own dialogue. [In film] You’re so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece! Narrator: Number 2: All Work and No Play Makes Jack Crazy, “The Shining” [In film] Wendy, I’m home. Narrator: Mirroring the plot of this Steven King adaptation, Stanley Kubrick caused the downward mental spiral of some of his actors. Mainly Shelly Duvall. Helping him along was Jack Nicholson. *crack* Who improvised the film’s shining moment. [In film] *knocking* Narrator: After chasing his family into a bathroom, [In film] Stop! Please! Narrator: Jack borrows a popular Late Night catchphrase to add comedy and creepiness to the scene. [In film] Heeeeeeeere’s Johnny! *screams* Narrator: The moral: Never play Hide and Seek with Jack Nicholson. [In film] Come out, come out, wherever you are! Narrator: Her screams are real. *scream, crash, louder scream* [In film] Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By”. Narrator: Number 1: We Kid You Not, “Casablanca” [In film] *slam* Narrator: This Hollywood Classic is full of quoteable lines. [In film] Of all the gin joints in all the towns and all the world, she walks into mine. Narrator: But only one was unscripted, representing the couple’s bond, the famous words are said by Humphrey Bogart multiple times through the film. [In film] Here’s looking at you, kid. *clink* Here’s looking at you, kid. *clink* Here’s looking at you, kid. Narrator: Turns out Bogey borrowed the phrase from real life. Between takes, he taught Ingrid Bergman to play poker, where he would often say… [In film] Here’s looking at you, kid. Narrator: Who knew you could ad-lib one of the most famous phrases in film history? [In film] What about us? We’ll always have Paris. Narrator: Do you agree with our list? [In film] I don’t care! Narrator: Which unscripted movie moments do you think are the best? [In film] Aaaaaaah! That’s a war face, now let me see your face! Narrator: For more Top 10’s about your favourite clips… [In film] Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! Narrator: Be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com! [In film] That’s it, man. Game over, man, it’s game over! The f**k are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?


Reader Comments

  1. What about anything Robin Williams played in? One of the best improve line actors of all time. Just see Aladdin. 90% was him doing his own lines, so much so the animators reanimated the genie to reflect his improve.

  2. One good scene with an unscripted moment was on the fast and furious. When the rock came to vine deisels house and the line "hey Mia you better hide your baby oil" the rock quickly replies with "better hide that big forehead of yours" the spit take that happens in this scene was unscripted. But kept in the film due two it's hilarious timing.

  3. Heath Ledger didn't improvise that at all, they already had that in mind. I watched bts recently and they said they planned it and thought it would be cool if he looked back.

  4. “Welcome to prime time, bitch!” From A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 should have at least been an honorable mention.

  5. what about the Winchester improv scene from Shaun of the dead where Shaun had just been dumped? that scene was hilarious and all improv

  6. goddammit WM. You fucked it up! You always fuck it up! (Fucking Walter.) R Lee in FMJ is easily the choice here. Jack had 1 phrase (why not Arnie in Commando?). R Lee did 40 minutes of the most brutally funny shit we have ever seen on earth. And Dr. Stangelove, which you guys have opined upon before, the Peter Seller stuff was all adlibed and you know they had trouble shooting cuz of laughter, should have been higher that a "trailer" or whatever you call it.

  7. May not have been improvised, but do yourself a favor and search "Falling Down – Convenience Store." Still watch it every week.

  8. That second seen is awful because this stuff happens in real life! 😭😭😭 Protect women and girls!

  9. Anthony Hopkins was a great choice to play Hannibal lecter. He just has that aura about him that I can't explain.

  10. I was sure the scene with Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper from ‘True Romance’ would have been on here – the “You’re part eggplant” “You’re a cantaloupe” lines were ad-libbed and thus the laughter that followed was real

  11. Good Fellas
    Tommy:
    "You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?"
    Henry Hill : 
    "Just… you know, how you tell the story, what?"
    Tommy DeVito : 
    "No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!"

  12. laziest drill sergean in history full metal jacket same vietnam soldiers with that supervision exact quality demonstation coming

  13. If I recall correctly, "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass" was improvised because Rowdy Roddy Piper forgot his original line.

  14. R.lee Ermy was only an honorary marine which he recieved the certification for his role in FMJ is all 😤🤬..!!

  15. The rape scene along with "singin in the rain" made me hate the fuck out of both, this film and the song, same goes for frank Sinatra.

  16. I think at least a top 5 spot would go to Bill Murray's "Cinderella Story" add-lib from Caddyshack. All the script said was something about Carl chopping off flowers. Bill Murray made up the entire Master's Champion commentary thing.

  17. "Heere's Johnny!" by Jack Nicholson ruined an already crappy movie! Even though Stephen King made millions off the movie he has to be a little pissed they ruined his book.

  18. Hartman: Where are you from, anyway?

    Cowboy: SIR, TEXAS, SIR!

    Hartman: TEXAS? Holy dogshit! Only steers and queers come from texas!! And you don't much look like a steer to me so that kind of narrows it down. Do you suck dick?

    Cowboy: SIR, NO, SIR!

    Hartman: I BET YOU'RE THE KIND OF GUY WHO'D FUCK A MAN IN THE ASS AND NOT HAVE THE COMMON COURTESY TO GIVE HIM A REACH-AROUND.

  19. This is a crock, a few I agree with. #1 should be the scene between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken in True Romance. The best improv of all time!

  20. And Rutger Hauer’s speech as Roy Batty in Blade Runner gets missed out?
    Nicholson gets in for two words,
    “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” one of the most quoted Hollywood movie lines is lower down the order and the semi-scripted piece from Casablanca gets top??
    (BTW – the rant in Full metal jacket is awesome, but the actor himself admitted he was repeating lines he heard his drill sargeant say in real life)

  21. R. Lee Ermy did not invent those words that exactly how D.I.s acted and talked in the 60's when I went through boot camp, when seeing this movie I knew they could not get an actor to do that.

  22. The Tears in Rain speech from Blade Runner and the monologue from Gandolf mentioning "No parent needs to bury their child" from "The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers".

  23. Ho could you put that shit line from that immense pile of shit that the silence of the lambs is? The movie is the most overrated ever in cinema’s history, with a boring story a flat pseudo villain and nothing else. And you put it above taxi driver and goodfellas. You must be crazy

  24. I guess comedies are a given: Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, Superbad, Office Space, Something about Mary, Old School… I think Orange should NOT be on the list because Kubrik/Mcdowell butchered a classic song. I hear Gene Kelly was pissed.

  25. Are you guys drunk? No "And all those moments will be lost like tears in rain"? Arguably the best line from Blade Runner

  26. The berating of recruits by R. Lee Ermey was not improvised. After Ermey was hired as a technical consultant on the film, he really wanted the role of Drill Instructor. So he showed up one day in his DI uniform. Kubrick changed his mind so the actor originally hired for the role became the helicopter gunnery and Ermey became the DI. Ermey supplied Kubrick with a few hundred comments and insults he had used during his short assignment as a DI. He and the director went through them and selected the ones to be filmed. Ermey then worked with Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali, on the delivery, timing and memorization (using mnemonic devices) for endless hours before going in front of the cameras.

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