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18 Classic Movie Lines & Scenes That Were TOTALLY Unscripted!

| Filed under: Julia RobertsFilm FlickersHeath LedgerJim CarreyJack NicholsonHarrison FordRichard GereRobert De NiroWoody AllenGIFs

dark knight

Sorry, Hollywood screenwriters. Sometimes the best lines in films AREN’T the ones you wrote down in the script!

In fact, some of the most famous scenes in movies are completely improvised on the set! An actor will do or say something that just feels right and…

Ta da!

Cinema magic!

Like Heath Ledger in his posthumous Oscar-winning role as The Joker in The Dark Knight. No one instructed Heath to applaud like he did while Commissioner Gordon’s promotion was announced at Gotham’s Police Headquarters. But Heath gave director Christopher Nolan a take with a slow clap that was just too good (and evil) not to use!

Want to see which other scenes were unplanned but went on to become onscreen classics?

See our entire GIF list…AFTER THE JUMP!!!

pretty woman

Pretty Woman - That diamond necklace that Richard Gere gives Julia Roberts' character came in a large jewelry box. And while the script called for Julia to reach out and touch the gorgeous sparkler, it didn't call for him to snap the lid shut on her fingers! But he did it anyway and the genuine laugh she lets out was so great, director Gary Marshall decided to leave it in for the final cut!

the shining

The Shining - After hacking away at the bathroom door with an axe, Jack Nicholson decided to put his face into the splintered hole and say something menacing. His line, made famous first by Ed McMahon on The Tonight Show, is now one of the most famous utterances in cinema history! And it was nowhere to be found in the original script!

dumb and dumber

Dumb & Dumber - We knew Jim Carrey was a master at improv. But we never knew just how many of our favorite scenes from Dumb & Dumber were completely unscripted! Like the most annoying sound in the world! That was all Jim!


Jaws - There was no line for Roy Scheider to deliver after his character Chief Brody sees the deadly shark for the first time face-to-face. But his words, "you're gonna need a bigger boat!" became an instant classic!


Casablanca - There are a TON of now famous lines in Bogart's speech at the end of Casablanca but probably the most well-known one wasn't even in the script!

star wars

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back - Harrison Ford was supposed to tell Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) that he loved her back. But the line her said to her instead is far, far better!

indiana jones

Raiders of the Lost Ark - Where once there was a long, drawn out sword fight in the script, in the actual movie, Indy ends his showdown with an Arab bad guy by simply shooting him! Rumor has it, Harrison Ford had a case of severe food poisoning and was too sick to shoot the extended scene. So director Steven Spielberg decided that day to resolve this battle a bit faster! The rest is history!


The Fugitive - Harrison Ford isn't the only one who can improvise on the spot! Tommy Lee Jones ad-libbed his famous line in The Fugitive that signified just how determined he was to catch his man, no matter his innocence!

annie hall

Annie Hall - None of the other actors in the scene knew Woody Allen was going to let out a violent sneeze and send cocaine everywhere! But their reactions were so good and so honest, the famous director decided to leave everything in!

midnight cowboy

Midnight Cowboy - While crossing a street in New York City, Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman were nearly hit by a REAL cab driver! Hoffman slammed his hand on the hood of the car and yelled his now popular line!

the godfather

The Godfather - Remember that cat that Marlon Brando is holding in the opening scene of The Godfather? Turns out that four-legged friend was never supposed to be in the movie! One version of the story says that director Francis Ford Coppola put it Don Corleone's lap right before yelling 'action!' Another tells it that Marlon found the feline wandering around the set and asked to include it in the film!

cannoli godfather

The Godfather - Another unscripted moment in what many consider to be the greatest movie of all time comes when Clemenza orders his henchman Rocco Lampone to leave the gun, (which was in the script) but to also take the cannoli, a line that he ad-libbed during filming!

taxi driver

Taxi Driver - The only thing it said in the script was, 'Travis talks to himself in the mirror.' But when Robert De Niro stepped in front of the camera, he delivered one of his most famous lines EVER! And he came up with it on the spot! How amazing is that?


Caddyshack - It's in the hole! The whole scene of young Bill Murray imagining himself as 'a Cinderella story, out of nowhere' driving flowers 300 yards - that was all improvised on the spot!


The Warriors - All David Patrick Kelly was instructed to do for this now famous scene was clink together three glass bottles and rile up his rival gang! He added his own line!

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2 comments to “18 Classic Movie Lines & Scenes That Were TOTALLY Unscripted!”

  1. 1

    My favorite Perez blog post. I truly appreciate this.

  2. 2

    Nice. I have read that the late Robin Williams ad libbed most of hist line in the animated film Alladin., nor sure if animated counts but it was a very funny movie.