10 Memorable Movie Scenes That Were Entirely Improvised

Sometimes the best movie scenes are created when an actor is inspired to adlib or use a prop that isn’t part of the script. Who will ever forget Roy Scheider’s “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” the iconic jewelry scene in Pretty Woman, or Gandalf bumping his head in Bilbo’s house?

These are some memorable scenes from movies that wouldn’t have been as impactful if they weren’t improvised.

10 Rain Man Fart Scene

When Rain ManIt premiered at Berlin’s 39th International Film Festival and won the Golden Bear Award. The movie was the most-watched film of 1988 after its release. Star of the film, Dustin Hoffman, won an Oscar for his portrayal of an autistic savant who inherits the majority of his father’s estate.

More than 30 years on, the film is being viewed as “controversial” because of its perceived autism stereotyping. However, despite the controversy, fans still love it and continue to quote several scenes, including a great unscripted one that had Tom Cruise’s eyes watering. While filming the scene where Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman’s characters are in a phone booth, Hoffman let one rip. Exclaiming “Uh oh, fart. Uh oh, fart” started an improvised back and forth between the two actors that was so funny, it was kept in the movie.

Hoffman still considers the incident his favorite scene in the film.[1]

9 The Lion King Luau scene

Even after 28 year, The Lion KingStill one of the most beloved animated films ever made. It is a unique movie experience that combines funny scenes with heartfelt scenes. In addition, there are several homages to other legendary movies and actors, including beloved warthog Pumbaa yelling, “They call me Mr. Pig!” in reference to Sidney Poitier’s iconic “They call me Mr. Tibbs!”

Timon and Pumbaa are a funny duo. They have created many hilarious scenes together. Nathan Lane, who portrayed Timon, improvised the luau scene. He adlibbed, “What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?” after Simba said they needed live bait as a diversion for the hyenas. The film’s director loved this line so much, he wrote the song and hula dance to go with it.[2]

8 Thor: Ragnarok Snake Story Scene

Part of what made this possible is the strong dynamic between Loki & Thor. Thor: RagnarokThis film was so successful. Chris Hemsworth was able to improvise a lot of dialogue during filming that made many scenes shine. An example of this is the “get help” gag that Hemsworth came up with on the spot.

Thor’s snake story was another brilliantly improvised scene. Loki transformed himself into a snake to show his love for Thor. Loki transformed into Thor and stabbed him when the God of Thunder took the snake from Loki. The best part? They were both eight at that time. Loki’s face as Thor tells the story rounds the scene out perfectly.

Six versions were made, but Taika Waititi decided that the snake tale was the best. One version of the story featured Thor standing on a Turkish rug and seeing it in a field. Loki was then transformed into the rug, and a hole was formed. Thor fell through the hole, and was impaled on several spikes.[3]

7 The Green Mile Scene Last Words

One of Stephen King’s best books was brought to life in 1999 and starred Tom Hanks and the brilliant late Michael Clarke Duncan. While Stephen King adaptations are generally not well-received by audiences, The Green MileIt was a huge hit at the box office and received great reviews from critics. Duncan played John Coffey’s iconic role, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Bruce Willis suggested Duncan for the part. After working with him, Willis had nothing but praises to offer for the actor. Armageddon.

Eduard Delacroix, a memorable character, awaits execution while on death row. He dies violently after a dry sponge was left on the electrodes in the electric chair. The actor behind the character, Michael Jeter, adlibbed Delacroix’s final words, praying the Hail Mary in Cajun French. However, in this case, it’s not the improv that gets the most attention. Instead, the death scene itself traumatized many movie-goers and is still referred to as the “movie scene that went too far.”[4]

6 Pulp Fiction Dance Scene

Pulp FictionThe movie has been called “the best movie ever made” and contains many memorable scenes and dialogue. There is the Honey Bunny and Pumpkin moment, the three little Fonzies scene, and Quentin Tarantino’s coffee cameo, to name just a very few
John Travolta and Uma Thurman also shine in the film and have one of many distinctive moments when they enter a dance contest in a retro diner called Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Tarantino requested that Travolta and Thurman dance the Twist to “You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry. Travolta elevated the scene to a new level when he added more dance moves to the scene including the Spin, Hitchhiker and Batman. Tarantino left it in Travolta’s hands and was hugely impressed with how the scene turned out.[5]

5 American Psycho Moonwalk Scene

American PsychoIt is a disturbing film that Christian Bale’s performance is more than enough to make it so. Bale claimed that he’d drawn inspiration for his alpha male scenes from observing Tom Cruise. He spoke in an American accent to ensure a smooth delivery during filming. Many crew members were shocked when he switched back to his native English accent at a wrap party. They thought he was American.

Bale improvised scenes throughout the film. The most memorable was the moonwalk he did while hiding an ax in his back before killing Paul Allen, played by Jared Leto. The author of the preceding novel, Bret Easton Ellis, wasn’t a huge fan of the improv, even though he approved of the movie adaptation overall.[6]

4 Good Will Hunting Memory Lane Scenes

Robin Williams, the beloved and beloved late Robin Williams, was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting acting role in Good Will Hunting, in which he played a therapist to Matt Damon’s Will Hunting character. The pair were praised for their on-screen chemistry, and the film has been ranked 53 on Hollywood’s 100 Favorite Films list.

Williams is a comedian, so it’s no surprise that he improvised the most hilarious scene in the movie. Williams, Dr. Sean Maguire, reminisces about his wife when he is asked questions. He then leaves the script behind and tells Hunting, “She used to fart in her sleep. It was so loud that it woke Hunting up one night. She woke up and was like, ‘Oh, was that you?’ I’d go, ‘Yeah.’ I just didn’t have the heart to tell her.”

Damon tried to stay in character but couldn’t help but laugh aloud at this turn of events.[7]

3 A Clockwork Orange Invasion Scene

It’s not often that an improvised scene ends up costing filmmakers more money. Malcolm McDowell wanted to add his unique stamp to this scene. A Clockwork OrangeStanley Kubrick spent $10,000 more to film the improvised scene.

During the scene where McDowell’s Alex DeLarge and his droogs break into a woman’s home to assault her, DeLarge starts dancing and singing his own rendition of Gene Kelly’s “Singin’ in the Rain.” McDowell later said it was the only song he ‘sort of knew half the lyrics to.’ Kubrick liked the improv so much that he and McDowell set off on a trip to obtain the rights to use the song, to the tune of $10,000. It was also Kubrick’s idea to change “rain” to “pain” after seeing how well the song and dance worked in the scene.[8]

2 A Star Is Born Ugly comment Scene

Lady Gaga stunned the world by proving that she could act as well singing as she could act. She was able to perform her first major acting role in American Horror Story Hotel. But she really shined in the critically acclaimed A Star Is Born. Her chemistry was so strong with Bradley Cooper that it led to speculation that the two were actually meeting in real life.

The film shows them starting a turbulent and even toxic relationship. In one scene, Gaga, who plays Ally, is taking a bath while Bradley Cooper’s character, Jackson, is hurling drunken insults at her. Then, veering off the script, Jackson calls Ally “ugly” during the final take, which clearly devastates her. Gaga later told a news outlet that the shocked expression on her face was real because, just like her character, she’d always battled with insecurities about her looks.

Cooper also commented on the scene, saying that he never saw the comment “as a violation” because he and Gaga were very close and “felt safe together acting.”[9]

1 Rocky Ice Skating Scene

How it happened RockyThe story of how it came to be is almost as much an underdog tale than the film itself. Sylvester Stallone was broke and kept getting his script rejected because he wanted to play the main character. When the film was finally released, he had several sections of his script rewritten during filming. His hard work paid off, as the movie grossed more than $200 million and became the highest-grossing film of 1976. It was also nominated for 10 Oscars.

Rocky and Adrian, his love interest, go ice-skating together in one of the most charming scenes in the film. This scene was almost entirely improvised. Production couldn’t afford to rent the ice skating rink or pay for extras, which meant they could only use it during the rink’s off-hours. To heighten the awkwardness of this scene, Stallone skipped most of the dialogue. He also jogged around the rink alongside Adrian, played by Talia Shire, because he didn’t know how to skate. This improvisation only added to the unbelievability of the unease that existed between two people who had very few in common.[10]

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