17 Famous Movie Moments That Were Actually Improvised

Robert De Niro came up with “You talking to me?” himself.

1. Willy Wonka’s entrance, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Paramount Pictures

Gene Wilder accepted the role of Willy Wonka on the condition that he got to add his surprise entrance to the film. In letters to the director he explained his reasoning: “From that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.”

2. The chest-waxing scene, The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Universal Pictures

The whole chest-waxing scene was completely authentic – it was Steve Carell’s first time being waxed and every single swearword was a genuine response to the pain.

3. “Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”, Dumb and Dumber (1994)

New Line Cinema

Like many scenes in the film, the hitchhiking one is improvised. Peter Farrelly, one of the directors of Dumb and Dumber, said in an AMA that 15% of the film was improvised.

4. The jewellery box close, Pretty Woman (1990)

Touchstone Pictures

In an interview, Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall revealed that Richard Gere’s snap of the necklace box wasn’t planned, hence Julia Roberts’s reaction.

5. Aragorn screaming, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

New Line Cinema

When Aragorn kicks a helmet out of frustration he lets out a roar that was actually the result of actor Viggo Mortensen breaking his toe.

6. The rubber duck scene, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

Warner Bros.

Mark Williams changed the line with every take, Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) said, but it was always hilarious. “We did that scene about 13 or 14 times,” Rankin said, “and every time it was something else.”

7. Voldemort’s final speech, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)

Warner Bros. Pictures

Ralph Fiennes changed his speech for every rehearsal so the reaction from the rest of the cast would be different for each take.

8. “Keeping it real”, Clueless (1995)

Paramount Pictures

Donald Faison heard the term from a neighbour and thought, Oh. That’s what the kids are saying now?

9. “Big-ass forehead”, Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Universal Pictures

In an interview Ludacris talked about Dwayne Johnson’s ad-libbed burn. “We do a lot of different takes and a lot of our ideas make it into the movie,” he said. “At the end of Fast Six when I spit out my drink and laugh at The Rock’s comments to Tyrese, I’d whispered to him to joke on Tyrese.”

10. “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”, Jaws (1975)

Universal Pictures

The iconic line, which had a huge role to play in making the film famous, was actually unscripted.

11. “But why male models?”, Zoolander (2001)

Paramount Pictures

After David Duchovny’s speech about the corruption of the modelling world, Ben Stiller forgot his line and asked “Why male models?” again. Stiller confirmed this in a Reddit AMA.

12. “I’m walking here!”, Midnight Cowboy (1969)

United Artists

The famous line was a result of Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight filming in real life traffic and a cab getting in the way. Hoffman told Vanity Fair: “So I said, ‘I’m walking here,’ meaning, ‘We’re shooting a scene here, and this is the first time we ever got it right, and you have fucked us up.’”

13. “You talking to me?”, Taxi Driver (1976)

Columbia Pictures

Robert De Niro was only given a vague outline of what to say. According to the film’s writer, Paul Schrader, the script just said, “Bickle speaks to himself in the mirror.”

14. The party scene, Ghostbusters (1984)

Columbia Pictures

Director Ivan Reitman told Rolling Stone that actor Rick Moranis brought all his own ideas to the scene: “Rick just made all of it up as he was doing it.”

15. The pooping scene, Bridesmaids (2011)

Universal Pictures

In an interview with the Huffington Post, cinematographer Robert Yeoman said the wedding dress poop scene was not part of the original script.

16. “Here’s Johnny”, The Shining (1980)

Warner Bros.

In Kubrick: The Definitive Edition, Jack Nicholson admits to borrowing the improvised line from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

17. The tears-in-rain monologue, Blade Runner (1982)

Warner Bros.

This scene, considered one of the most moving in history, was rewritten and largely improvised by actor Rutger Hauer, it was revealed in the documentary On the Edge of Blade Runner.

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Cassie Smyth is a junior staff writer at BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
 
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