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The 12 Best Unscripted Movie Moments

Robert DeNiro - 'Taxi Driver'
Robert DeNiro – ‘Taxi Driver’ (Courtesy: Youtube)
Xfinity Entertainment recently released a list of the twelve best moments in movie history that were never in the script. Pure adlibbing by actors or happy accidents, some of these will surprise you. Especially since some are the most identifiable lines from classic movies. And you can just imagine how that had to burn up the screen writers who labored over their writing for months when along comes an actor on a spur of the moment whim and outdoes him.

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat,”
said by Roy Scheider in ‘Jaws’. This was after the crew got their first glimpse of the great white they’re after. It was never in the final script. Completely made up on the spot by the actor who played Sheriff Brody and became THE line of the whole movie. I was in elementary school when this movie came out and it actually inspired the only Halloween costume I ever won a contest with. That’s another blog post for another day. Best costume trophy for a wearable replica of the shark head scene coming straight up at the swimmer in the Jaws movie poster. All homemade with my dad. Good times.

The “Cinderella story” from ‘Caddyshack’. This come out of nowhere scene was a last minute idea of Bill Murray’s and was completely unscripted. The candy bar in the pool scene, so funny yet one that still makes me dry heave a little bit when he takes a bite out of it, was apparently from the mind of the writer however.

The “Godfather” cat. The cat that Marlon Brando holds in his lap was not supposed to be there. Brando found a cat wandering around the set and picked it up. The result was including the cat as an ‘extra’ in the movie. Why couldn’t it have been a dog? I love a good mob movie. I hate cats.

“You talkin’ to me?”
This one blows my mind because it is by far one of the most memorable movie quotes of all time, and it was never written. It was made up on the spot by Robert Deniro in the movie “Taxi Driver”. This is such a famous line I bet people have used this line who never even saw the movie, having no idea it even comes from a film.

RoboCop Loogie – Villain Clarence Boddicker, played by actor Kurtwood Smith, spits a bloody gob onto a cop’s paperwork in the scene where he’s hauled in to the police station. It was not in the script. He discussed it with the director ahead of time but forgot to discuss it with the actor playing the cop, who was not to pleased.

“I’m walkin’ here!” The famous scene from 1969’s ‘Midnight Cowboy’ where Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voigt are walking across a NYC street was never supposed to go down the way it did. The plan was to have it timed where there would be no traffic coming in the shot. An impatient cabbie drove right into the shot and what you see is totally real, Hoffman staying in character but his reaction authentic, pounding on the taxi and yelling, “Hey, I’m walkin’ here!” Unplanned movie magic.

‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ – In the scene where Hans Solo is about to be frozen in carbonite, Princess Leia professes her feelings for him saying, “I love you.” The script called for Harrison Ford to say, “I love you.” Instead he said, “I know.” Coincidentally, my 8 year old son Jack just asked me yesterday on the drive to school who my favorite Star Wars character is, and without a doubt it’s always been Hans Solo. And this unscripted moment is an example of why. I don’t think any other actor could have played Hans just right, with the right level of cockiness. Like in the cantina when he keeps his cool and manages to shoot the guy from underneath the table.

‘Reservoir Dogs’ – Michael Madsen plays a thief who brutally tortures and eventually cuts off the ear of a police officer. Director Quentin Tarantino never told Madsen what to do with the prosthetic ear after chopping it off, so the actor improvises, talking into the severed ear, “Hey, what’s going on? You hear that?” and tosses it to the side. And didn’t that movie forever change the way you listen to ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ by Stealers Wheel? For me it sure did. Also due to the fact, unfortunate fact for me, that when I was thin I looked like Steve Buscemi that movie also gave me the nickname Mr. Pink for awhile. Thanks, ‘Reservoir Dogs’.

‘Pretty Woman’ – When Richard Gere snaps the jewelry box closed as Julia Roberts reaches for her necklace the actress lets out one of the most famous laughs in movie history. All unplanned. It was genuine reaction to Gere’s playfulness. I still think it would have been a better movie if they had made Vivian addicted to drugs like the original script idea called for.

‘Full Metal Jacket’ – Almost everything in R. Lee Ermey’s insult-laden rants as a drill sergeant were completely improvised by the actor. He says he drew off his own experiences as a U.S. Marine drill instructor in the real Vietnam War. My favorite improvised line from Gunnery Sgt. Hartman: “Sound off like you got a pair!”

“Heeeere’s Johnny!” You already know what movie, as it’s THE line from the silver screen adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Shining’. However, it was never in any script. It came entirely from the mind of Jack Nicholson himself. This was a good movie, but the book was better in my opinion. Jack Nicholson is a great actor. But the problem with casting him to play Jack Torrance was that the hotel was supposed to take a somewhat normal man, haunt him, change him, and drive him mad. Nicholson always already looks half crazy to start with. So the transformation isn’t as shocking.

The “singing In The Rain” scene from ‘A Clockwork Orange’ came about after five agonizing days where Stanley Kubrik struggled with one of the most violent scenes in the movie. Finally, he asked Malcolm McDowell, “Can you dance?” He started dancing and decided to also start belting out, “I’m Singing In The Rain,” as he attacked his helpless victim. My favorite Stanley Kubrik movie though will always be his last movie, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’, which most people seemed to hate.

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