Movie scripts are not something very sacred to directors, producers, and especially actors. On some movie sets, stars are encouraged to improvise and add their own occasional lines to the film. This is how golden one liners are filmed, through improvised movie scenes. Nothing looks better on camera and then on screen than an unscripted joke that makes the main characters or even more characters laugh with tears. Their natural joy is contagious and is easily transmitted through the screen. To show you how many film moments out there have touched you or made you laugh without you knowing they were improvised, here is a list of legendary unscripted movie scenes part 1.
7. Heath Ledger The Dark Knight
Ledger took the liberty to improvise many times during the shootings for The Dark Knight. Remember the Joker hospital scene? Just before everything went into flames, the explosives happened to stall, so Ledger toyed around with the remote to cover up for the delay. The Dark Knight hospital explosion wasn’t the only time the Joker showed off his improv skills. He also stayed in character during Gordon’s promotion when he started to clap slowly. Director Nolan kept the cameras rolling and later added the sarcastic gesture in the movie.
6. Bill Murray Tootsie
Let’s kick off the list of famous improvised movie scenes with one of Murray’s greatest unscripted scenes. In the scene in which he acts as Dustin Hoffman’s play writing roomie, he delivers a speech to several people. The director wanted Murray to deliver a monolog, but the rest of the actors had no idea what was happening. So he went ahead and ad libbed everything, delivering a touching speech that seems to last throughout the whole party.
5. Matt Damon Saving Private Ryan
Yes, this classic also contains unscripted movie scenes. Remember when the character of Matt Damon starts telling the character of Tom Hank about his brothers and his sweetheart? Everything was improvised by Damon. If you felt his laugh sounded natural and sincere, that’s because it was. He was making up the story as he went along and the entire scene turned out incredibly melancholic. In Saving Private Ryan Matt Damon proved he’s not only a good actor, but he’s also not shabby at improvising random stories.
4. Jack Nicholson The Shining
You’ve probably seen “The Shining” and you must remember the scene in which Nicholson’s character breaks down the door with an axe, puts his head through the opening and with a large grin says “Here’s Johnny!” Not many know that this was Jack’s initiative and he left his fingerprint on Kubrick’s movie in one of the most famous ad libs of all times.
3. Harrison Ford The Empire Strikes Back
When George Lucas encouraged Tom Ford to say what he thought was fit in reply to Princess Leia’s “I love you”, Ford didn’t want to break character. This gave birth to one of the greatest unscripted movie moments. Instead of answering with “I love you too”, Han Solo said “I know”, making for a funny memorable scene.
2. Anthony Hopkins Silence of the Lambs
Not many Silence of the Lambs scenes are as disturbing as the hissing one. This was unscripted and thought up by Anthony Hopkins on the spot. When they saw the reaction on Jodie Foster’s face, the producers decided the hissing wasn’t such a bad idea, and they put it in the movie.
1. Peter Seller Dr. Strangelove
Probably the best movie ad libs can be found in Dr. Strangelove. Seller played three roles in the film and is said to have improvised countless of times. In fact, he is sometimes credited as the movie’s co-writer. His best improvised line in the movie is uttered after his disabled character forgets about his handicap and gets up from his wheelchair. To save face, he says: “Mein Fuhrer I can walk”.