Watch: A Collection of the 25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Movies

August 15, 2011
Source: YouTube

Full Metal Jacket - Greatest Unscripted Scenes

While much of the greatness of any given film begins with the words on the pages of a screenplay, there are still plenty of amazing moments in cinema that come from actors' improvisation. While many associate the idea of improv with comedy, even great dramas have sublime moments of spontaneity that make certain scenes truly memorable. Thankfully, YouTube user Mewlists (via has made a video chronicling what they believe to be the 25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films. It's not definitive as there are certainly some great ones that didn't make the cut, but this really is a fine collection of great improvisation.

Here's the Greatest Unscripted Scenes video, which originally comes from Reddit:

You may have some disputes with some of these, but as I said, this isn't meant to be a definitive list, more of a video for fun. After all, one of the scenes included from Knocked Up is just part of the DVD extras (though it's particularly hilarious), and it's not easy to call the scene from The Dark Knight unscripted considering everything, with the exception of Heath Ledger's reaction to the explosion, was meticulously crafted. Of course, some of these are right on the money, and may even surprise you as being unscripted moments anyway. Either way, it's great to look back at these scenes and remember how much the right talent can bring to a film and make an already great film or great scene even better on the day of the shoot.

Find more posts in Cool Stuff, To Watch

Discover more around the web:

  • CrimsonAvenger
    Learn something new everyday! Nice!
  • Mrc114
    That wasn't the 40 Year Old Virgin. That scene is from Knocked Up. derp
  • Pilgrim UK
    Damn that is one funny line. "I bet you're the kind of guy that would f**k a person in the ass and not even have the goddamn common courtesy to give him a reach-around.
    • Lebowski
      Apparently, after Ermey shouted this, Kubrick called cut and demanded he explain what a 'reach around' was. Ermey explained, Kubrick laughed and they continued shooting. 
    • Triston
      The funniest damn "unscripted line" in the movies
    • Jorge
       the best ever lines in the history of movies. i laughed so hard at each line. "i don't know but i've been told...eskimo pussy is mighty cold"
  • grimjob
    Ohhh How I love R. Lee Ermey. And Rutger Hauer.
  • Some terrible ones, but all the great ones I could think of.
    • Garrettg
      wow thank you for posting so that we could all know that you are more intelligent then the average person. (not trying to be a dick but come on, what purpose does your post serve?)
      • ATotalDick
        Wow. You're not even trying? Imagine how much of a prick you'd be if you were.
        • Laura
          Ha! Well, damn - I've just fallen in love with A Total Dick. I guess my parents were right after all.
          • datkid
             I just fell in love with a girl that has trogdor for a pic, but she's in love with a total dick. story of my life as told by strongbad
    • man, they left out all the best ones....right?
    • Anonymous
      Wow, way to go Roberts. Thumbs up?
  • Cheezy C
    hey what about all the scenes in breakfast club, there was a lot, and they were good ones too
    • Jericho
      i think the Breakfast club was omitted solely because it would take up the video....
      • Cheezy C
  • Kamish
    Many of the scenes in Caddy Shack were unscripted, much if not all of the scene where Chevy Chase hits a ball into the place where Bill Murray is staying is pretty much the two of them just making it up as they go...
    • Misssmith
      your exactly right!
    • blester01
      I think Dangerfield's lines were all unscripted as well. Best one in its context: "Hey, we're all going to get laid!"
  • Reach-arounds sound great.
  • Patrick Petzall
    Indiana Jones pulling out his gun and shooting the sword guy in Raiders
    • Yes. Where was that?
    • Richie G
      because he had the runs!!!!!!!!!
      • Anonymous
        no he was (very) sick with the flu, not just bowel problems, and couldn't shoot the action scene; or damn near anything that day
        • Islands disinfectants
          Actually he had food poisoning
  • Anonymous
    I'm quite partial to the end of Strange Brew with Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas completely hammered riffing through the credits.
    • Anonymous
      Love that movie, probably some great unscripted moments, but end credit reels are not part of the movie.
  • Cracky
    Man I love when they do this in movies. <3 
  • Laurent
    What about the scene in Mean Streets where Harvey Keitel takes Robert De Niro to the back of the bar to discuss his debt problems with him? I thought a large part of it was unscripted and they're both absolutely brilliant.
  • Green Goblin
    full metal jacket,blade runner,a clockwork orange,the usual suspects,the shinig & taxi driver are all sheer brilliance.
  • nick
    saving private ryan was my favorite
  • Croniccris
  • Delvis Crasho
    There was plenty of improvised stuff in Goodfellas.
  • Guest
    De Niro supposedly stole the "you talkin' to me" line from Bruce Springsteen. The Boss said it to a crowd at one of his concerts and De Niro thought it was the coolest fucking thing he'd ever seen.
    • Samoan_bob
      I've always heard he took it from a local stand-up comedian. Either way, almost the exact same dialogue is featured in SHANE.
      • Cosmik_Debris
         Actually, that whole scene is derived from an exercise his old acting coach used to have him do. Are you talkin' to me is a question that can be asked in different ways with a different tone and be dramatically altered, threatening, confused, intimidated/intimidating, meek, confident, etc. He just threw it in there because he thought it would work in the mirror.
  • Guest
    Great list! Another interesting one is Brad Pitt actually getting punched (and his subsequent reaction) by Edward Norton in Fight Club.
    • LadyJackKnife
      Not really "unscripted" because the Brad Pitt actually pulled him aside before they shot that scene to ask him to actually punch him. They agreed to actually hit one another, but didn't tell anybody else. The hit was still in the script. (Although, great moment.)
  • Greg
    What about the scene in Alien where the alien first bursts out? IIRC, the victim was the only one told what was about to happen and the rest were simply asked to adlib their reactions.
  • Guest
    Ooh, these were good, though my personal favourite is in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the guy with the crazy swords comes up to duel Harrison Ford.  An elaborate fight scene was supposed to occur, but Harrison Ford was still suffering from food poisoning, and couldn't perform it, so he asked if he could just "shoot the sucker" and it stuck.
  • Jillian
    This was great. Thanks for the laugh.
  • Anonymous
    My favorite is from There's Something About Mary... the "7 Minute Abs" scene was mostly improvised.
  • Bobbo
    Chris Farley actually getting hit with the wrong side of a prop board in "Tommy Boy".
  • Raj
    you forgot the best unscripted line- From star wars when Han and Luke are in the control room of a imperial cruiser . Harrison Ford makes up the whole conversation there with the main control room 
    • mals86
      "We're all fine here. How are YOU?"
  • Common guys...these might be unscripted, but watch it again..NOT FUNNY at all...Sorry. Thx for going to the trouble thoo...
  • Pandorakitten
    Yeah I'm digging those.  Some of them were no surprise (anything Kubrick ever touched etc) but some of them I wouldn't have guessed, esp the Casablanca bit.  I do believe the "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn" was added at the end of "gone with the wind" also, though I'm not sure if it was a scripted ad or not.  I know its not from the book.  Just goes to show you never know what might become Iconic later on.  Some of these lines are very much a part of movie culture now.
  • Great it!
  • Brsommer
    How could you not include the scene in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark where he was supposed to have a planned sword scene but Harris Ford was exhausted and instead of doing the fight scene, pulled out his gun and shot him.
  • Ricknavenport
    I think the scene where martin sheen has an unscripted breakdown in Apocalypse now deserves a mention too!
  • I didn't know that robert deniro's script was only improvised. Brilliant.
  • Speedwagon
    "Only two things come out of Oklahoma, steers and queers..." from An Officer and a Gentleman, (1982) spoken by Louis Gossett, Jr.




Alex's Top 10 - 2016
1. La La Land
2. Paterson
3. Arrival
4. Captain Fantastic
5. 20th Cent. Women
6. Pete's Dragon
7. Jackie
8. Kubo & Two Strings
9. Everybody Wants
10. Wilderpeople
Click Here for Thoughts

Jeremy's Top 10 - 2016
1. Moonlight
2. The Handmaiden
3. High-Rise
4. Elle
5. Arrival
6. Kubo & Two Strings
7. 13th
8. Jackie
9. Toni Erdmann
10. The Witch
Click Here for Thoughts


Subscribe to our feed or daily newsletter:
Follow Alex's main profile on twitter:
For the news posts only, follow this acct:
Add our feed to your Feedly: follow us in feedly