Watch: A Collection of the 25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Movies
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 Movies.com) 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.
Reader Feedback - 54 Comments
Learn something new everyday! Nice!
CrimsonAvenger on Aug 15, 2011
That wasn't the 40 Year Old Virgin. That scene is from Knocked Up. derp
Mrc114 on Aug 15, 2011
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.
Pilgrim UK on Aug 15, 2011
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.
Lebowski on Aug 16, 2011
The funniest damn "unscripted line" in the movies
Triston on Aug 17, 2011
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"
Jorge on Mar 2, 2012
Ohhh How I love R. Lee Ermey. And Rutger Hauer.
grimjob on Aug 15, 2011
Some terrible ones, but all the great ones I could think of.
Adam Roberts on Aug 15, 2011
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?)
Garrettg on Aug 15, 2011
Wow. You're not even trying? Imagine how much of a prick you'd be if you were.
ATotalDick on Dec 5, 2011
Ha! Well, damn - I've just fallen in love with A Total Dick. I guess my parents were right after all.
Laura on Feb 4, 2012
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
datkid on Feb 14, 2012
man, they left out all the best ones....right?
Tyler Morgan on Aug 15, 2011
Wow, way to go Roberts. Thumbs up?
Anonymous on Feb 13, 2012
hey what about all the scenes in breakfast club, there was a lot, and they were good ones too
Cheezy C on Aug 15, 2011
i think the Breakfast club was omitted solely because it would take up the video....
Jericho on Aug 16, 2011
Cheezy C on Aug 16, 2011
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...
Kamish on Aug 15, 2011
your exactly right!
Misssmith on Aug 16, 2011
I think Dangerfield's lines were all unscripted as well. Best one in its context: "Hey, we're all going to get laid!"
blester01 on Aug 18, 2011
Reach-arounds sound great.
Crapola on Aug 15, 2011
Indiana Jones pulling out his gun and shooting the sword guy in Raiders
Patrick Petzall on Aug 15, 2011
Yes. Where was that?
Quanah on Aug 15, 2011
because he had the runs!!!!!!!!!
Richie G on Aug 16, 2011
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
Anonymous on Aug 16, 2011
Actually he had food poisoning
Islands disinfectants on Mar 17, 2013
I'm quite partial to the end of Strange Brew with Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas completely hammered riffing through the credits.
Anonymous on Aug 15, 2011
Love that movie, probably some great unscripted moments, but end credit reels are not part of the movie.
Anonymous on Aug 16, 2011
Man I love when they do this in movies. <3
Cracky on Aug 16, 2011
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.
Laurent on Aug 16, 2011
full metal jacket,blade runner,a clockwork orange,the usual suspects,the shinig & taxi driver are all sheer brilliance.
Green Goblin on Aug 16, 2011
saving private ryan was my favorite
nick on Aug 17, 2011
Croniccris on Aug 18, 2011
There was plenty of improvised stuff in Goodfellas.
Delvis Crasho on Aug 18, 2011
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.
Guest on Aug 20, 2011
I've always heard he took it from a local stand-up comedian. Either way, almost the exact same dialogue is featured in SHANE.
Samoan_bob on Oct 1, 2011
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.
Cosmik_Debris on May 17, 2012
Great list! Another interesting one is Brad Pitt actually getting punched (and his subsequent reaction) by Edward Norton in Fight Club.
Guest on Aug 23, 2011
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.)
LadyJackKnife on Nov 21, 2011
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.
Greg on Aug 24, 2011
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.
Guest on Sep 6, 2011
This was great. Thanks for the laugh.
Jillian on Sep 12, 2011
My favorite is from There's Something About Mary... the "7 Minute Abs" scene was mostly improvised.
Anonymous on Sep 12, 2011
Chris Farley actually getting hit with the wrong side of a prop board in "Tommy Boy".
Bobbo on Sep 27, 2011
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
Raj on Oct 14, 2011
"We're all fine here. How are YOU?"
mals86 on Jan 9, 2013
Common guys...these might be unscripted, but watch it again..NOT FUNNY at all...Sorry. Thx for going to the trouble thoo...
Agna Krige on Nov 3, 2011
nobody said they were funny. I think this is a great list, most people don't know that these scenes were not scripted. -matt @ http://www.VaporizerReviewSource.com
Matt Marks on Nov 9, 2011
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.
Pandorakitten on Dec 3, 2011
Great post...love it!
Donne Messina on Jan 19, 2012
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.
Brsommer on Jan 19, 2012
I think the scene where martin sheen has an unscripted breakdown in Apocalypse now deserves a mention too!
Ricknavenport on Feb 14, 2012
I didn't know that robert deniro's script was only improvised. Brilliant.
Vedette on May 21, 2012
"Only two things come out of Oklahoma, steers and queers..." from An Officer and a Gentleman, (1982) spoken by Louis Gossett, Jr.
Speedwagon on Jun 15, 2012
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