Top 10 Improvised Scenes in Movie History

>>Speaker 1: While most of Hollywood
history is written with scripts, there’s something special
about going off book. And we’re not just talking single lines. It’s gotta be a back and forth,
give and take, entire scenes. These are the top ten
improvised scenes of all time.>>[MUSIC]>>Speaker 1: When you think of improv, there’s hardly a name that comes
to mind before Judd Apatow’s. Judd’s been behind some of
the decade’s best ad libbing, from The 40-Year-Old Virgin,
to Knocked Up, to Superbad. And it’s mostly because he treats
his actors like true equals in the creative process. As a result, he’s helped launch the careers of some
of the funniest guys in Hollywood. But for our list,
we didn’t pick any of them. Instead, our number 10 goes
to the women in Bridesmaids.>>Speaker 2: No carry-on?>>Speaker 3: No.>>Speaker 2: Yeah, I noticed. I noticed you didn’t put anything
in the overhead bin either. And I get it, I get it. I want you to know. Protect and serve, Air Marshal style.>>Speaker 1: The 2011 breakout was
hysterical from start to finish. Partly because of the killer script, but mostly because they usually
tossed it out the window. Coming up with enough material for a 20 hour version of the movie
that supposedly exists somewhere. And while the whole cast
deserves a spot on this list, we’ve gotta give it up to the Air Marshal
scene between Groundlings veteran Melissa McCarthy and
her husband, Ben Falcone.>>Speaker 4: You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks.>>[MUSIC]>>Speaker 4: To collect the bill.>>Speaker 1: Next up at number 9,
Apocalypse Now. If you haven’t heard the stories, you should definitely check out Hearts
of Darkness, the making-of documentary. But it was a basically a year of
heart attacks, seizures, typhoons, monsoons, actual war, and human
corpses that drove the entire cast and crew to the breaking point. It also led to a cinematic masterpiece and some of the best
improvised scenes to boot. And these weren’t necessarily improv
of invention so much as of last resort. Martin Sheen’s opening scene was
completely improvised and had him actually slicing his hand up because of his not so
pretend intoxication. But we’ve gotta hand it to Marlon Brando’s
Colonel Kurtz for our number 9 slot. Of course, Brando’s no stranger to improv. His famous monologue from On
the Waterfront wasn’t scripted either.>>Speaker 5: I could’ve been a contender.>>Speaker 1: But for Apocalypse Now,
Brando showed up on set without having so much as read the script. He shut down the production for a week, while Coppola tried to get him to learn
his lines by reading them to him out loud. And when that didn’t work,
Brando said he’d just wing it. So he babbled for 18 minutes worth of
madness before declaring to Coppola that he couldn’t think of anything else to say. And if he wanted more,
he could hire another actor.>>Speaker 6: Is it better to be feared or
respected? And I say, is it too much to ask for both?>>Speaker 1: Next up at number 8, we’re looking at pretty much
the entirety of Iron Man. That’s right,
Robert Downey Jr’s motormouth Tony Stark was pretty much completely off the cuff. When studio executives greenlit the first
entry into the modern Marvel franchise, they got a little too caught up in the
special effects to worry about the script. By the time shooting rolled around,
all they really had was an outline. So RDJ and director Jon Favreau
sort of just winged it. And when Jeff Bridges had trouble wrapping
his head around the chaos of it all, he says he just thought of it as
a $200 million student film and rolled with the punches.>>[NOISE]
>>Speaker 1: That’s some student film.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Speaker 7: Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothing yet.>>Speaker 1: At number 7,
The Jazz Singer. Back in 1927, when Warner Brothers set
out to revolutionize the movie business with sound, they figured it would
be perfect for musical numbers. They intended for
people to sing, not talk. But when Al Jolson finished
his first musical number, he did something that
changed Hollywood forever. He started speaking. That’s right, the whole concept
of dialog came from an ad lib. As you can imagine, audiences ate it up. And the rest, as they say, is history.>>[MUSIC]>>Speaker 1: Next up at number 6,
none other than Bill Murray. Mr. Murray seems to be more myth than
manly lately and for good reason. He’s one of the most effortlessly
funny human beings on the planet. After training at Second City improv,
Bill went from National Lampoon to Saturday Night Live,
to his breakout role in Meatballs. And he’s been crafting scenes
on the fly ever since. Whether he was ad libbing
every line in Ghostbusters.>>Speaker 8: I feel so funky.>>Speaker 1: Stealing
the show in Tootsie.>>Speaker 9: I wish I had a theater
that was only open when it rained.>>Speaker 1: Or whispering something
we’ll never know into Scarlett Johansson’s ear in Lost in Translation.>>[INAUDIBLE]
>>Speaker 1: Bill improvised most of the classic comedy
moments from our childhood. But for our pick, it’s gotta be his
Cinderella story from Caddyshack.>>Speaker 10: What
an incredible Cinderella story. This unknown comes out of nowhere
to lead the pack at Augusta. He’s at his final hole. He’s about 455 yards away. He’s gonna hit about a 2-iron, I think. Cinderella story, out of nowhere. A former greenskeeper,
now about to become the Masters champion. [SOUND] It looks like a mirac,
it’s in the hole.>>Speaker 1: The scene was scripted with
only two lines of stage direction and meant as a simple transition shot. But the director,
Bill’s Second City co-star Harold Ramis, had a different idea and
told Bill Murray to go wild. Which is exactly what he did. Now if you give Bill Murray and Harold Ramis two lines of stage direction,
you end up with a scene like that. But if you give it Robert De Niro and
Martin Scorsese, you’re bound to wind up with
something completely different. And that’s exactly how we ended up
with the famous mirror sequence from Taxi Driver.>>Speaker 11: You talking to me?>>Speaker 11: You talking to me?>>Speaker 1: But for our number 5, we’re going with a different
Scorsese improve scene. Yes, we’re talking about the funny
how scene between Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.>>[LAUGH]
>>Speaker 12: You’re really funny.>>[LAUGH]
>>Speaker 12: You’re really funny.>>Speaker 13: What do you mean I’m funny?>>[LAUGH]
>>Speaker 13: It’s funny, that story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy.>>Speaker 12: What do you mean funny? Funny, how? How am I funny?>>Speaker 1: When Pesci told Scorsese
a story about calling a mobster funny back when he was younger, Scorsese told him to
recreate the incident on screen with Ray. The only catch was,
that he didn’t tell anybody else. The resulting scene perfectly captures
the manic nature of Pesci’s character, and the danger of the world they lived in,
all without a single page of script. At number 4, The Breakfast Club. John Hughes shot this high school
classic entirely in sequence. And when he arrived at the dramatic
climax, where they all sit in circle and explain how they ended up there,
Hughes tossed out the script and told them to improvise it. Letting the actors rely on
the instincts they’d built up over the course of the shoot. And the result is one of the most
touching scenes of the film. And we don’t wanna give too much away,
so we’ll just let them do the talking.>>Speaker 14: What’s bizarre? I mean, we’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it,
that’s all.>>Speaker 15: How are you bizarre?>>Speaker 16: He can’t think for himself.>>Speaker 1: Now if there’s one
genre that’s just a gold mine for improv, it’s mockumentary. Borat saw Sacha Baron Cohen
unleash his wild Kazakhstani antics on
an unsuspecting public. And Christopher Guest has directed a long
string of mockumentaries from Waiting for Guffman to Best in Show. But our number 3, goes back to where
it all began with This Is Spinal Tap.>>Speaker 17: It’s such a fine
line between stupid and->>Speaker 18: Clever.>>Speaker 1: Completely unscripted and
based on a party gag, Rob Reiner shot Spinal Tap exactly
as if it were a documentary. Taking nine whole months to essentially
write the movie in the edit bay. But if we had to pick a single scene from
Spinal Tap, even though there are so many, it’s always gotta be the one
with the amp that goes to 11.>>Speaker 17: This is a top
to what we use on stage, but it’s very, very special because,
if you can see.>>Speaker 18: Yeah.>>Speaker 17: The numbers all go to 11. One louder.>>Speaker 18: Why don’t you just make ten
louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?>>Speaker 17: These go to 11.>>Speaker 1: Kubrick’s widely known
as one of the most meticulous and controlling directors to ever walk a set. Hardly letting anyone change so
much as a single line. But if you look at his body of work, he’s gotta surprising amount
of improv throughout.>From Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove.>>Speaker 19: Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!>>Speaker 1: To R Lee Ermey’s
nonstop abuse in Full Metal Jacket.>>Speaker 20: I bet you’re the kinda guy
that would [SOUND] a person in the ass and not even have the God damn common
courtesy to give him a reach around.>>Speaker 1: And even Nicholson’s
classic line from The Shining.>>Speaker 21: Here’s Johnny.>>Speaker 1: But our number 2 goes to
the home invasion from A Clockwork Orange.>>Speaker 22: I’m singin’ in the-
>>[SOUND]>>Speaker 22: Just singin’ in the rain. What a glorious feeling. I’m happy again.>>Speaker 1: Kubrick had spent
four days working on the scene and still felt that something wasn’t working. Frustrated, he asked Malcolm McDowell
if he could try something else, perhaps a dance, in the next take. So McDowell decided to include
a song with his dance. And he belted out the only one he could
remember at the time, which just so happened to be Singin’ In The Rain. The result is one of the eeriest
juxtapositions caught on film. And it just so
happened to be completely unplanned. And finally at number 1, pretty much the entire body of work of the
master of improv himself, Robin Williams. We’re sad to let him go but
grateful for the laughs he left behind. Here’s to Robin.>>Speaker 23: Good morning, Vietnam! 10,000 years will give you
such a crick in the neck. Hello. She used to fart in her sleep.>>[LAUGH]
>>Speaker 23: One night it was so loud, it woke the dog. What’s the weather like out there? It’s hot, damn hot, real hot! Hottest things is my shorts. I can cook things in it. Well, can you tell me what it feels like? Fool, it’s hot! I told you again.
Were you born on the sun?>>[MUSIC]>>Speaker 23: Son of a bitch. Stole my line.>>Speaker 1: So what do you think? Did we leave out one of your
favorite improv scenes? Did you find one of our picks
to be wildly overrated? Let us know in the comments below and
subscribe to Cinefix for more Indiewire movie lists.>>[MUSIC]

Comments 100

  • Prime Time Bitch? 😢

  • So many people trying to add to this list are giving lines and not scenes. "I'm walking here" and "gonna need a bigger boat" were great but are a different category.

  • Orson Welles (Harry Lime's) speech in The Third Man:

  • Some of this isnt true!! Lol. Brando did not tell coppola i gave you enough of hire another actor. Not sure where gets info.

  • FAIL. Half the time you didn't even show the scene you were talking about.

  • Hey, where's "You're gonna need a bigger boat?" Come on.

  • You could have done top ten with Robin Williams, now THAT would have been a top ten!

  • Young Frankenstein

  • Damn, if the narrator would shut up for 15 seconds and allow us to hear what Al Jolson said, for example, I could have finished watching this garbage. As it is, this entire video is GARBAGE.

  • Please stop encouraging these idiots to second guess the writers. Hollywood keeps marginalizing writers to their chagrin.

  • you cut off all the punchlines that show WHY those scenes were great…sort of like showing us all the gifts under the christmas tree and omitting the opening of the gifts to find out what they were…I know you love your own voice, but we didn't click to hear you.

  • What is the name of the song at the end of the video playing over the Robin Williams montage

  • R Lee Emery should always be #1. Awful, list but at least it had movies older that 1997.

  • now it's o k to notice the media's blatant racism against white males now…repeat

  • Does anyone know the name of the song playing at the end, around 8:50?

  • The "are you gonna cry?" Scene from Austin Power. Were you can see number 1 laughing his ass off.
    The "you whant to hear the most annoying sound in the world?" from dumb and dumber.

  • Thumbs for the Jazz Singer

  • People give credit to Bill Murray rightfully so for being one of the funniest men to ever live but not enough credit for his improve genius. Like you mentioned most of the original Ghostbusters he ad-libed but just about every line he said on Caddyshack was ad-libed as well not just the "Cinderella Story". He was only on set for that movie for like 3 days and shot all of his scenes in that time winging it. The scene with him and Chevy is classic cause that's mostly both of them ad-libing together and they hated each other in real life. That would be e hard I think.

  • Probably been said 10 times, Clint Eastwood's scene with Clive the Orang-Utang. Master actor, director, writer, and music composer had it in the early days.

  • So no actual scenes in this stupid last?

  • My first thought when I read the title: Are they all Robin Williams?

  • This list is shit

  • Are you gonna show anything or just talk about it

  • Mellisa isn't funny

  • better hide your baby oil, better hide that big a** forhead

  • Leonardo DiCaprio cutting himself in django unchained

  • In the movie Cocoon the fishing scene when Wilfred Brimley's character is fishing with his grandson and tells the boy that they are going away is completely improvised. They had been trying to get the scene to work and it wasn't working. Brimley told Ron Howard, "Just let me talk to the boy." The result was the scene that made it into the movie.

  • Always love Mr Williams work, RIP and thanks for the laughs!!

  • Not exactly improv, but…
    The actors in Alive! Didn't eat for about 3 days before filming the scene where they discuss eating their friends.
    The actors in Alien were not warned about the "chestbuster". Their shock and panic was completely real.

  • The best improvised scene was the silent dinner scene in Soylent Green. Edgar G Robinson and Charlton Heston, two great actors interacting without dialog.

  • The Scene in On the Waterfront was not Improved. Budd Schulberg who was guest to our screen writing Class OCC. Was asked about the famous scene. He was on set for the whole movie because it was shot on the waterfront in NJ. Budd said he wrote every word of that scene. THe only word that Brando added to the script was: "WOW". He said that is how great of an Actor Brando was. I can give you more info to prove this if you wish.

  • This whole list is crap.

  • Where is Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones scene where he shot the guy with the sword…he had an ulcer acting up that day….BANG

  • Ooh no, another "Top 10 … in movies" with all 10 USA hollywood movies.

  • Bridesmaids? Really? That thing was a copycat piece of boring crap.

  • God Speed Robin Williams. ..RIP

  • How about Matt Damon's story about his brothers in "Saving Private Ryan"? Tom Hanks dropped character for a split second when he looked back at Spielberg to see if he was going to keep the scene going.

  • Why do people get so bent out of shape when their favorite scene doesn't end up on somebody else's list? Mind boggling. If you don't have enough class to appreciate someone's efforts, then go make your own damn video. Show us all how crappy your own list is.

  • Gotta have the Jefferson Airplane scene in the Cable Guy Classic…..

  • Where is Han Solo saying "I know" to Princess Leia? Those 2 words perfected his character. Literally. That phrase right there elevated his character.

    Or many times in Ghostbusters. It was one of the funniest movies of all times. Murray had good adlib in Caddyshack, but Ghostbusters he was the main character.

  • Robin Williams you glorious bastard

  • Johnny depp in potc

  • Jack Nicholson whitches of eastwick, Monolog at church

  • JEFF GOLDBLUM, As "Seth Brundle" – "THE FLY" (1986):

    The "Coffee Shop Scene" – being-that half-of-it was completely improvised. Goldblum "imagined" the additional dialog potential while studying Director David Chronenberg's script the night-before shooting, feeling that the scene seemed "kind-of incomplete"…


    After experiencing unfounded suspicions, insecurities and jealousy over Veronica's continuing "interactions" with "old boyfriend", Stathis Borans, Seth Brundle recklessly experiments by "teleporting" himself – while in a DRUNKEN depression/stupor – through his as-of-yet not fully-proven "Telepods", and, unbeknownst to him (or ANYONE ELSE), is genitically "fused" with the Fly/Fly genes, causing him to "speed-up", like a fly, and launch into a series of bizarre behaviors (for a Human), such as heaping mssive amounts of sugar into his coffe, while musing – in "stream-of- consciousness" fashion – about his new-found "feelings" and "abilities", in this CLASSIC, "MANIC-RANT, MOVIE MOMENT"!:



  • In TopGun 2, They will be training-teaching Girls (Women) Arial combat-Dog Fighting. That is the Spoiler Alert. See the Movie on how they do this and the obsticals they indure..

  • #8
    That’s why it’s still the best solo Marvel movie

  • The camera crew filming The Breakfast Club had incredible instincts, almost like they knew who was going to speak and when.

  • A lot of comments here are about improvised lines, whereas this list is of whole scenes that were improvised.

  • How can "These go to eleven" be improvised when they have taken the trouble to print 11 on the amplifiers before the shoot? Asking for a friend…

  • And DeNiro has convinced himself he's tough ever since. Perennial jackass. Not to worry, you got about 2 right.

  • Have fun storming the castle. Billy Crystal and Carol Kane improvised in The Princess Bride. There’s a big difference btwn mostly dead n all dead. Hilarious duo as Max & Valerie.

  • #11 The scooter crash at the beginning of American Graffiti. That was a real accident and George Lucas decided to keep it in the movie.

  • Also in Caddyshack, the whole Bill Murray story about the meeting the Dhali Llama was complete improve including the placement of the pitchfork which scared the teenage boy that it came quite close to during it.

  • What about Robert Shaw in jaws

  • Viddy well Robbin Williams, Viddy well.

  • BridesMaids? The most overrated film ever!

  • Going "off book" and improv in a scene are two different things.

  • Rutger Hauer.. "I've seen things, you people, would not believe… " etc.

    When Ridley Scott lets you go and refuses to stop filming, you know it's special.

    I know Scorsese has the monopoly on letting actors go full tilt and creating magic, but this one moment from Hauer is just magical. Iconic. Just ….. amazing.

    I guess it is easily overlooked, except the day after his death. RIP.

  • I don't care how much of a ;legend he is or how amazing his performances are, I hate Brando as an actor.

  • So thoughtful of you for not pinpointing any work of the great Robin Williams and accompanying the short clip …. Gone but not forgotten thank you. Rip

  • I loved Ledger's perfomence in Batman

  • luv that "funny how" scene!!!

  • Pretty much the entirely of Thor ragnarok was improv, I especially love the snake story

    Side note: I had no idea that singin in the rain from clockwork orange was improv, that’s incredible! I wonder if that’s why they added the song later in the movie in the scene where Alex is taking a bath

  • Star Wars:
    – I love you
    – I know

  • One of the best ever was Robert Shaw telling the story of the USS Indianapolis during WWII in Jaws. He improv'd the whole thing.

  • Brando doesn't deserve a spot because that was less improv and more the crazed ramblings of a lunatic diva.

    Replace it with the classic scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana just shoots the guy instead of fighting him because Ford was so sick he didn't want to do the scene.

  • Has anyone mentioned Robert Shaw's monologue from Jaws? Almost certain that was improved.

  • Dude: Han Solo's answer to Leia's: "I love you".. "I know!"… Harrison Ford at his best

  • Cassavetes, Mother F%*$(#( how could you leave out Cassavetes?!

  • I walked out of A Clockwork Orange during the scene you showed and I'm glad I did. Hated Kubrick's entire body if work…something truly perverted about him.

  • James Dean in East of Eden. That's my favourite.

  • How in the hell did they forget to include the fart in the phone booth scene in Rain man?????

  • 7:54 Robin Williams? What?

  • Leonardo Di Caprio in Django Unchained the dinner scene.

  • How about Dustin Hoffman's "I'm walking here!".

  • Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. " Nobody puts baby in the corner." total improv.

  • What about Anchorman scenes. Like "I love lamp"

  • Dave's not here, man.

  • harrison fords interview scene in the fugitive was improvised in that he did not know what the officers were going to ask or say

  • Robin is absolutely missed. He was a true comedian. 💔

  • 'the rest, as they say, is history'… wow that's original

  • Spinal Tap??!
    Are you kidding me….I believe that movie was 90% improvised 😂

  • In silence of the lamb‘s it’s my understanding that the first meeting of Anthony Hopkins and Jody foster was an improve

  • Django Unchained: Leonardo Dicaprio cuts his hand.

  • Judd Apatow is a commie cocksucker.

  • When Harrison Ford, as Han Solo, responds to Princess Leia's "I love you" with "I know." It's perfect.

  • This video wasn't that great in comparison to the general videos of this channel. Bridesmaids and Ironman? "really great actors in there. For sure will remain cornerstones in movie history. Future generations will learn from them." What does Pacino and De nIro know right? Really failed this video. At least you fixed in a way finishing with Robin Williams.

  • go away and fuck off with Bridesmaids in the top 10

  • ….Trailer Park Boys?

  • Can do without number 10 – hands down!!

  • And Robert De Niro is a communist punk piece of shit!

  • Ooh and Rob Reiner is a pile of Communist Trash!

  • And lastly there is the Depressed Clown… Garbage through and through. See ya!

  • Robin Williams is truly one of the best improvisors. Should have had some Mrs. Doubtfire in there.

  • The jail scene from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. As per the script, "I know somebody here, Lawrence Jameson. We're like THIS!" But Steve Martin forgot the name. Everything that follows was improvised.

  • Rip Robin 5 years today gone but not forgotten

  • Matt Damon’s story about his brothers in Saving Private Ryan

  • Damn right robin williams #1

  • Woulda been nice to actually show those moments.

  • The Usual Suspects

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