Watching a movie and quoting the lines that have become a staple of popular culture is one of the best things you can do. We frequently assume that the screenwriters wrote every line, but surprisingly, some of the greatest movie quotes have never been written down.
They originate from actors who are gifted, funny, and smart and who occasionally take a chance to try something brand-new, outrageous, or exhilarating. It works and doesn’t work occasionally. In this instance, the actor’s improvisational use of these unscripted lines helped some of these films become classics. Find out which famous movie quotes were entirely the actor’s creation…
A Few Good Men
In the film A Few Good Men’s climactic scene, Tom Cruise’s Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee questions Jack Nicholson’s commanding performance as Colonel Nathan Jessup vigorously. As Kaffee yells at Jessup, “I want the truth,” the situation is tense.
It was written in for Nicholson to say, “You already know the truth!” The famous line “You can’t handle the truth!” instead emerged because Nicholson didn’t like the original line. Many people are unaware that Jack Nicholson was nominated for an Academy Award for the movie despite spending only a little under 15 minutes on camera.
One of those corny anti-war movies that made a point by making fun of military life was Dr. Strangelove. While the film was amusing, it was Peter Sellers—who also had two other lines and played Dr. Strangelove—who contributed some of the script’s best jokes.
“Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!” the wheelchair-bound titular doctor exclaims at the conclusion after being miraculously healed. It was one of the more memorable quotes from the movie because it was executed so well and had the right comedic timing.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Indiana Jones trilogy, which culminated in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was one of the most well-liked trilogies of the 1980s thanks to Harrison Ford’s portrayal of everyone’s favorite heroic archaeologist.
Harrison Ford’s Indiana and Sean Connery’s Henry are captured at one point, and Indiana queries Henry about how he knew Elsa, who betrayed them, was a Nazi. Connery chose to improvise his response even though it wasn’t in the script: “She talks in her sleep.” The entire crew thought the innuendo and line were brilliant.
The beloved movie Caddyshack is now regarded as one of the all-time great comedies. It’s not surprising that it became a legendary hit given the stellar cast of comedic legends it featured, including Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield.
What an incredible Cinderella story! That is how Bill Murray begins his monologue in the movie, in which he describes his ideal golfing career. Bill Murray transformed a line from director Harold Ramis’ script that simply read, “Carl is outside of the clubhouse practicing his golf swing, cutting the tops off of flowers with a grass whip,” into a memorable scene.
One factor contributing to Animal House’s status as a classic comedy is John Belushi’s portrayal of Bluto in the film. In addition to having perfect timing and delivery, Belushi was a master of physical comedy, which he shows off in numerous ways throughout the movie.
He hears the word “pig” while stuffing an absurd amount of food onto his cafeteria tray in one scene. “See if you can guess what I am now,” he continues. He then presses on his cheeks while holding a piece of food in his mouth, smearing the remaining food on the others. I’m a zit, he then quips. Get it?” The cafeteria performance by the SNL legend was entirely improvised.
Want to read more? Here are kissing scenes in movies that weren’t scripted.
Unquestionably, one of the best horror films ever made is Jaws. It’s a brilliant trick by Steven Spielberg to keep viewers on the edge of their seats for a significant portion of the movie without ever showing them the titular shark.
When Roy Scheider’s character suddenly gets a close-up view of the beast, the crew is preparing for the threat they are facing. He slinks back slowly while improvising the line, “You’re going to need a bigger boat,” while holding the recognizable cigarette in his mouth. It’s also a great jab at the low-budget movie makers for not investing in a bigger ship.
The best moments in movies sometimes happen by accident. Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voigt play two con artists in the movie Midnight Cowboy. The most New York moment occurs during one of Hoffman’s monologues.
The fictional characters of Rizzo and Joe Buck, played by Hoffman and Voigt, are walking down the street when a real taxi inadvertently crashes through the set and speeds toward them, almost running them over. Hoffman curses the driver out while slamming on the hood and shouting, “I’m walkin’ here!” People probably only remember that brief, unexpected moment from the movie.
When Harry Met Sally
It is difficult to forget the passage from the vintage romantic comedy. In the movie When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan’s Sally loudly pretended to have “it” in a public restaurant. She only does this to make a point to Harry, played by Billy Crystal.
Ryan’s on-screen antics after Crystal’s suggestion quickly rose to prominence, and the line that follows is even more well-known. A woman (who just so happened to be played by director Rob Reiner’s mother) simply says to the waiter, “I’ll have what she’s having,” as everyone is starting to gape at Sally.
There are numerous memorable quotes and moments in The Godfather. The film is considered to be among the best films ever made, so it has been and will remain a classic. There was excellent writing, but there was also excellent improvisation.
In this scene, Paulie Gatto is taken outside of town to be killed by Richard Castellano’s Peter Clemenza and an unidentified henchman. Clemenza is in the area where Paulie is shot while Clemenza is nearby. The bulky Clemenza instructs his accomplice to “leave the gun; take the cannoli” as he returns to the car. The last three words added the ideal amount of understated humor to a film that featured intense drama and violent action.
Dumb and Dumber
Jim Carrey is a unique talent who has a remarkable knack for making almost anything amusing. There are many memorable quotes from the timeless comedy Dumb and Dumber that fans adore. One of them, which some people might find more cringe-inducing, was entirely fabricated by Carrey.
While their most recent hitchhiker sits between them and is extremely irritated, Carrey’s Lloyd and his co-star Jeff Daniels’ Harry are constantly hitting each other and acting childish. Want to hear the world’s most obnoxious sound?, Carrey improvises after telling them to stop. He then emits a noise that is unique to Jim Carrey. Before the camera pans away, if you look closely, you can see Jeff Daniels begin to laugh.
Forrest Gump, like some of the other movies on our list, has a lot of memorable lines that are frequently quoted, the majority of which were scripted. But when the main character first meets his best friend Bubba, there is a wonderful spontaneous moment.
“People call me Bubba,” says Bubba as he makes his introduction. Instead of responding with “My name is Forrest Gump,” as he was supposed to, Tom Hanks mimicked Bubba and said, “People call me Forrest Gump.”
Full Metal Jacket
It’s not shocking that Full Metal Jacket received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing. You might be surprised to learn that Sergeant Hartman, arguably the movie’s most enduring character, did not have any scripted dialogue.
R. Lee Ermey, the actor who played him, was formerly a drill instructor for the Marines at Parris Island. The legendary director Stanley Kubrick simply instructed him to say what he had said previously on camera, which is how the famous line “I’ll bet you could suck a golf ball through a garden hose” came to be.
Rick Moranis was well-known for his mastery of improvisation before he became a movie star. Although he hasn’t appeared on screen in a few decades, many of his roles are still considered fan favorites because of his reputation as the king of the ad-lib. One of the reasons Ghostbusters is such a classic is because of his performance as Louis Tully, who in the film is the ideal example of an uncool guy.
He throws a party for many of his clients at one point rather than his friends. The line that most people may recall is when Louis asks, “Ok, who brought the dog?” as the monster is about to erupt from the coat room. Later, it was discovered that most of the scene was entirely improvised, primarily by Moranis.
Avengers: Infinity War
Over a dozen movies made up the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which gradually built to its climactic plot. The stakes in Avengers: Infinity War may be the highest of any movie to date. Though the heroes are attempting to prevent the villain Thanos from eradicating half of the universe’s population, you would think that since this is a superhero movie, the good guys would ultimately triumph.
The movie does end with Thanos actually snapping his fingers and literally turning half the population into dust, which is very heartbreaking for an action movie. I don’t want to go, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man bemoans to his mentor Tony Stark as he slowly starts to fade away. Most fans were unaware that the heartbreaking line was entirely spontaneous.
Good Will Hunting
Even though Robin Williams is a comedy legend, his incredible acting in the serious roles he played throughout his career is even more impressive. He won an Oscar for his performance in Good Will Hunting as Dr. Sean Maguire, Will’s therapist.
Williams was supposed to tell a story about how his deceased wife would turn off the alarm during one of Sean and Will’s sessions, but he improvised one about how she used to pass gas in her sleep, and that it was sometimes so loud that it woke up the dog. It’s one of the most endearing moments in the popular film, and Damon’s laughter (as well as the cameraman’s) laughs are entirely sincere