The Greatest Unscripted Scenes In Film (A Video Gallery)

By: 08.15.11  •  4 Comments

Since YouTube best-of compilation-maker extraordinaire MewLists is in and on our brain today, here’s a little something extra: He recently put together a video of 25 great unscripted scenes in film, and the picture of R. Lee Ermey is above because he’s a master of on-screen improv. Also because he’ll probably kill us if we don’t put his picture up at least once a week. (It’s called the Ermey Tax, and all bloggers pay it, either in free promotion or in blood.)
Anyway, after much help from some fantastic Redditors, we’ve found some scenes that weren’t included in the compilation and we’ve got a run down of those after the jump. FYI, there might be NSFW audio in some of these — be sure to keep the captioning on for the first video, as it explains each scene. Also, if someone looks over your shoulder from across the room, they might think you’re watching fancy subtitled movies like a refined artiste. And then sex is on.

Heath Ledger stayed in character like a boss.

During this day of shooting on Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harrison Ford was sick. He was supposed to have a long fight scene that ended with him shooting his opponent. Instead, he sped things up a bit with an improvisation that stuck.

Per Wikipedia: “According to Pesci, improvisation and ad-libbing came out of rehearsals where Scorsese let the actors do whatever they wanted. He made transcripts of these sessions, took the lines that the actors came up with that he liked best, and put them into a revised script that the cast worked from during principal photography. For example, the scene where Tommy tells a story and Henry is responding to him — the “what’s so funny about me” scene — is based on an actual event that happened to Pesci. It was worked on in rehearsals where he and Liotta improvised and Scorsese recorded 4-5 takes, rewrote their dialogue and inserted it into the script”

Everything they did and said after they jumped out of bed was improvised.

The part about Bugs Bunny is improvised.

John Cazale improvised that he wanted to flee to the country of “Wyoming”. There’s a much better quality video here but it wouldn’t embed.

Honorable mentions:
The mirror scene in Apocalypse Now and most of Brando’s lines.
This scene in Zoolander. Stiller forgot the line, so he said, “Why male models?” a second time.
Stanley Kubrik’s entire catalogue. For a guy who was so precise about everything in his films, he would still allow some great improvisations from worthy actors.
This scene from Shaun of the Dead doesn’t embed, but at 1:20 Nick Frost starts improvising a backstory for other characters in the Winchester Pub, and Simon Pegg’s laughter is real.

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