12 Famous Movie Scenes That Were Actually Improvised

When you think of moviemaking, you likely think of a very rigorous and regimented process. The sets are built, the actors and actresses learn their lines, and then the cameras start rolling. While some film sets operate like that, just as many – if not more, actually – are quite a bit looser than that.

Throughout movie history, directors have always chosen to leave at least a little room for their actors and actresses to improvise. You might expect this on a comedy film, but it also happens in dramas and action films, too! In fact, some of the most famous movie lines ever uttered and some of the most famous scenes ever filmed were 100% improvised.

Below, we’re going to review 12 of the most famous movie scenes of all time that were totally improvised. From a certain feline in a famous gangster movie to one of the funniest movie characters of all time, you’re going to be shocked to learn about these scenes that were completely not in the script!

1. Don Corleone’s Cat

When you picture Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone from The Godfather, what do you see in your mind’s eye? If you’re like most, you picture Don Corleone sitting in a darkened, smoky room stoically stroking his cat on the day of his daughter’s marriage.

Here’s the thing about the cat: The script didn’t actually call for it at all! The feline was merely found wandering the set by Marlon. He then decided (without consulting anyone, mind you) to incorporate it into the scene, and movie history was made.


2. “It’s in the Hole!”

1980’s Caddyshack is one of the funniest movies ever made, and a big part of that has to do with Bill Murray’s hysterical portrayal of Carl Spackler, the groundskeeper. During a simple scene, Carl is depicted hacking up the landscaping while narrating as if he’s about to win The Masters.

Really, it should come as absolutely no surprise that this scene was entirely improvised. Bill Murray, a veteran of Saturday Night Live and improv troops before that, is no stranger to being funny off the cuff. It almost makes you wonder if he’ll appear on this list again…

3. “Here’s Looking at You, Kid…”

When you’re talking about the most iconic lines in all of movie history, “Here’s looking at you, kid” from Casablanca is always at or near the top of the list. However, the original script for the scene where Rick says goodbye to Ilsa and Victor at the airport didn’t call for this line at all!

As it turns out, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman had taken to playing cards in between takes of the movie. During those times, Humphrey would say “Here’s looking at you, kid” when it was Ingrid’s turn to bet. When it came time to film the famous scene, Humphrey simply added the line to the dialogue. Incredible!

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