15 Iconic Movie Moments That Were Actually Improvised

Sunday, February 4 on NBC (8:30-11 p.m. ET)

THE FUGITIVE -- NBC Theatrical -- Pictured: Tommy Lee Jones as Marshal Samuel Gerard -- Warner Bros. Photo

 From bringing the wrong weapon to a fight to Oscar winning psychopaths we look at 15 iconic movie moments that were actually improvised


15 – Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli – The Godfather

• The mafia epic actually has a few improvised moments including the cat sitting on Don Corleone’s lap near the beginning of the film but it’s the epic ‘Take the cannoli’ line that makes the cut.
• Originally the line was meant to be absent from the scene but actor Richard Castellano came up with the line in beautiful moment of quick thinking using the improv to play off a line in the previous scene.
• Showing perfectly that the cold hearted Mafia will not only murder you, they will also deny you your sweet Sicilian pastries as well which makes a death sentence seem merciful.
14 – Game over Man – Aliens

• This iconic line from James Cameron’s action packed Alien sequel was about as pre planned as giving birth to a newborn Xenomorph creature
• Originally the scene was much more toned down with Hudson only kicking around some rocks and quizzically asking what the crash stranded team were going to do now.
• Actor Bill Paxton though decided the scene needed more freaking the fuck out and thus gave one of the film’s best moments that didn’t include a power loader.
13 – Gun vs Sword – Raiders of the Lost Ark

• Here we have a bad situation from Indy’s first adventure that turned out to be a blessing in disguise with one with a moment that sums up the character perfectly.
• Indy is confronted with a skilled swordsman who shows off his skills quite impressively but instead of taking him on in a swordfight Dr. Jones shoots him point blank and shrugs as if to say “that guy was a dickhead”
• Turns out in the script there was a long swordfight and was only dropped due to Ford getting food poisoning the night before and couldn’t perform the scene as needed. So in a moment of comedic brilliance the scene was changed and presto…pure Indiana Jones.
12 – Warriors come out to play! – The Warriors


• This cult gang film features some of the most awesomely crazy street gangs like the Baseball Furies and one iconic improvised line
• After hunting the Warriors all night the Rogues are waiting for them on their home turf, Coney Island. To announce the trap, gang leader Luther cries out the iconic line while clinking beer bottles together.
• Contrary to what is most commonly reported the line was definitely improvised but not by actor David Patrick Kelly but by director Walter Hill. Even though Hill credits Kelly with coming up with the line the actor has stated that he can only take credit for the beer bottles.

11 – The Jokers detonator – The Dark Knight


• Heath Ledger really did throw himself into the role of the Joker with ultimately tragic results but there were a few laughs along the way.
• Along with the slow motion clapping during the prison break, Ledger also improvised the broken detonator scene
• The random moment really helps to capture the spirit of the Joker as villain that you can laugh at while still being intimidating as all fuck. It’s a sad reminder of how great Ledger was in the role.


  • Epic (41%)
  • Lewd (18%)
  • Wat (18%)
  • Creepy (12%)
  • No (12%)

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