Every memorable film has a memorable quote, but many don’t realise that some of the world’s most iconic lines of dialogue were actually improvised by clever crew and cast.
Here are 7 examples of unforgettable movie lines you probably never knew were improvised.
#1 Blade Runner
“All those…moments…will be lost in time, like tears…in…rain. Time…to die…”
Roy Batty’s final monologue was apparently improvised by actor Rutger Hauer. It was originally two pages long, but Hauer decided to shorten it considerably to spare the audience from a drawn out death scene.
“You’re going to need a bigger boat.”
One of the most famous lines in cinema history, this line from Jaws was famously ad-libbed by Roy Scheider.
#3 Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Leia: “I love you!” Han: “I know”
“It was such a contest between George and I about whether that was appropriate or whether the audience would enjoy that line or not, to the point where he made me go to a test screening to sit next to him, to prove it was going to get a bad laugh,” Ford recalled with a smile. “And it didn’t. It got a good laugh. So it stayed in.” Harrison Ford explains.
Following David Duchovny‘s long, complex explanation of Mugatu’s diabolical plot, Ben Stiller accidentally repeated his inceptive line, “But why male models?” Duchovny stayed in character, improvising, “Are you serious? I just told you that a moment ago,” as a riff on Derek Zoolander‘s idiocy.
#5 Taxi Driver
“You talkin’ to me?”
In the original script Schrader had simply written “Bickle speaks to himself in the mirror.” Alone in his grubby apartment, Robert De Niro‘s loner sociopath character Travis Bickle is planning to shoot a politician. In the mirror he is practising with the sleeve-holster he made for his gun. Catching his reflection, he postures, repeating “You talkin’ to me?” before whipping out his gun and taking aim.
#6 The Shining
Jack Nicholson‘s character chases his wife through the hotel with an axe. She locks herself in a bathroom, and when Torrance chops through the door, he pokes his demented face through the hole and wails, “Heeeeeere’s Johnny!” Nicholson was mimicking the catchphrase used by Ed McMahon to introduce Johnny Carson on The Johnny Carson Show.
#7 When Harry Met Sally
“I’ll have what she’s having”
Following Meg Ryan’s fauxgasm performance at Katz’s Deli, Billy Crystal suggested the now iconic punchline, “I’ll have what she’s having,” which was delivered by director Rob Reiner’s mother.