50 Greatest Improvised Movie Scenes

Inception (2010)

The Improvisation: “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling,” advises Eames (Tom Hardy), as he shoulders Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) out of the way and whips out a super-huge firearm.

What Was In The Script: The “darling” part was Hardy’s own affectionate, plummy addition. “The ‘darling’ part was accidental,” the actor admits. “I came out with ‘darling’ and we kept it in because it was funny.”

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

The Improvisation: General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) is getting loaded in a murky bar when in comes Iron Man himself (Robert Downey Jr.). “I hear you have an unusual problem,” he says. “What if I told you we were putting a team together…”

What Was In The Script: Not a single line, apparently. “We improv’d that,” admits Hurt. “The entire scene had no lines written down. We did improv for that entire scene.”

X-Men: First Class (2011)

The Improvisation: “Go fuck yourself,” growls Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) during his cameo in the X prequel. He’s the first character in any of the X flicks to drop an F-bomb.

What Was In The Script:
“Fuck off” was the line in the script. But after trying that seven times over, Jackman let rip with something a little more graphic.

Like Crazy (2011)

The Improvisation: Jacob (Anton Yelchin) has flown to London to spend some time with love of his life Anna (Felicity Jones). Except then they get into a massive argument in the kitchen, which seems to seal their fate.

What Was In The Script: Pretty much nothing. Jones told The Telegraph that the entire script was improvised based on director Drake Doremus' experiences in a long distance relationship.

The Hangover (2009)

The Improvisation: Zack Galifianakis makes a baby do completely unspeakable things to itself.

What Was In The Script: Well, not that, that’s for sure. “The one improv that will haunt me for the rest of my life, is the [ scene where I ] make the baby [ unknowingly mimic a sexual act ],” says Galifianakis.

“So that was improvised not with a real baby obviously, but a doll. I was like, ‘Todd [ Phillips ], look at this.’ And Todd, the director, was like, ‘Oh, we have to put that in the movie.’”

Humpday (2009)

The Improvisation: Ben (Mark Duplass) and Monica (Lynn Shelton) are in bed together. As they half-heartedly attempt to get jiggy with it, they admit they’re both “so tired”…

What Was In The Script:
The script, according to director Shelton, was merely a patchwork of scene ideas that were then given life by the actors.

Being John Malkovich (1999)

The Improvisation: “Hey, Malkovich, think fast!” yells a guy out of his car window as he hurls something at the wayward actor.

What Was In The Script: That iconic line was the result of a particularly enthusiastic extra, who was merely told to throw something at Malkovich. Instead, he hurled that line as well.

Mars Attacks! (1996)

The Improvisation: Voice actor Frank Welker lent the Martians in Tim Burton's space invasion-er their own very unique language – a series of high-pitched barks.

What Was In The Script: No dialogue whatsoever was written for the Martians, meaning everything that Welker did was entirely improvised.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The Improvisation: “I need a vacation,” states a beaten-up T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), looking like he really does.

What Was In The Script: According to James Cameron’s commentary on the T2 DVD, Arnie improvised the line, basing it on a line of description from the script that said the Terminator ‘looks like he needs a vacation’.

Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

The Improvisation: Ed (Nick Frost) attempts to cheer buddy Shaun (Simon Pegg) up at the pub by regaling him with stories about the regulars there – including describing a woman who looks like an ex-pornstar.

What Was In The Script:
Merely a meeting in the pub, apparently. Pegg’s giggly responses to Frost’s improvising are all the real deal.