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The Best Improvised Movie Scenes

These actors thought on their feet and came out with magic.

Caddyshack – “It’s in the hole!”

Bill Murray holds a black belt in improvisation; almost all of his iconic lines were straight off the dome. In the case of Caddyshack, most of Murray’s lines were improvised, including this famous scene which was taken from just two lines of direction.

The Shining - “Here’s Johnny!”

It was off the cuff when Jack Nicholson took that famous line and changed it forever (for the creepier). The chase was originally shot with a fake door, but Nicholson destroyed it too fast, so if you think that Shelley Duvall’s terror was scripted, think again.

Reservoir Dogs – Getting an Earful

Mr. Blonde, one of cinema’s best psychopaths, slices off a cop’s ear with a straight razor to the smooth sounds of Stealers Wheel, before dousing him with gasoline. Michael Madsen, being far less of a psychopath than the character he portrayed, had difficulty finishing the scene, but not before improvising a little message into the victim’s recently removed ear.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin – “You Know How I Know That You’re Gay?”

Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd are like peanut butter and jelly, although instead of creating a delicious sandwich, they create silver screen magic. A quick YouTube search reveals that more of this gold spilled over into a whole other movie.

Raiders of the Lost Ark – Indy runs out of patience

In the script for Raiders, Indiana Jones took on the expert swordsman with only his whip. Spielberg actually filmed some of this, with a piece of the footage ending up in the original trailer. But as the filming wore on, Ford – who was riddled with dysentery and dehydration – grew fed up and asked “Why don’t we just shoot the bastard?” Who said dysentery never contributed anything to society?

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