A lot of this movie was the talented comedic actresses in the cast going off book, but Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone’s “Air Marshall” exchange takes the cake.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Marlon Brando’s performance as Col Kurtz was largely made up on the spot. And while we don’t endorse actors not learning their lines, we can’t fault what came of it in this instance…
Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey, Jr surprised everyone in his comeback performance as Tony Stark. Everyone – because most of what he said wasn’t in the script.
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Al Jolson’s improvised dialogue pretty much invented the entire concept of talking in movies. Think about that.
Bill Murray’s been giving improvised performances his whole career, but his hilarious ad libbed “Cinderella Story” on the golf course made Caddyshack the movie it is today.
The “Funny How?” exchange between Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta was a genius bit of collaboration between Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese – and no one else in the scene.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The climactic scene in which the teenagers finally bond over how they came to where they were was based entirely on the actors’ knowledge of the characters. And it worked.
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
It goes to 11.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The home invasion scene never came together, until Malcolm McDowell was given reign to improvise on the next take. His brutal song-and-dance number makes this one of the most chilling scenes in movie history.
From “GOOOOD Morning Vietnam” to Night at the Museum, Robin Williams was master of improv, and his riffs enriched every role he ever inhabited. We’ll miss his unique voice for years to come.