Lights, Camera, Action: 5 Improvised Movie Scenes

Ashlynn Cartrette, Staff Writer

Stock photo from

Stock photo from

I’m sure we can all agree that movies are one of the great joys in life.  Whether you’re watching in a theater or at home with your good friend on Netflix, movies provide hours of entertainment.  Now, let’s take a moment to be in awe of some actors who accidentally created classic quotes.  It is easy to forget that improvising is common in acting, but below you will find five famous movie quotes that were actually improvised. 


1.     "Beauty and the Beast" – Animation

2017 has brought some exciting new films, but today we’re throwing it back to 1991 with the classic, animated "Beauty and the Beast."  David Ogden Stiers, the voice of Cogsworth, coined one of the beloved clock’s most famous lines.  The line “Flowers, chocolate, promises you don’t intend to keep,” was entirely improvised.  Disney is known for their heartfelt stories, and it’s clever little statements like this that keep audiences coming back for more, regardless of their age.

2.     "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest"

Jack Sparrow, surely the most beloved pirate in history, never fails to make audiences laugh.  One of his most memorable scenes from this film is the “jar of dirt.”  This scene was completely unscripted, purely from the brains of Johnny Depp; one quirky scene that quickly became a classic.  Can we all agree that we have quoted this scene an excessive amount? (*sings* I’ve got a jar of dirt, I’ve got a jar of dirt)

3.     The Dark Knight

The late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker created one of the most admired villains; yes, he is a “bad guy,” but his character brought so much to the film.  How could you not laugh at his (dark) jokes?  Many of Ledger’s scenes have improvised elements, but one of the most chilling is his clapping in the jail cell.  The mocking tone of that scene fully captures the Joker’s essence and satisfaction with the trouble he has caused the police workers. 

4.     Jaws

When character Chief Martin Brody, played by Roy Scheider, first sees the shark, Bruce, he improvised one of the most renowned quotes from that film.  Brody nervously states, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” as he realizes the size and strength of the terror they are attempting to fight.

5.     Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Last, but certainly not least, Harry Potter.  This scene provides two improvised lines, one from Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy, and one from Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter.  Isaacs improvised his exit quote, stating, “Let us hope Mr. Potter will always be around to save the day.”  Radcliffe, knowing nothing of that line before the scene, retorts, “Don’t worry.  I will be.”  Both of those lines truly emulate their characters, Malfoy having to be smug and get the last word, and Potter stepping up in bravery, surprising everyone with his grand resolve; this was just one of many improvised scenes from the Harry Potter series.