'You Can't Handle The Truth!': 10 Famous Movie Lines That Were Actually Improvised
VARSITY BLUES: 'KEEP SMILING, S—HEAD'
The famous zinger delivered by Jon Voight's character Coach Kilmer was entirely off the cuff, according to the actor's Varsity Blues costar James Van Der Beek. "The team's practicing. Jon Voight is there for the first day. And I walk into my trailer and I've got the wrong helmet. I've got lineman shoulder pads and pants with no pads in them. Where is my stuff?" Van Der Beek began. So, they took him off the field for his first scene with Voight and swapped in his stunt double, Peter Gardere. "And he's running past Jon Voight and he's like 'Come on, Moxon!' And he's screaming at Peter Gardere and Peter doesn't know what to do, he just kinda smiles." That's when Voight dropped the classic line: "And Jon goes, 'Keep smiling, s—head!' "
CLUELESS: 'I'M KEEPIN' IT REAL!'
The movie's iconic party scene saw Donald Faison's character Murray getting his head shaved while subsequently being scolded by his girlfriend Dionne (Stacey Dash), which prompted Murray to respond: "I'm keepin' it real." In an interview with Vulture, Faison spoke about the origin of the line. "I heard that from my neighbor. Some kid in my neighborhood said, 'Just keep it real. Just make sure you keep it real.' And I was like, 'Oh. That's what the kids are saying now?' And so I put that in there myself: 'I'm keepin' it real. Because I'm keepin' it real.' "
A FEW GOOD MEN: 'YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH'
Turns out Jack Nicholson's now-famous line, which he shouted at Tom Cruise's character in one of the film's final scenes, was ad-libbed. The movie's original screenplay boasted the line "You already have the truth," which Nicholson trimmed to "You can't handle the truth."
TAXI DRIVER: 'YOU TALKIN' TO ME?'
Robert De Niro, who played protagonist Travis Bickle, wasn't given much guidance before delivering his classic line in 1976's Taxi Driver. "The most memorable piece of dialogue in the film is an improvisation: The 'Are you talking to me?' part. In the script it just says Travis speaks to himself in the mirror," the film's writer Paul Schrader revealed. "[De Niro] asked me what he would say, and I said, 'Well, he's a little kid playing with guns and acting tough.' So De Niro used this rap that an underground New York comedian had been using at the same time as the basis for his lines."
CASABLANCA: 'HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, KID'
Humphrey Bogart would often tell his Casablanca costar Ingrid Bergman "Here's looking at you, kid" while teaching the actress (and onscreen love interest) how to play poker on the set of the 1942 film. The quote just so happened to inspire the pair's final scene together in the movie.
GOOD WILL HUNTING: 'SON OF A BITCH, HE STOLE MY LINE'
"Robin [William]'s best addition is the last line of the film. There was nothing scripted there," Good Will Hunting star and writer Matt Damon told Boston Magazine in 2013. "He opens the mailbox and reads the note that I had written him. [Director] Gus [Van Sant] and I were right next to the camera because every time he came out for a new take, I would read the letter to him because it's a voiceover. …When he said, '[Son of a bitch, he stole my line!'], I grabbed Gus. It was like a bolt; it was just one of those holy s--t moments where, like, that's it."
DAZED AND CONFUSED: 'ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT'
Matthew McConaughey's womanizing character David Wooderson in 1993's Dazed and Confused will forever be known for saying "Alright, alright, alright." The line, it turns out, stemmed from a pep talk the Oscar winner was giving himself right before filming a scene. "So I'm thinking, 'Who is Wooderson? Who is my man? You know, what's he about?' And I tell myself, 'Wooderson's about four things: he's about cars, weed, rock 'n' roll, and chicks,' " he said on Saturday Night Live. "I look around, where I am, well I'm in my '70s Chevelle. That's one. I've got Slater riding shotgun, so I'm definitely getting high, that's two. And we've got Ted Nugent playing Stranglehold on the eight-track, well that's three.' " He added: "At this point I hear over the intercom, ‘Action!’ And I look up across the drive-through at this red headed intellectual and I say to myself, ‘Buddy, you got three out of four. Alright, alright, alright!' "
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: 'I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING'
Said by director Rob Reiner's mother during the film's Katz's Delicatessen scene, "I'll have what she's having" was not in the original script — along with Meg Ryan's (Sally) faux orgasm. As for who suggested the now-iconic line? It was Billy Crystal, who plays the movie's titular character.
JAWS: 'YOU'RE GONNA NEED A BIGGER BOAT'
"[Richard] Zanuck and [David] Brown were very stingy producers, so everyone kept telling them, 'You're gonna need a bigger boat,' " Carl Gottlieb, who helped Jaws director Steven Spielberg with the film's adapted screenplay, told The Hollywood Reporter. "It became a catchphrase for anytime anything went wrong — if lunch was late or the swells were rocking the camera, someone would say, 'You're gonna need a bigger boat.' " Immediately following the Jaws characters' first shark sighting in the 1975 movie, Roy Scheider (Chief Martin Brody) transformed the cast and crew's inside joke into a memorable line, which according to Gottlieb "was so appropriate and so real" that the director decided to keep it in.
THE SHINING: 'HERE'S JOHNNY'
When it came time to deliver the chilling line in the 1980 thriller, Jack Nicholson turned to legendary Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, whose talk show intro was exactly that.