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The Importance of Improv: 25 Best Improvised Film Scenes

Every skilled actor has had some experience in improvisation, but in case you didn't believe your acting teachers when they told you how important the ability to think on your feet would be, check out this montage of the 25 greatest improvised movie scenes (posted by mewlist last month). These actors got into character so completely that they were able to deliver the perfect line, even when it wasn't on the page:

Beyond just being able to quickly recover from dropped lines or stage mishaps, improvisation gives an actor an entire set of skills, which break down the walls that can block the creative process. It can lead to moments of breakthrough in a character, or a more natural action/reaction process between two characters. Not only does it keep your mind fresh as an actor, but it'll help you prevent falling into a bland routine when you're looking for another way to deliver your scripted lines, take after take. As evidenced by this montage, improvisation can go a long way, contributing some of the most beloved scenes and classic lines in film. (In Sir Anthony Hopkins' case, that one little improvisation could help win you an Oscar.)

After all, what would life be without "Take the cannoli" or "Here's looking at you, kid"?

Were you surprised to learn that any of the above scenes were improvised? How does that knowledge make you react differently to the film or actor(s) in question? Leave your comments to share your thoughts abnout improv, and its importance on a film set and in an actors' career.

-- Ali Mierzejewski

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Comments

I really enjoyed this but I disagree with "thinking on your feet". It's all about not thinking. Every improvisation that I have done on film or in plays (when allowed by the playwright) has come from me being out of my head, in my body, in the space with my fellow players with the awareness of character and story, which is already engrained in my body. Not in my head trying to think of a clever ad-lib. I'm sure if you asked any of these fine and wonderful actors who are seen in this vid they would say the same. Thanks for the vid! Very enjoyable!

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