6 Iconic Movie Scenes That Happened by Accident

#3. The Usual Suspects -- The Lineup Scene Was Supposed to Be Serious

What Was Supposed to Happen:

The Usual Suspects is about five criminals who meet at a police lineup and decide to commit a robbery together. In the lineup scene, the characters were simply supposed to step up and repeat a line, one by one -- what could possibly get five professional actors to botch something as simple as that?


The ol' Icy Hot in the underpants trick?

The Happy Accident:

Benicio Del Toro's rancid farts. According to the DVD extras, while shooting this scene Del Toro was "flatulent the whole time."


Now we know why Gabriel Byrne's covering his nose.

As a result, the other actors kept cracking up while director Bryan Singer angrily told them to keep their shit together. It didn't help that, according to Kevin Spacey, the actors were intentionally trying to get the usually serious Gabriel Byrne to laugh, and even got him to do impersonations. Eventually Singer gave up and just left the actors' completely improvised interaction in the movie -- you can clearly see them trying not to giggle and utterly failing.

The weird thing is, their goofing off actually makes the rest of the movie work; the chemistry between the criminals in this scene really sells you on the fact that these five guys, for the most part strangers, would suddenly decide to team up and pull off a heist together. If that happened every time the police brought in suspects, they'd probably stop doing lineups.


Or they'd start putting mics in their cells.

Also, by showing these wildly different characters bonding through their mutual contempt for authority (and the universal hilarity of fart noises), the scene foreshadows the fact that, in the end, the entire story turns out to be about one clever criminal fucking with the police. And it's all because of Benicio Del Toro's butt.

In fact, pretty much everything Del Toro did in the movie was ad-libbed -- the character had few lines and was originally written for Harry Dean Stanton (you kids would know him as "old guy who talks to naked Bruce Banner in The Avengers"), but Del Toro decided that he should be a "black Chinese Puerto Rican Jew" who talks in mangled English, turning him into one of the most memorable parts of the movie.

#2. The Godfather -- Luca Brasi's Character Is the Result of a Nervous Actor

What Was Supposed to Happen:

While filming The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola needed a big, intimidating guy to play Luca Brasi, a mob enforcer working for Don Corleone (Marlon Brando). Luckily for him, the set of the film happened to be frequented by actual mobsters and their bodyguards: One of them was a huge guy called Lenny Montana, who started fires for the mafia when he wasn't busy beating people up in his day job as world wrestling champion.

Slam! Wrestling
He could legally write off punches as tax deductions for either job.

Coppola saw Montana and thought that he was perfect to play the fearless behemoth, since that's essentially what Montana was in real life. In his first scene, Brasi was supposed to meet Don Corleone in his office, congratulate him on the wedding of his daughter and pledge his loyalty to him.

The Happy Accident:

Marlon Brando. Montana was so nervous about just being in the same room as Brando that he kept getting choked up and messing up his lines. Brando was already an acting legend by then, so sharing a scene with him was like playing catch with Babe Ruth.


Or, in Montana's terms, holding up a liquor store with Al Capone.

However, Coppola liked Montana's unexpectedly bumbling performance so much that he not only kept it in the movie, but in order to explain it, added another scene set right before this one where we see Brasi sitting outside Corleone's office nervously practicing his speech by talking to himself (only to mess it up anyway later on).

The result is a scene that made Don Corleone even more of a badass by implying that even a huge, imposing guy like Luca Brasi is intimidated by him. In the previous scene, Diane Keaton's character sees Brasi sitting alone and is instantly freaked out, but then Coppola tells us that the guy with the muscles is not the one we should be afraid of -- it's the man who controls him. Brasi being bad at acting helped make that point better than the dialogue did.

#1. Midnight Cowboy -- A Reckless Driver Caused the Line "I'm Walkin' Here!"

What Was Supposed to Happen:

In Midnight Cowboy, Jon Voight plays Joe Buck, a small-town Texan who goes to New York City to become a hustler and ends up being the one who's hustled. Shortly after arriving, Buck gets scammed by Ratso, a crippled con man played by Dustin Hoffman who later wins him over with his charming personality and helps him become a gigolo.


How many people started watching this movie because a young Pope John Paul II was in it?

In one scene, the sex cowboy and the crippled scammer were supposed to walk down a busy intersection, talking about the finer points of prostitution. Piece of cake, right?

The Happy Accident:

New York City. Since the filmmakers didn't have permits, the scene had to be shot with a hidden camera and carefully timed to coincide with the "Walk" signal. After about 15 failed takes, and just when the actors were finally getting the timing right, a cab driver blew past a red light and nearly ran them over. Hoffman reacted by slamming the car and yelling "I'm walkin' here!" before telling the driver to kindly fuck off.

So that was all improvised, and in fact, you can see that Ratso even loses his accent while yelling at the driver and hitting the car in a distinctly non-cripple-like manner.

"I'm walkin' here!" became one of the most memorable lines in cinematic history, according to the American Film Institute, and by far the best known part of a movie that includes Angelina Jolie's dad getting a blowjob from a guy in a movie theater. The scene perfectly defines Hoffman's vulnerable but short-tempered character and the whole "Welcome to New York" tone of the movie.


In fact, the line is quoted to NYC cab drivers thousands of times every year.

The veracity of this story has been disputed by a producer, but Hoffman himself confirms that it's real and adds that he nearly said "I'm acting here," because that's what he was doing up until the moment before the cab bumped into him, but he replaced "acting" with "walking" at the last second to avoid ruining the shot. Now try to watch that movie again without imagining the cab running both men over, then the film immediately fading to credits.



Sean rants incoherently on Twitter and writes film and game reviews over at Impulse Gamer. Dennis is trying to repent after stealing his friend's food. Check out his friend's Web series.

For more behind-the-scenes looks at your favorite movies, check out 5 Great Movie Scenes Made Possible by Reckless Endangerment and 6 Terrible Decisions That Gave Us Great Movie Moments.

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