15 Memorable Movie Lines That Were Changed From The Original Script

·8 min read

It may be hard to believe, but many of the movie lines that you know and love were not originally in their film scripts.

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It's shocking, I know.

These 15 movie lines underwent changes that made a large impact on the final cut of the films.

1."You can't handle the truth!" was not scripted in A Few Good Men; Jack Nicholson altered his line as he played Col. Nathan R. Jessup.

Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessup yells, "You can't handle the truth!" as he's questioned by by Lt. Daniel Kaffee

While the line in the original script was "You already have the truth," Jack changed this phrasing in one of the last scenes in the movie. The punchier line he came up with has since become known as one of the best movie quotes of all time.

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2.Clemenza's "Leave the gun — take the cannoli" Godfather line resulted from some spontaneous script additions.

Rocco is advised to "Leave the gun, take the cannoli" by Clemenza

At the last minute, director Francis Ford Coppola added in the line spoken by Clemenza's wife, "Don't forget the cannoli," which she states before Paulie's death takes place. After this script change, actor Richard S. Castellano as Clemenza then improvised "Leave the gun — take the cannoli" in the scene when Paulie is murdered by Rocco.

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3.The Avengers was going to conclude with Tony Stark waking up and asking, "What's next?" but Robert Downey Jr. advocated for a different ending during filming.

"The Avengers" characters sit and eat at a shawarma restaurant

Robert suggested to writer Joss Whedon that a "snappier" line may work better, which led to his character asking, "Have you ever tried shawarma?" A post-credits scene at a shawarma restaurant was subsequently included as well.

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4.Crispin Glover cut the lines of his Charlie's Angels character, Thin Man, which added to the creepy nature of the part.

Crispin Glover as the Thin Man is spotted at a party in "Charlie's Angels"

The Thin Man was supposed to speak in Charlie's Angels, but Crispin thought “the dialogue was just expositional,” he told the Guardian in 2015. Before he officially took on the role, Crispin introduced the idea of a large revision to the movie's director, McG — playing the character as a mute instead. McG agreed with the idea, and Crispin went on to portray the villain without spoken words.

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5.Leonardo DiCaprio's iconic "I'm king of the world!" moment in Titanic was added to the scene as it was being filmed after other lines didn't make the cut.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Danny Nucci as Fabrizio are pictured during the "I'm the king of the world!" scene from "Titanic"

In a 2019 interview with Ali Plumb of BBC Radio 1, director James Cameron said the well-known line "was made up on the spot." After they'd tested several different phrases, James, who was communicating with Leo via walkie-talkie from a crane basket, suggested these words on a whim.

"We were losing the light, and we had tried this and we had tried that, and tried this line and that line, and nothing was really working. And I literally was just coming up snake eyes," James said. "I said, 'Alright, I got one for you. Just say, 'I'm the king of the world,' and just spread your arms out wide and just be in the moment, and just love it and celebrate the moment."

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6.Johnny Depp rewrote a line in Edward Scissorhands to demonstrate the character's innocence.

Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands meets Peg Boggs

In Edward Scissorhands, when Dianne Wiest as Peg asks Edward where his father is, the character responds by saying, "He didn't wake up." In a 2020 ZFF Zurich Film Festival interview, Johnny explained that Edward's line in the script was either "He's dead" or "He died." Johnny "thought that was maybe too knowing" of the character, so he chose to adjust Edward's answer. Johnny also cut "85% of [his] dialogue" because he felt Edward's "vocabulary would be limited ... in a kind of an innocent way," he added.

Twentieth Century Fox

7."Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn," spoken by Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, was almost a way different line.

Rhett walks away from an emotional Scarlett in "Gone with the Wind"

Two filmmakers behind the acclaimed movie, producer David O. Selznick and story editor Val Lewton, had a list of alternate options for the line, as they were uncertain whether using a swear word would be permitted. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a straw" and "Frankly, my dear, the whole thing is a stench in my nostrils" were among the suggestions they came up with. When the iconic line was approved, these other ideas were scrapped.

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8.Bruce Willis changed a curse word in his famous "Yippee-Ki-Yay" Die Hard line.

Bruce Willis as John McClane communicates with Hans via walkie-talkie in "Die Hard"

Die Hard screenwriter Steven E. de Souza told the Hollywood Reporter in 2016 he wrote the character John McClane as saying, "Yippe-ki-yay, asshole," in a scene when McClane speaks to Hans Gruber via walkie-talkie. Bruce chose to switch up the swear word in the line, making it instead, "Yippe-ki-yay, motherfucker."

"Bruce, on his final take, ad-libbed the 'motherfucker,' much to the amusement of the crew. The studio nervously left it in for the first test screening and the reaction made it permanent," Steven said.

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9.The Star Wars "I love you"/"I know" exchange was scripted as a more serious moment.

Princess Leia tells Han Solo she love him, to which he responds, "I know"

In Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, Princess Leia says to Han Solo, "I love you," and Han's response is, "I know." Both lines varied from the initial script, as it was revealed in J.W. Rinzler's book The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, via Yahoo! News. Leia's line was written as, “I love you. I couldn’t tell you before, but it’s true," while Han's response was supposed to be, “Just remember that, ‘cause I’ll be back.”

Harrison Ford and director Irvin Kershner had a conversation about the scene, which was recorded on an audio cassette tape and transcribed for the book. During their talk, Harrison suggested the alterations that made the final cut in the film.

“I think she ought to just say, ‘I love you,’ as I’m passing by her,” Harrison said during the discussion, before adding, “If she says, ‘I love you,’ and I say, ‘I know,’ it’s beautiful and it’s acceptable and it’s funny.”

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10.A change to John Krasinski's emotional last words that he signs as Lee Abbott at the end of A Quiet Place was thought of by costar Millicent Simmonds.

John Krasinski as Lee uses sign language to tell his daughter, Regan, how much he loves her

Lee uses sign language to express his love for his kids before screaming and sacrificing himself in A Quiet Place. The character was supposed to simply sign "I love you," but Millicent proposed to John that a little more could be added to this moment, which made the actor tear up and go with her idea.

“I changed some signs, too,” Millicent told Metro. “At the end when [John] signs, ‘I love you, I said I think he needs to say, ‘I’ve always loved you.’ Because that covers the difficult period. Then when I suggested that, he cried.”

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11.Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly saying, "Everybody wants to be us," in The Devil Wears Prada resulted from a table read adjustment.

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestley talks with Andy in the back of her car

The final line spoken by Miranda in the film, “Everybody wants to be us,” was originally written as, “Everybody wants to be me." Meryl decided to make this meaningful change to the line during the Devil Wears Prada table read.

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12.Whoopi Goldberg's line in Ghost as Oda Mae Brown, "Molly, you in danger, girl," was first scripted as a more traditional statement.

Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown warns Molly that she's in danger in "Ghost"

Screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin had written the line as, “He’s sayin’ you’re in danger." Whoopi instead decided to say, “Molly, you in danger, girl" during filming, which made it into Ghost and was one of the most memorable quotes from the classic movie. She also went on to win the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1991 for her performance as Oda Mae Brown.

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13.Anthony Hopkins added in a hissing sound after delivering a frightening Silence of the Lambs line as Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Anthony Hopkins as. Hannibal Lecter speaks to Clarice Starling from his cell

Anthony Hopkins' chilling hiss from his Oscar-winning role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs was improvised by the actor. He was making this noise on set and chose to add it to a take in which he stated the now-famous line, "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."

Strong Heart/Demme Production / Via youtube.com

14.A line spoken by Tommy Lee Jones as Samuel Gerard during a pivotal moment of The Fugitive was altered from the script and showcased the character's motivation.

Tommy Lee Jones as Samuel Gerard puts his hands up when he encounters Richard Kimble in a tunnel

When Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble states to Deputy US Marshal Samuel Gerard, "I didn't kill my wife," the scripted response was written as, "That isn't my problem." However, Tommy changed the line to "I don't care," which reflected Samuel's focus on hunting Richard down.

Warner Bros.

15.Humphrey Bogart's “Here's looking at you, kid” Casablanca line was a rewrite and was influenced by a poker experience.

Humphrey Bogart as Rick says goodbye to Ilsa in "Casablanca"

This phrase, which Humphrey spoke as he portrayed Rick Blaine in the iconic 1942 film, was initially supposed to be, "Here's good luck to you, kid." After Humphrey taught his costar Ingrid Bergman how to play poker, he changed the line to "Here's looking at you, kid." "Looking at you" may have been inspired by a poker hand with three face cards, a queen, king, and jack, which would all be "looking" at a poker player.

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