10 Famous Movie Scenes That Came From On-Set Issues

Almost get hit by a cab mid-shot? Just roll with it and you can coin one of film's greatest quotes.

Now You See Me
Summit Entertainment

Despite how regulated the film industry is, movie sets are still chaotic, unpredictable affairs. Everyone from the lead actors to the grip department are expected to work long hours starting early in morning and going to late at night, some scenes can only be filmed at certain times and locations which need to be organized in advanced, and random acts of nature can delay shooting, costing everyone time and money.

Some days, the only thing keeping the director from running his cast and crew into the ground are union rules. However, on-set incidents don't necessarily hinder a production. The spontaneity of happenstance has often lent itself to accidentally creating a number of unexpected but not unappreciated film moments, some of which ended up reshaping the entire film.

Sometimes an actor's demands would force the crew to improvise a different solution to a scene, sometimes mechanical or set malfunctions caused actors to realize and embrace a new element of their character, and sometimes an accident that should have ruined a take instead let the filmmakers explore the limits of their medium. But when accidents have a beneficial impact on a film, it can lead to some of the most iconic shots in the history of cinema.

10. Fight Scene Scrapped - Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Now You See Me

Most audiences were able to grasp the concept that Indiana Jones was a swashbuckling badass early on in his first film appearance. Not because of his wily manipulations of the booby traps in the Peruvian temple, not because of he outran a boulder, but because he was played by Harrison Ford.

So while it was never disputed that Indy was a cool character, George Lucas was concerned that people wouldn't get the full idea of just how competent he really was. To that end, the original script for Raiders of the Lost Ark included an extended fight sequence during a chase scene in Cairo. As Marion is carried through the city by her captors, Indy is intercepted by a menacing swordsman, at which point he would be able to show off his prowess with a bullwhip by disarming the man during an elaborately choreographed battle.

However, the extended shooting in Tunisia did not suit Ford well and he contracted a debilitating case of dysentery while there. When it came time to shoot the fight scene, stuntman Terry Richards was prepared to do the pre-planned fight, but Ford, too queasy to even move most of his body told Steven Spielberg "Let's just shoot the sucker."

The scene changed to Ford facing down a clearly well-trained fighter before unceremoniously shooting him. It has since gone on to become one of the best action scenes of all time.


A writer, blogger, comedian, and actor in New York City, Mason relishes any opportunity to discuss his favorite topics. He has many strong opinions on all facets of media and pop culture.