4 Accidents That Made Movie Magic

gandalf hit head
Lord of the Ring

As Bob Ross said “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents” which kind of sounds like wetting yourself when drunk and smiling like an idiot. The thing is that sometimes after months and months of filming, and almost a year of editing hours upon hours of footage, you are bound to overlook things. Sometimes those mistakes can be distracting; sometimes they can be hilarious and sometimes they can be iconic, like these accidents that became movie magic.

Boink Goes The Stormtrooper

Ok, maybe a superfluous statement, it’s not like a blooper can make an entire movie, but it’s a scene from the original Star Wars movie that has been parodied, mocked and replicated in other films. The sound effect was added to the DVD release of the film.

The Beginning: The End Apocalypse Now

Considered a cinematic gem amongst cinephiles and movie snobs, Francis Ford Coppola has gone on record saying that it’s now iconic intro was at best experimental and at worse a goof. As the story goes, Coppola saw what are called “trim” barrels which are receptacles for pieces of film that are cut from a movie, to be either discarded or reused as soundtrack silence. Coppola reached in and started splicing together pieces that were “mainly smoke with an occasional helicopter skid go by”. He then saw a container marked “The End” (the Doors song) and thought to himself wouldn’t it be funny if the movie started with “The End”?

On top of that, almost all of Marlon’s (that’s Brando) lines are ad-libbed, and although he said that he would be lean, he came to the set even bigger than he was in casting. Later on, Brando even shaved his head. This all worked for the movie though as it lent a mysterious manic madness to Brando’s character, Colonel Kurtz. Brando even had Coppola agree only to shoot him when obscured by shadows and never below the belt, adding even more mystery to the climatic introduction of the character. The result is the classic movie we still revere 36 years later.

Uh Oh Fart

Although we are sometimes led to believe otherwise, actors are human beings too. And no scene makes this more obvious than the one in which Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise are sharing a phone booth. Suddenly Hoffman let’s one rip, even warning Cruise by ad-libbing the “uh oh fart, uh oh fart” to warn his Rainman co-star. The scene is iconic, and the reaction couldn’t be any more genuine…well because it was.

The White Wizard And The Beam

In a very memorable scene, Gandalf visits Bilbo’s minuscule house, hits his head on the chandelier and then turns and hits his head against a ceiling beam, punctuated with a chuckle. Well, although hitting the chandelier was in the script the head boink wasn’t. But because it was so spontaneous and jovial Sir McKellen asked it be kept in the movie, including the chuckle at the end.

Do you know of any other movie mistakes that left and indelible mark on the film they were featured in? Let me know in the comment section below.