DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)
Given filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s reputation as a control freak on set, it’s quite a surprise to see so many of his films featuring improvised dialogue. And yet here’s the third (of four) Kubrick films on our list. In this 1964 satire of the Cold War nuclear scare—arguably the greatest comedy of all time—Peter Sellers plays three characters: Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, a witless British exchange officer; U.S. President Merkin Muffley, the spitting image of Truman; and Dr. Strangelove, a wheelchair-bound former Nazi-cum-nuclear expert. Sellers improvised much of his dialogue, which was then retroscripted into the screenplay by Kubrick, including nearly all of the scenes where Dr. Strangelove lapses into Nazism. While Kubrick originally wanted the final scene to be a pie fight, the end of the film shows Dr. Strangelove rising from his wheelchair and shouting, “Mein Führer, I can walk!” before cutting to a series of nuclear explosions. The line was entirely improvised by Sellers, genius comedian that he is.