Accidental Bloopers That Became Iconic Moments

By Sophia Maddox | February 8, 2024

Young Frankenstein - Gene Hackman's Whole Role Was Based On His Tennis Game

test article image
(20th Century Fox)

In 1974's Young Frankenstein, the incomparable Gene Hackman delivered a hilarious performance in a cameo role as a blind, hermit priest yearning for some company when he's visited by the Frankenstein monster, portrayed by Peter Boyle. The scene is a comedic masterpiece as Hackman earnestly attempts to aid his new companion and serve him a hot meal. Both Hackman and Boyle's natural physical comedic skills are on full display, with Hackman accidentally pouring hot soup on the monster's lap instead of his bowl and setting his thumb on fire instead of his cigar.

Gene Hackman's venture into comedy was not without trepidation. Seeking to break out of his dramatic niche, the accomplished actor consulted his friend and tennis partner Gene Wilder, inquiring about any roles in the script that may be a fit. Wilder, recognizing Hackman's talent, referred him to director Mel Brooks, who took a chance and brought the seasoned actor on board for a single scene as the sightless, reclusive priest in the film. Brooks told Yahoo in 2014:

He was playing tennis with Wilder every weekend, and he said, ‘Is there anything in that crazy movie I could do? And Gene said, ‘There’s a blind man in a hut.’ And I told him, ‘There’s no money in it.’ But he said, ‘I don’t want that. I just want to do it.’ And he was very eloquent, very soulful. He came up with that line: ‘Where are you going? I was going to make espresso!’ He said, ‘Let me try a few things.’ And that was one of the things he tried, and I said, ‘Oh, that’s a keeper.'

The Princess Bride - Cary Elwes Goes Down

test article image
(20th Century Fox)

In the annals of film history, The Princess Bride stands out as a true classic - a swashbuckling, romantic adventure that still enchants viewers of all ages. Amidst the film's many thrilling sword fights, it's perhaps unsurprising that a mistake made its way into the final cut. Yet, the nature of the mistake is as unlikely as it is memorable. During a key scene in which the dashing Westley, played by the incomparable Cary Elwes, is taken hostage, he was meant to be knocked out by a prop sword.

However, actor Christopher Guest, who was tasked with capturing Elwes, had a real sword and was understandably concerned about causing an injury. In a fateful decision, Elwes suggested that Guest tap him lightly on the head with the sword's butt - a suggestion that quickly went awry. When Guest struck Elwes, the blow was harder than expected, and the actor was knocked out cold. Though the incident led to a hospital visit and stitches, it also lent the scene an air of authenticity that could not have been achieved otherwise.