50 movie trivia facts you (probably) don't know | Virgin Media

50 movie trivia facts you (probably) don't knowby Gem Seddon


When it's time to dazzle your pals, or even attempt to help your long-suffering pub quiz team actually win for once, look no further than movie trivia. It's the perfect remedy. You can easily save a movie night by regaling your nearest and dearest with tales of amusing prop malfunctions that made movies better, feats of acting prowess that'd make your nose bleed, and strange behind-the-scenes working relationships that involve p-- being thrown in people's faces. Yes, movie trivia is endlessly fascinating and bound to help you score points - either socially or you know, for your pub trivia team. Either way - get reading!

50. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Did you know? Buddy Ebsen, the original Tin Man, had to abandon the role after being hospitalized due to an allergic reaction to the aluminium powder in his makeup. But that's nothing compared to what happened to Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch. She suffered first and second degree burns during the scene when the witch leaves Munchkinland in a blaze of flames. Her green facepaint was copper-based and highly toxic: so had to be painfully removed from her burned flesh with alcohol.

49. Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Did you know? Who needs movie trickery? That killer moment in the fourth Alien flick finds Ripley kicking serious butt on the basketball court. When she throws the ball behind her as she's walking away, it disappears offscreen for a split second, then swishes straight into the net. Sigourney Weaver really does it in one.

48. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Did you know? Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the cheeky devils they are, originally set up a trap for execs in the first draft of the script. They wrote in an additional scene between Will and his shrink, Sean Maguire, wherein the two engaged in oral sex. The idea being that any exec who actually read it would notice how out of place it was in the story. The only one who spotted it? Harvey Weinstein, who they sold the rights to.

47. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Did you know? Terrified by the new threat of video piracy, Universal made the home video cassettes for ET with green plastic. The plan was to make sure consumers knew that their hard-earned cash was going toward a genuine copy of the film - not a bootleg version which would have looked like a regular VHS tape. It obviously worked, as the release broke home entertainment records.

46. Rocky (1976)

Did you know? There's a scene when Rocky Balboa points out a mistake in the poster at the match venue, and it was in fact entirely unscripted. Sylvester Stallone was forced to add the line because the art department made a genuine mistake when producing the prop, making the Italian Stallion's boxing trunks completely the wrong colour. Although, it does work to signify how Rocky isn't treated with much respect as an underdog. 

45. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Did you know? In order to make Obi-wan look bedraggled and desert-worn, Alec Guinness adopted a special type of method acting. Before shooting a single scene, he donned Kenobi's signature robes, laid on the Tunisian desert floor and rolled around so his costume would acquire that weathered, lived-in look. 

44. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

Did you know? After decades of wondering which Cubs game Ferris, Cameron and Sloane attend, one die-hard sports fan figured it out. How? By analyzing the announcer's voiceover, who was on the field, and the time of year. Ferris catches a foul ball in the top of the eleventh inning from an Atlanta Braves hitter - that extra inning game really did take place at Wrigley Field in Chicago on June 5, 1985.

43. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Did you know? Frank Capra, the director, insisted that George Bailey's workshop include a pet raven for no better reason than the avian star Jimmy was a lucky charm. Capra had cast the bird in all of his films from 1938's You Can't Take It With You onwards, and felt it would have been a bad omen to not include his feathered friend.

42. The Great Escape (1963)

Did you know? The cast of this WWII classic - and Christmas Day TV staple - includes one genuine WWII Prisoner of War. During the conflict Donald Pleasence, who plays RAF Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe, had been shot down at a raid on Agenville and imprisoned for a year in a Stalag Luft, where he produced and acted in plays. That's one way to bring a whole new level of authenticity to a role. 

41. Die Hard (1988)

Did you know? The Nakatomi building where the '80s actioner unravels wasn't a backlot somewhere. It's actually the Fox Plaza, 20 Century Fox's recently-built headquarters. So, more or less, director John McTiernan and Bruce Willis are getting paid handsomely to destroy their bosses' new home. Only in the movies. 

41. Alien (1979)

Did you know? When the Nostromo crew explore the Derelict ship they discover a gigantic chamber full of xenomorph eggs. It's a dark, sinister room that required a certain type of lighting to create the right feeling. Ridley Scott found a practical solution to lighting it by borrowing blue laser lighting from The Who, who were rehearsing their stage show in the soundstage next door.

39. The Dark Knight (2008)

Did you know? For the first four days of production, Christopher Nolan put cast and crew under a movie boot camp comprising eight films whose tone he wanted to emulate. In chronological order, these were: King Kong, Citizen Kane, Cat People, Stalag 17, Black Sunday, A Clockwork Orange, Heat, and Batman Begins.

38. Halloween (1978)

Did you know? That infamous mask worn by killer Michael Myers is not an original design created by the props department. To cut down on costs they purchased an existing prop for $2, a Captain Kirk mask from Star Trek. Yep. Michael Myers wears William Shatner's face. Take that, Leatherface!

37. Stalker (1979)

Did you know? Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker is a film that's got to be seen to be believed. What's more interesting is how the filmmaker spent a year shooting all of the film's outdoor scenes, only to discover that poor developing had rendered the footage unusable. So he reshot the whole thing using a new cinematographer. Talk about commitment...

36. Watchmen (2009)

Did you know? Before cameras rolled on the divisive adaptation, Fox were in the mix to buy the rights to Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel. Ultimately, the real reason they passed emerged through an open letter posted online in which the film's producer Lloyd Levin said Fox execs "felt the script was one of the most unintelligible pieces of ... they had read in years."

35. Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace (1999)

Did you know? Prop designers for the first Star Wars prequel found inspiration for Qui-Gon Jinn's communicator in an unlikely spot. Instead of poring through old sci-fi books, or turning to up-and-coming technology, it seems they searched through their own bathrooms! Liam Neeson's fancy device is in fact a repurposed Gillette Ladies Sensor Excel razor. It was constructed using a resin cast of the outside of the razor. 

34. Jaws (1975)

Did you know? During a set visit, George Lucas decided it'd be an absolute hoot to stick his head inside the mouth of Bruce The Shark - the animatronic great white. Steven Spielberg got in on the fun and closed the jaws. The prank backfired when the prop malfunctioned and Lucas got stuck.

33. Oldboy (2004)

Did you know? Vegetarians and vegans, look away! The scene where Dae su chows down on an actual live animal was not faked. In order to deliver a believable performance, Min-sik Choi - a devout veggie - wolfed down four of the creatures during the notorious octopus eating scene. Even though he offered up apologies before he ate each one, the actor, also a Buddhist, then had to go and pray in atonement.

32. Blue Velvet (1986)

Did you know? David Lynch originally wanted to cast Molly Ringwald as girl-next-door Sandy opposite Kyle McLachlan. Ringwald's mother was so revolted by the screenplay that she didn't pass it on to the actress. The part went instead to Laura Dern, starting a longstanding working relationship with Lynch.

31. American Psycho (1998)

Did you know? After catching an episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, on which Tom Cruise guest-starred, Christian Bale decided to base his portrayal of Patrick Bateman on the actor. According to director Mary Harron, Bale said it was Cruise's "very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes" that he thought would be perfect for Bateman. 

30. Goodfellas (1990)

Did you know? While Harry Met Sally director Nora Ephron was married to Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi, she was inspired by some of Henry Hill's experiences in witness protection and channeled them into a screenplay for a comedy - the Steve Martin-Rick Moranis movie My Blue Heaven, which ended up being released only a month after Scorsese's film.

29. The Godfather (1972)

Did you know? Although popular myth has long-since implied that Marlon Brando padded his cheeks with cotton wool to nail the unforgettable speech pattern of Vito Corleone, he did so only for the audition. Before the actual filming began, he had a mouthpiece specially created by a dentist to give him the same effect.

28. Annie Hall (1977)

Did you know? It's common knowledge that Woody Allen's movies have a tendency to delve into the fraught side of the human psyche. He originally had intended this for Annie Hall to be a much darker drama called Anhedonia, named after the psychological condition of being unable to experience pleasure. One of those early subplots later became the basis for Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery.

27. The Exorcist (1973)

Did you know? The actress who voiced the demon, Mercedes McCambridge, went full-on method to get Pazuzu's voice just right. Before stepping into the vocal booth she chugged down raw eggs, chain smoked and knocked back whiskey, all to make her sound harsher than normal, and during the actual recordings she was bound to a chair. The maddest part? She refused to receive a credit.

26. Thelma and Louise (1991)

Did you know? The final shot of the movie is prefaced by a sweet moment between the two leads: they kiss. Director Ridley Scott had already vetoed the idea of Louise (Susan Sarandon) kissing Thelma (Geena Davis) at the end, but Sarandon did it anyway without telling him. It was the last shot on the last day, and Scott had no choice but to use it.

25. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Did you know? Morgan Freeman's line to Tim Robbins as he's describing his character - "Maybe it's 'cause I'm an Irishman" - was not written to be a joke. Even after Freeman was cast in the role, the script carried over that detail from Stephen King's source novella, where Red really is Irish.

24. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Did you know? Having gone out of his way to make the film's gunshots loud, director-star Warren Beatty was a little puzzled while watching the movie at the British premiere. Why? The projectionist at the cinema was deliberately lowering the volume because he thought the sound was poorly mixed.

23. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Did you know? The FX bods at Industrial Light & Magic had fun at George Lucas' expense when choosing which random objects they'd fling into the asteroid field: the most amusing items include a potato and a shoe.

22. Fargo (1996)

Did you know? Roderick Jaynes was nominated for the Best Editor Oscar for Fargo. This, after over a decade of stellar work cutting together the Coen brothers films and penning introductions to the printed versions of their screenplays. Entertainment Weekly also included him in its 50 Smartest People in Hollywood list. But he doesn't exist. "He" is a pseudonym used by the Coen brothers. Jaynes went on to get nominated for No Country For Old Men.

21. The Social Network (2010)

Did you know? Rather than use split-screen, David Fincher shot most of the Winklevii's scenes with two actors - Armie Hammer and Josh Pence - and digitally grafted the former's face onto the latter in post-production. The two actors went to twin boot camp to match up their body language, while Pence's face got a cameo during a party scene.

20. The Shining (1980)

Did you know? The number of the spooky room in Stephen King's novel - 217 - was changed in the film to 237. This amendment came at the request of the Timberline Lodge in Oregon, which provided the exteriors for the Overlook Hotel. The management was worried nobody would want to stay in its actual room 217 if the movie included it. 

19. The Lord of The Rings (2001-2003)

Did you know? All of the actors who played characters in the Fellowship (apart from John Rhys-Davies, who bizarrely, sent his stunt double) had a tattoo done that said 'nine' in Elvish. Viggo Mortensen's can be seen in Eastern Promises.

18. The Blues Brothers (1980)

Did you know? The poster for fictional film See You Next Wednesday is one of several mentions throughout the films of John Landis. The director uses the in-joke whenever he borrows an idea from an unfilmed screenplay he wrote as a teenager. We finally see the film, a British porno, in An American Werewolf In London.

17. Deliverance (1972)

Did you know? Everyone knows the bit in Deliverance where the young kid twangs on his banjo. That particularly memorable moment is an iconic scene that still stands out despite the horrors that follow. What most don't know, is that the very same boy - Billy Redden - briefly reprised his role 31 years later in Tim Burton's Big Fish.

16. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Did you know? The nerve-shredding scene when Vincent Vega brings Mia Wallace to his friend Lance's house took a while to get right. John Travolta had to bring down a syringe into Uma Thurman's chest in an exact spot. After several failed attempts they tried something else: they filmed backwards. The syringe starts in Thurman's chest and is then yanked out. Tarantino simply reversed the footage.

15. The Terminator (1984)

Did you know? Before settling on the Austrian oak, James Cameron deliberated on casting several bigger names for the role of the T-800. Tom Selleck, Mel Gibson and Michael Douglas were in contention, with OJ Simpson heading up that initial shortlist. Cameron chose not to cast Simpson in the end, insisting he was "too nice" to be taken seriously as a dark character. 

14. Batman Returns (1992)

Did you know? Michelle Pfeiffer's performance as Catwoman is so darned sinister - perhaps because the actress was constantly on the verge of passing out. Once inside the suit, she was vacuum sealed in, making it tough to carry out lengthy scenes as it was so tight. It also made it hard for her to hear her own voice so Tim Burton had to remind her that she was shouting.

13. Chinatown (1974)

Did you know? When Faye Dunaway turned to her director to ask for her character's motivation during one particular scene, Roman Polanski yelled "Say the f--ing words. Your salary is your motivation." Their sparring escalated when the director wouldn't let Dunaway take a toilet break shooting a pivotal scene - so she threw a coffee cup of pee in his face.

12. Stand By Me (1986)

Did you know? Kiefer Sutherland once claimed in an interview that during one of the location shoots for the film, a Renaissance Fair was being held nearby and the cast and crew attended. While there, they bought and ate some cookies. Unfortunately, the cookies turned out to have pot in them and two hours later, the crew found Jerry O'Connell - Vern - high as a kite, sobbing his eyes out somewhere in the park.

11. Forrest Gump (1994)

Did you know? The feelgood Tom Hanks movie covers the gamut of small, everyday moments and iconic historical scenes, and they were all supplemented by the use of digitally-generated images. Forrest running through a jungle in Vietnam? CGI. Forrest's mad table tennis skills? CGI. Lieutenant Dan's amputated legs? CGI. Heck, that cute feather at the start is computer generated. The film has more minutes of CGI screentime than Jurassic Park. 

10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Did you know? James Cameron managed to avoid having to fork out for extensive CGI in the scene where the T-1000 mimics John Connor's mother and we see two Sarahs onscreen at the same time. Actress Linda Hamilton has an identical twin sister, Leslie, who appears in that scene and another deleted scene where the T-800 has his CPU chip tweaked.

9. Blade Runner (1982)

Did you know? The title has nothing to do with the Philip K. Dick story the film is based on where Deckard is referred to as a bounty hunter. When the film's screenwriter Hampton Fancher discovered a William Burroughs script called The Blade Runner, based on Alan E. Nourse's 1974 novel, Ridley Scott fell in love with the name. The term blade runner refers to a supplier of black market scalpels in a dystopian future.

8. Psycho (1960)

Did you know? Screenwriter Joseph Stefano was utterly obsessed with showing a flushing toilet on film for the first time. Hey, we've all got our quirks. But director Alfred Hitchcock would only allow it if there was a real reason in the script. Stefano returned to his typewriter and rewrote the script to include a scene where Marion Crane needs to destroy written evidence of her theft.

7. Spider-Man (2002)

Did you know? The car driven by Uncle Ben is Sam Raimi's lucky Oldsmobile Delta 88. This legendary vehicle manages to make its way into every one of the director's movies. It's either driven by characters or appears in the background. It's even included (allegedly) in his pre-automobile western, The Quick And The Dead.

6. Dr. Strangelove (1964)

Did you know? Stanley Kubrick filmed an ending in which the end of the world was symbolised by a custard pie fight in the War Room. The director cut it because the tone was too jovial; according to the son of screenwriter Terry Southern, as soon as the actors started laughing, the footage became unusable.

5. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Did you know? The line-up scene was meant to be played utterly serious and straight. But as the scene unfolded the actors' corpsing - breaking into genuine laughter - led an exasperated Bryan Singer to change tack and (unlike Kubrick in Dr. Strangelove) use the funniest takes. Why were they laughing? Benicio Del Toro had hideous flatulence and wouldn't stop breaking wind.

4. Carrie (1976)

Did you know? Auditions were held jointly with the auditions for a little sci-fi movie by up-and-comer George Lucas. As Brian De Palma and Lucas are friends, they decided to run a two-fer audition that nearly saw Carrie Fisher land the role of the telekinetic teen and Amy Irving the part of Princess Leia. As it turned out, Fisher nabbed Leia, Irving played Sue Snell, and Sissy Spacek played Carrie. 

3. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Did you know? The film was shot at the same time, and in neighbouring Texan locations, to No Country For Old Men. At one point, the smoke from the burning oil derrick caused such a scene that it ruined the shot then being filmed by the Coen brothers and forcing a day's delay to their shoot.

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Did you know? If it hadn't been for a bout of dysentery, Indiana Jones would have fought against an Arab swordsman. As Harrison Ford was too ill and too tired to go through a lengthy round of hand-to-hand combat - that would have demanded multiple takes - he suggested to Steven Spielberg that Indy simply shoot the maniac. 

1. Taxi Driver (1976)

Did you know? Robert De Niro's most iconic moment as Travis Bickle, the troubled NYC cabbie, is undoubtedly the "You talkin' to me?" scene. That entire thing was improvised by De Niro from a single line in Paul Schrader's screenplay, which simply says: Bickle speaks to himself in the mirror.


This article was written by Gem Seddon from GamesRadar and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.