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Dustin Hoffman improvised Midnight Cowboy’s most iconic line

Dustin Hoffman is such a great actor that he was actually responsible for a truly legendary bit of dialogue from the drama movie Midnight Cowboy

Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy

Dustin Hoffman has starred in some of the best movies of all time and very rarely does he give anything less than an incredible performance. He’s so good in fact, that he improvised the most iconic line from the 1969 drama movie Midnight Cowboy.

In such a long and illustrious career, Hoffman has wowed audiences with roles in movies such as The Graduate, the comedy movie Meet the Fockers (yes, it’s a classic), and even won an Oscar for his role in the ‘80s movie Rain Main.

Turns out he is also responsible for coming up with a line of dialogue that has become synonymous with New York ever since, as revealed in an interview with the National Post.

That’s right, the line “Hey, I’m walkin’ here” was actually all of Hoffman’s creation, and its legacy has lived on for decades after. Apparently, the taxi cab that gets in Hoffman’s way was not planned, and his iconic line was not scripted.

“It was a low-budget movie. Nobody wanted to make this movie,” Hoffman explained. “Consequently, on Sixth Avenue, there was no money to stack it with extras. So it’s what they call a stolen shot. We have radio mikes on, the van is across the street, we rehearse it by ourselves…  So we’ll start this far back, then we’ll do this pace and then we’ll get [to the crossing] when it just hits green — perfect — and we can just continue.”

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“And we do it, and the first take a cab jumps the light… I wound up saying, ‘I’m walkin’ here!’ But what was going through my head is: ‘Hey, we’re makin’ a movie here! And you just f–ked this shot up.’ But somehow something told me you’d better keep it within the character,” Hoffman added. “We told [the director] what happened, he says, ‘we have to do it again just like that. That’s in the movie’. It almost hit us, that guy.”

If you like great actors who come up with their own ideas for how a scene should play out, check out our list of the best Tom Cruise movies. Or, for more New York action, here’s our list of the best disaster movies, because it always seems to happen in New York, right?