40 Surprising Stories And Secrets From The Sets Of Your Favorite Hollywood Classics

Every year, you curl up and re-watch It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmas. Or maybe you simply can’t change the channel when you see Singin’ in the Rain playing on TV. Yes, these films from the Golden Age of Hollywood are classics — untouchable, beloved pieces of cinema. But there still might be a story about them that you don’t yet know. Here are 40 secrets from some of history’s most iconic films.

40. A famous Jaws line was actually an on-set inside joke

Richard Zanuck and David Brown produced the 1975 classic Jaws, but they were reportedly very stingy. One of the movie’s screenwriters, Carl Gottlieb, told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 how “everyone kept telling them, ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat.’ It became a catchphrase for any time anything went wrong.” And, when cameras were rolling, actor Roy Scheider improvised those six words at the perfect moment — and the rest is cinematic history.

39. A Haunted Spooks photoshoot cost Harold Lloyd two fingers

A photo shoot for his Harold Lloyd’s 1920 silent comedy, Haunted Spooks, wasn’t at all glamorous — it was almost deadly. The actor posed for a shot while a prop bomb was sizzling nearby Lloyd noted that, for a faux device, it was giving off quite a bit of smoke. Seconds later, he found out why: the prop explosive was actually a real bomb. The photographer flew across the room, and Lloyd lost a pair of his fingers.

38. The Phantom of the Opera’s star did his own makeup

Lon Chaney spent years on stage, and, during that time, he learned how to do his own makeup — and then some. He became so skilled at changing his looks that he started taking character roles over leading-man roles. On the set of 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera two years later, he made himself into each movie’s titular character with false teeth, wax and grease-based paint.

37. Lawrence of Arabia: an epic film with an epic filming schedule

Most Hollywood movies spend about 150 days in pre-production before shooting for just over three months. Now, let’s compare that with Lawrence of Arabia, the 1962 Hollywood classic that clocks in at a whopping 227 minutes in length. The movie spent a jaw-dropping two years in pre-production, and then moved onto shooting for 14 months.