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Behind The Scenes Facts About 'RoboCop'

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Vote up the bits of trivia that make you appreciate 'RoboCop' even more.

Looking behind the scenes makes RoboCop even more remarkable. Sure, it's now considered one of the best action movies of the '80s, but making the film involved more drama than the onscreen saga of Alex Murphy. For example, if not for a mime saving the day on-set, the movie may have failed miserably. The story sounds pretty wild, but it's true. Plus, there are many other interesting tidbits about Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic.

Though it's easy to dismiss as mindless action, the genre-mixing release is secretly a smart satire, a rare work of astute political and cultural commentary that also includes a fantastic first-person sequence. RoboCop explores what it means to exist as a human in a rapidly evolving world. 

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  • 1
    826 VOTES

    Kurtwood Smith Improvised Some Of His Most Memorable Lines

    Kurtwood Smith played crime boss Clarence Boddicker, the villain in RoboCop. However, a couple of Smith's most memorable scenes resulted from improvisations. It seems perfect when Clarence throws his underling out of a van, asking, “Can you fly, Bobby?” The line wasn't in the script, though.

    Also, during the police station scene, Smith's character spits bloody phlegm on a cop’s desk and screams, “Give me my f*cking phone call!” Those words were also not planned. The other actors in the scene were genuinely shocked, as evidenced by their on-screen reactions.

  • 2
    673 VOTES

    RoboCop Wasn't Supposed To Hit That Guy In His Nether Regions

    The scene in which RoboCop blasts the junk off a creep was almost a lot less memorable. Per the script, the hero was to shoot the villain over the target's shoulder. Verhoeven decided it was a better idea if RoboCop shot from between the legs, effectively turning subtext into text.

  • 3
    634 VOTES

    The Crew Didn't Plan To Film Officer Murphy's Demise

    The filmmakers captured a particular scene of RoboCop in Los Angeles, CA, three months after every other act. It was a late addition to the project - the crew had already wrapped filming. Completely exhausting the $12 million budget, director of RoboCop, Paul Verhoeven, didn't have a scene depicting Alex Murphy's demise. This moment is integral to the story, though, humanizing the character and distinguishing RoboCop from a garden variety superhero in the process.

    Fortunately, the studio recognized the importance of the sequence, expanding the budget just enough to include the final piece.

  • 4
    388 VOTES

    'RoboCop' Was So Over-The-Top The MPAA Gave It An X-Rating

    The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) deemed the first cut of 1987's RoboCop "excessively violent." The filmmakers had to remove several graphic moments to receive an R-rating and avoid the dreaded X-rating, which nearly guarantees failure at the box office.

    The film's co-screenwriter, Edward Neumeier, explained to Vice about the MPAA giving the movie eight X-ratings before the filmmakers finally cut out enough scenes for the rating board's tastes. Neumeier added:

    Finally, we had to cut a scene which I didn't even think looked particularly good. That was when Robocop - while still fully human - gets his arm blown off in the steel mill. It was done with a wire yanking the arm away as the arm gets shot at, and I thought it looked terribly corny, but it was the scene that scaled it back enough to get an R-rating.

  • 5
    367 VOTES

    Director Paul Verhoeven Threw The Script In The Trash When He First Saw It

    Director Paul Verhoeven Threw The Script In The Trash When He First Saw It
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    If not for Paul Verhoeven's wife, RoboCop might have forever evaded the light of day. The director told Empire:

    I remember very well. I was at the beach in the South of France on holiday, and I got [the RoboCop script] there. I skim-read it and just threw it away. I thought it was terrible. I thought it was completely ridiculous [but later I found my wife reading it].

    I came back and pretty much said, 'Well, that's a piece of sh*t,' and she said, 'I think you're wrong. Read it again because there are many possibilities here for you to do something different and interesting.' And so then I decided to read it again more carefully.

  • 6
    477 VOTES

    During Filming, Peter Weller Allegedly Lost Three Pounds A Day From Sweating In His Costume

    The filming of RoboCop occurred throughout the summer and fall of 1986. Since filming took place in Texas, the weather was often hot. Plus, Peter Weller had to wear a heavy robot-suit and makeup; he sweated nonstop in the heat.

    Temperatures regularly rose to 100 degrees during the shoot. Weller said, "There were 27 days of absolute - I wouldn't say 'misery' - but it really demanded a Zen sort of discipline." The actor reportedly lost three pounds a day in water weight during this especially trying period in the production.