Extras who made scenes even better

The life of an extra (or, as they prefer to be called, a supporting artist) is not a glamorous one. The days are long, the pay is relatively low, and the food is not exactly Michelin quality. On top of that, you've got to put up with being herded around by grumpy assistant directors all day, repeat enough takes to send you into a frustration spiral, and risk losing your job if you so much as glance at a principal actor. Despite the difficult working conditions, however, some extras have grabbed the job by the lapels, shaken it about a bit, and shouted, "I will be remembered" into its stupid, menial face. These extras are the ones who've cemented their place in cinema history, whether through drunken improvisation, dedication to the craft, or even just sheer clumsiness.

The clumsy stormtrooper

Perhaps the most notorious and beloved mess-up of an extra in all of cinema is the work of a now legendary stormtrooper in Star Wars. Laurie Goode, who claims to be the stormtrooper in question, explained that he developed an upset stomach while filming, which distracted him enough to fail to see a low-hanging door on the film's Death Star set. In the resulting scene, in which a band of stormtroopers enter a comm room in search of Luke, Han, and Leia, one errant trooper can be spotted slamming his head against that door.

The scene has gone down in Star Wars history, to the point where Goode, never one to shirk his 15 seconds, has released a song about the ordeal, and the stormtrooper itself has received pride of place with a dedicated article on the Star Wars wiki.

The guy who throws a dog into the sea

Mr. Nanny is a very, very bad 1993 comedy starring Hulk Hogan, about a former wrestler who becomes a bodyguard and nanny to a family and their young children. That might sound amusing in a kitsch, so-bad-it's-good kind of way, but seriously, just don't watch it. The only bit you ever need to see is a certain baffling scene including a motorbike, a dog, and a very strange man lurking in the background.

Near the beginning of the movie, Hulk Hogan is riding his motorcycle down the coastline in Florida. Blink and you'll miss it, but he also passes by a man in a pink shirt who tosses his dog into the water. It's not highlighted, never explained and, according to the podcast How Did This Get Made in 2014, was likely the only take they had of that particular scene. That's what you get for not hiring professionals.

A horse's victim

The Last Samurai is one of those movies that most people remember being released, but few people ever really saw. It was an epic historical war movie released in 2003, starring Tom Cruise as a United States cavalryman who comes into contact with samurai warriors in 19th-century Japan. It wasn't great.

Either way, in a scene during the lead-up to the movie's final battle sequence, you can spot one particularly dedicated extra being kicked in the groin by a horse as Cruise's character dismounts from it. And we're not talking a gentle tap, either — you can almost feel the pain emanating through the screen itself. Bless him though, that hardened extra not only stays standing upright, but he falls right back into line almost immediately. The real samurai would be proud.

The Ghostbusters' biggest fan

Toward the end of Ghostbusters, as New York celebrates the defeat of "the destructor" in the form of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, you can just spot a red-haired extra cheering a little bit too enthusiastically for the team, and shouting "Ghostbusters! Alright! Alright!" in the general direction of Dan Aykroyd.

There's a lot to love about the "alright" guy, like his American Psycho-esque yuppie look, his over-the-top cheering and the ridiculous bombast of his cheering. He's actually gone on to become a bit of a favorite among the Ghostbusters fan community. Because extras usually don't have their audio recorded during filming on movie sets, however, the cheering might have been added in post-production — meaning someone on the crew loved the way he moved so much they actually decided to give him a line. Good job, red-haired guy.

The guy who has definitely heard of Batman

Batman Forever, if you're having trouble remembering, is the Batman movie that's much camper than Burton or Nolan's ones but much, much less camp than the one with Arnie in it. Nonetheless, it's chock-full of absurd villains (including Jim Carrey playing Jim Carrey), ridiculous goon enemies, and bizarre plots. Unlike its successor Batman & Robin, however, you get the feeling that Forever isn't entirely confident in its own silliness.

But one man knew. One insignificant man in the background knew just how audacious and downright stupid Batman Forever was. This is a man who saw what others couldn't see, yet took on a mission to show the world anyway. He is the man who points up at the sky and announces, in a voice so nasal it borders on the beautiful, the arrival of Batman. "Batman, nyaaaah!"

One of cinema's finest moments.

Ninja girl

1971's Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (that's the good one, not the Depp one) features one particularly famous and only marginally creepy song called "The Candy Man." Sung by actor Aubrey Woods, who plays Bill, the candy store's owner, in the film, it pretty much consists of him trying to hock his wares to a small crowd of eager children. At the height of the performance, he flips the store counter upward and invites the kids to run in and check out all the candies and chocolates he has on offer.

It's a relatively minor point in the grand scheme of things, but we'd be remiss to point out that Bill also has a go at knocking out one of those children when he opens that counter. All caught up in the song, he fails to notice that the wooden panel goes straight for the head of a little girl who's watching him sing. In a ninja-like demonstration of her own reaction time, however, she manages to dodge back and just about avoid being struck in the face. She would have done well on the set for The Last Samurai.

An over-enthused breakdancer

If you don't remember it (and why would you?), Breakin' was a 1984 breakdancing movie based on a German documentary from a year earlier, featuring such timeless stars as Shabba Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp and Ice T. Breakin' is probably most well-known these days for the legendary subtitle of its sequel, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Long story short, there's a scene during the movie in which Lucinda Dickey's character, Kelly Bennett, demonstrates her breakdancing skills out on the streets of California — but is accidentally upstaged by the over-the-top, silly, crazy enthusiastic dancing of an crowd extra in a black lycra bodysuit. Unfortunately for Dickey, he does rather steal the scene for the brief moment that he appears.

And that extra's name? Jean-Claude Van Damme. Yes, really.

Coach Carter's nemesis

Coach Carter, the 2005 sports drama that told the true story of high school basketball coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), is a fairly straight-laced movie. It tackles such emotional beats as determination, frustration, and discipline; in many ways, it's a sort of thematic predecessor to the later (and much better) Damien Chazelle film Whiplash.

With that in mind, it seems a bit counterintuitive to the serious nature of the movie for an extra in one scene, in which Carter closes the gym to his players, to raise his fist in the air like a cartoon supervillain and let out an intense, guttural, "I'll get you for this, Flash Gordon" scream at the back of Carter's head. It completely ruins one of the movie's pivotal scenes, but you still can't help but appreciate that one extra more than pretty much any other character in the movie.

Sextras

Dan Harmon's unfathomably brilliant subversive sitcom Community is rammed full of little in-jokes, background gags, and clever things you'll never see until your fifth binge-watch, but one lesser-known visual joke went unnoticed by the directors, cast, and writers. During "Basic Lupine Urology," the show's yam-based pastiche on CSI, the main characters walk through an unexplained busy street that has appeared outside their main campus building (because they always walk through a busy street on CSI, obviously) to discuss the case. Look carefully enough and you'll be able to spot two extras coming out a set of double doors: one zipping up his fly, the other wiping her mouth.

According to Harmon himself, the joke was an "independent project" on the part of the two extras, and, because of the way scenes are filmed, was something they would probably have repeated over 30 times to make sure it got into the final cut. Now that's dedication.

The weirdest kid

The Back to the Future trilogy has it all — it's got adventure, excitement, time travel, and just the right dash of whimsical comedy to elevate it quite easily into one of the finest movie trilogies ever made. What you never knew you needed, however, was the inclusion of a creepy featured extra making the most of his brief time in the spotlight.

During the end of Back to the Future III, Doc Brown and his new love Clara appear to Marty and Jennifer in a time-traveling train (it wasn't exactly the best of the three movies) with their new children, Jules and Verne. Verne Brown, spooky little weirdo that he is, proceeds to make a "look over here" gesture while Brown is talking, and then points at his crotch. For some reason. This probably doesn't make the scene better, exactly, but it certainly makes it memorable in an unsettling kind of way. Considering BttF III was largely forgettable, that's something the movie really needed.