Some Of Billy Madison's Most Memorable Moments Were Last-Minute Adam Sandler Additions

For folks of a certain age, the Adam Sandler comedy "Billy Madison" is one of those movies that lives in our bones. It is ridiculous, juvenile, endlessly quotable, and one of the great examples of a film that commits so hard to being stupid, it crosses the threshold of "bad" and comes out the other side as "brilliant." Sandler stars as the titular wealthy manchild who has spent his entire life drinking and partying without a care in the world. His successful father is getting ready to retire but has no faith in Billy taking over the family business as he enabled his son's behavior by bribing his teachers for passing grades. Realizing that enough is enough, Billy's father tells him he must retake and pass every grade in 24 weeks or else the business will be given to his weasely associate, Eric (Bradley Whitford).

Seeing Adam Sandler act like a giant child while surrounded by actual children makes for comedy gold, but the absurdity sprinkled throughout elevates this nonsensical film into a well-loved favorite. It should be of no surprise that "Billy Madison" was not a critical success, but between the unhinged script from Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler and the directorial eye of Tamra Davis, the film has developed a strong following and is considered one of Sandler's greatest performances. Love him or hate him, the Sandman was the go-to funnyman in the '90s for a reason, so it should be equally unsurprising that some of the most memorable moments of "Billy Madison" were added at the last minute by Sandler himself.


In an article for the Washington Post, director Tamra Davis discussed the legacy of "Billy Madison," and noted many of the film's most quotable lines weren't actually in the script. "I don't remember the 'shampoo is better' conversation Adam has with himself being in the script, but that was what happened when Adam was loose and having fun." I don't know a person under the age of 30 who hasn't quoted that scene while in the bathtub at least once. And honestly, I don't want to know the person who hasn't.

In a more controversial effort, during the dodgeball scene, Sandler is absolutely whomping on actual children. "He said he was going to actually hit the children with the ball, and he couldn't stop laughing as he told me how funny it is to hurt a kid in comedy," she said. "Instead of telling him he was crazy, I believed him and got the parents' permission for their kids to get hit genuinely hard." E! News was scheduled to do a set visit that day, and Davis had to keep them away from the dodgeball scene, knowing how terrible things would have looked out of context.

In a similarly dark moment, Sandler pitched the blood dripping out of the clown's mouth after he falls during a performance and lands on the concrete. "When he told me about it, I was skeptical. We did it anyway, and it was hilarious." While there are definitely moments in "Billy Madison" that have certainly not stood the test of time, Davis was right to trust Sandler's comedic instincts. As Billy Madison so perfectly says in the film, "Sometimes I feel like an idiot, but I am an idiot, so it kinda works out."