The greatest performances always allow for imperfect or awkward speech. Phrasing drop-outs, hiccups, stumbles, running out of breath, etc.

Prime example: Marlon Brando delivering Marc Antony‘s “friends, Romans, countrymen” speech in Joseph L. Mankiewicz‘s Julius Caesar (’53). At 2:08 Antony, overcome with emotion, says “bear with me” to the crowd, and then “my heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, and I must puh…pause ’till it comes back to me.” Brando stuttering on “pause” is deliberate, of course, but it sounds and feels right.

Brando in The Godfather: “It makes no…it doesn’t make any difference to me what a man does for a living, you understand.’

James Caan‘s Sonny beating up Gianni Russo‘s Carlo in The Godfather (’72). At 2:52, after kicking Carlo a few times in the ribs, Sonny says, “If you touch (beat, catching his breath) my sister again, I’ll kill ya.” I’m presuming this wasn’t planned…Caan was tired from the exertion and just ran out of wind, and director Francis Coppola liked the realism.

Near the end of Paths of Glory Kirk Douglas doesn’t quite have enough lung power to say the word “again” — he barely manages to squeak it out — when he’s telling Adolphe Menjou “and you can go to HELL before I apologize to you now or ever again!”

Bill Macy‘s flubbed Boogie Nights line: “My wife’s on the driveway with an ass in her cock!” Paul Thomas Anderson left it in because it sounded like the kind of thing a genuinely flustered person would say.