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Writers Guild's 101 Greatest Screenplays List Starts with Casablanca, Ends with Notorious

by Anne Thompson
April 6, 2011 8:45 AM
6 Comments
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

As part of its ongoing mission to push forward the oft-overlooked writer in the moviemaking process, the Writers Guild of America has posted its 101 Greatest Screenplays list. I'm not going to argue with the top ten, which are posted below.

But what about the full list? Any major mistakes or omissions?

1. CASABLANCA
Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

2. THE GODFATHER
Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo

3. CHINATOWN
Written by Robert Towne

4. CITIZEN KANE
Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles

5. ALL ABOUT EVE
Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Based on "The Wisdom of Eve," a short story and radio play by Mary Orr

6. ANNIE HALL
Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman

7. SUNSET BLVD.
Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.

8. NETWORK
Written by Paddy Chayefsky

9. SOME LIKE IT HOT
Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond. Based on "Fanfare of Love," a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

10. THE GODFATHER II
Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Based on Mario Puzo's novel "The Godfather"


6 Comments

  • bob hawk | April 9, 2011 8:53 AMReply

    Of course, all lists like this are somewhat absurd. Why not 200? -- or 300?

    This list, with mostly worthy titles, merely scratches the surface. There are many unmentioned films that are at least the equal of, or vastly superior to, some of those listed. What of virtually the entire oeuvres of great filmmakers like Ingmar Bergman (my faves are CRIES AND WHISPERS and PERSONA) or Kurosawa (SEVEN SAMURAI, RASHOMON and IKIRU)?

    I'm sure anybody could come up with a hundred of their own to add to an impossibly long list of worthies.

    Just off the top of my head (and merely the tip of the iceburg), here are a few scattered, eclectic titles to chew on:

    Coppala's THE CONVERSATION; Stephen Gaghan's TRAFFIC; Frederic Raphael's DARLING and TWO FOR THE ROAD; Brackett & Wilder's NINOTCHKA; Bertrand Tavernier's A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY; David Lynch's BLUE VELVET; Paul Osborn's WILD RIVER and EAST OF EDEN; John Sayles' RETURN OF THE SECAUCUS SEVEN; Carole Eastman's FIVE EASY PIECES (!) -- and on and on . . .

    What about the thousand best screenplays of all time???

  • cadavra | April 8, 2011 5:20 AMReply

    Was this list put together by the WGA or the AFI? "Usual Suspects," indeed!

  • gman | April 7, 2011 12:29 PMReply

    What! No Jules Furthman (SHANGHAI EXPRESS, ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS, MOROCCO, RIO BRAVO)? No Samson Raphaelson (SUSPICION, TROUBLE IN PARADISE, THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER)? Also missing: Leigh Brackett, Robert Benton, Alan Sharp, Blake Edwards. Perhaps, before voting, the members of the Writers Guild should have watched a few pictures in the so-to-be-derailed Film Program at LACMA.

  • rgm | April 7, 2011 6:30 AMReply

    Little Miss Sunshine had an extremely well-written script that, I believe, should hold-up as a classic.

  • Film Slate Magazine | April 7, 2011 2:02 AMReply

    I would put "The Godfather Part 11" over "The Godfather." James Paszko, Publisher, http://www.filmslatemagazine.com

  • rhs | April 6, 2011 9:14 AMReply

    No "Bonnie and Clyde?" Criminal!

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