Legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock once said, “To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.”
I have watched a lot of motion pictures in my time. My wife and I watch at least 10 films a month, and we’re constantly finding little gems. Recently, we watched a sublime movie called “Sons and Lovers,” a film based on a D.H. Lawrence novel.
Over the years, some pictures are the best because of the directing, while other pictures are superb because of the writing. A great actor can make a mediocre script good (just ask Claude Rains), but a bad actor can make a good script terrible (I’m looking at you Lizabeth Scott). This has been going on since the dawn of cinema.
For the average moviewatcher, he is just looking to be entertained. For the moviebuff, the cinephile, every aspect of the film is honed in on, whether it’s the angles or the pacing. In a writer’s case, the screenplay is what makes or breaks a viewing experience.
Here are 10 of the greatest screenplays ever written, whether they’re original or adapted (in no particular order):
“The Sweet Smell of Success” (1957)
“Annie Hall” (1977)
“All About Eve” (1950)
“Pulp Fiction” (1994)
“The Thin Man” (1934)
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950)
“Citizen Kane” (1941)
Here are some honourable mentions:
“Reservoir Dogs” (1992)
“Cool Hand Luke” (1967)
“The Apartment” (1960)
“His Girl Friday” (1940)
Indeed, there are just so many great screenplays that have been produced since the invention of talkies, but these are screenplays that stand out in my mind as well as my wife’s. I would also recommend checking out Writer’s Guild of America (WGA)’s list, too.
What are your favourite screenplays? Let me know in the comments section!