Greatest Screenwriters

by phbasketball6 | created - 06 Oct 2010 | updated - 23 Aug 2012 | Public

✍ - Great screenplay ✎ - Critically Acclaimed Screenplay (Either I do not agree, haven't seen, or need to re-watch) ☟- Awful screenplay

1. Preston Sturges

Writer | The Great McGinty

Preston Sturges' own life is as unlikely as some of the plots of his best work. He was born into a wealthy family. As a boy he helped out on stage productions for his mother's friend, Isadora Duncan (the scarf that strangled her was made by his mother's company, Maison Desti). He served in the U.S....

2. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

Greats: Annie Hall (1977) (1977)✍; Manhattan (1979) (1979)✍; Broadway Danny Rose (1984) (1984)✍; Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) (1986)✍; Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) (1989)✍

Give It a Shot: Radio Days (1987) (1987)✍; Mighty Aphrodite (1995) (1995)✍; Deconstructing Harry (1997) (1997)✍; Midnight in Paris (2011) (2011)✍

Other Notable Screenplay(s): Interiors (1978) (1978)✎; Zelig (1983) (1983); The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) (1985)✎; Alice (1990) (1990)✎; Husbands and Wives (1992) (1992)✎; Bullets Over Broadway (1994) (1994)✎; Match Point (2005) (2005)✎

3. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Ran

After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...

4. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

The Kid (1921); The Gold Rush (1925); Modern Times; City Lights; The Great Dictator

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

5. Billy Wilder

Writer | The Apartment

Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city's largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929 and wrote scripts for many ...

Notable Screenplays:

6. Paul Schrader

Writer | First Reformed

Although his name is often linked to that of the "movie brat" generation (Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Brian De Palma, etc.) Paul Schrader's background couldn't have been more different than theirs. His strict Calvinist parents refused to allow him to see a...

Notable Screenplays: Taxi Driver (1976)✍; Raging Bull (1980)✍

7. Neil Simon

Writer | The Odd Couple

Neil Simon was born on July 4, 1927 in The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA as Marvin Neil Simon. He was a writer and producer, known for The Odd Couple (1968), Murder by Death (1976) and The Goodbye Girl (1977). He was married to Elaine Joyce, Diane Lander, Marsha Mason and Joan Baim. He died ...

Notable Screenplays: The Odd Couple; The Goodbye Girl

8. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

Greats: Patton (1970)✍; The Godfather (1972)✍; The Godfather: Part II (1974)✍ The Conversation (1974)✍; The Godfather: Part III (1990)

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

9. Federico Fellini

Writer |

The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the ...

Greats: 81/2✍; La strada✍

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

10. Ingmar Bergman

Writer | Smultronstället

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...

Persona; The Passion of Anna; The Hour of the Wolf; The Seventh Seal

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

11. Mel Brooks

Actor | Spaceballs

Mel Brooks was born Melvin Kaminsky on June 28, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York. He served in WWII, and afterwards got a job playing the drums at nightclubs in the Catskills. Brooks eventually started a comedy act and also worked in radio and as Master Entertainer at Grossinger's Resort before going to ...

The Producers✍;

Blazzing Saddles; Silent Movie

Other Notable Screenplay(s): Young Frankenstein✎

12. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

Greats: Barry Lyndon; The Shining (1980); Full Metal Jacket

Give It a Shot: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

13. John Huston

Director | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

An eccentric rebel of epic proportions, this Hollywood titan reigned supreme as director, screenwriter and character actor in a career that endured over five decades. The ten-time Oscar-nominated legend was born John Marcellus Huston in Nevada, Missouri, on August 5, 1906. His ancestry was English,...

14. William Goldman

Writer | Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Screenwriter, novelist, playwright, non-fiction author. Born in Highland Park, Illinois, USA, began his career as a novelist in 1957. Started writing screenplays in 1965 with "Masquerade". A two-time Academy Award Winner, he is one of the most successful screenwriters and script doctors in ...

Greats: All the President's Men (1976)✍

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); Marathon Man; The Princess Bride; Misery

Other Notable Screenplays: Chaplin (1992)

15. Joel Coen

Producer | The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Joel Coen was born on November 29, 1954 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Joel Daniel Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Fargo (1996) and A Serious Man (2009). He has been married to Frances McDormand since April 1, 1984. They have one child.

:Representing the Coen brothers

Notable Screenplays:

16. Paul Thomas Anderson

Director | There Will Be Blood

Anderson was born in 1970. He was one of the first of the "video store" generation of film-makers. His father was the first man on his block to own a V.C.R., and from a very early age Anderson had an infinite number of titles available to him. While film-makers like Spielberg cut their teeth making...

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

17. Quentin Tarantino

Writer | Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.

In January of...

Reservoir Dogs✍; Pulp Fiction (1994)✍

Other Notable Screenplay(s): Django Unchained (2012)

18. Mike Leigh

Director | Secrets & Lies

Mike Leigh was born on February 20, 1943 in Salford, Greater Manchester, England. He is a director and writer, known for Secrets & Lies (1996), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) and Another Year (2010). He was previously married to Alison Steadman.

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

19. Eric Roth

Writer | Forrest Gump

Eric Roth was born on March 22, 1945 in New York City, New York, USA. He is a producer and writer, known for Forrest Gump (1994), The Insider (1999) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). He has been married to Debra Greenfield since 1987. They have five children.

Notable Screenplays:

20. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was six) he traveled the world with his father. He was orphaned at 15 after his father's death and became the ward of Dr. ...

Notable Screenplays: Citizen Kane✍

21. Christopher Nolan

Writer | Dunkirk

Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear, storytelling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970, in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of filmmaking, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made.

...

Memento✍; Inception (2010)✍; The Prestige (2006)

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

22. Michael Powell

Director | The Red Shoes

The son of Thomas William Powell and Mabel (nee Corbett). Michael Powell was always a self-confessed movie addict. He was brought up partly in Canterbury ("The Garden of England") and partly in the south of France (where his parents ran a hotel). Educated at Kings School, Canterbury and Dulwich ...

23. Dudley Nichols

Writer | Stagecoach

Directed 2 actors to Oscar nominations: Rosalind Russell (Best Actress, Sister Kenny (1946); Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)) and Michael Redgrave (Best Actor, Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)).

24. Ruth Gordon

Actress | Rosemary's Baby

When Ruth Gordon convinced her father, a sea captain, to let her pursue acting she came to New York and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She acted in a few silents made at Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1915. She made her Broadway debut in "Peter Pan" as Nibs the same year. The next 20 ...

25. Pedro Almodóvar

Writer | Hable con ella

The most internationally acclaimed Spanish filmmaker since Luis Buñuel was born in a small town (Calzada de Calatrava) in the impoverished Spanish region of La Mancha. He arrived in Madrid in 1968, and survived by selling used items in the flea-market called El Rastro. Almodóvar couldn't study ...

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

26. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Writer | All About Eve

Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 11, 1909, Joseph Leo Mankiewicz first worked for the movies as a translator of intertitles, employed by Paramount in Berlin, the UFA's American distributor at the time (1928). He became a dialoguist, then a screenwriter on numerous Paramount ...

27. Dalton Trumbo

Writer | Roman Holiday

Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, arguably the most talented, most famous of the blacklisted film professionals known to history as the Hollywood 10, was born in Montrose, Colorado to Orus Trumbo and his wife, the former Maud Tillery.

Dalton Trumbo was raised at 1124 Gunnison Ave. in ...

28. Herman J. Mankiewicz

Writer | Citizen Kane

Herman J. Mankiewicz, now known primarily as the man who co-wrote Citizen Kane (1941) with Hollywood's greatest wunderkind, Orson Welles, was one of the highest-paid screenwriters in Hollywood and the head of Paramount's screen-writing department in the late 1920s and early '30s. He reached the ...

29. Leo McCarey

Director | An Affair to Remember

Leo McCarey was born on October 3, 1896 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas Leo McCarey. He was a director and writer, known for An Affair to Remember (1957), Going My Way (1944) and Love Affair (1939). He was married to Stella Martin. He died on July 5, 1969 in Santa Monica, California.

30. Michael Wilson

Writer | Lawrence of Arabia

Father of Becca Wilson and Rosanna Wilson-Farrow.

31. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Writer | Howards End

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala was born on May 7, 1927 in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany as Ruth Prawer. She was a writer, known for Howards End (1992), A Room with a View (1985) and The Remains of the Day (1993). She was married to Cyrus Jhabvala. She died on April 3, 2013 in Manhattan, New York ...

32. Robert Bolt

Writer | A Man for All Seasons

Son of a small shopkeeper, he attended Manchester Grammar School. He later said that he made poor uses of his opportunities there. He went to work in an insurance office, but later entered Manchester University, taking a degree in History. A post-graduate year at Exeter University led to a ...

33. Paddy Chayefsky

Writer | Network

Author, producer and composer who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from CCNY, then a Purple Heart during World War II while serving in the US Army. Joining ASCAP in 1955, his chief musical collaborators included George Bassman and Harry Warren. His popular-song compositions include "Marty" and "...

Greats: Network (1976)✍

Other Notable Film(s):

34. François Truffaut

Writer | La nuit américaine

French director François Truffaut began to assiduously go to the movies at age seven. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who became his protector. Bazin helped the ...

35. Robert Towne

Writer | Chinatown

Writer, director, producer, actor. Born in Los Angeles, California, USA, and raised in the seaport town of San Pedro. Got his start acting and writing for legendary exploitation director/producer Roger Corman. Came into his own during the 1970s when he was regarded as one of the finest ...

36. Luis Buñuel

Writer | Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

The father of cinematic Surrealism and one of the most original directors in the history of the film medium, Luis Buñuel was given a strict Jesuit education (which sowed the seeds of his obsession with both religion and subversive behavior), and subsequently moved to Madrid to study at the ...

37. Ben Hecht

Writer | Notorious

Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood's and Broadway's greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld (1927) at the first Academy Awards in 1929 and had a hand in the writing of many classic films. He was nominated five more times for the best writing Oscar, winning (along with writing...

38. Mario Puzo

Writer | The Godfather

Mario Puzo was born October 15, 1920, in "Hell's Kitchen" on Manhattan's (NY) West Side and, following military service in World War II, attended New York's New School for Social Research and Columbia University. His best-known novel, "The Godfather," was preceded by two critically acclaimed novels...

Notable Screenplays: The Godfather (1972)✍; The Godfather: Part II (1974)✍; Superman

39. Paul Haggis

Writer | Crash

Paul Haggis established himself over twenty years with an extensive career in television, before his big break into features arrived when he became the first screenwriter to garner two Best Film Academy Awards back-to-back for his scripts: "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) directed by Clint Eastwood, ...

40. George Seaton

Writer | Miracle on 34th Street

Working his way up from general factotum and gag writer to highly versatile writer/director, George Seaton was involved in many aspects of the entertainment industry along the way.

He was born George Stenius of Swedish parentage (his family hailed from Stockholm) in South Bend, IN, and grew up in ...

41. Alvin Sargent

Writer | Spider-Man 2

Alvin Sargent was born on April 12, 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Alvin Supowitz. He is known for his work on Spider-Man 2 (2004), Ordinary People (1980) and Paper Moon (1973). He was married to Laura Ziskin and Joan Camden. He died on May 9, 2019 in Seattle, Washington, USA.

42. Charlie Kaufman

Writer | Synecdoche, New York

Avid reader Charlie Kaufman wrote plays and made short films as a young student. He moved from Massapequa, New York to West Hartford, Connecticut in 1972 where he attended high school. As a comedic actor, he performed in school plays and, after graduation, he enrolled at Boston University but soon ...

43. Cameron Crowe

Writer | Almost Famous

Certainly idiosyncratic as a writer, Cameron Crowe has created a series of scripts that, while liked by the critics, were considered offbeat and difficult to market.

Cameron Bruce Crowe was born in Palm Springs, California, to Alice Marie Crowe (née George), a teacher and activist, and James A. ...

44. Warren Beatty

Actor | Bonnie and Clyde

Since starring in his first film, Splendor in the Grass (1961), Warren Beatty has been said to have demonstrated a greater longevity in movies than any actor of his generation. Few people have taken so many responsibilities for all phases of the production of films as producer, director, writer, ...

45. Michelangelo Antonioni

Writer | Blowup

Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema"...

46. Oliver Stone

Producer | JFK

Oliver Stone has become known as a master of controversial subjects and a legendary film maker. His films are filled with a variety of film angles and styles, he pushes his actors to give Oscar-worthy performances, and despite his failures, has always returned to success.

William Oliver Stone was ...

Greats: Scarface (1983) (1983); Salvador (1986) (1986)✍; Platoon (1986) (1986)✍; Born on the Fourth of July (1989) (1989)✍; JFK (1991) (1991)✍

Other Notable Film(s): Midnight Express (1978) (1978)✎; Nixon (1995) (1995)✎

47. Barry Levinson

Director | Rain Man

Barry Levinson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to Violet (Krichinsky) and Irvin Levinson, who worked in furniture and appliance. He is of Russian Jewish descent. Levinson graduated from high school in 1960, attended college at American University in Washington, DC. He did well, but decided he ...

48. Andrew Stanton

Writer | WALL·E

Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrew Stanton was raised in Rockport, Massachusetts. He was educated at The California Institute of the Arts (or "CalArts") in Los Angeles, where he studied character animation. After graduation, Stanton began working as a writer on the TV series Mighty Mouse: The New ...

49. Brad Bird

Writer | The Incredibles

Phillip Bradley "Brad" Bird is an American director, screenwriter, animator, producer and occasional voice actor, known for both animated and live-action films. Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four children of Marjorie A. (née Cross) and Philip Cullen Bird. His father worked in...

50. Simon Beaufoy

Writer | Slumdog Millionaire

Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire. He attended Malsis School in Cross Hills Ermysted's Grammar School at Skipton, later he attended Sedbergh School in Cumbria.

He has read English at St Peter's College, Oxford and graduated from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth.

In 2009 he won an Academy Award for ...

51. Danny Boyle

Director | 127 Hours

Danny Boyle was born on October 20, 1956 in Manchester, England as Daniel Boyle. He is a director and producer, known for 127 Hours (2010), 28 Days Later... (2002) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

52. Peter Jackson

Producer | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Peter Jackson was born as an only child in a small coast-side town in New Zealand in 1961. When a friend of his parents bought him a super 8 movie camera (because she saw how much he enjoyed taking photos), the then eight-year-old Peter instantly grabbed the thing to start recording his own movies,...

53. George Lucas

Writer | Star Wars

George Walton Lucas, Jr. was raised on a walnut ranch in Modesto, California. His father was a stationery store owner and he had three siblings. During his late teen years, he went to Thomas Downey High School and was very much interested in drag racing. He planned to become a professional racecar ...

54. William Rose

Writer | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

William Rose was born on December 12, 1914 in Jefferson City, Missouri, USA as William Arthur Rose. He was a writer, known for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) and The Ladykillers (1955). He was married to Tania Rose. He died on February 10, 1987 in Jersey, ...

55. Nora Ephron

Writer | Julie & Julia

Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an acclaimed essayist (Crazy Salad 1975), novelist (Heartburn 1983), and had written screenplays for several popular films, all featuring strong female characters, such as anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood (Silkwood (1983), ...

56. Robert Benton

Writer | Kramer vs. Kramer

Robert Benton was born on September 29, 1932 in Waxahachie, Texas, USA as Robert Douglas Benton. He is a writer and director, known for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Superman (1978).

57. Frederic Raphael

Writer | Eyes Wide Shut

Frederic Raphael was born on August 14, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Frederic Michael Raphael. He is a writer and actor, known for Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Two for the Road (1967) and Darling (1965). He has been married to Sylvia Betty Glatt since January 17, 1955.

58. I.A.L. Diamond

Writer | The Apartment

I.A.L. Diamond was born on June 27, 1920 in Ungheni, Romania as Itek Domnici. He was a writer and producer, known for The Apartment (1960), Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970). He was married to Barbara Ann Bentley. He died on April 21, 1988 in Beverly Hills, ...

59. Ernest Lehman

Writer | North by Northwest

One of the most critically and commercially successful screenwriters in Hollywood history, Lehman grew up on Long Island, graduated from NY's City College. One of his first jobs was as a copywriter for a Broadway publicist. This experience would later be reflected in his novel and screenplay, "...

60. John Steinbeck

Writer | Lifeboat

John Steinbeck was the third of four children and the only son born to John Ernst and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. His father was County Treasurer and his mother, a former schoolteacher. John graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and attended classes at Stanford University, leaving in 1925 ...

61. Charles Brackett

Writer | Sunset Blvd.

Charles Brackett, born in Saratoga Springs, New York, of Scottish ancestry, followed in his attorney-father's footsteps and graduated with a law degree from Harvard University in 1920. He practised law for several years, before commencing work as drama critic for The New Yorker (1925-29), in ...

62. Anthony Minghella

Writer | The Talented Mr. Ripley

Anthony Minghella was the son of immigrants from Italy, who own an ice-cream factory on the Isle of Wight, where Anthony was born on January 6, 1954. He and his two siblings, Edana Minghella and Dominic Minghella, grew up there, a popular British holiday spot. After graduating from the University of...

63. Frank Darabont

Writer | The Green Mile

Three-time Oscar nominee Frank Darabont was born in a refugee camp in 1959 in Montbeliard, France, the son of Hungarian parents who had fled Budapest during the failed 1956 Hungarian revolution. Brought to America as an infant, he settled with his family in Los Angeles and attended Hollywood High ...

64. Bill Condon

Director | Kinsey

Bill Condon was born on October 22, 1955 in New York City, New York, USA as William Patrick Condon. He is a director and writer, known for Kinsey (2004), Dreamgirls (2006) and Gods and Monsters (1998).

65. Jim Sheridan

Producer | In America

Jim Sheridan is a master story-teller, and an acclaimed film director of few films, but good films nevertheless.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1949, Sheridan moved to America in 1982, meeting a man who invited him to run the Irish Arts Center. He found a place to live in Hell's Kitchen, New York City,...

66. Lawrence Kasdan

Writer | The Big Chill

Lawrence Kasdan was born on January 14, 1949 in Miami, Florida, USA as Lawrence Edward Kasdan. He is a writer and producer, known for The Big Chill (1983), Silverado (1985) and Wyatt Earp (1994). He has been married to Meg Kasdan since November 28, 1971. They have two children.

67. James Goldman

Writer | The Lion in Winter

James Goldman was born on June 30, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He was a writer, known for The Lion in Winter (1968), Robin and Marian (1976) and Cyber Bandits (1995). He was married to Barbara Goldman and Maria McKeon. He died on October 28, 1998 in New York City, New York, USA.

68. Bernardo Bertolucci

Writer | Ultimo tango a Parigi

Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director whose films were known for their colorful visual style, was born in Parma, Italy. He attended Rome University and became famous as a poet. He served as assistant director for Pier Paolo Pasolini in the film Accattone (1961) and directed The Grim Reaper (...

69. David Lean

Director | Lawrence of Arabia

An important British filmmaker, David Lean was born in Croydon on March 25, 1908 and brought up in a strict Quaker family (ironically, as a child he wasn't allowed to go to the movies). During the 1920s, he briefly considered the possibility of becoming an accountant like his father before finding ...

70. John Hughes

Writer | Planes, Trains & Automobiles

John Hughes was born on February 18, 1950 in Lansing, Michigan, USA as John Wilden Hughes Jr. He was a writer, known for Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), The Breakfast Club (1985) and Weird Science (1985). He was married to Nancy Hughes. He died on August 6, 2009 in Manhattan, New York City...

Notable Film(s): Breakfast Club; The Great Outdoors; Sixteen Candles; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

71. Todd Field

Director | Little Children

William Todd Field was born in Pomona, California, and began acting after graduating from high school in Portland, Oregon, where he was raised. A budding jazz musician as well, he skipped college in favor of a move east to New York to study acting. Once there, he began performing with the Ark ...

72. Steven Zaillian

Writer | Searching for Bobby Fischer

Steven Zaillian was born on January 30, 1953 in Fresno, California, USA as Steven Ernest Bernard Zaillian. He is a writer and producer, known for Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), Schindler's List (1993) and A Civil Action (1998).

73. Peter Morgan

Writer | Frost/Nixon

Peter Morgan was born on April 10, 1963 in London, England as Peter Julian Robin Morgan. He is a writer and producer, known for Frost/Nixon (2008), The Last King of Scotland (2006) and The Crown (2016).

74. Ronald Harwood

Writer | The Pianist

Born in South-Africa in 1934, Ronald Harwood moved to London in 1951 to pursue a career in the theater. After attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he joined the Shakespeare Company of Sir Donald Wolfit, one of the last 'actor-manager' of Great-Britain. From 1953 to 1958, Harwood became the ...

75. Roman Polanski

Actor | Chinatown

Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933.

His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years ...

76. Sofia Coppola

Director | Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

Notable Film(s): Lost in Translation (2003)✍

77. David Hare

Writer | The Hours

David Hare is an English playwright, screenwriter and theatre and film director. Best known for his stage work, Hare has also enjoyed great success with films, receiving two Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing The Hours in 2002, based on the novel written by Michael ...

78. Christopher Hampton

Writer | Dangerous Liaisons

Christopher Hampton was born on January 26, 1946 in Faial, Açores, Portugal as Christopher James Hampton. He is a writer, known for Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Atonement (2007) and The Quiet American (2002). He has been married to Laura de Holesch since 1971. They have two children.

79. William Monahan

Writer | The Departed

William Monahan was born on November 3, 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for The Departed (2006), London Boulevard (2010) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005).

Greats: The Departed (2006)✍

Other Notable Film(s):

80. Darren Aronofsky

Director | Pi

Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, Darren was always artistic: he loved classic movies and, as a teenager, he even spent time doing graffiti art. After high school, Darren went to Harvard University to study film (both live-action and animation). He won ...

81. Jay Cocks

Writer | Silence

Jay Cocks was born on December 1, 1944 in New York City, New York, USA as John Curran Cocks Jr. He is a writer, known for Silence (2016), Strange Days (1995) and The Age of Innocence (1993). He was previously married to Verna Bloom.

82. Stephen Gaghan

Writer | Syriana

Stephen Gaghan was born on May 6, 1965 in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. He is known for his work on Syriana (2005), Traffic (2000) and Gold (2016). He has been married to Minnie Mortimer since May 19, 2007.

83. John Logan

Writer | Skyfall

John Logan was a playwright in Chicago for ten years before writing, on spec, his first screenplay, "Any Given Sunday." He won the 2010 Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle awards for his play RED, which premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in London and the Golden Theatre on ...

84. Aaron Sorkin

Writer | The West Wing

Aaron Sorkin grew up in Scarsdale, a suburb of New York City where he was very involved in his high school drama and theater club. After graduating from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, Sorkin intended to pursue a career in acting. It took him only a short time to ...

85. Andrew Kevin Walker

Writer | Se7en

Andrew Kevin Walker was born on August 14, 1964 in Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA. He is a writer and actor, known for Se7en (1995), Sleepy Hollow (1999) and 8MM (1999).

86. Phil Alden Robinson

Writer | Field of Dreams

Phil Alden Robinson was born on March 1, 1950 in Long Beach, Long Island, New York, USA. He is a writer and director, known for Field of Dreams (1989), Sneakers (1992) and The Sum of All Fears (2002). He has been married to Paulette Bartlett since September 26, 2009.

87. Wes Anderson

Writer | Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wesley Wales Anderson was born in Houston, Texas. His mother, Texas Ann (Burroughs), is an archaeologist turned real estate agent, and his father, Melver Leonard Anderson, worked in advertising and PR. He has two brothers, Eric and Mel. Anderson's parents divorced when he was a young child, an ...

88. Frank Pierson

Writer | Dog Day Afternoon

Frank Pierson was born on May 12, 1925 in Chappaqua, New York, USA as Frank Romer Pierson. He was a producer and writer, known for Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Presumed Innocent (1990) and Cool Hand Luke (1967). He was married to Helene Szamet, Dori Pierson and Polly Stokes. He died on July 22, 2012 ...

Greats: tt0061512/ (1967)✍; Dog Day Afternoon (1975) (1975)✍

Other Notable Film(s): Cat Ballou (1965) (1965)

89. James Cameron

Writer | Avatar

James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University before switching to English, and eventually dropping out. He then drove a truck to support his ...

90. Michael Mann

Producer | The Insider

A student of London's International Film School, Michael Mann began his career in the late 70s, writing for TV shows like Starsky and Hutch (1975). He directed his first film, the award-winning prison drama The Jericho Mile (1979), in 1979. He followed that in 1981 with his first theatrical release,...

91. Martin Scorsese

Director | Taxi Driver

Martin Charles Scorsese was born on November 17, 1942 in Queens, New York City, to Catherine Scorsese (née Cappa) and Charles Scorsese, who both worked in Manhattan's garment district, and whose families both came from Palermo, Sicily. He was raised in the neighborhood of Little Italy, which later ...

92. Michael Arndt

Writer | Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Michael Arndt was born on November 11, 1965 in Harris County, Texas, USA as Michael deBruyn Arndt. He is a writer, known for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013).

93. Mardik Martin

Writer | Mean Streets

Mardik Martin is in the elite group of screenwriters on WGA's list of 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written. He immigrated to the United States from Iraq to attend 'New York University'. He won the Mahler award and graduated with a Master's degree in Screenwriting in 1968, then went on to teach at ...

94. Dustin Lance Black

Writer | Milk

Dustin Lance Black was born on June 10, 1974 in Sacramento, California, USA. He is a writer and producer, known for Milk (2008), When We Rise (2017) and My Life with Count Dracula (2003). He has been married to Tom Daley since May 6, 2017. They have one child.

Greats: Milk (2008)✍

Caution: J. Edgar (2011)

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

95. Ben Affleck

Producer | Argo

American actor and filmmaker Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt was born on August 15, 1972 in Berkeley, California, and was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school teacher, and his father, Timothy Byers Affleck, is a social worker; the two are divorced. Ben has...

Good Will Hunting (1997)✍

96. Matt Damon

Actor | Good Will Hunting

Matthew Paige Damon was born on October 8, 1970, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Kent Damon, a stockbroker, realtor and tax preparer, and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, an early childhood education professor at Lesley University. Matt has an older brother, Kyle, a sculptor. His father was of English and ...

Good Will Hunting (1997)✍

97. Diablo Cody

Writer | Juno

Diablo Cody is originally from Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Minnesota to live with her Internet boyfriend, Jonny who later became her husband. While there, she decided on a whim to take up stripping as a hobby of sorts.

She was working at an ad agency and got a promotion. The job wore her ragged ...

Give It a Shot: Young Adult (2011)

Caution: Juno (2007)

Other Notable Screenplay(s):

98. Shane Black

Writer | Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Considered one of the pioneer screenwriters of the action genre, Black made his mark with his Lethal Weapon (1987) screenplay. He also collaborated on the story of the sequel, Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). Each successive script he turned in had a higher price attached it, from The Last Boy Scout (1991) ...

99. David S. Goyer

Writer | Batman Begins

David S. Goyer was born on December 22, 1965 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA as David Samuel Goyer. He is a writer and producer, known for Batman Begins (2005), Dark City (1998) and The Dark Knight (2008). He is married to Marina Black. They have two children.

100. Nick Cave

Soundtrack | The Proposition

Nick Cave is a man of many talents. Musician. Songwriter. Screenwriter. Novelist. Actor. The Australian was born in Warracknabeal, Victoria in 1957, and would go onto form the alternative rock band Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, who have since successfully released a string of hit albums.

In film, Nick ...



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