The Most Acclaimed Screenwriters of All Time (English Language)

by jakebilion | created - 24 May 2018 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

The following is a list of some of the most acclaimed and influential screenwriters of all time. This is not a list of my favorite screenwriters, just some people who seem to have a certain historical significance.

Each screenwriter's name is accompanied by a list of his/her notable screenplays.

"With [writer's name]" - means the writer and his/her partner wrote most/all of their important material together, so they are treated as one person. Ex. Joel Coen with Ethan Coen

"Key collaborators: [writer's name]" - indicates a partner who co-wrote many significant screenplays, but whose solo career is not equivalent to that of their partner. Ex. Billy Wilder, Key Collaborators: I.A.L. Diamond and Charles Brackett

Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

1. 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: Sunset Boulevard (1950), Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Double Indemnity (1944), Ace in the Hole (1951), The Lost Weekend (1945), Ninotchka (1939), Sabrina (1954)

Key Collaborators: I.A.L. Diamond and Charles Brackett

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...

Notable Screenplays: Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Another Woman (1988), Love and Death (1975), Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

Key Collaborators: Marshall Brickman

3. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Pt. II (1974), The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), Patton (1970)

Key Collaborators: Mario Puzo

4. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), All the President's Men (1976), The Princess Bride (1987), Marathon Man (1976), Misery (1990)

5. 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...

Notable Screenplays: Pulp Fiction (1994), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained (2012), Kill Bill Vol. I (2003), Kill Bill Vol. II (2004), Jackie Brown (1997)

Key Collaborators: Roger Avary

6. 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...

Notable Screenplays: Gone With the Wind (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Notorious (1946), Scarface (1932), Spellbound (1945), Underwold (1927), Angels Over Broadway (1940), Design For Living (1933), The Scoundrel (1935), Monkey Business (1952), Kiss of Death (1947), Twentieth Century (1934)

Key Collaborators: Charles MacArthur and Charles Lederer

7. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Chinatown (1974), The Last Detail (1973), Shampoo (1975), Days of Thunder (1990), Mission Impossible (1996), The Parallax View (1974), Tequila Sunrise (1988), Personal Best (1982)

Key Collaborators: Warren Beatty

8. 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,...

Notable Screenplays: Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Maltese Falcon (1941), The African Queen (1951), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Moby Dick (1956), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Key Largo (1948), Jezebel (1938), Sergeant York (1941), High Sierra (1941), Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940), Heaven Knows, Mrs. Allison (1957), Moulin Rouge (1952)

Key Collaborators: Gladys Hill

9. 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, "...

Notable Screenplays: North By Northwest (1959), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), West Side Story (1961), The Sound of Music (1965), Sabrina (1954)

10. 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.

With Ethan Coen

Notable Screenplays: Fargo (1996), The Big Lebowski (1998), No Country For Old Men (2007), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), Raising Arizona (1987), Barton Fink (1991), Blood Simple (1984), Miller's Crossing (1990)

11. 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 "...

Notable Screenplays: Network (1976), Marty (1955), The Hospital (1971), Altered States (1980), The Americanization of Emily (1964)

12. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: JFK (1991), Scarface (1983), Platoon (1986), Midnight Express (1978), Wall Street (1987), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Salvador (1986), Talk Radio (1988), Natural Born Killers (1994), Year of the Dragon (1985), Conan The Barbarian (1982)

13. 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....

Notable Screenplays: Sullivan's Travels (1941), The Lady Eve (1941), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943), The Palm Beach Story (1942), Hail The Conquering Hero (1944), Unfaithfully Yours (1948), Christmas in July (1940), The Great McGinty (1940)

14. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Paths of Glory (1954), Full Metal Jacket (1987), The Shining (1980), The Killing (1956), Barry Lyndon (1975), Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Key Collaborators: Jim Thompson

15. 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), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), American Gigolo (1980), First Reformed (2017), Blue Collar (1978), Rolling Thunder (1977), Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), Hardcore (1979), Light Sleeper (1992)

Key Collaborators: Leonard Schrader

16. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Return of the Jedi (1983), American Graffiti (1973), THX 1138 (1971)

Key Collaborators: Lawrence Kasdan

17. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Adaptation (2002), Being John Malkovich (1999), Synechdoche, New York (2008), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002), Anomalisa (2015)

18. 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.

Notable Screenplays: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Return of the Jedi (1983), Body Heat (1981), The Big Chill (1983), The Accidental Tourist (1988)

Key Collaborators: George Lucas and Meg Kasdan

19. David Mamet

Writer | House of Games

David Mamet was born on November 30, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as David Alan Mamet. He is a writer and producer, known for House of Games (1987), State and Main (2000) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992). He has been married to Rebecca Pidgeon since September 22, 1991. They have two children. He ...

Notable Screenplays: Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), House of Games (1987), The Verdict (1982), The Untouchables (1987), Wag the Dog (1997), Ronin (1998), Homicide (1991)

20. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Gold Rush (1925), The Great Dictator (1940), The Circus (1928), The Kid (1921), Limelight (1952), Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Key Collaborators: Vincent Bryan and Maverick Terrell

21. 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 (1941), Touch of Evil (1958), F For Fake (1973), The Trial (1962), Chimes at Midnight (1965), The Lady From Shanghai (1947), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Confidential Report (1955)

Key Collaborators: Oja Kodar

22. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: The Social Network (2010), Moneyball (2011), A Few Good Men (1992), The American President (1995), Charlie Wilson's War (2007)

23. David Lynch

Writer | Twin Peaks

Born in precisely the kind of small-town American setting so familiar from his films, David Lynch spent his childhood being shunted from one state to another as his research scientist father kept getting relocated. He attended various art schools, married Peggy Lynch and then fathered future ...

Notable Screenplays: Blue Velvet (1986), Mulholland Drive (2001), The Elephant Man (1980), Eraserhead (1977), Lost Highway (1997), Wild at Heart (1990), Inland Empire (2006)

24. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: The Producers (1967), Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein (1974), Spaceballs (1987), Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993), History of the World, Part I (1981), High Anxiety (1977)

25. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Howards End (1992), The Remains of the Day (1993), A Room With a View (1985), Madame Sousatzka (1988), Heat and Dust (1983), The Golden Bowl (2001)

Key Collaborators: James Ivory

26. Paul Thomas Anderson

Director | Punch-Drunk Love

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...

Notable Screenplays: There Will Be Blood (2007), Boogie Nights (1997), Punch Drunk Love (2002), Magnolia (1999), The Master (2012)

27. Spike Lee

Director | Do the Right Thing

Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended ...

Notable Screenplays: Do The Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992), She's Gotta Have It (1986), Jungle Fever (1991), Crooklyn (1994), BlacKkKlansman (2017), School Daze (1988), Mo Better Blues (1990)

28. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), A Man For All Seasons (1966), The Mission (1986), Ryan's Daughter (1970)

29. 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).

Notable Screenplays: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979), Superman (1978), Places in the Heart (1984), Nobody's Fool (1994), Bad Company (1972), What's up Doc? (1972)

Key Collaborators: David Newman

30. 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 ...

With Emeric Pressburger

Notable Screenplays: The Red Shoes (1948), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947), A Canterbury Tale (1944), I Know Where I'm Going (1945), The Tales of Hoffman (1951), 49th Parable (1941)

31. Jules Furthman

Writer | To Have and Have Not

Jules Furthman was a magazine and newspaper writer when he began writing for films in 1915. When the U.S. entered WWI Furthman used the name "Stephen Fox" for his screenplays because he thought his name sounded too German, but he reverted to his real name after the war. Furthman became one of the ...

Notable Screenplays: The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959), To Have and Have Not (1944), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Shanghai Express (1932), Jet Pilot (1957), The Outlaw (1947), Nightmare Alley (1947), The Docks of New York (1928), The Shanghai Gesture (1941), Morocco (1930), Blonde Venus (1932)

Key Collaborators: Leigh Brackett

32. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: All About Eve (1950), Cleopatra (1963), A Letter to Three Wives (1949), The Barefoot Contessa (1954), People Will Talk (1951), No Way Out (1950), Skippy (1931)

33. Harold Ramis

Writer | Ghostbusters

Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" ...

Notable Screenplays: Groundhog Day (1993), Caddyshack (1980), Ghostbusters (1984), Animal House (1978), Stripes (1981), Analyze This (1999)

34. James L. Brooks

Writer | Broadcast News

James L. Brooks was born on May 9, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as James Lawrence Brooks. He is a writer and producer, known for Broadcast News (1987), As Good as It Gets (1997) and Terms of Endearment (1983). He was previously married to Holly Holmberg Brooks and Marianne Catherine Morrissey.

Notable Screenplays: Terms of Endearment (1983), Broadcast News (1987), As Good As It Gets (1997), The Simpsons Movie (2007)

35. 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. ...

Notable Screenplays: Jerry Maguire (1996), Almost Famous (2000), Say Anything... (1989), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

36. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Spartacus (1960), Roman Holiday (1953), Gun Crazy (1950), Papillon (1973), Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), Johnny Got His Gun (1971), The Brave One (1956), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Kitty Foyle (1940), Exodus (1960)

37. 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), ...

Notable Screenplays: When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Silkwood (1983), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Heartburn (1986), You've Got Mail (1998), Julie & Julia (2009)

Key Collaborators: Delia Ephron

38. 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 Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). He was married to Nancy Hughes. He died on August 6, 2009 in Manhattan, ...

Notable Screenplays: Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986), The Breakfast Club (1985), Sixteen Candles (1984), Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987), Pretty in Pink (1986), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Home Alone (1990)

39. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Titanic (1997), Avatar (2009), Aliens (1986), The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), The Abyss (1989)

40. Frances Marion

Writer | The Big House

The most renowned female screenwriter of the 20th century, and one of the most respected scripters of any gender, Frances Marion was born in San Francisco. She modeled and acted and had some success as a commercial artist. She entered into journalism and served in Europe as a combat correspondent ...

Notable Screenplays: The Big House (1930), The Champ (1931), The Prize Fighter and the Lady (1933), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), Anne of Green Gables (1919), Pollyanna (1920), Stella Davis (1925), The Scarlet Letter (1926), Anna Christie (1930), Dinner at Eight (1933), Camille (1936), The Good Earth (1937), The Secret Six (1931), The Love Light (1921)

41. David Webb Peoples

Writer | Unforgiven

David Webb Peoples was born on February 9, 1940 in Middletown, Connecticut, USA. He is a writer and editor, known for Unforgiven (1992), Blade Runner (1982) and 12 Monkeys (1995). He is married to Janet Peoples.

Notable Screenplays: Blade Runner (1982), Unforgiven (1992), 12 Monkeys (1995), Hero (1992)

42. Frank S. Nugent

Writer | The Quiet Man

Frank S. Nugent was an American screenwriter known for his collaborations with director John Ford. For a writer with only 21 feature films credited to his name, his influence is surprisingly ubiquitous and far-reaching. During his lifetime Nugent won two WGA Awards for Best Written Comedy for The ...

Notable Screenplays: The Searchers (1956), Fort Apache (1948), The Quiet Man (1952), Angel Face (1952), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Mister Roberts (1955), Two Rode Together (1961)

43. Robert Riskin

Writer | It Happened One Night

Robert Riskin was born on March 30, 1897 in New York City, New York, USA as Reuben Robert Riskin. He was a writer and producer, known for It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) and You Can't Take It with You (1938). He was married to Fay Wray. He died on September 20, 1955 in ...

Notable Screenplays: It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take it With You (1938), Lost Horizon (1937), The Whole Town's Talking (1935)

44. Lars von Trier

Writer | Dancer in the Dark

Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier, Lars von Trier studied film at the Danish Film School and attracted international attention with his very first feature, The Element of Crime (1984). A highly ...

Notable Screenplays: Breaking the Waves (1996), Dogville (2003), Dancer in the Dark (2000), Melancholia (2011), Nymphomaniac (2013), Antichrist (2009), Europa (1991)

45. 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: California Suite (1979), The Goodbye Girl (1978), The Sunshine Boys (1976), The Odd Couple (1969), Chapter Two (1979), Barefoot in the Park (1967), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), Murder By Death (1976)

46. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Citizen Kane (1941), The Pride of the Yankees (1942), The Last Command (1928), Dinner at Eight (1933), Christmas Holiday (1944), The Pride of St. Louis (1952), It's a Wonderful World (1939)

47. 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.

Notable Screenplays: Ordinary People (1980), Julia (1977), Paper Moon (1973), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Spider-Man 3 (2007), What About Bob? (1991)

48. Bo Goldman

Writer | One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

There are but a few select screenwriters who are spoken of with the kind of reverence usually reserved for film Directors - Robert Towne, Alvin Sargent and Bo Goldman. Goldman is a screenwriter's screenwriter, and one of the most honored in motion picture history. The recipient of two Academy ...

Notable Screenplays: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Scent of a Woman (1992), Melvin and Howard (1980), Shoot the Moon (1982)

49. Richard Matheson

Writer | Jaws 3-D

Born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, Richard Burton Matheson first became a published author while still a child, when his stories and poems ran in the "Brooklyn Eagle". A lifelong reader of fantasy tales, he made his professional writing bow in 1950 when his short story "Born of Man and ...

Notable Screenplays: Somewhere in Time (1980), Duel (1971), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), The Last Man on Earth (1964), Pit and the Pendulum (1961), House of Usher (1960), The Devil Rides Out (1968), The Night Stalker (1972), Tales of Terror (1962), The Comedy of Terrors (1963), Jaws 3-D (1983), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

50. 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.

Notable Screenplays: Naked (1993), Secrets & Lies (1996), Life is Sweet (1990), Another Year (2010), Vera Drake (2004), Abigail's Party (1977), High Hopes (1988), All or Nothing (2002), Nuts in May (1976), Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Key Collaborators: His Actors

51. 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.


Notable Screenplays: Memento (2000), The Dark Knight (2008), Inception (2010), Interstellar (2014), The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Batman Begins (2005), Dunkirk (2017)

Key Collaborators: Jonathan Nolan

52. Steven Zaillian

Writer | Schindler's List

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 Schindler's List (1993), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) and A Civil Action (1998).

Notable Screenplays: Schindler's List (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), Mission Impossible (1996), The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), Awakenings (1990), Moneyball (2011), American Gangster (2007), A Civil Action (1998)

53. Horton Foote

Writer | To Kill a Mockingbird

Horton Foote, the Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist and Oscar-winning screenwriter, was born on March 14, 1916, in Wharton, Texas. He says at the age of ten, he had a "calling" to become an actor, and when he was 16 he convinced his parents to allow him to go to acting school. With their blessing he...

Notable Screenplays: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Tender Mercies (1983), Of Mice and Men (1992), The Trip to Bountiful (1985), The Chase (1966)

54. Waldo Salt

Writer | Midnight Cowboy

Waldo Salt was one of the many people blacklisted in Hollywood during the Red Scare, but unlike others, Salt recovered triumphantly. He wrote his first scripts in the late 1930s (MGM contract writer, 1936-42) and also served as a civilian consultant to the Office of War Information from 1942- 1945 ...

Notable Screenplays: Midnight Cowboy (1969), The Philadelphia Story (1940), Coming Home (1978), Serpico (1973), The Day of the Locust (1975)

55. Frances Goodrich

Writer | The Thin Man

Frances Goodrich was born on December 21, 1890 in Belleville, New Jersey, USA. She was a writer, known for The Thin Man (1934), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Easter Parade (1948). She was married to Albert Hackett, Henrik Van Loon and Robert Ames. She died on January 29, 1984 in New ...

With Albert Hackett

Notable Screenplays: It's a Wonderful Life (1946), The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), The Thin Man (1934), After the Thin Man (1936), Another Thin Man (1939), Father of the Bride (1950), Father's Little Dividend (1951), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Easter Parade (1948), In the Good Old Summertime (1949)

56. Terry Gilliam

Writer | Brazil

Terry Gilliam was born near Medicine Lake, Minnesota. When he was 12 his family moved to Los Angeles where he became a fan of MAD magazine. In his early twenties he was often stopped by the police who suspected him of being a drug addict and Gilliam had to explain that he worked in advertising. In ...

Representing Monty Python

With Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin

Notable Screenplays: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Life of Brian (1979), And Now for Something Completely Different (1971), Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982), The Meaning of Life (1983)

57. Dudley Nichols

Writer | Stagecoach

Worked on thirteen scripts for the director John Ford. Under contract at Fox (1929-35) and RKO (1935-38 and 1943-47).

Notable Screenplays: Stagecoach (1939), Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Informer (1935), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Scarlett Street (1945), And Then There Were None (1945), The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), Pinky (1949), The Tin Star (1957)

58. 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: Forrest Gump (1994), The Insider (1999), Munich (2005), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Ali (2001)

Key Collaborators: Michael Mann

59. Leigh Brackett

Writer | Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Leigh Douglass Brackett was born in 1915 in Los Angeles. She was the author of numerous short stories and books regarding science fiction and has been referred to as the Queen of Space Opera. Hollywood director Howard Hawks was so impressed by one of her novels that he had his secretary call in "...

Notable Screenplays: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959), The Long Goodbye (1973), Hatari! (1962), El Dorado (1966), Man's Favorite Sport? (1964)

Key Collaborators: Jules Furthman

60. Richard Linklater

Director | Waking Life

Self-taught writer-director Richard Stuart Linklater was born in Houston, Texas, to Diane Margaret (Krieger), who taught at a university, and Charles W. Linklater III. Richard was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. ...

Notable Screenplays: Boyhood (2014), Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), Dazed and Confused (1993), Before Midnight (2014), Slacker (1991), Waking Life (2001)

61. Anita Loos

Writer | Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

While she is now best known for her book "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Anita Loos was one of Hollywood's foremost early screenwriters. She began writing screen scenarios for the 'Biograph Company' at an early age (though not 12, as she later claimed), and the first to be produced, The New York Hat (...

Notable Screenplays: Intolerance: Love's Struggle Through the Ages (1916), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1935), His Picture in the Papers (1916), The Women (1939), The Red-Headed Woman (1932), The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912), The New York Hat (1912), My Baby (1912)

62. 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,...

With Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens

Notable Screenplays: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

63. Alexander Payne

Director | Nebraska

Director, producer and screenwriter Alexander Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents, Peggy (Constantine) and George Payne, ran a Greek restaurant. His father is of Greek and German ancestry, and his mother is of Greek descent; the family name was originally Papadopoulos. He has two older ...

With Jim Taylor

Notable Screenplays: Sideways (2004), Election (1999), Citizen Ruth (1996), About Schmidt (2002), The Descendants (2011)

64. Paul Mazursky

Actor | An Unmarried Woman

Paul Mazursky was born on April 25, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Irwin Lawrence Mazursky. He is known for his work on An Unmarried Woman (1978), Harry and Tonto (1974) and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969). He was married to Betsy Mazursky. He died on June 30, 2014 ...

Notable Screenplays: An Unmarried Woman (1978), Bob & Carol and Ted & Alice (1969), Harry and Tonto (1974), Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986), Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)

65. Walter Hill

Writer | 48 Hrs.

Hill was born in Long Beach, California and educated at Mexico City College and Michigan State University. He worked in oil drilling and construction in the 60s before becoming a 2nd assistant director in 1967. He has written and co-written screenplays, including several uncredited works. He has ...

Notable Screenplays: The Warriors (1979), Aliens (1986), The Driver (1978), The Getaway (1972), 48 Hrs. (1982), Southern Comfort (1981), Hard Times (1975), Streets of Fire (1984)

66. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Diner (1982), ...And Justice For All (1979), Avalon (1990), High Anxiety (1977), Sleepers (1996)

67. Carl Foreman

Writer | The Guns of Navarone

Carl Foreman was born on July 23, 1914 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Carl Nathan Foreman. He is known for his work on The Guns of Navarone (1961), High Noon (1952) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). He was married to Evelyn Smith and Estelle Barr. He died on June 26, 1984 in Beverly Hills, Los...

Notable Screenplays: High Noon (1952), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Men (1950), Champion (1949), Home of the Brave (1949)

68. Graham Greene

Writer | The Fallen Idol

Graham Greene was one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century and his influence on the cinema and theatre was enormous. He wrote five plays and almost all of his novels, including "Brighton Rock", "The Ministry of Fear" and "The End of the Affair", have been brought to the screen. A superb ...

Notable Screenplays: The Third Man (1949), The Fallen Idol (1950), Brighton Rock (1948), The Comedians (1967), Our Man in Havana (1959)

69. 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.

Notable Screenplays: An Affair to Remember (1957), Going My Way (1944), My Favorite Wife (1940), Love Affair (1939), My Son John (1952)

70. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Cool Hand Luke (1967), A Star is Born (1976), Cat Ballou (1965), Presumed Innocent (1990)

71. John Milius

Writer | Conan the Barbarian

John Milius is a screenwriter and director who came to prominence in the 1970s, when he was associated with Francis Ford Coppola and the pre-Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) George Lucas. Born on April 11, 1944 in St. Louis, Missouri, Milius was one of the first movie industry ...

Notable Screenplays: Apocalypse Now (1979), Jeremiah Johnson (1972), Magnum Force (1973), Dillinger (1973), The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Wind and the Lion (1975), Big Wednesday (1978)

72. Michael Wilson

Writer | Lawrence of Arabia

Blacklisted in the 1950s.

Notable Screenplays: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Planet of the Apes (1968), A Place in the Sun (1951), Friendly Persuasion (1957), 5 Fingers (1952)

73. Budd Schulberg

Writer | On the Waterfront

Budd Schulberg was born on March 27, 1914 in New York City, New York, USA as Seymour Wilson Schulberg. He was a writer and producer, known for On the Waterfront (1954), Everglades (1961) and A Face in the Crowd (1957). He was married to Betsy Ann Langman, Geraldine Brooks, Agnes Victoria Anderson ...

Notable Screenplays: On the Waterfront (1954), A Face in the Crowd (1957), The Harder They Fall (1956)

74. Richard Curtis

Writer | Love Actually

Richard Curtis was born on November 8, 1956 in Wellington, New Zealand as Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis. He is a writer and producer, known for Love Actually (2003), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) and About Time (2013).

Notable Screenplays: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999), Love Actually (2003), Bridget Jone's Diary (2001), War Horse (2011), The Tall Guy (1989), About Time (2013)

75. 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) ...

Notable Screenplays: Lethal Weapon (1987), Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), Iron Man 3 (2013), The Last Boy Scout (1991)

76. Betty Comden

Soundtrack | On the Town

Songwriter ("New York, New York", "Lonely Town", "The Party's Over", "Just in Time"), author and actress. educated at New York University with a Bachelor of Science degree. While a student, she acted with the Washington Square Players. She was a member of the Revuers, a night club act which also ...

With Adolph Green

Notable Screenplays: Singin' in the Rain (1952), The Band Wagon (1953), On the Town (1949), It's Always Fair Weather (1955), The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)

77. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Toy Story (1995), Finding Nemo (2003), WALL-E (2008), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monster's Inc. (2001)

Key Collaborators: Pete Docter

78. Pete Docter

Writer | Inside Out

Pete Docter was born on October 9, 1968 in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA as Peter Hans Docter. He is a producer and writer, known for Inside Out (2015), Up (2009) and Monsters, Inc. (2001). He has been married to Amanda Jean Schmidt since December 27, 1992. They have two children.

Notable Screenplays: Toy Story (1995), Up (2009), Inside Out (2015), WALL-E (2008), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monster's Inc. (2001)

Key Collaborators: Andrew Stanton

79. Charles Lederer

Writer | Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Charles Lederer was born on December 31, 1911 in New York City, New York, USA as Charles Davies Lederer. He was a writer and director, known for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Kiss of Death (1947) and His Girl Friday (1940). He was married to Anne Shirley and Virginia Nicolson. He died on March 5...

Notable Screenplays: His Girl Friday (1941), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), The Thing From Another World (1951), Ocean's Eleven (1960), Monkey Business (1952), Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), Kiss of Death (1947), I Was a Male War Bride (1949)

Key Collaborators: Ben Hecht

80. John Cassavetes

Actor | Love Streams

John Cassavetes was a Greek-American actor, film director, and screenwriter. He is considered a pioneer of American independent film, as he often financed his own films.

Cassavetes was born in New York City in 1929 to Nicholas John Cassavetes and his wife, Katherine Demetre (1906-1983). Nicholas was...

Notable Screenplays:

A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Faces (1968), Opening Night (1977), Husbands (1970), The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976), Shadows (1959)

81. Dan O'Bannon

Writer | Alien

Dan O'Bannon was inspired at an early age by EC Comics like Tales from the Crypt and old horror films that he saw in St. Louis. He even wrote a few stories for Heavy Metal magazine (which also showed up in the film).

O'Bannon got his start when he and John Carpenter collaborated on the cult sci-fi ...

Notable Screenplays: Alien (1979), Total Recall (1990), Blue Thunder (1983), Dark Star (1974), The Return of the Living Dead (1985), Lifeforce (1985), Dead & Buried (1981), Invaders From Mars (1986), Screamers (1995)

82. Howard Koch

Writer | Casablanca

Playwright and author of sophisticated screenplays, a graduate of Bard College and Columbia University Law School. Howard Koch started out as a practicing lawyer in Hartsdale, New Jersey, but soon found himself dissatisfied with his career choice and began to write plays on the side. His first two ...

Notable Screenplays: Casablanca (1942), Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948), Sergeant York (1941), The Sea Hawk (1940), Mission to Moscow (1943), The Letter (1940), In This Our Life (1942)

83. Jane Campion

Writer | The Piano

Jane Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Having graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, and a BA, with a painting major, at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, she began filmmaking in the early...

Notable Screenplays: The Piano (1993), Sweetie (1989), Bright Star (2009), In the Cut (2003), Holy Smoke! (1999)

84. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), Rushmore (1998), Bottle Rocket (1996), The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Key Collaborators: Roman Coppola and Owen Wilson

85. Elaine May

Actress | Small Time Crooks

Elaine May was born on April 21, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Elaine Iva Berlin. She is an actress and writer, known for Small Time Crooks (2000), A New Leaf (1971) and Primary Colors (1998). She was previously married to David L. Rubinfine, Sheldon Harnick and Marvin May.

Notable Screenplays: A New Leaf (1971), The Birdcage (1996), Mikey and Nicky (1976), Heaven Can Wait (1978), Ishtar (1987), Primary Colors (1998)

86. Albert Brooks

Actor | Drive

Albert Brooks was born on July 22, 1947 in Beverly Hills, California, USA as Albert Lawrence Einstein. He is an actor and writer, known for Drive (2011), Broadcast News (1987) and Defending Your Life (1991). He has been married to Kimberly Shlain since March 15, 1997. They have two children.

Notable Screenplays: Defending Your Life (1991), Lost in America (1985), Modern Romance (1981), The Scout (1994), Real Life (1979), The Muse (1999)

Key Collaborators: Monica Mcgowan Johnson

87. Terry Southern

Writer | Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Terry Southern began writing satirical, outrageous fiction at the age of 12, when he took it upon himself to rewrite various Edgar Allan Poe stories "because they didn't go far enough". After serving as a lieutenant in the army in World War II, he began writing short stories in earnest while ...

Notable Screenplays: Dr. Strangelove (1964), Easy Rider (1969), Barbarella (1968), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Loved One (1965)

88. 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 ...

With Garson Kanin

Notable Screenplays: Adam's Rib (1949), Pat and Mike (1952), A Double Life (1947), The Marrying Kind (1952)

89. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: The Pianist (2002), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), The Dresser (1983), Quarter (2012), Oliver Twist (2005)

90. 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 Queen (2006).

Notable Screenplays: Frost/Nixon (2009), The Queen (2007), The Damned United (2009), The Last King of Scotland (2006), Rush (2013)

91. Alan Jay Lerner

Writer | An American in Paris

Playwright/lyricist Alan Jay Lerner was born into a wealthy New York City retailing family. His professional association with Frederick Loewe started in 1942 when they teamed up to write "Life of the Party". Their first Broadway success was the 1947 musical fantasy "Brigadoon." Lerner adapted work ...

Notable Screenplays: An American in Paris (1951), My Fair Lady (1964), Gigi (1958), Royal Wedding (1951)

92. David Zucker

Writer | Airplane!

Born on October 16, 1947 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, legendary director/writer/producer David Zucker, along with legendary brother Jerry (Ghost, 1990) Zucker and equally legendary friend, Jim (Hot Shots, 1991) Abrahams, has established himself among Hollywood's (or at least Wisconsin's) most ...

With Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker

Notable Screenplays: Airplane! (1980), The Naked Gun (1988), The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), Top Secret! (1984)

93. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Airport (1970), A Day at the Races (1937), The Country Girl (1954), The Song of Bernadette (1943)

94. John Sayles

Writer | Lone Star

A bright child, John Sayles began reading novels before age 9. A Williams grad in 1972, he shunned a corporate career to work various blue-collar jobs, moving to east Boston to take a factory job. He wrote stories and submitted them to various magazines, and the Atlantic Monthly gave him the idea ...

Notable Screenplays: Lone Star (1996), Passion Fish (1992), The Secret of Ronan Inish (1994), Matewan (1987), The Brother From Another Planet (1984)

95. Richard Brooks

Writer | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Richard Brooks was an Academy Award-winning film writer who also earned six Oscar nominations and achieved success as a film director and producer.

He was born Ruben Sax on May 18, 1912, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. He graduated from West Philadelphia HS...

Notable Screenplays: In Cold Blood (1967), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), Blackboard Jungle (1955), The Professionals (1966), Lord Jim (1965)

96. Christopher Guest

Actor | This Is Spinal Tap

U.S.-born actor, director, writer, musician, and composer best known for his mockumentaries, poking fun at heavy metal music, small town theatre, dog shows, folk music and film-making itself, Christopher Haden-Guest was born February fifth, 1948, in New York City. His mother, Jean Pauline (Hindes),...

Notable Screenplays: This is Spinal Tap (1984), Waiting for Guffman (1997), Best in Show (2000)

97. Andrew Niccol

Writer | Gattaca

New Zealand-born screenwriter-director Andrew Niccol began his career in London, successfully directing TV commercials before moving to Los Angeles in order to make films "longer than 60 seconds." He interested high-powered producer Scott Rudin in his The Truman Show (1998) script, but Rudin was not...

Notable Screenplays: The Truman Show (1998), Gattaca (1997), Lord of War (2005), The Terminal (2004), S1MONE (2002)

98. Harmony Korine

Director | Gummo

Harmony Korine was born in 1973 in Bolinas, California. His family moved to the east coast of the United States when he was five, and he spent his early years in Nashville, Tennessee, and New York. At the age of nineteen, he wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay Kids (1995) for director Larry ...

Notable Screenplays: KIDS (1995), Gummo (1997), Julien Donkey-Boy (1999), Spring Breakers (2012), Mr. Lonely (2007)

99. 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 Pt. II (1974), Superman (1978), Superman 2 (1980), The Cotton Club (1984), Earthquake (1974)

Key Collaborators: Francis Ford Coppola

100. 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.

Notable Screenplays: Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Two For the Road (1967), Darling (1965), Far From the Maddening Crowd (1967)

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