What is a screenplay? Before we answer that, let us first decode what a screenplay is definitely not. It is neither a play and nor is it a novel. Unlike the writer writing for a novel who has complete freedom to explore any point of view, shift between conscious and subconscious mind, explore a character or a story from multiple perspectives, etc., the screenwriter should at all times write in the present tense and make sure that what is written is only what the audience can see and hear. A screenplay is visual and is a written work by screenwriters for a film, video game or television program.
And what makes a great screenplay? From Casablanca to The Shawshank Redemption, the elements of a great script are essentially the same. Here is our list of the Top 25 Best Screenwriting Works. Take some time out and do watch these remarkable movies.
Screenplay by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. Based on the play ‘Everybody Comes to Rick’s’ by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison.
- THE GODFATHER
Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola. Based on the novel by Mario Puzo.
Written by Robert Towne.
- CITIZEN KANE
Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles.
- ALL ABOUT EVE
Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Based on ‘The Wisdom of Eve’, a short story and radio play by Mary Orr.
- ANNIE HALL
Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman.
- SUNSET BLVD.
Written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr.
Written by Paddy Chayefsky.
- SOME LIKE IT HOT
Screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. Based on ‘Fanfare of Love’ a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan.
- THE GODFATHER II
Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo. Based on Mario Puzo’s novel ‘The Godfather’.
- BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
Written by William Goldman.
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern. Based on novel ‘Red Alert’ by Peter George.
- THE GRADUATE
Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry. Based on the novel by Charles Webb.
- LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson. Based on the life and writings of Col. T.E. Lawrence.
- THE APARTMENT
Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond.
- PULP FICTION
Written by Quentin Tarantino. Stories by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary.
Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal. Story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart.
- ON THE WATERFRONT
Screen Story and Screenplay by Budd Schulberg. Based on ‘Crime on the Waterfront’ articles by Malcolm Johnson.
- TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Screenplay by Horton Foote. Based on the novel by Harper Lee.
- IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett and Frank Capra. Based on the short story ‘The Greatest Gift’ by Philip Van Doren Stern. Contributions to screenplay Michael Wilson and Jo Swerling.
- NORTH BY NORTHWEST
Written by Ernest Lehman.
- THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Screenplay by Frank Darabont. Based on the short story ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’ by Stephen King.
- GONE WITH THE WIND
Screenplay by Sidney Howard. Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell.
- ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman. Story by Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth.
- THE WIZARD OF OZ
Screenplay by Noel Langley and Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf Adaptation by Noel Langley. Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum.