101 Greatest Film Screenplays
of All Time

by the Writer's Guild of America

(part 3, by reverse ranking)

#
Film Title
(Year and Director)
Scriptwriter(s) and Original or Adapted Source Material Memorable Line of Dialogue
(Performer/Film Character)
50
The Sixth Sense
(1999; dir. M. Night Shyamalan)
Written by M. Night Shyamalan "I see dead people."
— Haley Joel Osment as Cole Sear
49
Schindler’s List
(1993; dir. Steven Spielberg)
Screenplay by Steven Zaillian, based on the novel by Thomas Keneally "I pardon you."
— Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth
48
The Bridge on the River Kwai
(1957; dir. David Lean)
Screenplay by Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson, based on the novel by Pierre Boulle
"What have I done?"
— Alec Guinness as Colonel Nicholson
47
The Maltese Falcon
(1941; dir. John Huston)
Screenplay by John Huston, based on the novel by Dashiell Hammett
"When you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it."
— Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade
46
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
(1948; dir. John Huston)
Screenplay by John Huston, based on the novel by B. Traven "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges."
— Alfonso Bedoya as Gold Hat
45
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
(1975; dir. Milos Forman)
Screenplay by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey "Get out of my way son, you're using my oxygen. You know what I mean?"
— Jack Nicholson as Randall Patrick Murphy
44
The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946; dir. William Wyler)
Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood, based on novel "Glory For Me" by MacKinlay Kantor "They couldn't train him to put his arms around his girl, or to stroke her hair."
— Fredric March as Al Stephenson
43
Taxi Driver
(1976; dir. Martin Scorsese)
Written by Paul Schrader "You talkin’ to me?"
— Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle
42
Raiders of the Lost Ark
(1981; dir. Steven Spielberg)
Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, story by George Lucas and Philip Kaufman "I hate snakes."
— Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
41
GoodFellas
(1990; dir. Martin Scorsese)
Screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese, based on book "Wise Guy" by Nicholas Pileggi "Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut."
— Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway
40
When Harry Met Sally…
(1989; dir. Rob Reiner)
Written by Nora Ephron "I’ll have what she’s having."
— Estelle Reiner as the woman in the deli
39
The Sting
(1973; dir. George Roy Hill)
Written by David S. Ward "No sense in being a grifter if it's the same as being a citizen."
— Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff
38
American Beauty
(1999; dir. Sam Mendes)
Written by Alan Ball "I’m just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose."
— Kevin Spacey as Lester Burnham
37
The Philadelphia Story
(1940; dir. George Cukor)
Screenplay by Donald Ogden Stewart, based on the play by Philip Barry "I'm going crazy. I'm standing here, solidly on my own two hands and going crazy."
— Katharine Hepburn as Tracy Lord
36
Midnight Cowboy
(1969; dir. John Schlesinger)
Screenplay by Waldo Salt, based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy "I’m walkin’ here!"
— Dustin Hoffman as Ratso Rizzo
35
The Usual Suspects
(1995; dir. Bryan Singer)
Written by Christopher McQuarrie "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist."
— Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint
34
The Sweet Smell of Success
(1957; dir. Alexander Mackendrick)
Screenplay by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, from a novelette by Ernest Lehman "Watch me run a 50-yard dash with my legs cut off!"
— Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco
33
The Third Man
(1949; dir. Carol Reed)
Screenplay by Graham Greene, story by Graham Greene, based on the short story by Graham Greene "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed. But they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!"
— Orson Welles as Harry Lime
32
Fargo
(1996; dir. Joel Coen)
Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen "I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Lou.''
— Frances McDormand as Marge Gunderson
31
His Girl Friday
(1940: dir. Howard Hawks)
Screenplay by Charles Lederer, based on the play "The Front Page" by Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur "Who’s going to read the second paragraph?"
— Cary Grant as Walter Burns
30
Unforgiven
(1992: dir. Clint Eastwood)
Written by David Webb Peoples "It's a hell of a thing killin' a man. You take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."
— Clint Eastwood as Bill Munny
29
Sullivan’s Travels
(1941; dir. Preston Sturges)
Written by Preston Sturges "There's always a girl in the picture. What's the matter? Don't you go to the movies?"
— Joel McCrea as John L. Sullivan
28
Shakespeare In Love
(1998; dir. John Madden)
Written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard "Romeo and Juliet. Just a suggestion."
— Ben Affleck as Ned Alleyn
27
Groundhog Day
(1993; dir. Harold Ramis)
Screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, story by Danny Rubin "What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today."
— Bill Murray as Phil Connors
26
Double Indemnity
(1944; dir. Billy Wilder)
Screenplay by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler, based on the novel by James M. Cain "Do I laugh now or wait until it gets funny?"
— Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff

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