101 Greatest Film Screenplays
of All Time

by the Writer's Guild of America

(part 4, by reverse ranking)

#
Film Title
(Year and Director)
Scriptwriter(s) and Original or Adapted Source Material Memorable Line of Dialogue
(Performer/Film Character)
25
The Wizard of Oz
(1939; dir. Victor Fleming)
Screenplay by Noel Langley and Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, adaptation by Noel Langley, based on the novel by L. Frank Baum "Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore."
— Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale
24
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
(2004; dir. Michel Gondry)
Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, story by Charlie Kaufman & Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth Joel Barish (Jim Carrey): "Is there any risk of brain damage?" Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson): "Well, technically, the procedure itself is brain damage, but on par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you’ll miss."
23
Gone With the Wind
(1939; dir. Victor Fleming)
Screenplay by Sidney Howard, based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell "You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how."
— Clark Gable as Rhett Butler
22
The Shawshank Redemption
(1994; dir. Frank Darabont)
Screenplay by Frank Darabont, based on the short story "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" by Stephen King "Get busy living, or get busy dying."
— Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne
21
North by Northwest
(1959; dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
Written by Ernest Lehman "I’ve got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives, and several bartenders that depend upon me, and I don’t intend to disappoint them all by getting myself ‘slightly’ killed."
— Cary Grant as Roger Thornhill
20
It’s a Wonderful Life
(1946; dir. Frank Capra)
Screenplay by Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett & Frank Capra, based on the short story "The Greatest Gift" by Philip Van Doren Stern, contributions to the screenplay by Michael Wilson and Jo Swerling
"Big—see! I don’t want one for one night. I want something for a thousand and one nights, with plenty of room for labels from Italy and Baghdad, Samarkand . . . a great big one!"
— Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey
19
To Kill A Mockingbird
(1962; dir. Robert Mulligan)
Screenplay by Horton Foote, based on the novel by Harper Lee "There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible."
— Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch
18
On the Waterfront
(1954; dir. Elia Kazan)
Screen story and screenplay by Budd Schulberg, based on "Crime on the Waterfront" articles by Malcolm Johnson "You want to know what’s wrong with our waterfront? It’s love of a lousy buck. It’s making love of a buck — the cushy job — more important than the love of man. It’s forgetting that every fellow down here is your brother in Christ."
— Karl Malden as Father Barry
17
Tootsie
(1982; dir. Sydney Pollack)
Screenplay by Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal, story by Don McGuire and Larry Gelbart "Look, you don’t know me from Adam, but I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man. Know what I mean?"
— Dustin Hoffman as Michael Dorsey
16
Pulp Fiction
(1994; dir. Quentin Tarantino)
Written by Quentin Tarantino, stories by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary "I ain’t through with you by a damn sight. I’m gonna get Medieval on your ass."
— Ving Rhames as Marsellus Wallace
15
The Apartment
(1960; dir. Billy Wilder)
Written by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond "I guess that’s the way it crumbles—cookie-wise."
— Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter
14
Lawrence of Arabia
(1962; dir. David Lean)
Screenplay by Robert Bolt and Michael Wilson, based on the life and writings of Col. T.E. Lawrence
Jackson Bentley (Arthur Kennedy): "What attracts you personally to the desert?" T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole): "It’s clean."
13
The Graduate
(1967; dir. Mike Nichols)
Screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry, based on the novel by Charles Webb "I want to say one word to you. Just one word . . . Plastics."
— Walter Brooke as Mr. McGuire
12
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
(1964, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Peter George and Terry Southern "Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!"
— Peter Sellers as Pres. Merkin Muffley
11
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
(1969; dir. George Roy Hill)
Written by William Goldman Sundance Kid (Robert Redford): "I can’t swim." Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman): "Why, you crazy—the fall'll probably kill you."
10
The Godfather Part II
(1974; dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo, based on Mario Puzo’s novel "The Godfather" "I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart."
— Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
9
Some Like It Hot
(1959; dir. Billy Wilder)
Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond, based on "Fanfare of Love", a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan "Nobody’s perfect."
— Joe E. Brown as Osgood Fielding
8
Network
(1976; dir. Sidney Lumet)
Written by Paddy Chayefsky "I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!"
— Peter Finch as Howard Beale
7
Sunset Boulevard
(1950; dir. Billy Wilder)
Written by Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman Jr. Joe Gillis (William Holden): "You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big." Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson): "I am big. It’s the pictures that got small."
6
Annie Hall
(1977; dir. Woody Allen)
Written by Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman "A relationship, I think, is—is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies. And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark."
— Woody Allen as Alvy Singer
5
All About Eve
(1950; dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
Screenplay by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on "The Wisdom of Eve", a short story and radio play by Mary Orr "Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night."
— Bette Davis as Margo Channing
4
Citizen Kane
(1941; dir. Orson Welles)
Written by Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles "Mr. Kane was a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it. Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get or something he lost. Anyway, it wouldn’t have explained anything. I don’t think any word can explain a man’s life."
— William Alland as Jerry Thompson
3
Chinatown
(1974; dir. Roman Polanski)
Written by Robert Towne "Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, public buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough."
— John Huston as Noah Cross
2
The Godfather
(1972; dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
Screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel by Mario Puzo "Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract."
— Al Pacino as Michael Corleone
1
Casablanca
(1942; dir. Michael Curtiz)
Screenplay by Julius J. & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, based on the play "Everybody Comes to Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into mine."
— Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine

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