The best screenplays ever written

by smith-d-c | created - 30 Sep 2010 | updated - 01 Oct 2010 | Public
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1. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

9.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,288,806 | Gross: $134.97M

Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola

"That's my family, Kay. It's not me."

2. Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

Votes: 157,393

Billy Wildler

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small."

3. The Producers (1967)

PG | 88 min | Comedy

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
97 Metascore

Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.

Director: Mel Brooks | Stars: Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Estelle Winwood, Renée Taylor

Votes: 43,141 | Gross: $0.11M

Mel Brooks

"How could this happen? I was so careful. I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?"

4. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
100 Metascore

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins

Votes: 215,592 | Gross: $44.82M

Robert Bolt

"Do you think that I'm just anybody, Dryden, do you?"

5. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
94 Metascore

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

Votes: 1,476,436 | Gross: $107.93M

Quentin Tarantino

"You know what they call a quarter pounder in Paris?"

6. Network (1976)

R | 121 min | Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
88 Metascore

A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall

Votes: 116,226

Paddy Cheyevsky

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

7. Casablanca (1942)

PG | 102 min | Drama, Romance, War

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
100 Metascore

In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains

Votes: 429,810 | Gross: $1.02M

Julius Epstein

"Here's looking at you kid."

8. Citizen Kane (1941)

PG | 119 min | Drama, Mystery

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
100 Metascore

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 329,087 | Gross: $1.59M

Herman Mankiewicz & Orson Welles

"I don't think that there is one word that can describe a man's life."

9. Duck Soup (1933)

Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Musical, War

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx

Votes: 49,606

Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby

"Well, that covers a lot of ground. Say, you cover a lot of ground yourself. You better beat it - I hear they're going to tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here? You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. "

10. Singin' in the Rain (1952)

G | 103 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
99 Metascore

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly | Stars: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Votes: 172,767 | Gross: $8.82M

Adolph Green & Betty Comden

"I make more money than Calvin Coolidge - put together."

11. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 476,402 | Gross: $32.00M

Joseph Stefano

"They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what kind of a person I am. I'm not even going to swat that fly. I hope they are watching... they'll see. They'll see and they'll know, and they'll say, "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly.."

12. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

8.3
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Fred Dobbs and Bob Curtin, two Americans searching for work in Mexico, convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

Votes: 88,768 | Gross: $5.01M

John Huston

"I know what gold does to men's souls"

13. Vertigo (1958)

PG | 128 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller

8.4
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A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore

Votes: 282,686 | Gross: $3.20M

Alec Coppell & Samuel Taylor

"Scottie, do you believe that someone out of the past - someone dead - can enter and take possession of a living being?"

14. It Happened One Night (1934)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns

Votes: 73,453

Robert Riskin

"The limb is mightier than the sword."

15. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

8.1
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100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home in Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 320,958 | Gross: $22.20M

Noel Langley

"There's no place like home."

16. Amadeus (1984)

R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
93 Metascore

The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice

Votes: 303,058 | Gross: $51.97M

Peter Schaffer

"I was staring through the cage of those meticulous ink strokes - at an absolute beauty."

17. On the Waterfront (1954)

Not Rated | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
88 Metascore

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger

Votes: 113,332 | Gross: $9.60M

Budd Schulberg

"You don't understand. I could've been a contender. I could've had class, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

18. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 308,343 | Gross: $101.16M

David Webb Peoples

"It's a hard thing killing a man. You take away his life and all he's ever going to have."

19. Love and Death (1975)

PG | 85 min | Comedy, War

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
89 Metascore

In czarist Russia, a neurotic soldier and his distant cousin formulate a plot to assassinate Napoleon.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Georges Adet, Frank Adu

Votes: 30,473

Woody Allen

"To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down. "

20. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold

Votes: 85,869 | Gross: $9.60M

Sidney Buchman

"You think I'm licked. You all think I'm licked. Well, I'm not licked. I'm going to stay right here and fight for this lost cause."

21. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
97 Metascore

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains

Votes: 41,260 | Gross: $3.98M

Norman Reilly Raine

"May I obey all your commands with equal pleasure, sire!"

22. Good Will Hunting (1997)

R | 126 min | Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
70 Metascore

Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Stellan Skarsgård

Votes: 686,527 | Gross: $138.43M

Matt Damon & Ben Affleck

What is this Sean, some kind of Taster's Choice moment between two guys?

23. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
91 Metascore

The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

Votes: 82,629 | Gross: $61.70M

Francis Ford Coppola

"Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

24. No Country for Old Men (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
91 Metascore

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 689,226 | Gross: $74.28M

Joel & Ethan Coen

"What's the most you've ever lost at a coin toss?"

25. Heat (1995)

R | 170 min | Action, Crime, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
76 Metascore

A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist, while both sides attempt to find balance between their personal and their professional lives.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight

Votes: 476,116 | Gross: $67.44M

Michael Mann

"All I am is what I'm going after."

26. Annie Hall (1977)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
92 Metascore

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane

Votes: 217,120 | Gross: $39.20M

Woody Allen

"Boy if life were only like this."

27. Rocky (1976)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Sport

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
69 Metascore

Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers

Votes: 424,095 | Gross: $117.24M

Sylvester Stallone

"They don't remember you. They remember the rep."

28. Fargo (1996)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
85 Metascore

Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare

Votes: 507,559 | Gross: $24.61M

Joel and Ethan Coen

"That's a fountain of conversation. That's a geyser."

29. Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

PG | 84 min | Comedy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
80 Metascore

In his attempts to reconcile a lounge singer with his mistress, a hapless talent agent is mistaken as her lover by a jealous gangster.

Director: Woody Allen | Stars: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Nick Apollo Forte, Sandy Baron

Votes: 20,310 | Gross: $10.60M

Woody Allen

" I don't wanna badmouth the kid, but he's a horrible, dishonest, immoral louse. And I say that with all due respect. "

30. Planet of the Apes (1968)

G | 112 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
79 Metascore

An astronaut crew crash-lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans

Votes: 147,807 | Gross: $33.40M

Rod Serling & Michael Wilson

"Take your stinking paws off me! You damned, dirty ape!"

31. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
89 Metascore

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

Director: Michel Gondry | Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Gerry Robert Byrne

Votes: 746,021 | Gross: $34.40M

Charlie Kaufmann

"Meet me in Montawk."