Masters of Cinema: Screenwriters

by TarquinMcLusky | created - 18 Dec 2012 | updated - 18 Dec 2012 | Public

1. Ethan Coen

Producer | Inside Llewyn Davis

Ethan Coen was born on September 21, 1957 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA as Ethan Jesse Coen. He is a producer and writer, known for Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), A Serious Man (2009) and Fargo (1996). He has been married to Tricia Cooke since October 2, 1990. They have two children.

2. 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 ...

3. Charlie Kaufman

Writer | Anomalisa

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 ...

4. 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...

5. 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 ...

6. Ernest Lehman

Writer | Sabrina

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, "...

7. 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), The Harder They Fall (1956) and Everglades (1961). He was married to Betsy Ann Langman, Geraldine Brooks, Agnes Virginia Anderson ...

8. Diablo Cody

Writer | Juno

Diablo Cody is originally from Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Minnesota to live with her Internet boyfriend, Jonny who later became her husband. While there, she decided on a whim to take up stripping as a hobby of sorts.

She was working at an ad agency and got a promotion. The job wore her ragged ...

9. 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 ...

10. Christopher Nolan

Writer | Interstellar

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.

...

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 "...

12. Ingmar Bergman

Writer | Smultronstället

Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions (1992) is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions (1996) is the ...

13. Federico Fellini

Writer | Amarcord

The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the ...

14. Charles Brackett

Writer | Sunset Blvd.

Charles Brackett, born in Saratoga Springs, New York, of Scottish ancestry, followed in his attorney-father's footsteps and graduated with a law degree from Harvard University in 1920. He practised law for several years, before commencing work as drama critic for The New Yorker (1925-29), in ...

15. 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....

16. 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 ...

17. Guillermo Arriaga

Writer | 21 Grams

Guillermo Arriaga was born on March 13, 1958 in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico. He is a writer and producer, known for 21 Grams (2003), The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) and Amores Perros (2000).

18. 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...

19. 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 ...

20. William Rose

Writer | Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

William Rose was born on December 12, 1914 in Jefferson City, Missouri, USA as William Arthur Rose. He was a writer, known for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) and The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966). He was married to Tania Rose. He died ...

21. 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,...

22. Michael Wilson

Writer | The Bridge on the River Kwai

Writing credit for Lawrence of Arabia (1962) awarded in 1995.

23. Robert Rossen

Writer | The Hustler

Robert Rossen was born on March 16, 1908 in New York City, New York, USA as Robert Rosen. He was a writer and director, known for The Hustler (1961), All the King's Men (1949) and Alexander the Great (1956). He was married to Susan Siegal. He died on February 18, 1966 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, ...

24. 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 ...

25. T.E.B. Clarke

Writer | The Lavender Hill Mob

T.E.B. 'Tibby' Clarke graduated with a law degree from Cambridge University, but decided that writing was more his forte. He started on that career path first as writer for a magazine in Australia, than back in London freelancing as a journalist. He also had jobs on Fleet Street, worked in ...