Alan Sharp, who has died of brain cancer aged 79, once claimed that as a screenwriter he was most interested in "moral ambiguity, mixed motives and irony", all of which are applicable to two of his best movies, the western Ulzana's Raid (1972), directed by Robert Aldrich, and the thriller Night Moves (1975), directed by Arthur Penn. Most of his screenplays were written in the 1970s and reflect the era in which America was suffering the effects of the Vietnam war and post-Watergate paranoia. This goes some way to explaining the bleakness and cynical sense of destiny in Sharp's films, which he called "existential melodramas".
He was born in Alyth, near Dundee. Although the majority of his scripts were set in the Us, where he lived for many years, Scotland remained pre-eminent in his character and culture. His script for Rob Roy (1995), a