The Most Acclaimed Screenwriters of All Time (World)

by jakebilion | created - 1 month ago | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

1. Akira Kurosawa

Writer | Kakushi-toride no san-akunin

After training as a painter (he storyboards his films as full-scale paintings), Kurosawa entered the film industry in 1936 as an assistant director, eventually making his directorial debut with Sanshiro Sugata (1943). Within a few years, Kurosawa had achieved sufficient stature to allow him greater...

Notable Screenplays: Seven Samurai (1954), Rashomon (1950), Ran (1985), Ikiru (1952), Yojimbo (1961), High and Low (1963), Red Beard (1965), Throne of Blood (1957), The Hidden Fortress (1958), The Bad Sleep Well (1960)

Key Collaborators: Shinobu Hashimoto and Hideo Oguni

2. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Persona (1966), The Seventh Seal (1957), Fanny and Alexander (1982), Wild Strawberries (1957), Winter Light (1963), Scenes From a Marriage (1973), Cries and Whispers (1972), Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

3. Satyajit Ray

Writer | Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta on May 2, 1921. His father, Late Sukumar Ray was an eminent poet and writer in the history of Bengali literature. In 1940, after receiving his degree in science and economics from Calcutta University, he attended Tagore's Viswa-Bharati University. His first movie ...

Notable Screenplays: Pather Panchali (1955), The World of Apu (1959), The Music Room (1958), The Unvanquished (1956), Charulata (1964), The Goddess (1960), The Big City (1963), The Hero (1966)

4. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: 8 1/2 (1963), La Dolce Vita (1960), Nights of Cabiria (1957), Rome, Open City (1945), La Strada (1954), Amarcord (1973), I Vitelloni (1953), Paisan (1946), The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

Key Collaborators: Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi and Bernardino Zapponi

5. Tonino Guerra

Writer | Amarcord

Legendary Italian screenwriter was born Antonio Guerra on the 16th of March 1920 in Sant'Arcangelo, Italy, south of Ravenna. He wrote several short stories, poetry and novels and in 1956 his first screenplay "Man and Wolves" (co-written by Elio Petri) was directed by Giuseppe De Santis. Three years...

Notable Screenplays: Blow Up (1966), L'Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), Amarcord (1973), L'Eclisse (1962), Red Desert (1964), Nostalghia (1983), Zabriskie Point (1970), Eternity and a Day (1998), The Mattei Affair (1972), Landscape in the Mist (1988), Voyage to Cythera (1984), Ulysses' Gaze (1995)

Key Collaborators: Michelangelo Antonioni and Theodoros Angelopoulos

6. 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 ...

Notable Screenplays: Sunset Boulevard (1950), Some Like it Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Double Indemnity (1944), Ace in the Hole (1951), The Lost Weekend (1945), Ninotchka (1939), Sabrina (1954)

Key Collaborators: I.A.L. Diamond and Charles Brackett

7. Cesare Zavattini

Writer | Ladri di biciclette

Cesare Zavattini was born on September 29, 1902 in Luzzara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Bicycle Thieves (1948), Father's Dilemma (1950) and Umberto D. (1952). He died on October 13, 1989 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

Notable Screenplays: Bicycle Thieves (1948), Umberto D. (1952), Shoeshine (1946), Miracle in Milan (1951), Two Women (1960)

8. Suso Cecchi D'Amico

Writer | Ladri di biciclette

Suso Cecchi D'Amico was born on July 21, 1914 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Giovanna Cecchi. She was a writer, known for Bicycle Thieves (1948), Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and To Live in Peace (1947). She was married to Fidele d'Amico. She died on July 31, 2010 in Rome.

Notable Screenplays: Bicycle Thieves (1948), The Leopard (1963), Miracle in Milan (1951), Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958), Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Salvatore Giuliano (1962), Casanova 70 (1965)

9. Jean-Claude Carrière

Writer | The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Jean-Claude Carrière was born on September 19, 1931 in Colombières-sur-Orb, Hérault, France as Jean-Claude François Carrière. He is a writer and actor, known for The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and Happy Anniversary (1962).

Notable Screenplays: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), Belle de Jour (1967), The Phantom of Liberty (1974), The Tin Drum (1979), Diary of a Chambermaid (1964), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), Taking Off (1971), Every Man For Himself (1980), Danton (1983)

Key Collaborators: Luis Buñuel

10. Michelangelo Antonioni

Writer | Blowup

Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema"...

Notable Screenplays: Blow Up (1966), L'Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), L'Eclisse (1962), Red Desert (1964), Zabriskie Point (1970), The Passenger (1975)

Key Collaborators: Tonino Guerra

11. 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...

Notable Screenplays: Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Another Woman (1988), Love and Death (1975), Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1984)

Key Collaborators: Marshall Brickman

12. François Truffaut

Writer | La nuit américaine

French director François Truffaut began to assiduously go to the movies at age seven. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who became his protector. Bazin helped the ...

Notable Screenplays: The 400 Blows (1959), Day for Night (1973), Stolen Kisses (1968), Small Change (1976), The Woman Next Door (1981), Bed and Board (1970), Antoine and Colette (1962), The Story of Adele H. (1975), The Last Metro (1980)

Key Collaborators: Suzanne Schiffman

13. Stanley Kubrick

Director | 2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick was born in Manhattan, New York City, to Sadie Gertrude (Perveler) and Jacob Leonard Kubrick, a physician. His family were Jewish immigrants (from Austria, Romania, and Russia). Stanley was considered intelligent, despite poor grades at school. Hoping that a change of scenery would ...

Notable Screenplays: Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Paths of Glory (1954), Full Metal Jacket (1987), The Shining (1980), The Killing (1956), Barry Lyndon (1975), Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Key Collaborators: Jim Thompson

14. Robert Bresson

Writer | Au hasard Balthazar

Robert Bresson trained as a painter before moving into films as a screenwriter, making a short film (atypically a comedy), Public Affairs (1934) in 1934. After spending more than a year as a German POW during World War II, he made his debut with Angels of Sin (1943) in 1943. His next film, Les ...

Notable Screenplays:

Pickpocket (1959), Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), A Man Escaped (1956), Diary of a Country Preist (1951), Mouchette (1967), L'Argent (1983)

15. Michael Powell

Director | The Red Shoes

The son of Thomas William Powell and Mabel (nee Corbett). Michael Powell was always a self-confessed movie addict. He was brought up partly in Canterbury ("The Garden of England") and partly in the south of France (where his parents ran a hotel). Educated at Kings School, Canterbury and Dulwich ...

Notable Screenplays:

The Red Shoes (1948), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Black Narcissus (1947), A Canterbury Tale (1944), The Tales of Hoffman (1951), 49th Parallel (1941), Peeping Tom (1960)

16. Kôgo Noda

Writer | Banshun

Kôgo Noda is most famously know for working alongside Yasujiro Ozu in the writing of his screenplays for some of his most famous movies. Noda was born on November 19, 1893 and died at age 74 on September 23, 1968. He co-wrote some of Yasujiro's most famous films, for example: Tokyo Story (1953), ...

With Yasujirô Ozu

Notable Screenplays:

Tokyo Story (1953), Late Spring (1949), An Autumn Afternoon (1962), Early Summer (1951), Late Autumn (1960), Floating Weeds (1959), Early Spring (1956), Good Morning (1959), The End of Summer (1961)

17. Gérard Brach

Writer | Der Name der Rose

Gérard Brach was born on July 23, 1927 in Montrouge, Hauts-de-Seine, France. He was a writer and director, known for The Name of the Rose (1986), Frantic (1988) and Bitter Moon (1992). He died on September 9, 2006 in Paris, France.

Notable Screenplays: The Tenant (1976), Repulsion (1965), Cul-de-sac (1966), Jean de Florette (1986), The Name of the Rose (1986), Quest for Fire (1981), Manon of the Spring (1986), The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Bitter Moon (1992), Tess (1979)

Key Collaborators: Roman Polanski

18. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

Notable Screenplays: City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936), The Gold Rush (1925), The Great Dictator (1940), The Circus (1928), The Kid (1921), Limelight (1952), Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

Key Collaborators: Vincent Bryan and Maverick Terrell

19. Francis Ford Coppola

Producer | Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in a New York suburb in a creative, supportive Italian-American family. His father, Carmine Coppola, was a composer and musician. His mother, Italia Coppola (née Pennino), had been an actress. Francis Ford Coppola graduated ...

Notable Screenplays: The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Pt. II (1974), The Conversation (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), Patton (1970)

Key Collaborators: Mario Puzo

20. Thea von Harbou

Writer | Metropolis

Thea von Harbou was born on December 27, 1888 in Tauperlitz, Döhlau, Bavaria, Germany as Thea Gabriele von Harbou. She was a writer and director, known for Metropolis (1927), M (1931) and Elisabeth und der Narr (1934). She was married to Fritz Lang and Rudolf Klein-Rogge. She died on July 1, 1954 ...

Notable Screenplays:

Metropolis (1927), M (1931), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933), Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (1922), Siegfried's Death (1924), Destiny (1921), Kriemhild's Revenge (1924), Spies (1928), Michael (1924), Woman in the Moon (1929)

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,...

Notable Screenplays: Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Maltese Falcon (1941), The African Queen (1951), The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Moby Dick (1956), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Key Largo (1948), Jezebel (1938), Sergeant York (1941), High Sierra (1941), Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940), Heaven Knows, Mrs. Allison (1957), Moulin Rouge (1952)

Key Collaborators: Gladys Hill

22. Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer | Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Pier Paolo Pasolini achieved fame and notoriety long before he entered the film industry. A published poet at 19, he had already written numerous novels and essays before his first screenplay in 1954. His first film Accattone (1961) was based on his own novel and its violent depiction of the life ...

Notable Screenplays:

La Dolce Vita (1960), The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), The Scrounger (1961), What Are Clouds? (1968), Mama Roma (1962), The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966), La Ricotta (1963), Theorem (1968), Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

23. 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....

Notable Screenplays: Sullivan's Travels (1941), The Lady Eve (1941), The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943), The Palm Beach Story (1942), Hail The Conquering Hero (1944), Unfaithfully Yours (1948), Christmas in July (1940), The Great McGinty (1940)

24. Krzysztof Kieslowski

Writer | Trois couleurs: Bleu

Krzysztof Kieslowski graduated from Lódz Film School in 1969, and became a documentary, TV and feature film director and scriptwriter. Before making his first film for TV, Przejscie podziemne (1974) (The Underground Passage), he made a number of short documentaries. His next TV title, Personnel (...

Notable Screenplays:

Three Colors: Red (1994), A Short Film About Killing (1988), A Short Film About Love (1988), Three Colors: Blue (1993), The Double Life of Veronique (1991), Three Colors: White (1994)

25. Abbas Kiarostami

Director | Copie conforme

Abbas Kiarostami was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1940. He graduated from university with a degree in fine arts before starting work as a graphic designer. He then joined the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he started a film section, and this started his career ...

Notable Screenplays:

Close-Up (1990), Taste of Cherry (1997), Where is the Friend's House? (1987), Through the Olive Trees (1994), The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), Life, and Nothing More (1992)

26. Furio Scarpelli

Writer | Il postino

Furio Scarpelli was born on December 16, 1919 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Il Postino (1994), The Family (1987) and La terrazza (1980). He died on April 28, 2010 in Rome.

With Agenore Incrocci

Notable Screenplays:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974), The Great War (1959), Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958), For Love and Gold (1966), Everybody Go Home (1960), Jealousy, Italian Style (1970), The Birds, The Bees and the Italians (1966), The Organizer (1963), Come Home and Meet My Wife (1974), The Ball (1983), Opiate '67 (1963), Mafioso (1962), Brancaleone at the Crusades (1970), In the Name of the Italian People (1971)

27. Carl Mayer

Writer | Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

Carl Meyer was the son of a stock speculator who committed suicide. He had to leave school at 15 to work as a secretary. Mayer moved away from Graz to Innsbruck and then Vienna, where he worked as a dramatist. Meanwhile, the events of the First World War turned him into a pacifist.

In 1917 he went ...

Notable Screenplays:

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Last Laugh (1924), Berlin: A Symphony of the Big City (1927), Tartüff (1925)

28. Orson Welles

Actor | Citizen Kane

His father was a well-to-do inventor, his mother a beautiful concert pianist; Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was six) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago's Dr. ...

Notable Screenplays: Citizen Kane (1941), Touch of Evil (1958), F For Fake (1973), The Trial (1962), Chimes at Midnight (1965), The Lady From Shanghai (1947), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Confidential Report (1955)

Key Collaborators: Oja Kodar

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