ScreenplayLists.com celebrates the art of screenwriting by showcasing the best movie scripts in all genres and categories. Dedicated to those who write screenplays and also to those who love to read the works of the best storytellers of our time!
Whatever your feelings about Valentine’s Day, a good movie can make any holiday better. Whether it’s full on rage, feeling like a smitten kitten, sitting in a puddle of tears, or saying, “Screw this holiday, it’s all a capitalistic scam anyway,” we feel you! We listed some films you could watch for a spectrum of feelings. The list skews heavily toward romantic indie film that have great scripts.
So, after you watch the film, grab some chocolate, put on Marvin Gaye in the background, and read the script!
Although perhaps best known as the director of the hit film A Wrinkle in Time, Ava DuVernay has written and directed a wide range of culturally relevant and uniquely impactful films. Her stories are always memorable, leaving audiences with much to think about.
Ava didn't start writing screenplays until she was in her thirties. What draws us to her work is her fierce drive for inclusiveness of people of color in film, her attention to detail, and the art of asking questions about everything in her scripts. Part of what makes us love films and screenplays is how we can relate to the characters and their stories. DuVernay has always made it a point to write her films with diversity and visibility in the characters in order for all audience members to be represented and seen.
The documentary 13th, written and directed by DuVernay, examines the intersections of race and police brutality against Black communities. The film was aptly named after the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution. When writing and directing the documentary, DuVernay wanted to highlight the turmoils and injustices within the criminal justice system.
Selma, also one of DuVernay's most recent works as a screenwriter, portrays Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fighting for voting rights for black Americans during the 1960s. The film was incredibly successful and earned four Golden Globes, as well as an Academy Award nomination. However, regardless of the film’s success, there were also serious issues with who was credited for writing the screenplay. DuVernay co-wrote the script with another screenwriter, but she was never given credit as a screenwriter. She went on to say that not receiving writing credits on the script was, "a really painful experience that I never talked about at the time."
As Ava creates her legacy as a screenwriter and director, she has said on screenwriting, “Remind yourself why you’re telling this story every morning on the way to set. Why it’s important to you. What you want to say. Every morning.”
Listed below are a few of the screenplays written by Ava DuVernay.
The Many Faces of Beth Jones follows the eponymous Beth as she meets her agent after a successful stint in a TV show. Aching to be a star, Beth is full of excitement for the new roles her agent has found for her. But the new roles might not be exactly what she was hoping for...
The humor of the film kicks in right away, just as you realize that Beth is very likely not getting her dream role on this particular visit to her agent. The moment the comedy starts to create an established pattern, there’s a perfect twist right at the end.
The film premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in 2018 and was shortlisted for the Performance Short Film Award.
According to director Harvey Puttock, “I wrote and directed the five-minute comedy short in 2018, a first for me in terms of genre and length. The screenplay was inspired by sketch comedy and the onslaught of ridiculous franchise films out there (I’m looking at you Battleship movie).”
There is something inherently special about a crisp black and white film that tells a story from the past but with a modern-day lens. The film Roma had us pulled in right away, just by the opening scene of water being splashed onto concrete.
Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, tells a simple yet rich story where every moment of dialogue hits with an unusually poetic impact. It also seems that Cuarón was comfortable to use silence as a form of dialogue. For example, there’s a particularly memorable scene where subtle movements and looks reveal a tender yet tense moment between two of the main characters. The scene reads:
Alfonso Cuarón is a highly accomplished screenwriter, best known for Children of Men, Gravity, and Y Tu Mamá También (co-written with his brother Carlos Cuarón).
Cuarón stated that Roma was a remaking of his childhood, which included the trials and tribulations he experienced within his own family. He goes on to say that the film was inspired in large part by the woman who helped raise him during his childhood, and he wanted to share her story as much as his.
Roma is a uniquely crafted film that invites the audience to think deeper about timely societal issues such as classism, family structures, political strife, and the simple nuances of ordinary life.
Alejandro Jodorowsky, el hombre, la leyenda, la guionista (The man, the legend, the screenwriter). Chances are once you see a film by Jodorowsky you probably won't forget it. He has been writing films and blowing our minds for over half a century. In addition to being an accomplished screenwriter, he is a novelist, poet, musician, comic book writer, and mystic. But his scripts and films that out the most (to us). The Chilean artist's films are magical surrealism laced with hauntingly beautiful imagery and mystical eroticism.
Prior to writing the screenplay The Holy Mountain, Jodorowsky stated that he did not sleep for seven days, took a large dosage of LSD, and embarked on a spiritual journey. That's one hell of a way to get inspired to write a screenplay. His other film, El Topo, is regarded as a Mexican Acid Western film which has had profound impacts on film in society. So much so that John Lennon wanted to buy the films rights and Dennis Hopper wanted to be in his films. When writing his screenplays, Jodorowsky often went through intense and disorderly lengths to finish writing and shooting them.
Notoriously, Jodorowsky was set to write and direct the film adaption of Dune, based off the Frank Herbert novel. The film was going to feature the ultimate dream cast of artists including Mick Jagger, Orson Welles, and Salvador Dalí. However, the film never did get made. In wasn't until the early Eighties when another mystical artist David Lynch wrote and directed the classic sci-fi film.
Jodorowsky’s recent film Endless Poetry shows that he hasn’t lost his magical touch for the absurd—even late into his 80s. Although the film’s topsy turvy madness takes us on a wild ride, it's the beautifully articulated writing that allows us to follow the characters throughout their heartbreaking voyages.
Tonight is the 90th Academy Awards ceremony and like most of us here, we were especially jazzed for the screenplay category! Jordan Peele won the award for best original screenplay for his film, "Get Out." This is a crucial and amazing win, as he is the first black screenwriter in history to win this award. Peele has stated that the film almost didn't get made, but we are beyond thrilled that it did. The writing fits into a category of its own by being a blend of thriller-meets-horror-meets satirical humor.
If you haven't seen this film yet, now is the perfect opportunity. The script is full of complex and nuanced conversations about liberal racism, social constructs, and systemic oppression. Peele's writing is so timely at pointing out the deep layers of our society's underbelly that often don't get written about. In an interview, he stated, "Being a black filmmaker almost seems like an impossibility at times. ... Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule, but we as a society have done a systemic disservice to young, black filmmakers by essentially saying that your vision won’t be accepted in Hollywood."
Moments after winning the award the screenwriter tweeted,
It's the beginning of new year and tonight marked the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Graciously, this evening wasn't the typical red carpet affair centered on women's outfits rather than their bodies' of work. Instead, the evening put the #MeToo campaign in front and center, showing open support for survivors of sexual assault. Actors and actresses also addressed issues of racial and gender inequality.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won the award for best screenplay in the motion picture category. The film, written by Martin McDonagh, centers around a mother's emotionally overwhelming experience of trying to find her daughter's murderer and rapist. Within the film are tense discussions involving racism and oppression of people of color. However, these aren't exactly subjects that can be tackled without some amount of backlash. Many have found flaws in the depiction of a "racist bad cop turned good" as well as a lack of diversity in the film's characters. These conversations are critical to be had in order to learn and grow--and film is a good catalyst for these discussions.