Monday, September 10, 2007

The best screenplays of all times

Patty’s all new reconstructed Web site here…

On Saturday night I went to see the new Russell Crowe/Christian Bale movie from Lionsgate called “3:10 to Yuma.” It’s based on a short story written by Elmore Leonard back in the fifties. Here’s a description of the plot:

In Arizona in the late 1800’s, infamous outlaws Ben Wade (Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Bale), struggling to survive on his drought-plagued ranch, volunteers to deliver him alive to the “3:10 to Yuma”, a train that will take the killer to trial. On the trail, Evans and Wade, each from very different worlds, begin to earn each other’s respect. But with Wade’s outfit on their trail and dangers at every turn—the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man’s destiny.

Sounds like the flap copy for my latest novel. "Yuma" was an entertaining 117 minutes with some fine performances. I love movies and every time I see a good one, I admire the writing talent that made it so. Back in 2006, the Writers Guild asked its members to list the top ten screenplays of all times. Here are the results:

1. “Casablanca”

2. “The Godfather”

3. “Chinatown”

4. “Citizen Kane”

5. “All About Eve”

6. “Annie Hall”

7. “Sunset Boulevard”

8. “Network”

9. “Some Like It Hot”

10. “The Godfather II”

Got any others to add to the list? Like...something in the last decade?

Happy Monday!


  1. I'm on the mailing list at the new site!

    FWIW, David and I were talking just yesterday about how many lines we tend to remember from Mel Brooks's movies. What's the deal with that?

  2. Because Brooks's lines are so so funny. I love it when you repeat one of them and get a knowing chuckle in return. It's sort of like being a member of a cult without having to do anything weird. :o)

  3. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD!!! Gregory Peck and can you believe Robert Duvall as Boo Radley?? My all time fav.

  4. Wow, great top ten list - I particularly like "Network" and "Some Like it Hot". Among my other faves:

    Mullholland Drive
    The Usual Suspects
    LA Confidential
    A History of Violence
    Judgement at Nuremberg
    American Beauty
    Lord of the Rings (adapted, but to capture the essence of 1,000 pages plus of novel into about 200 pages of screenplay, and have it work...)
    Glengarry Glen Ross (another adaptation, but still....)
    The Apartment

  5. Great new website, Patty. Compliments to you and Madeira both.

    I was so pleased to agree with the Top Ten List they'd come up with, and then Rae had to go nominate The Usual Suspects.

    Can we have a Top Eleven?

  6. Good to see All About Eve up there, too! Because if we're talking strictly about the writing, and I do believe we are, you gotta include All About Eve.

    'Writing' isn't something you think of with modern films, though, is it? The ones that are so well-written feel flimsy, when you try to put them up here. What were those that got such raves raves raves for the writing, the drunky one, Sideways, that's it, and Eternal Sunshine etc etc., and oh that guy's head -- that actor with the gap like my friend Jon (you see how my razor-sharp mind works), Being John Malkovich (GOD I had to imdb Cameron Diaz to get THAT!).

    Oh I know, what about Shakes In Love? Strictly speaking of the writing, anyway?

  7. Toy Story
    The Incredibles

    Particularly "Toy Story" when it comes to scripts.

  8. Wow! You guys are incredible. Great additions. Rebecca, you're so correct. You never hear much talk about the writing in movies these days. It's all about special effects and cinematography.

  9. The Graduate, Heathers, A Thousand Clowns, Spinal Tap... Just finishing up Brideshead Revisited, which John Mortimer did a great job adapting from the Evelyn Waugh novel.

  10. I loved the Graduate. Isn't it having an anniversary of some sort? Don't tell me it came out a million years ago or I'll get depressed.

  11. Being John Malkovich
    The Princess Bride
    and, in the category of overlooked and underappreciated from the 90s,
    Grand Canyon

  12. Lisa, sorry to say I overlooked "Grand Canyon," too (the movie, that is. It's the other Grand Canyon I've never overlooked. I must go someday).

  13. Patty,
    Check it out -- Danny Glover, Kevin Kline, Mary McDonnell and Steve Martin, with support from Mary Louise Parker and Alfre Woodard -- and written by the Kasdans. It's bizarre and brilliant all at the same time...

  14. Lisa, I remember hearing about the film but you have inspired me to check it out. If only I had a DVD player and knew how to use it...

  15. Unforgiven and China Town

  16. James O, if you loved "Unforgiven" you're going to love "3:10 to Yuma." Great acting and lots of cowboy stuff. Check it out.

  17. Here's one that no one mentioned "Lone Star". It has some of the best writing. I came away from it feeling as though I'd read a great book.