The 50 Greatest Screenplays of All Time - IMDb

The 50 Greatest Screenplays of All Time

by silentman01 | created - 13 Sep 2012 | updated - 03 Jan 2013 | Public

The 50 Greatest Screenplays of all time in my opinion and they are actually ordered to the sequence at which I rate them among the countless films (like many others on this site) I have had the pleasure of being a witness to. Leave your comments, however offensive explaining how off the boat this list is compared to what you would have listed....I love a film argument. Also I have left notes for films I think most people here haven't seen because of a language barrier compounded by the time factor. Check those films out, you will not regret it (if you like subtitles)

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1. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | 95 min | Comedy

97 Metascore

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 456,726 | Gross: $0.28M

2. No Country for Old Men (2007)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson

Votes: 875,053 | Gross: $74.28M

3. Heerak Rajar Deshe (1980)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

The musical duo of Goopi and Bagha make a comeback when they are invited to play for a king.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Tapan Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Utpal Dutt, Soumitra Chatterjee

Votes: 2,375

I am sure most of you haven't seen this but it is also called "Hirok Rajar Deshe" which is one of the greatest films made by Satyajit Ray who is definitely one of the greatest directors to have ever lived. Kurosawa once said that if you haven't seen Ray's films, you have not seen films at all. Check his films out in the Criterion Collection if you can and this is one the best films he ever made and by far the greatest screenplay he ever wrote in one of the greatest portfolios ever created by a film-maker. The screenplay was central to it's brilliance

4. Pulp Fiction (1994)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster and his wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis

Votes: 1,859,605 | Gross: $107.93M

5. Paths of Glory (1957)

Approved | 88 min | Drama, War

90 Metascore

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 181,640

6. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama, War

96 Metascore

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 115,112 | Gross: $4.14M

7. Network (1976)

R | 121 min | Drama

83 Metascore

A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall

Votes: 147,286

8. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

R | 136 min | Crime, Drama, Sci-Fi

77 Metascore

In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke

Votes: 768,841 | Gross: $6.21M

9. Pather Panchali (1955)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee, Subir Banerjee, Chunibala Devi

Votes: 24,472 | Gross: $0.54M

Satyajit Ray's first film and IMO his best film. I am guessing at least some of you have seen this. It is beauty combined with simplicity and is without doubt the greatest debut ever made by any director from any country in the world.

10. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

An organized crime dynasty's aging patriarch transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,654,931 | Gross: $134.97M

11. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 320,864 | Gross: $0.27M

12. Unforgiven (1992)

R | 130 min | Drama, Western

85 Metascore

Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner Ned Logan and a young man, The "Schofield Kid."

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris

Votes: 381,803 | Gross: $101.16M

13. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Passed | 129 min | Drama, History

96 Metascore

A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine, Charley Grapewin

Votes: 86,384 | Gross: $0.06M

14. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 70,356 | Gross: $0.06M

15. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

89 Metascore

The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, whose violence and temper that led him to the top in the ring destroyed his life outside of it.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Votes: 326,816 | Gross: $23.38M

16. Memento (2000)

R | 113 min | Mystery, Thriller

80 Metascore

A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife's murderer.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Mark Boone Junior

Votes: 1,143,159 | Gross: $25.54M

17. The Dark Knight (2008)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine

Votes: 2,350,890 | Gross: $534.86M

18. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

R | 113 min | Drama

79 Metascore

A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York City to seek personal fortune, finding a new friend in the process.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles, John McGiver

Votes: 102,664 | Gross: $44.79M

19. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

89 Metascore

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.

Director: Michel Gondry | Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Gerry Robert Byrne

Votes: 925,797 | Gross: $34.40M

20. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama

In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri

Votes: 149,658 | Gross: $0.33M

21. The Crying Game (1992)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

90 Metascore

A British soldier kidnapped by IRA terrorists soon befriends one of his captors, who then becomes drawn into the soldier's world.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forest Whitaker, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 51,825 | Gross: $62.55M

22. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 704,614 | Gross: $4.36M

23. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

When a simple jewelry heist goes horribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn

Votes: 934,197 | Gross: $2.83M

24. Nayak: The Hero (1966)

Not Rated | 120 min | Drama

En route to Delhi to receive an award, a Bengali film star reevaluates his success through his fellow passengers, dreams and past experiences.

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Uttam Kumar, Sharmila Tagore, Bireswar Sen, Somen Bose

Votes: 3,602

Another Satyajit Ray masterpiece featuring one of the greatest actors of all time on the Silver Screen. Uttam Kumar was never known to the world because all his films were in Bangla and this is a showcase of his brilliance wrapped in a character written brilliantly by the master film-maker

25. Marty (1955)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A middle-aged butcher and a school teacher who have given up on the idea of love meet at a dance and fall for each other.

Director: Delbert Mann | Stars: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair, Esther Minciotti, Augusta Ciolli

Votes: 22,085

26. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

R | 116 min | Drama, War

76 Metascore

A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio, Adam Baldwin

Votes: 685,287 | Gross: $46.36M

27. American Beauty (1999)

R | 122 min | Drama

84 Metascore

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley

Votes: 1,083,603 | Gross: $130.10M

28. No Man's Land (I) (2001)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, War

84 Metascore

Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier becomes a living booby trap.

Director: Danis Tanovic | Stars: Branko Djuric, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Sovagovic, Georges Siatidis

Votes: 45,206 | Gross: $1.06M

29. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

R | 94 min | Comedy

77 Metascore

Born on the original Christmas in the stable next door to Jesus Christ, Brian of Nazareth spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.

Director: Terry Jones | Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam

Votes: 372,817 | Gross: $20.05M

30. Oldboy (2003)

R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

77 Metascore

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-Tae, Kang Hye-jeong, Kim Byeong-Ok

Votes: 525,871 | Gross: $0.71M

31. Se7en (1995)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker

Votes: 1,474,331 | Gross: $100.13M

32. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

94 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,234,200 | Gross: $96.90M

33. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

R | 125 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

86 Metascore

Three amateur bank robbers plan to hold up a bank. A nice simple robbery: Walk in, take the money, and run. Unfortunately, the supposedly uncomplicated heist suddenly becomes a bizarre nightmare as everything that could go wrong does.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Sully Boyar

Votes: 239,231 | Gross: $50.00M

34. Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969)

132 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

Goopy wants to sing, and Bagha wants to play the dhol. They meet accidentally and are helped by King of Ghosts. With newly endowed abilities, they land in kingdom of Shundi, where their ... See full summary »

Director: Satyajit Ray | Stars: Tapan Chatterjee, Rabi Ghosh, Ajoy Banerjee, Iva Banerjee

Votes: 2,213

35. Inception (2010)

PG-13 | 148 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

74 Metascore

A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elliot Page, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 2,109,567 | Gross: $292.58M

36. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

81 Metascore

When a 12-year-old girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 366,446 | Gross: $232.91M

37. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

84 Metascore

After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 613,524 | Gross: $56.95M

38. Fight Club (1999)

R | 139 min | Drama

66 Metascore

An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soap maker form an underground fight club that evolves into much more.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier

Votes: 1,888,953 | Gross: $37.03M

39. Fargo (1996)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare

Votes: 628,153 | Gross: $24.61M

40. Trainspotting (1996)

R | 93 min | Drama

83 Metascore

Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

Director: Danny Boyle | Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd

Votes: 642,735 | Gross: $16.50M

41. There Will Be Blood (2007)

R | 158 min | Drama

93 Metascore

A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds, Martin Stringer

Votes: 528,349 | Gross: $40.22M

42. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

91 Metascore

The World War II phase of the career of controversial American general George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

Votes: 94,667 | Gross: $61.70M

43. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 1,260,235 | Gross: $216.54M

44. Tropic Thunder (2008)

R | 107 min | Action, Comedy, War

71 Metascore

Through a series of freak occurrences, a group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are portraying.

Director: Ben Stiller | Stars: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Jeff Kahn

Votes: 384,582 | Gross: $110.52M

45. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

R | 107 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

66 Metascore

Eddy persuades his three pals to pool money for a vital poker game against a powerful local mobs