An open vintage typewriter with classic screenplays scattered around it under a soft desk lamp, highlighting titles like 'Casablanca', 'Chinatown', and 'Pulp Fiction', in a cozy, inspirational writing

Welcome to the Screenwriter’s Bible: Must-Study Scripts for Future Oscar Winners

So, you want to be the next Aaron Sorkin or Diablo Cody, huh? Well, you don’t become a master wordsmith by watching cat videos online (though, admittedly, that’s a delightful way to procrastinate). Welcome to the crash course in screenwriting greatness—a guided tour through the hallowed digital halls of cinematic genius. Strap in, future Oscar winners, for we are about to dissect the holy texts of screenwriting.

1. “Chinatown” (1974)

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown. The script that every screenwriter wishes they had written but are equally glad they didn’t, because then what would they have to aspire to? Robert Towne crafted a masterclass in structure, dialogue, and theme with a side of existential despair. Every page of this script is a treasure map for constructing complex characters and a plot twistier than a pretzel. If you only study one screenplay in your life, make it Chinatown.

2. “Casablanca” (1942)

You must remember this. The fundamental things apply, as time goes by. “Casablanca” is not just a movie; it’s an anthem in cinematic history. The script, penned by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch, is a veritable feast of memorable, snappy dialogue that has permeated pop culture. Want to understand the art of witty banter and romantic tension? Play it again, Sam, and dive into this script.

3. “When Harry Met Sally” (1989)

Can men and women ever just be friends? Nora Ephron dared to ask the question and then answered it with one of the most celebrated romantic comedies of all time. The script is a lesson in character development, pacing, and how to pen dialogue that feels so real, you’d swear you overheard it at your local diner—preferably one that serves what she’s having.

4. “Get Out” (2017)

Now you’re in the Sunken Place. Jordan Peele took the world by storm with a screenplay that’s as much a social commentary as it is a heart-pounding thriller. The script for “Get Out” teaches the ambitious screenwriter how to handle theme with subtlety, build unbearable tension, and deliver a message without sacrificing entertainment value. Bonus points for mastering the art of the twist.

5. “The Social Network” (2010)

You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies—and you don’t get to write a screenplay as sharp as “The Social Network” without studying Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue and complex characters. This script is a masterclass in biographical storytelling, teaching you how to make computer coding sessions as riveting as car chases.

6. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)

Charlie Kaufman invites you down the rabbit hole of innovative narrative structure with this mind-bending script. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” teaches writers how to explore complex themes like memory and love in non-linear narratives, challenging any preconceived notions of what a screenplay can and should do. Prepare to have your mind wiped—heavy-duty style.

7. “Pulp Fiction” (1994)

The royale with cheese of scripts. Quentin Tarantino flipped the script on conventional storytelling with a narrative as fragmented as a shattered mirror. Pulp Fiction is a blueprint for weaving multiple storylines into a cohesive whole that feels both unexpected and inevitable. It’s also a masterclass in cool. If your dialogue doesn’t sound as good as QT’s, just throw in a dance scene and pray.

The Epilogue

And there you have it—a scribe’s starter pack to immortality, or at least to not embarrassing yourself at the next screenwriter’s mixer. Studying these screenplays won’t just make you better at writing dialogue or crafting compelling plots; it’ll transform you into a storytelling Jedi, ready to wield the Force of your pen (or laptop) and conquer the cinematic galaxy. May the scripts be with you!

The FREE Ultimate Screenwriting Guide!

Posted in

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are beguiled and demoralized by the charms pleasure moment so blinded desire that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble.