10 Essential Screenplays Every Aspiring Screenwriter Must Read
4. Casablanca (1942) - Julius J. Epstein/Phillip G. Epstein/Howard Koch
What has been said about this particular screenplay that hasn't been said already? Many consider it "perfect" in absolutely every way - they might just be right. Casablanca is the most esteemed Hollywood picture ever made, so naturally its screenplay is one of utter importance to writers who want to write and navigate the terrain. When asked what made the script so good, one of its writers, Julius J. Epstein, said, " more corn than the states of Kansas and Iowa combined." You'll have your own mediations on what exactly he meant by that, but it sounds to me like Epstein was being a little hard on himself: I've always seen Casablanca as being a relatively tough movie, especially considering it was made back in 1942. Anyway, here's a script that moves at exactly the right pace, is drenched in rich characterization, and - most importantly - isn't afraid to take risks. You can read the screenplay for Casablancahere.