Screenwriting isnt quite as hard as novel writing or literary writing of any kind, but it is still a difficult thing. Forming a character and its words is a most disagreeable endeavour imagine what Tolstoy went through but there are some people who have gone a long way in making screenwriting as important as the film itself almost. The script is as we know a blueprint for what could be a great thing. There are thousands of screenwriters but only a few who have gone on to utter greatness but in my mind there is only one who has never failed, and he ranks at number 1 on this list. That persons films are so enjoyable that even the bad ones are fun to watch. Considering a small list like this means considering an awful lot of people and making it a small list 5 points makes it that much more interesting and difficult to decide upon the finalists. There are notable writers I have excluded for no other reason than the following people are better but it should be noted that they are great writers. They include Fellini, Wes Anderson, Sofia and Francis Coppola and one who I think is the most underrated screenwriters in history, the incredible Gore Vidal who is highly regarded for his novels and essays but not for his massive contributions to cinema which include great amounts of Ben-Hur which he helped write. Interesting note: as he wrote Ben-Hur, Fellini was down the hall working on La Dolce Vita. Screenwriting opens up a debate on who makes the movies? Directors? Actors? Or is it the writers? Thats a debate that Ill save for another article. For now though, immerse yourself in my choices of the people I consider to be the greatest movie writers in the history of this glorious medium which has offered up films like The Great Dictator, The Pianist, American Beauty and Movie 43 that last one was a joke, awful film, right?
5. Ingmar Bergman
Here is a man loved and admired by Woody Allen, Coppola, Spielberg and Scorsese to name but a few but hated by the tax authorities. Bergman is highly regarded as a director for such films as The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. He wrote fifty films and is one of the most accomplished writers of cinema in its history for creating masterpieces that deal with deep existential questions about life and death. Perhaps his greatest year was 1957 which saw the release of the above two films The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries. The first is about a man who plays a game of chess with the personification of death whilst the second film deals with a man recalling his past. Stanley Kubrick even likened it as his second favourite film behind I Vitelloni, Fellinis picture. Bergman so attractive to me because of his stark honesty, the beautiful cinematography and the absolute reality of most of his films and their dealings with the topics we all mull and fear and love: insanity, death, fear and so on and so forth. What I have mentioned so far is nothing. Meaningless. I lied when I said that perhaps his greatest year was 57 when in-fact it was 1966 which saw the release of Persona, written in nine weeks under the duress of illness. It is a strange film: only five actors appear in it and three of them for no more than a minute. One of the two main characters speaks only fourteen words and the imagery is wonderfully strange and different. This film went on to inspire many others and I am still scared to watch it, not because of the genius and because of the crazy cinematography but because one of the opening shots features a tarantula spider and I am pathologically scared of spiders of any kind and size. Best Screenplay: Persona (1966)