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10 Essential Screenplays Every Aspiring Screenwriter Must Read

7. The Apartment (1960) - Billy Wilder/I.A.L. Diamond

urlThe Apartment tells the touching story of down on his luck clerk C.C. Baxter, who finds himself in a variety of increasingly frantic situations centred around an apartment, in a screenplay that switches its tone throughout and still never puts a foot wrong. At its core, this is a love story, though there are several dark themes running through The Apartment, all of helped to preserve it as a true cinema classic. Above all, the screenplay for the movie is renowned for just how brilliantly easy it is to read - and in just how difficult it is to put down. Aside from it being excellent from a "screenplay" point of view (the jokes are great, the dialogue is golden, everything is beautifully layered), its "style" is precisely the reason I've included it here: if you can imbue your script with the sheer readability of something like The Apartment, then you've won half the battle (getting somebody important to actually read your screenplay will always be the hardest bit - this will help). You can read Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's screenplay for The Apartmenthere.
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All-round pop culture obsessive.