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American Screenwriters Association Announces 100 Best Feature Film Screenplays

By Karen Thomas, The American Screenwriters Association (ASA)
Feb 27, 2004, 17:03

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Beverly Hills, CA - Feb. 27, 2004 - The American Screenwriters Association (ASA) announced today the results of their eighteen-month project to determine the 100 Best Feature Film Screenplays of all time. A distinguished panel of screenwriters, producers and industry professionals based their assessments on criteria including the depth and originality of the writing, the script's impact upon its release and its longevity and relativity over time, and solid writing principles such as character, dialogue and plot.

"ASA undertook compiling this list to illustrate the contribution screenwriters have made to the entire movie industry in entertaining generations of movie goers over the years," said John E. Johnson, ASA Executive Director. "The panel selected some scripts written more than half century ago as well as some recently released. Clearly, some of the most enduring and indelible impressions we have were created through the imagination of screenwriters."

According to the panel, the best screenplay of all time is Horton Foote's adaptation, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) starring Gregory Peck and Robert Duvall. Following closely behind in second place was Casablanca (1942); Gone with the Wind (1939) was in third place; The Wizard of Oz (1939) in fourth place; The Shawshank Redemption (1994) in fifth place; Schindler's List (1993) in sixth place; It's a Wonderful Life (1946) in seventh place; Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) in eighth place; Some Like it Hot (1959) in ninth place and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) in tenth place. Rounding out the top 100 was Amelie (2002) in ninety-eighth place; Das Boot (1981) in ninety-ninth place; and Braveheart (1995) capturing the final spot.

"We're certain the list will generate some lively discussion among the entertainment industry and movie buffs for some time to come, " Johnson said. "And that's good, we should be engaged in healthy discussions about what makes a good screenplay, so that the art of screenwriting continues to advance and we encourage more people to get involved with screenwriting."

Writers of Note

Notable writers whose scripts made the top 100 include Billy Wilder ( Some Like it Hot, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity), William Goldman ( Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men) Mel Brooks ( Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Producers), Francis Ford Coppola ( Patton, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) and Ernest Lehman ( North by Northwest, The Sound of Music, West Side Story) just to name a few.

Special Note:

* There were no distinctions made between original screenplays or adaptations during the evaluation of the scripts. The scripts were reviewed solely on the merits of the writer's work. Only scripts produced through 2002 were considered due to time constraints.

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