12 Best Screenwriters of All Time

6. Satyajit Ray

MAILMASTER June 1967 file photo of Satyajit Ray, a film-maker from India. (AP Photo) Subject: Satyajit Ray On 2014-07-01, at 6:59 PM, Wynn, Spencer wrote: Satyajit Ray Satyajit Ray.jpg

Since we are talking about legends, it would be unfair not to talk about Ray. Akira Kurosawa once said about him, “Not to have seen the cinema of Ray means existing in the world without seeing the sun or the moon.” Ray’s deft hand at storytelling placed him right at the top with other auteurs like Ingmar Bargman, and his name is still taken in the same vein as Francois Truffaut. Ray wrote all of his films, and it would be criminal to ignore any of his works while talking about cinema.

 

5. Charlie Kaufman

Charlie Kaufman, the writer and director, at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association press conference for "Anomalisa" held in Beverly Hills, California on November 23, 2015. Photo by: Yoram Kahana_Shooting Star / eyevine For further information please contact eyevine tel: +44 (0) 20 8709 8709 e-mail: info@eyevine.com www.eyevine.com

If you are a frequent visitor to our site, then you know that we are big fans of Kaufman. He is one of the most original and daring artists of the modern era and it is quite obvious from the films he has written. Right from making his mark in “Being John Malkovich” to making an indelible impression on us all with “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, Kaufman’s work is shocking, surreal and at the same time soothing to the soul.

 

4. Jean Luc-Godard

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Any discussion about screenwriting and direction is incomplete without Jean Luc-Godard. He defined the film movement called the French New Wave, delivering such masterpieces as “Breathless” and “A Band of Outsiders.” His work has influenced many modern masters of the craft such as Martin Scorcese, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh.

 

3. Billy Wilder

Photo Credit: Helena Lumme & Mika Manninen

Memorable lines, memorable characters, honest storytelling. There was a heart to Wilder’s films, and it showed. “Tha Apartment”, “Some like it hot” are prime examples of great storytelling. But Wilder wasn’t afraid to go dark with his themes. The result was powerful and in-depth characterization with classics like “Sunset Boulevard” and “Double Indemnity”.

 

2. Woody Allen

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Respect the art. That’s what we are trying to do here, when we pick Allen for the number two spot. He may not be the best of human beings frankly, and holds notions and viewpoints which come from his privilege. Despite his shortcomings, it can’t be denied that he has given cinema some of the finest stories in the last thirty years. “Annie Hall”, “Manhattan”, “Hannah and her Sisters” and more recently “Midnight in Paris”. He is a master of satire, and his work is full of quick witted dialogues. But the most important thing is the theme he tackles; universal themes such as urban loneliness, alienation and living a life of pretense.

 

1. Ingmar Bergman

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Bergman is widely regarded as one of the finest auteurs of cinema. Any aspiring filmmaker should study “The Seventh Seal” and “Persona”, both hallmarks of direction and writing. Bergman’s stories are bleak and surreal, ofttimes shocking with a focus on the subconscious. But it was his seminal drama work “Fanny and Alexander” which firmly established his status as one of the true greats.

Read More: The 50 Greatest Hollywood Directors of All Time

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