101 Greatest Screenplays Of The 21st Century: Horror Pic Tops Writers Guild’s List – Deadline

By Erik Pedersen
Managing Editor
“Now, you’re in the sunken place.”
If you recognize that line, you know the film whose script the Writers Guild of America just voted as the best of the past 22 years. Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning Get Out tops the WGA’s just-released list of the “101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (So Far)”. See the full list below.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Social Network, Parasite, No Country for Old Men and Moonlight round out the top six. All of them won a Screenplay Oscar, but three of the next four on the WGA’s list — There Will Be Blood (No. 7), Inglorious Basterds (No. 8) and Memento (No. 10) — did not. The No. 9 script, Almost Famous, took Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay.

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'101 Best Written TV Series Of All Time' From WGA/TV Guide: Complete List

Christopher Nolan wrote four of the 101 top screenplays — 2000’s Memento, 2008’s The Dark Knight (No. 26), 2010’s Inception (No. 37) and 2006’s The Prestige (No. 82). Dark Night and Prestige were co-penned by his brother Jonathan Nolan, who also wrote the short short upon which Memento was based.
Quentin Tarantino placed three scripts on the list with 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and 2012’s Django Unchained. So did Joel & Ethan Coen with 2007’s No Country for Old Men , 2009’s A Serious Man and 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis. Alfonso Cuarón also wrote or co-wrote three of the films: Children of Men (No. 18, 2006), Roma (No. 62, 2018) and Y tu mamá también (No. 86, 2001).
Charlie Kaufman penned two of the top dozen screenplays with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Adaptation (2022). Annie Mumulo & Kristen Wiig made the top showing among women, No. 12 for Bridesmaids (2011), with Diana Ossana at No. 13 for 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, which she wrote with Larry McMurtry.
Greta Gerwig placed a pair of screenplays on the list: Lady Bird (No. 16; 2007) and Little Women (No. 89; 2019).
Aaron Sorkin also hit a double with 2010’s The Social Network and 2011’s Moneyball (No. 56). Michael Arndt is another double honoree, for Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Toy Story 3 (2010), as is Wes Anderson, having scripted 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums (No. 14, with Owen Wilson) and 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.
The person with the most films on today’s WGA list who did not receive Oscar nominations for those same titles is Paul Thomas Anderson. He penned There Will Be Blood, The Master (No. 84, 2012) and The Phantom Thread (No. 87, 2017).

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One interesting inclusion from the Writers Guild tally is Mad Max: Fury Road, a film that has so few lines of dialogue that director George Miller had to beat back rumors that Fury Road had no script before it started filming.
This contemporary list spans the past 20-plus years of film, spotlighting a wide array of acclaimed, culture-defining movies and the screenwriters who wrote them, per the WGA.
“As voted upon by the members of the Writers Guilds West and East, the list of the 101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (so far) is both a celebration of the great writers and screenplays of the last 21 years and a study of how writing for the screen has evolved and diversified since the 20th Century,” said Aaron Mendelsohn, chair of WGAW’s Publicity & Marketing Committee, which conceived the Guilds’ latest 101 list. . Plus, it’s a great conversation — and argument — starter.”
Here is the full list, including the film, writers, year and studio:
1. Get Out (2017)
Written by Jordan Peele
Universal
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Written by Charlie Kaufman, Story by Charlie Kaufman & Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth
Focus Features
3. The Social Network (2010)
Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, Based Upon the Book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich
Columbia/Sony
4. Parasite (2019)
Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, Story by Bong Joon Ho
Neon
5. No Country for Old Men (2007)
Written for the Screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy
Miramax/Paramount Vantage
6. Moonlight (2016)
Screenplay by Barry Jenkins, Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney
A24
7. There Will Be Blood (2007)
Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, Based on the Novel Oil! by Upton SinclairParamount Vantage
8. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Weinstein/Universal
9. Almost Famous (2000)
Written by Cameron Crowe
DreamWorks
10. Memento (2000)
Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, Based on the Short Story by Jonathan Nolan
Newmarket
11. Adaptation. (2002)
Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman, Based on the Book The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean
Columbia / Sony
12. Bridesmaids (2011)
Written by Annie Mumulo & Kristen Wiig
Universal
13. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana, Based on the Short Story by Annie Proulx
Focus Features
14. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson
Touchstone
15. Sideways (2004)
Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Based on the Novel by Rex Pickett
Fox Searchlight
16. Lady Bird (2017)
Written by Greta Gerwig
A24
17. Her (2013)
Written by Spike Jonze
Warner Bros.
18. Children of Men (2006)
Screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón & Timothy J. Sexton and David Arata and Mark Fergus & Hawk
Ostby, Based on the Novel The Children of Men by P.D. James
Universal
19. Lost in Translation (2003)
Written by Sofia Coppola
Focus Features
20. Michael Clayton (2007)
Written by Tony Gilroy
Warner Bros.
21. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Written by Michael Arndt
Fox Searchlight
22. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Columbia/Sony
23. Promising Young Woman (2020)
Written by Emerald Fennell
Focus Features
24. Juno (2007)
Written by Diablo Cody
Fox Searchlight
25. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Screenplay by Wes Anderson, Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
Fox Searchlight
26. The Dark Knight (2008)
Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, Story by Christopher Nolan & David S.
Goyer, Based Upon Characters Appearing in Comic Books Published by DC Comic, BatmanCreated by Bob Kane
Warner Bros.
27. Arrival (2016)
Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, Based on the Story “Story of Your Life” Written by Ted Chiang
Paramount
28. Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Screenplay by Taika Waititi, Based on the Book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens
Fox Searchlight
29. Inside Out (2015)
Screenplay by Meg LeFauve, Original Story by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen
Disney/Pixar
30. The Departed (2006)
Screenplay by William Monahan, Based on the Motion Picture Infernal Affairs, Written Alex Mak
and Felix Chong
Warner Bros.
31. Spotlight (2015)
Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
Open Road
32. Whiplash (2014)
Written by Damien Chazelle
Sony Pictures Classics
33. Up (2009)
Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy
Disney-Pixar
34. Mean Girls (2004)
Screenplay by Tina Fey, Based on the Book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
Paramount
35. WALL-E (2008)
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original Story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter
Disney-Pixar
36. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Written by Guillermo del Toro
Warner Bros.
37. Inception (2010)
Written by Christopher Nolan
Warner Bros.
38. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy, Based on the Novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup
Fox Searchlight

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39. Before Sunset (2004)
Screenplay by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke, Story by Richard Linklater & Kim
Krizan, Based on Characters Created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
Warner Bros.
40. In Bruges (2008)
Written by Martin McDonagh
Focus Features
41. Mulholland Dr. (2001)
Written by David Lynch
Universal
42. A Serious Man (2009)
Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Focus Features
43. Amélie (2001)
Screenplay by Guillame Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Miramax
44. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Screenplay by Michael Arndt, Story by John Lasseter Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
Disney-Pixar
45. The Favourite (2018)
Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
Fox Searchlight
46. Zodiac (2007)
Screenplay by James Vanderbilt, Based on the Book by Robert Graysmith
Paramount
47. Gladiator (2000)
Screenplay by David Franzoni and John Logan and William Nicholson, Story by David Franzoni
DreamWorks/Universal
48. The Incredibles (2004)
Written by Brad Bird
Disney-Pixar
49. Knives Out (2019)
Written by Rian Johnson
Lionsgate
50. Ex Machina (2015)
Written by Alex Garland
Universal / A24
51. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu Nicolás Giacobone Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bó
Fox Searchlight
52. The Lives of Others (2006)
Written by Florian Henckel von Donnerschmarck
Sony Pictures Classics
53. Nightcrawler (2014)
Written by Dan Gilroy
Open Road
54. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Screenplay by John Ridley, Based on Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
20th Century Fox
55. The Big Short (2015)
Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, Based on the Book by Michael Lewis
Paramount
56. Moneyball (2011)
Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin, Based on the Book by
Michael Lewis
Columbia/Sony
57. Black Panther (2018)
Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, Based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and
Jack Kirby
Disney
58. You Can Count on Me (2000)
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Paramount
59. Boyhood (2014)
Written by Richard Linklater
IFC
60. Finding Nemo (2003)
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, David Reynolds, Original Story by Andrew
Stanton
Disney-Pixar
61. The Hurt Locker (2009)
Written by Mark Boal
Summit
62. Roma (2018)
Written by Alfonso Cuarón
Netflix
63. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Screenplay by Terence Winter, Based on the Book by Jordan Belfort
Paramount
64. Hell or High Water (2016)
Written by Taylor Sheridan
Lionsgate
65. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Written by Kenneth Lonergan
Amazon
66. A Separation (2011)
Written by Asghar Farhadi
Sony Pictures Classics
67. Spirited Away (2001)
Written by Hayao Miyazaki
Disney
68. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris
Warner Bros.
69. Booksmart (2019)
Written by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins and Susanna Fogel and Katie Silberman
United Artists
70. City of God (2002)
Screenplay by Bráulio Montovani, Based on the Novel by Paulo Lins
Miramax
71. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, Story by Phil Lord, Based on the Marvel Comics
Columbia/Sony
72. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
CBS Films
73. The King’s Speech (2010)
Screenplay by David Seidler
Weinstein
74. Django Unchained (2012)
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Weinstein
75. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Screenplay by Ted Griffin, Based on a Screenplay by Harry Brown and Charles Lederer and a
Story by George Clayton Johnson & Jack Golden Russell
Warner Bros.
76. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, Based on the Book The
Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
New Line
77. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
Universal
78. Erin Brockovich (2000)
Written by Susannah Grant
Universal
79. Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Screenplay by James Ivory, Based on the Novel by André Aciman
Sony Pictures Classics
80. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
Written by Martin McDonagh
Fox Searchlight
81. The Lobster (2015)
Written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou
A24
82. The Prestige (2006)
Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, Based on the Novel by Christopher
Priest
Touchstone/Warner Bros.
83. Midnight in Paris (2011)
Written by Woody Allen
Sony Pictures Classics
84. The Master (2012)
Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
Weinstein
85. Argo (2012)
Screenplay by Chris Terrio, Based on a selection from The Master of Disguise by Antonio J.
Mendez and the Wired Magazine Article “The Great Escape” by Joshuah Bearman
Warner Bros.
86. Y tu mamá también (2001)
Written by Carlos Cuarón & Alfonso Cuarón
IFC
87. Phantom Thread (2017)
Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
Focus Features
88. Superbad (2007)
Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Columbia/Sony

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89. Little Women (2019)
Screenplay by Greta Gerwig, Based on the Novel by Louisa May Alcott
Columbia/Sony
90. BlacKkKlansman (2018)
Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee, Based on the
Book by Ron Stallworth
Focus Features
91. The Farewell (2019)
Written by Lulu Wang
A24
92. La La Land (2016)
Written by Damien Chazelle
Lionsgate
93. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer, Story by
Sacha Baron Cohen & Peter Baynham & Anthony Hines & Todd Phillips, Based on a Character
Created by Sacha Baron Cohen
20th Century Fox
94. The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Written by Judd Apatow & Steve Carell
Universal
95. Ratatouille (2007)
Screenwriter: Brad Bird, Original Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird, Additional
Story Material by Emily Cook & Kathy Greenberg, Bob Peterson
Disney-Pixar
96. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Written by Nancy Oliver
MGM
97. Nomadland (2020)
Written for the Screen by Chloe Zhao, Based on the Book by Jessica Bruder
Searchlight
98. Winter’s Bone (2010)
Screenplay by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini, Based on the Novel by Daniel Woodrell
Roadside Attractions
99. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Written by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based Upon the Odyssey by Homer
Touchstone / Universal
100. Legally Blonde (2001)
Screenplay by Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith, Based on the Book by Amanda Brown
MGM
101. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Screenplay by David O. Russell, Based on the Novel by Matthew Quick
Weinstein
Tom Tapp contributed to this report.
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