One of the best ways to learn about the craft of screenwriting, including its structure, rhythm, and devices, is by reading screenplays – lots of them. As screenwriter Bryan Young pointed out in a previous interview, you wouldn’t try to build a house without blueprints, and you wouldn’t try to draw up blueprints without looking at how professionals do it first. Screenplays are the blueprint for any film, so they can teach you a lot about making something work on screen.
Below, we’re building a library of great screenplays of various genres, so you can bookmark this page and return to it when you’re ready for some reading. We’ll add to it each week. We’ve also noted the genre and screenwriter(s), so if you find yourself gravitating to a particular type of film or TV show, or maybe a specific screenwriter, you can always do some Googling to see more of the same.
Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Screenplay by Nicole Holifcener, Jeff Whitty
Screenplay by Rita Hsiao
When Harry Met Sally
Screenplay by Nora Ephron
Saving Private Ryan
Screenplay by Robert Rodat
Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho & Kelly Masterson
Screenplay by Alec Sokolow, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Joss Whedon
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Screenplay by Melissa Mathison
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Screenplay by Caroline Thompson
Screenplay by Jeb Stuart, Steven E. de Souza
It's a Wonderful Life
Screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Frank Capra, Albert Hackett, Jo Swerling
Screenplay by David Webb Peoples
Screenplay by Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson