Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

This Month in Filmmaking History - November Roundup 2022

  • On this day in history

    Cool Hand
       Luke

    screenplay by

    • Donn Pearce
    • Frank Pierson

    Cool Hand Luke -

    “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” Have you heard, or maybe even used, that famous quote? You have writers Donn Pearce and Frank Pierson to thank for “Cool Hand Luke,” a 1960s prison drama film that debuted on this day in history. The pair earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay since the film was based on Pearce’s novel, which he sold to Warner Bros. Pearce didn’t have any screenwriting experience, though, so Warner Bros. also brought on Pierson to help write the screenplay. The story is based on Pearce’s actual experience on a chain gang in Florida, where he had been incarcerated for counterfeiting and cracking safes.

  • On this day in history

    A Night At
       The Opera

    screenplay by

    • George S. Kaufman
    • Morrie Ryskind
    • +8 more contributors

    A Night At The Opera -

    “A Night at the Opera,” which premiered on this day in history in 1935, marked a new style of comedy for the starring Marx Brothers. George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind wrote the screenplay, with several additional contributing writers to jokes, dialogue, and story. For the five Marx Brothers, who had made a name for themselves with their zany comedic style in Paramount movies and on Broadway, the more structured plot in MGM’s “A Night At The Opera” was a departure from their previous films that were more joke-heavy and less plot-centric. MGM felt the anarchic jokes didn’t bode well with women, and they were right. The new style was a box office hit among men and women and one of the best-performing films for MGM that year.

    Read the screenplay transcript for “A Night at the Opera.”

  • On this day in history

    Titanic

    screenplay by

    • James Cameron

    Titanic -

    “Titanic” is a movie of epics: epic story, epic costs, and epic profits. It debuted on this day in history in Tokyo and went on to gross more than $2 billion worldwide. At the time, it was the most expensive film ever made and the first film to ever reach the billion-dollar mark, though studio execs initially thought it wouldn’t turn a profit. Writer and director James Cameron always had a fascination with shipwrecks and wanted to dive down to the Titanic to see it for himself. So, with some funding from Hollywood and a story pitch, he did just that and convinced 20th Century Fox to pay for the scene where divers discover Rose’s necklace amidst the actual wreckage.

  • On this day in history

    Arrested
    Development

    created by

    • Mitchell Hurwitz

    Arrested Development -

    Mitchell Hurwitz’s “Arrested Development” began airing on this day in 2003. The show ran for three seasons on Fox, followed by a series revival in 2013 on Netflix. It never picked up significant viewership, but it did receive critical acclaim and developed a cult following for its ensemble cast and hilarious writing. The comedy follows a wealthy and dysfunctional family, helmed by son Michael Bluth, who has been forced to take over family affairs after his dad goes to prison. More than two dozen writers are credited with the episodes, which won six Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. Time Magazine named it one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

  • On this day in history

    Tokyo Story

    screenplay by

    • Kogo Noda
    • Yasujiro Ozu

    Tokyo Story -

    Inspired by the 1937 American film “Make Way for Tomorrow,” Kogo Noda and Yasujiro Ozu wrote the “Tokyo Story” screenplay over 103 days. The film premiered on this day in 1953. It follows an elderly couple who go to Tokyo to visit their older children, only to be ignored by everyone but their widowed daughter-in-law. The story of “Make Way for Tomorrow” was similar but dealt more with depression-era themes. Critics consider the film to be director Ozu’s masterpiece, and Sight & Sound Magazine named it the best film of all time during its last director’s poll.

  • On this day in history

    Dean Reisner

    • Born on this day

    Dean Reisner -

    Dean Reisner began his career in film not long after he was born on this day in 1918. At just four years old, “Dinky Dean,” as he was known, played alongside the likes of Charlie Chaplin in films such as “The Pilgrim.” Later, he became a film and television writer, with credits on the Ronald Reagan movie “Code of the Secret Service” and some Clint Eastwood films, including “Dirty Harry.” He won an honorary Oscar for directing “Bill and Coo,” a film that starred birds dressed in human costumes. Reisner passed away in 2002 of natural causes.

  • On this day in history

    Harry Potter and the
         Sorcerer’s Stone

    screenplay by

    • Steve Kloves

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone -

    While many people had already met Harry Potter and his sidekicks through J.K. Rowling’s series of books, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter really came to life when the first film debuted on this day in history at a premiere in London. Warner Bros. brought on Steve Kloves to write the script after the production company paid $1.65 million for rights to the book. After reading the Warner Bros. synopsis, Kloves bought the book and became a massive fan of the series. He said he was nervous about meeting Rowling because he didn’t want her to think he would mess up the story, but the two eventually hit it off and got along great. Rowling maintained much creative control over the story, and seven sequels followed.

  • On this day in history

    Pierrot
    le Fou

    screenplay by

    • Jean-Luc Godard

    Pierrot le Fou -

    Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Pierrot le Fou” debuted on this day in history in 1965. The film followed in the footsteps of other Godard features, where actors often break the fourth wall and stare directly into the camera, and its pop art and cartoon-like visuals are many. Godard is known for waiting to write his film screenplays until the very last minute, and that was no different for this film, leaving many scenes to be improvised. Critics consider “Pierrot le Fou,” or “Pierrot the Madman” in English, to be one of the ultimate examples of Godard’s filmmaking style, which led the French New Wave movement.

  • On this day in history

    The Big
        Parade

    screenplay by

    • Laurence Stallings

    The Big Parade -

    “The Big Parade,” a silent war drama film written by Laurence Stallings, debuted on this day in 1925. It depicted the realities of trench warfare during World War I, following a wealthy boy who joins the army and is sent to fight in France, where he subsequently falls in love. It’s arguably one of the most financially successful silent films of all time, grossing nearly $5 million at the US box office. Though the Academy Awards did not exist, the film did win the Photoplay Magazine Medal for best film of the year, which is considered the first significant movie award.

  • On this day in history

     Michael
       Cunningham

    • Born on this day

    Michael Cunningham -

    Happy birthday, Michael Cunningham! This screenwriter and novelist was born on this day in 1952. He’s had a storied career, co-writing the screenplay for “Evening” starring Glenn Close, Toni Collette, and Maryl Streep, and earning a Pulizter for his fiction novel “The Hours.” Cunningham is currently a creative writing lecturer at Yale University.

  • On this day in history

    Bean

    screenplay by

    • Richard Curtis
    • Robin Driscoll

    Bean -

    Based on the British comedy TV series, “Bean” premiered as a movie on this day in history in 1997. The story follows the misadventures of Mr. Bean, who goes to America and is tasked with delivering a valuable painting to an LA museum. Richard Curtis and Robin Driscoll, whom both wrote for the television series, wrote the screenplay for the film. Mr. Bean’s personality is described as a “child in a grown man’s body,” so the comedic elements consist of plenty of physical comedy and slapstick. Critics were unimpressed with the film, but that didn’t stop audiences from going to the theater. The movie was a box-office success.

    Read the screenplay for “Bean.”

  • On this day in history

    Days of
       Our Lives

    created by

    • Irna Phillips
    • Allan Chase
    • Ted & Betty Corday

    Days of Our Lives -

    “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.” Not much has changed since that opening title sequence first debuted on this day in 1965 at the beginning of the “Days of Our Lives” television series. Nearly 14,000 episodes later, the soap opera has become one of the longest-running television shows on the planet, with episodes airing almost every single weekday since this day in 1965. Irna Phillips, Allan Chase, Ted Corday, and Betty Corday created the soap that focuses primarily on two main families in a fictional town. Dozens of head writers have filtered on and off the writing team over its seven decades in existence.

  • On this day in history

       A Nightmare
    on Elm Street

    screenplay by

    • Wes Craven

    A Nightmare on Elm Street -

    Wes Craven wrote and directed the slasher film “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” which debuted on this day in 1984. A remake premiered in 2010. The original is considered one of the top horror films of all time, and six sequels and a television show spinoff followed. The movie’s storyline explores the edge of dreams and reality, and although the film was an obvious success, getting a studio on board was not easy. Craven eventually got New Line Cinema to agree to produce the film, and it became the movie to launch New Line into success. Craven is said to have framed his rejection letter from Universal Studios, which noted that the “script did not receive an enthusiastic enough response.”

  • On this day in history

    Ronald
       Harwood

    • Born on this day

    Ronald Harwood -

    Sir Ronald Harwood, a screenwriter, playwright, and author, was born on this day in history in 1934. He passed away late last year. Hardwood wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-winning films “The Pianist” and the Oscar-nominated films “The Dresser” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” Harwood was born in Cape Town, South Africa, as Ronald Horwitz but changed his name to Harwood after moving to London to pursue theater. He was told his name was “too Jewish” for a stage actor. After holding honors, such as chairman of The Royal Society of Literature, president of the Royal Literary Fund, and commander of the Order of the British Empire, Harwood was knighted in 2010. He received the National Jewish Theatre Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

  • On this day in history

    Los Olvidados

    screenplay by

    • Luis Alcoriza
    • Luis Buñuel

    Los Olvidados -

    Considered a masterpiece of Latin American Cinema, “Los Olvidados” (or “The Young and the Damned” in the US) premiered on this day in history to initial harsh criticism from the public and press, who said the film was “overly bleak.” The story, written and directed by Spaniard Luis Buñuel,  portrays child poverty in Mexico City. Critics didn’t like that a foreigner was exposing Mexico’s problem with poverty and crime. In 2002, someone discovered an alternate “happy ending” in the film warehouse at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The movie was re-screened for a limited audience in 2005, and a restored version of the film was screened at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

  • On this day in history

     Sesame
       Street

    created by

    • Joan Ganz Cooney
    • Lloyd Morrisett

    Sesame Street -

    Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett created “Sesame Street,” a children’s television show that uses puppets, animation, and real actors to communicate educational storylines. It first aired on this day in 1969. In the US, approximately 95 percent of preschoolers have watched the show, and more than 85 million American adults saw the show as children. The show’s writers rely on a curriculum sheet and a writer’s notebook to help them navigate the challenges of writing a curriculum-based show through storytelling and comedy. The scripts are then reviewed to ensure they’re up-to-date regarding educational and entertaining content.

  • On this day in history

    The Producers

    screenplay by

    • Mel Brooks

    The Producers -

    On this day in history, “The Producers” premiered to a broad audience after a previous disastrous premiere in Pennsylvania one year prior. The story follows two schmuck producers who attempt to swindle older women out of money by producing a terrible play about Hitler, but the play, in turn, becomes a huge success. Early audiences didn’t find humor in a comedy film about Hitler. Still, Mel Brooks eventually went on to win Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards and the Writers Guild of America – East. The movie translated to “Springtime for Hitler” in Sweden, where the film became so popular that nearly all of Mel Brooks’ future films in the Country would be titled “Springtime for …” (“Springtime for Sheriff” – Blazing Saddles; “Springtime for Space” – Spaceballs; “Springtime for Frankenstein” – Young Frankenstein).

  • On this day in history

    Home
      Alone

    screenplay by

    • John Hughes

    Home Alone -

    A holiday must-watch in the US, “Home Alone” premiered on this day in history in 1990. John Hughes wrote the classic comedy screenplay, which centers on a young boy whose family accidentally leaves him home alone while they vacation in France. He’s forced to defend the family home from burglars. Hughes said he came up with the idea for the screenplay while he was getting ready to go on vacation and was making a list of everything he needed to remember to take with him. He thought, “What would happen if I left my 10-year-old kid behind?” The film launched Macaulay Culkin’s career and has since become a favorite Christmas film among American audiences. A sequel premiered in 1992, titled “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”

    Read the shooting script for “Home Alone.”

  • On this day in history

      Jennifer
       Celotta

    • Born on this day

    Jennifer Celotta -

    Happy birthday, Jennifer Celotta! Celotta is a prolific television writer, producer, and director, having written on shows including “Home Improvement,” “Two Guys and a Girl,” “Malcolm in the Middle,” “The Office,” and “The Newsroom.” She’s also directed episodes of “Cobra Kai” and “The Newsroom” and acted as a consulting producer on TV shows as recent as Netflix’s “Space Force.”

  • On this day in history

     Duck
    Soup

    screenplay by

    • Bert Kalmar
    • Harry Ruby

    Duck Soup -

    “Duck Soup,” a Marx Brothers comedy film, premiered on this day in history in 1933. It was one of the brothers' last films for Paramount Pictures and the last movie that featured Zeppo Marx. Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby wrote the screenplay for the pre-Code comedy film, which was not yet subject to the strict Hays Code standards that censored profanity, sex, drugs, and religious ridicule. The film had several titles and script iterations, dubbed “Firecrackers” and “Cracked Ice” at one point. Though not an immediate commercial success as other Marx Brothers films had been, the film inspired other famous artists throughout history, including The Beatles in their movie, “Help!” and filmmakers Woody Allen and Sacha Baron Cohen.

    Read the screenplay for “Duck Soup.”

  • On this day in history

    Raging Bull

    screenplay by

    • Paul Schrader
    • Mardik Martin

    Raging Bull -

    The first film to ever be selected for preservation in the National Film Registry, “Raging Bull” premiered on this day in 1980. It is considered Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, but it all started with the story, championed by Robert De Niro and adapted for the screen by Mardik Martin and Paul Schrader. Studio execs first rejected the screenplay, saying it was x-rated and violent and wouldn’t attract an audience. Soon after, De Niro and Scorsese spent two weeks on the island of Saint Martin to rebuild the story; the rest is history. De Niro and Scorsese remain uncredited on the screenplay. 

  • On this day in history

    Fantasia

    • 25 screenwriting credits

    Fantasia -

    Disney’s “Fantasia” debuted as a traveling theatrical feature on this day in history in 1940. It was Disney’s third animated feature but was different because it didn’t have one storyline and instead featured animated shorts set to classical music. The music produced the visuals rather than just lying under the animated action. The film did not do well at the box office because World War II meant distribution was cut off in Europe, but the movie was also expensive to produce. However, critics loved it and considered it a masterpiece, and inspiration from the film can still be seen throughout Disney parks, video games, and more. More than 25 writers and 1,000 artists worked on the film.

  • On this day in history

    Casino
      Royale

    screenplay by

    • Neal Purvis
    • Robert Wade
    • Paul Haggis

    Casino Royale -

    Neal Purvis and Robert Wade began writing the screenplay for “Casino Royal” in 2004, and Paul Haggis joined later to rewrite the movie's climax. The film premiered on this day in 2006. The screenwriters had Pierce Brosnan in mind when they wrote James Bond’s character, though Daniel Craig ultimately played the role. Eon Productions felt that its earlier Bond films relied too much on special effects and computer-generated imagery, so they wanted “Casino Royal” to stick more closely to its original book version and be less “fantastical” than its predecessor, “Die Another Day.” However, Haggis changed the ending from the book (SPOILER ALERT), opting to have Vesper die as Bond tries to save her rather than commit suicide. It was a darker Bond film and was considered a welcomed reinvention of the series.

  • On this day in history

    Network

    screenplay by

    • Paddy Chayefsky

    Network -

    Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network” film took home Best Screenplay at the Academy Awards and was voted one of the ten greatest screenplays of all time by the WGA. The satirical story follows a news network struggling with bad ratings. Its most famous line, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore,” has been repeated in many later films and TV shows. The movie maintains a 92% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

  • On this day in history

    Unbreakable

    screenplay by

    • M. Night Shyamalan

    Unbreakable -

    “Unbreakable,” a deconstructed super-hero film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is one of the most lucrative spec script deals ever made. The film premiered on this day in 2000. Disney paid Shyamalan $5 million for the script, twice what they paid for his sleeper-hit “The Sixth Sense.” The sale went down during the height of “The Six Sense” success, leading Disney to believe they had another huge movie on their hands. The film grossed $248 million, with a $75 million production budget.

  • On this day in history

      Detour

    screenplay

    • Martin Goldsmith

    Detour -

    Screenwriter Martin Goldsmith penned the screenplay for “Detour,” a 1945 film noir that premiered on this day in history. Martin Mooney also helped adapt Goldsmith’s novel of the same name, though he is uncredited. The story centers on a hitchhiking pianist who runs into a series of unfortunate events after taking on someone else’s identity. The Motion Picture Association, citing the Motion Picture Production Code, forced a change to the story's ending that saw the main character taken away in a police car since the code did not allow murderers to get away with their crimes in movies. 

    Read the screenplay transcript for “Detour.”

  • On this day in history

    Ildikó
       Enyedi

    • Born on this day

    Ildikó Enyedi -

    Happy birthday, Ildikó Enyedi! The Hungarian director and screenwriter rose to some notoriety in the late 80s when her film “My 20th Century” won the Golden Camera Award at the Cannes Film Festival. She directed several more features in the following years. But then she went nearly two decades without making a movie until she released “On Body and Soul” in 2017, winning the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film.

  • On this day in history

    Yentl

    screenplay by

    • Jack Rosenthal
    • Barbra Streisand

    Yentl -

    Did you know that Barbra Streisand – yes, the American singer – is the only woman to have won the Best Director award at the Golden Globes up until 2020? She won for the romantic musical “Yentl,” based on the stage play of the same name, which was based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short story, “Yentl the Yeshiva Boy.” It debuted on this day in 1983. Barbra Streisand also co-wrote the screenplay with Jack Rosenthal and co-produced and starred in the film. The story follows a young Jewish girl who pretends to be a boy to learn Talmudic Law. The original concept for the movie was not a musical, but Streisand struggled to get a studio attached because they felt the story was “too ethnic.” So, she added a musical component so that the idea of a musical featuring Barbra Streisand would be more appealing. It took 15 years and 20 scripts to get the film produced.

  • On this day in history

    Valeria Bruni
       Tedeschi

    • Born on this day

    Valeria Bruni Tedeschi -

    Actor, screenwriter, and director Valeria Bruni Tedeschi celebrates her birthday today. The French-Italian filmmaker is perhaps best known for her film “A Castle in Italy,” which was nominated for the Palme d’Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. She also wrote “It’s Easier for a Camel” and “The Summer House.” She’s won or been nominated for more than 60 awards in her filmmaking and acting career.

  • On this day in history

    Martin
      Scorsese

    • Born on this day

    Martin Scorsese -

    Happy birthday to filmmaker Martin Scorsese. He’s considered one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in history, winning honors including AFI’s Life Achievement Award, an Academy Award, Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, a Palm d’Or, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and even a Grammy Award for Best Music Film for “No Direction Home.” His films often include themes of religious guilt, corruption, and frequent collaborations with actors such as Robert De Niro. Scorsese founded The Film Foundation, World Cinema Project, and the African Film Heritage Project, seeking to identify, restore, and preserve films – from the famous to the virtually unknown.

  • On this day in history

    Ben-Hur

    screenplay by

    • Karl Tunberg
    • Lew Wallace

    Ben-Hur -

    “Ben Hur,” adapted by Karl Tunberg from the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace, was the highest-grossing film of 1959 and continues to be one of three films tied for the winningest at the Academy Awards with 11 Oscars (it was nominated for 12 of 15 categories that year). Four more writers were brought in to tone down the “too-modern” dialogue in later drafts, including playwright Maxwell Anderson, playwright S.N. Behrman, writer Gore Vidal, and poet and playwright Christopher Fry. More than 12 versions of the script were written before it was finalized at an epic 230 pages.

  • On this day in history

    Malcolm X

    screenplay by

    • Arnold Perl
    • Spike Lee

    Malcolm X -

    Filmmaker Spike Lee and screenwriter Arnold Perl co-penned the screenplay for “Malcolm X,” based heavily on “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” written by Alex Haley, which premiered on this day in 1992. The movie dramatizes Malcolm X’s life, starring Denzel Washington in the role. Producer Marvin Worth initially hired Perl and screenwriter James Baldwin to write the script, but Perl died before it was finished. Baldwin died 16 years later, and Lee rewrote the script. Baldwin’s name was removed from the credits at the request of his family because of the revisions made to the original. Roger Ebert ranked the film as one of the ten best movies of the 90s. Washington earned a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards for his portrayal of Malcolm X.

  • On this day in history

    One Flew Over 
    the Cuckoo’s Nest

    screenplay by

    • Lawrence Hauben
    • Bo Goldman
    • Ken Kesey

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest -

    Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman wrote the adapted screenplay for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” based on the novel of the same name by Ken Kesey. The film was the first in more than 40 years to win “The Big 5” Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. Author Kesey reportedly never saw the film because he was upset about the adapted screenplay’s version of the story. The movie is considered to be one of the best films ever made.

  • On this day in history

    Toy Story

    screenplay by

    • Joss Whedon
    • Andrew Stanton
    • Joel Cohen & Alec Sokolow

    Toy Story -

    “Toy Story,” written by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cogen, and Alec Sokolow, based on a story by Stanton, John Lasseter, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft, was the first entirely computer-animated movie and the debut film for Pixar. Disney approached Pixar to make the film based on the success of its 1988 computer-animated short “Tin Toy.” The original concept for the film featured Tinny, paired with a ventriloquist’s dummy and villain named Woody. The members of Pixar’s story team had little experience with feature writing and heavily relied on screenwriter Robert McKee’s three-day seminar on storytelling principles. In later drafts, Woody’s character was updated to become the loveable cowboy we know today.

  • On this day in history

    Jodie
    Foster

    • Born on this day

    Jodie Foster -

    Celebrated American actor and filmmaker Jodie Foster celebrates her birthday today. Her career started in professional modeling when she was just three years old, and she made her acting debut at the age of six. Top billings include her role as Clarice in “Silence of the Lambs” and Iris in “Taxi Driver,” though she has more than 80 acting credits to her name in several TV shows and movies. She’s focused much of the last decade on directing, including episodes of Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” “Black Mirror,” and “House of Cards.”

  • On this day in history

    Charlie
      Kaufman

    • Born on this day

    Charlie Kaufman -

    Filmmaker and novelist Charlie Kaufman celebrates his birthday today. His films include “Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” all of which have been described as surrealist in nature. He likes to delve into the meaning of life through his work, although he started his career by writing spoofs and comedic articles for “National Lampoon” magazine. He wrote several spec scripts for TV shows such as “Married … With Children” and “The Simpsons” in an effort to find a talent agent, which eventually paid off. In 2020, he released his first novel, titled “Antkind.”

  • On this day in history

                Larry
      Karaszewski

    • Born on this day

    Larry Karaszewski -

    Happy birthday Larry Karaszewski! Karaszewski is one half of the writing team behind the movies “Problem Child,” “Ed Wood,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” and “Big Eyes.” He almost always works alongside screenwriter Scott Alexander, his roommate when he was a filmmaking student at the University of Southern California. They’ve earned best writing and best screenplay honors from the Satellite Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Independent Spirit Awards, and their most recent big win is with the debut of their first TV series, “American Crime Story,” which won nine Emmy’s after airing in 2016.

  • On this day in history

    Rocky

    screenplay by

    • Sylvester Stallone

    Rocky -

    “Rocky,” written by and starring Sylvester Stallone, was the highest-grossing film of 1976 despite its modest $1 million production budget. It premiered on this day in 1976. It won the Best Picture Oscar that year and resulted in seven sequels, six of which Stallone wrote. Stallone wrote the first screenplay in just three days, and the sale to United Artists was contingent upon Stallone also securing the lead role. His family also played minor characters in the film.

  • On this day in history

    Frankenstein

    screenplay by

    • Garrett Ford
    • Francis Edward Faragoh
    • Robert Florey, John Russell

    Frankenstein -

    One of the most famous horror stories ever, “Frankenstein,” was adapted by Garret Ford and Francis Edward Faragoh from the play by Peggy Webling, which was based on the novel by Mary Shelley. The film debuted on this day in 1931. Although they remain uncredited, Robert Florey and John Russell also helped write the screenplay. The film inspired countless sequels and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States Film Registry.

  • On this day in history

    Oldboy

    screenplay by

    • Park Chan-wook
    • Joon-hyung Lim
    • Jo-yun Hwang

    Oldboy -

    The Korean neo-noir action thriller “Oldboy” premiered on this day in history in 2003, the second film in Park Chan-wook’s “The Vengeance Trilogy.” The story is based on the Japanese Manga series by Garon Tsuchiya, illustrated by Nobuaki Minegishi. Experts praised the film for its single-shot action sequence, and it’s now considered one of the best neo-noir films of its time. Neo-noir describes contemporary films that have revived the film noir genre. Joon-hyung Lim and Jo-yun Hwang helped pen the screenplay for the film, which won the Grand Prix jury award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, with the jury headed by Quentin Tarantino at the time.

    Read the screenplay transcript for “OldBoy.”

  • On this day in history

    Frozen

    screenplay by

    • Jennifer Lee

    Frozen -

    Jennifer Lee wrote the screenplay for Disney’s “Frozen,” which debuted on this day in 2013. The computer-animated film was based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale, “The Snow Queen,” and Disney first considered adapting the story way back in 1937. But, the studio found it hard to make the Snow Queen relatable to a more modern audience, so the idea was shelved. Many attempts were made over the years to revive the project, but it wasn’t until 2012 that Lee finally saw success. She drew inspiration from Norway, anime, and other epic adventure films and spent nearly nine months working with a team to crack the story. And crack it, they did. “Frozen” broke records as the highest-grossing film of the year, earning nearly $1.3 billion worldwide.

  • On this day in history

    Robert
      Towne

    • Born on this day

    Robert Towne -

    Happy birthday, Robert Towne! The American filmmaker and actor was born on this day in 1934. Towne is most famous for writing the “Chinatown” screenplay, which many critics say is one of the best scripts ever written. He also wrote two “Mission: Impossible” screenplays. His career started in television writing, where he worked on shows including “The Outer Limits” and “Breaking Point,” before getting work as a script doctor doing uncredited rewrites on films such as “Drive, He Said” and “The Godfather.” His career has come full circle, as he now works as a consulting producer on TV shows again, including “Mad Men.”

  • On this day in history

    Moana

    screenplay by

    • Jared Bush

    Moana -

    Jared Bush wrote the screenplay for the Disney musical “Moana,” along with story help from seven other writers, which premiered on this day in 2016. The story follows a Polynesian girl who must break the curse set upon her island by a demigod by finding him to set things right. Taika Waititi wrote the initial screenplay for the film, but he joked in a later interview that only a slugline from his draft remained in the final script. The movie marked the 56th animated feature for Walt Disney Studios. It earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature.

    Read the screenplay transcript for “Moana.”

  • On this day in history

     Bicycle 
           Thieves

    screenplay by

    • Vittoria De Seca, Oreste Biancoli
    • Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Adolfo Franci
    • Gherardo Gherardi, Gerardo Guerrieri

    Bicycle Thieves -

    The Italian film “Bicycle Thieves” was adapted by Vittoria De Seca, Oreste Biancoli, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Adolfo Franci, Gherardo Gherardi, and Gerardo Guerrieri from a novel written by Luigi Bartolini. The film premiered on this day in 1948. It centers on a young father who searches Rome for his stolen bicycle, on which he relied to get to work. The writers wanted to portray poverty and unemployment in post-WWII Italy. The film won an Honorary Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and made Sight & Sound Magazine’s list of Greatest Films of All Time. 

  • On this day in history

    Housekeeping

    screenplay by

    • Bill Forsyth

    Housekeeping -

    Bill Forsyth directed and wrote the screenplay for “Housekeeping” based on a 1980s novel by Marilynne Robinson, and the film debuted on this day in 1987. In later interviews, he said he made the movie as a sort of trailer for the book to encourage people to read the novel. The film about two sisters who end up living with their eclectic and unbothered aunt was a hit with film critics, earning four out of four stars from Roger Ebert. It was Forsyth's first North American film, whose previous hits were filmed in Scotland. The movie won the Best Screenplay Award and the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

  • On this day in history

    Don
    Lake

    • Born on this day

    Don Lake -

    Actor, producer, and writer Don Lake celebrates his birthday today. The Canadian is best known for his roles in “Space Force,” “Dumb and Dumber To,” and as the voice of Stu Hopps in “Zootopia.”  He also wrote and appeared on more than 100 episodes of the famous “The Bonnie Hunt Show,” a daily syndicated talk show which ran from 2008-2010.

  • On this day in history

    Casablanca

    screenplay by

    • Julius J. Epstein
    • Philip G. Epstein
    • Howard Koch

    Casablanca -

    The screenplay for “Casablanca,” written by Howard Koch and twin brothers Julius and Philip Epstein, didn’t have an ending when filming began. The three eventually settled on a way to wrap up the story, which was based on the never-produced play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. The twins worked together, but never alongside Howard Koch. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year and Best Adapted Screenplay. Actor Humphrey Bogart’s famous line, “Here’s looking at you kid,” was not in the screenplay but was reportedly something he often said to actor Ingrid Bergman while teaching her how to play poker on set.

  • On this day in history

    Kathryn
       Bigelow

    • Born on this day

    Kathryn Bigelow -

    Named one of the most influential people of the year by Time Magazine, Kathryn Ann Bigelow celebrates her birthday today. The filmmaker is best known for her films, including “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Point Break,” “K-19: The Widowmaker,” and “The Hurt Locker,” for which she won an Academy Award for Best director. She is the only woman to have won that award. While she’s made films that span genres, she frequently uses violence in her movies, and she’s been known to go the extra mile to get the best shots, whether that’s wearing a parachute while Patrick Swayze jumped from a plane or working in 130-degree Fahrenheit heat in Jordan.

  • On this day in history

    Joel
    Coen

    • Born on this day

    Joel Coen -

    Happy birthday to filmmaker Joel Coen! The filmmaker was born on this day in 1954. Coen has an incredible list of screenwriting credits for films including “Fargo,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” “The Big Lebowski,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” and many, many more. He often works with his brother, Ethan Coen, writing, producing, and directing their movies together, often alternating who gets what credit. The pair have won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars.

  • On this day in history

    David
        Nicholls

    • Born on this day

    David Nicholls -

    English novelist, screenwriter, and actor David Nicholls celebrates his birthday today. Nicholls is best known for his screenplays for “Far from the Madding Crowd,” “When Did You Last See Your Father,” “One Day,” and “Starter for 10,” the latter two of which he also wrote the books. He’s been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series, Movie, or Special Category for “Patrick Melrose” and was named UK Author of the Year by Specsavers National Book Awards. He also earned Book of the Year for “One Day” at the British Book Awards.

  • On this day in history

    Terrence Malick

    • Born on this day

    Terrence Malick -

    Writer, producer, and director Terrence  Malick celebrates his birthday today. He’s perhaps most well-known for his film “Days of Heaven,” starring Richard Gere. Malick’s distinctive style often includes philosophical overtones, character voiceovers, and the battle between reason and instinct. He’s been nominated for three Oscars, including Best Director twice and Best Adapted Screenplay.

  • On this day in history

    Gandhi

    screenplay by

    • John Briley