I’m a big fan of Guillermo Arriaga’s work, but funnily – together with Alejandro González Iñárritu they make a great team; separated – none of them is so good.
Another vote for Ingmar Bergman.
I think Shinobu Hashimoto has been the best suggestion so far.
You know me though, I like the Coen brothers, Hal Hatley, and Jim Jarmusch.
My vote goes to Éric Rohmer (he always wrote his own screenplays). It’s hard to explain what exactly is so appealing about his films. One thing I love about them is that you cannot predict where they will go. Another thing is his incredible attention to authentic detail about how people talk and how they feel without cliché and without any compromise with reality—Rohmer’s reality of course, which I find is very much like the reality that I have experienced.
A plot summary of any of his films would surely make it sound like a dull affair or possibly even a soapy melodrama. But Rohmer’s films aren’t about plot; one might even say they defy plot. Instead of focusing on conventional narrative, Rohmer concentrates on his characters. His characters seem like people I really know or at the very least like people I might encounter. These characters aren’t dumbed down or simplified to be more universal, either; each seems like a uniquely realized person.
there’s some other ones.
I disagree. I thought Biutiful was brilliant and Innaritu did not work with Arriaga on that one. Arriaga on the other hand… I didn’t like the Three Burials. The two had magic, but they will probably never work together again.
I think “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” is the best film either of them has been involved with. Go figure.
As I haven’t seen him mentioned yet, I would say Joseph L. Mankiewicz just for his brilliant script for All About Eve and for co-writing Citizen Kane.
But I have no problem with others mentioned here, like Bergman, Carrière, and Wilder/Diamond. Hats off to playwrights like Tennessee Williams for his many fine plays/screenplays and to Edward Albee for his play/script for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Carrière has amazing versatility and is hard to beat in terms of variety. Of course, there is no answer to this question – just personal favorites we like.
Billy Wilder, of course. :)
Oxy, Joseph Mankiewicz didn’t co-write CITIZEN KANE. That was Herman Mankiewicz.
Of course, Roscoe – I was mixing him up with his brother. All those Mankiewicz’s look alike…Looks like Joseph and Herman were hard working screenwriters, but just had the occasional flash of brilliance in their careers. Not enough to merit consideration for greatest, so I withdraw my nomination. (One should never post too quickly around here before checking one’s facts. My bad. That 30 min. edit limit is a killer).
^ Talented family. There is also Francis Mankiewicz who ended up directing excellent films in Quebec.
I agree about Rohmer’s talent -although it seems his work is so much stronger in it’s ability to transcend the miss en abyme more than others in a way that is primal in its emotions, rather than the cerebral attack of other brilliant writers like Odets or Chayefsky or G. b. Shaw?
But how about the Epsteins, we wouldn’t have “the Coens” without them (or without the Boulting bros, for that matter).
Or perhaps the brilliance of concept and the discovery of new boundaries in Cronenberg.
My Favorite Screenwriters:
1. Quentin Tarantino
2. Joel & Ethan Coen
3. Woody Allen
4. Charlie Kaufman
5. Billy Wilder
6. Wes Anderson
7. Alejandro González Iñárritu & Guillermo Arriaga
8. Alexander Payne
9. Stanley Kubrick
10. Jim Jarmusch
11. Francis Ford Coppola
12. Shane Black
Schrader, Pileggi, Kubrick, I may think of more