Screenwriting Films

Screenwriting Films

There is nothing more inspiring than watching a film that you, as a writer, can relate to. From struggle with writer’s block to the lack of distribution, the films listed below cover all the bases of what it means to be a screenwriter. Grab some popcorn and take a seat as you watch journeys, similar to your own, on the big screen!

Adaptation (2002)

Charlie Kaufman is a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and by the screenwriting ambitions of his freeloading twin brother Donald. While struggling to adapt "The Orchid Thief," by Susan Orlean, Kaufman's life spins from pathetic to bizarre. The lives of Kaufman, Orlean's book, become strangely intertwined as each one's search for passion collides with the others'.

Barton Fink (1991)

Set in 1941, an intellectual New York playwright Barton Fink accepts an offer to write movie scripts in L.A. He finds himself with writer's block when required to do a B-movie script. His neighbor tries to help, but he continues to struggle as a bizarre sequence of events distracts him.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Celebrity biographer Lee Israel makes her living profiling the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Tallulah Bankhead, Estee Lauder and journalist Dorothy Kilgallen. When Lee is no longer able to get published because she has fallen out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception, abetted by her loyal friend Jack. 

Contempt (1963)

A philistine in the art film business, Jeremy Prokosch is a producer unhappy with the work of his director. Prokosch has hired Fritz Lang (as himself) to direct an adaptation of "The Odyssey," but when it seems that the legendary filmmaker is making a picture destined to bomb at the box office, he brings in a screenwriter to energize the script. The professional intersects with the personal when a rift develops between the writer and his wife.

Deconstructing Harry (1997)

Novelist Harry Block has become a success by turning his family and friends' lives into fodder for his books. Due to his novels' popularity, the university that once kicked Harry out has asked him to return for a ceremony that will honor him. As Harry sets out for the trip, he is confronted by his fictional characters, as well as real people who no longer want anything to do with him, and he learns how deeply his overly candid stories have affected those around him.

Dreams on Spec (2007)

A filmmaker follows three screenwriters as they make personal sacrifices and struggle against overwhelming odds to see their scripts turned into movies

The Gazebo (1959)

Television writer Elliot Nash makes increasingly desperate attempts to raise money in order to pay off a blackmailing photographer who threatens to publish nude photos of Elliot's actress wife, Nell. Unable to sell his house quickly enough, Elliot concludes that he has no choice but to murder the blackmailer. He schemes to utilize the installation of Nell's cherished antique gazebo and its quick-drying cement foundation but finds himself burying the wrong body.

In a Lonely Place (1950)

Hollywood screenwriter Dixon Steele and his neighbor Laurel are just getting to know each other romantically when the police begin questioning Dixon about his involvement in the murder of a girl he met once. Certain her new love interest is innocent, Laurel stands by Dixon, but as the police continue pressing him, Dixon begins to act increasingly erratically. The blossoming love affair suffers as Laurel begins to wonder if Dixon really might be a killer.

Manhattan (2003)

A frustrated television writer Isaac Davis, a twice-divorced malcontent facing middle age alone after his wife, Jill, leaves him for a woman. Isaac is dating fresh-faced Tracy, a high school girl he knows is wrong for him and begins to wonder if he and brainy writer Mary, the mistress of his best friend, Yale, might make a better couple.

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Gil Pender is a screenwriter and aspiring novelist. Vacationing in Paris with his fiancée, he has taken to touring the city alone. On one such late-night excursion, Gil encounters a group of strange -- yet familiar -- revelers, who sweep him along, apparently back in time, for a night with some of the Jazz Age's icons of art and literature. The more time Gil spends with these cultural heroes of the past, the more dissatisfied he becomes with the present.

Misery (1990)

After a serious car crash, novelist Paul Sheldon is rescued by former nurse Annie Wilkes, who claims to be his biggest fan. Annie brings him to her remote cabin to recover, where her obsession takes a dark turn when she discovers Sheldon is killing off her favorite character from his novels. As Sheldon devises plans for escape, Annie grows increasingly controlling, even violent, as she forces the author to shape his writing to suit her twisted fantasies.

The Player (1992)

Certain that the anonymous threats he's been receiving are the work of David Kahane, producer Griffin Mill tries to fix things over cocktails. Instead, Griffin ends up murdering the screenwriter and courting the dead man's girlfriend. As police investigate, Griffin concentrates on a prestigious film that might reinvigorate his career. But he soon learns that David's demise hasn't been forgotten by everyone in Hollywood.

The Shining (1980)

Jack Torrance becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack's writing goes nowhere and Danny's visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel's dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.

State and Main (2000)

A big-budget movie crew descends upon a quaint New England village, sowing a bumper crop of corruption, vanity and greed in David Marnet's "State and Main"; in the days that elapse before the cameras finally roll, money will change hands, careers will be jeopardized, and love will blossom in the small-town soil.

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script, only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship with a former movie star. The two move in together to write a screenplay that will bring both of them to the spotlight. Jealousy soon takes ahold of the movie star and tragedy begins to strike.

Sylvia (2003)

Young Sylvia Plath dreams of becoming an important writer. Her childhood is scarred by the unexpected loss of her father, and by the time she enrolls in college Sylvia has become emotionally fragile, suffering from depression. In 1955, she travels to Cambridge, England, to study literature, and falls in love with well-known poet Ted Hughes. As she struggles to balance a rocky marriage and growing literary success, Sylvia becomes increasingly obsessed with death.

Trumbo (2015)

In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood's top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs. Trumbo recounts how Dalton used words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice under the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper to John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.

Screenwriting Resources

© 2019 Lessons From the Set, All Rights Reserved

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle

RESOURCES

{Coming Soon}

- Screenwriting -

- Production -

- Directing -

- Post Production -

- Film Distribution -

LESSONS FROM THE SET

- About the Book -

- Usher Morgan -

Connect -

BLOG

{Coming Soon}

- Screenwriting -

- Production -

- Directing -

- Post Production -

- The Movie Business -

VIDEO PODCASTS

{Coming Soon}

- Screenwriting -

- Production -

- Directing -

- Post Production -

- The Movie Business -