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

“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.

Charlie Kaufman penned two of the top dozen screenplays with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Adaptation (2022). 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.

Aaron Sorkin also hit a double with 2010’s The Social Network and 2011’s Moneyball (No. 56), and did Joel & Ethan Coen with 2007’s No Country for Old Men and 2009’s A Serious Man.

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

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

4. Parasite (2019)
Screenplay by Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, Story by Bong Joon Ho

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

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

9. Almost Famous (2000)
Written by Cameron Crowe

10. Memento (2000)
Screenplay by Christopher Nolan, Based on the Short Story by Jonathan Nolan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

34. Mean Girls (2004)
Screenplay by Tina Fey, Based on the Book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman

35. WALL-E (2008)
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original Story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

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

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

42. A Serious Man (2009)
Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Focus Features

43. Amélie (2001)
Screenplay by Guillame Laurant and Jean-Pierre Jeunet

44. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Screenplay by Michael Arndt, Story by John Lasseter Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich

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

47. Gladiator (2000)
Screenplay by David Franzoni and John Logan and William Nicholson, Story by David Franzoni

48. The Incredibles (2004)
Written by Brad Bird

49. Knives Out (2019)
Written by Rian Johnson

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

56. Moneyball (2011)
Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Story by Stan Chervin, Based on the Book by
Michael Lewis

57. Black Panther (2018)
Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole, Based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee and
Jack Kirby

58. You Can Count on Me (2000)
Written by Kenneth Lonergan

59. Boyhood (2014)
Written by Richard Linklater

60. Finding Nemo (2003)
Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, David Reynolds, Original Story by Andrew

61. The Hurt Locker (2009)
Written by Mark Boal

62. Roma (2018)
Written by Alfonso Cuarón

63. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Screenplay by Terence Winter, Based on the Book by Jordan Belfort

64. Hell or High Water (2016)
Written by Taylor Sheridan

65. Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Written by Kenneth Lonergan

66. A Separation (2011)
Written by Asghar Farhadi
Sony Pictures Classics

67. Spirited Away (2001)
Written by Hayao Miyazaki

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

71. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, Story by Phil Lord, Based on the Marvel Comics

72. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
CBS Films

73. The King’s Speech (2010)
Screenplay by David Seidler

74. Django Unchained (2012)
Written by Quentin Tarantino

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

78. Erin Brockovich (2000)
Written by Susannah Grant

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

82. The Prestige (2006)
Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, Based on the Novel by Christopher
Touchstone/Warner Bros.

83. Midnight in Paris (2011)
Written by Woody Allen
Sony Pictures Classics

84. The Master (2012)
Written by Paul Thomas Anderson

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

87. Phantom Thread (2017)
Written by Paul Thomas Anderson
Focus Features

88. Superbad (2007)
Written by Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg

89. Little Women (2019)
Screenplay by Greta Gerwig, Based on the Novel by Louisa May Alcott

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

92. La La Land (2016)
Written by Damien Chazelle

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

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

96. Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
Written by Nancy Oliver

97. Nomadland (2020)
Written for the Screen by Chloe Zhao, Based on the Book by Jessica Bruder

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

101. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Screenplay by David O. Russell, Based on the Novel by Matthew Quick

Tom Tapp contributed to this report.

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