Greatest Screenwriters

by absurdtrousers | created - 02 Feb 2015 | updated - 02 Feb 2015 | Public

The 15 greatest British and American screenwriters of the last 60 years

1. Dennis Potter

Writer | Gorky Park

Dennis Christopher George Potter was born 17 May 1935 in Berry Hill, a small village in the Forest of Dean, where his grandfather and father were coal miners. Through books, the young Potter found that "words were chariots". He attended school in London and spent two years in the Army. During his ...

2. Jack Rosenthal

Writer | The Lovers

Jack Rosenthal was born on September 8, 1931 in Manchester, Lancashire, England as Jack Morris Rosenthal. He was a writer and producer, known for The Lovers (1970), Screen One (1985) and Bye Bye Baby (2001). He was married to Maureen Lipman and Catherine Maxine Ward. He died on May 29, 2004 in ...

3. Rod Serling

Writer | The Twilight Zone

John Phillips is the name used by longtime television and film writer Rod Serling when he asked that his real name be removed as the writer of the pilot episode of the series "The New People" in 1969. While Serling's name remained as series developer, he was sufficiently annoyed with ABC- TV's ...

4. Nigel Kneale

Writer | Look Back in Anger

Nigel Kneale was born on April 18, 1922 in Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England as Thomas Nigel Kneale. He was a writer and actor, known for Look Back in Anger (1959), The Entertainer (1960) and Quatermass and the Pit (1967). He was married to Judith Kerr. He died on October 29, 2006 in London, ...

5. Paddy Chayefsky

Writer | Network

Author, producer and composer who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from CCNY, then a Purple Heart during World War II while serving in the US Army. Joining ASCAP in 1955, his chief musical collaborators included George Bassman and Harry Warren. His popular-song compositions include "Marty" and "...

6. Abby Mann

Writer | Judgment at Nuremberg

Abby Mann was born on December 1, 1927 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Abraham Goodman. He was a writer and producer, known for Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), Skag (1980) and Kojak (1973). He was married to Myra Mann. He died on March 25, 2008 in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA.

7. Budd Schulberg

Writer | On the Waterfront

Budd Schulberg was born on March 27, 1914 in New York City, New York, USA as Seymour Wilson Schulberg. He was a writer and producer, known for On the Waterfront (1954), Everglades (1961) and A Face in the Crowd (1957). He was married to Betsy Ann Langman, Geraldine Brooks, Agnes Victoria Anderson ...

8. Robert Towne

Writer | Chinatown

Writer, director, producer, actor. Born in Los Angeles, California, USA, and raised in the seaport town of San Pedro. Got his start acting and writing for legendary exploitation director/producer Roger Corman. Came into his own during the 1970s when he was regarded as one of the finest ...

9. Paul Schrader

Writer | First Reformed

Although his name is often linked to that of the "movie brat" generation (Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Brian De Palma, etc.) Paul Schrader's background couldn't have been more different than theirs. His strict Calvinist parents refused to allow him to see a...

10. Jack Pulman

Writer | Matchless

Jack Pulman was a prolific writer for British television, specializing in large-scale literary adaptations such as "War And Peace" and "I, Claudius", both of which were initially considered to be impossible to adapt for TV. Pulman's early death from a heart condition was considered a great loss; ...

11. David Mercer

Writer | Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment

David Mercer was born on June 27, 1928 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. He was a writer and actor, known for Morgan! (1966), Providence (1977) and Ninety Degrees in the Shade (1965). He died on August 8, 1980 in Haifa, Israel.

12. Charlie Kaufman

Writer | Synecdoche, New York

Avid reader Charlie Kaufman wrote plays and made short films as a young student. He moved from Massapequa, New York to West Hartford, Connecticut in 1972 where he attended high school. As a comedic actor, he performed in school plays and, after graduation, he enrolled at Boston University but soon ...

13. John Milius

Writer | Conan the Barbarian

John Milius is a screenwriter and director who came to prominence in the 1970s, when he was associated with Francis Ford Coppola and the pre-Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) George Lucas. Born on April 11, 1944 in St. Louis, Missouri, Milius was one of the first movie industry ...

14. Tony Marchant

Writer | Garrow's Law

Tony Marchant was born in 1959 in London, England. He is a writer and producer, known for Garrow's Law (2009), The Mark of Cain (2007) and Holding On (1997).

15. Troy Kennedy-Martin

Writer | The Italian Job

Troy Kennedy-Martin was born on February 15, 1932 in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland. He is known for his work on The Italian Job (1969), Red Heat (1988) and Kelly's Heroes (1970). He was married to Diane Aubrey. He died on September 15, 2009 in Ditchling, East Sussex, England.

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