E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – Melissa Mathison
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), directed by Steven Spielberg was written by Melissa Mathison, an American film and television screenwriter. E.T. has actually been my favourite film for as long as I can remember, and a rubberised figure of him sits on my desk to this day. No matter how many times I watch the film, I’m always moved by it, and it’s probably the film that sparked my interest in 1980s film. Fun fact, Melissa Mathison was also a storyline consultant on Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo (2008).
The Shape of Water (2017) – Vanessa Taylor
The Shape of Water (2017) was written by Vanessa Taylor alongside director Guillermo del Toro. When I first saw The Shape of Water at the cinema, I absolutely fell in love with it. So much so that I cried for a good half an hour after watching it, in which time I remained quite inconsolable to my boyfriend. I was so moved by The Shape of Water, it’s what made me want to study film. I wrote an application to study film for my master’s degree the next day in fact.
Edward Scissorhands (1990) – Caroline Thompson
The screenplay for Edward Scissorhands was written by Caroline Thompson, an American novelist, screenwriter, director, and producer. Edward Scissorhands is often accredited to being written by Tim Burton, but it is more so the case that the story was conceived by him. Thompson has collaborated with Tim Burton on a number of occasions, including on The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Edward Scissorhands is one of my all time favourite films, and Danny Elfman’s score is beautiful. Despite having watched this film so many times, I still find it enchanting.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Nicole Perlman
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (Vol. 1) was written by Nicole Perlman alongside director James Gunn. Out of all the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Guardians entries are definitely my favourite. I think the introduction of the Guardians into the MCU actually changed the trajectory of the films that would come after. One might even say that without Guardians of the Galaxy, I don’t think we would have had Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
Halloween (1978) – Debra Hill
Halloween (1978) was written by Debra Hill alongside director James Carpenter. The classic slasher’s screenplay was written in under a month and Hill asserts the plot was inspired by Celtic halloween traditions, such as Samhain. Halloween also stars the Scream Queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, who made waves in the male dominated horror genre.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – Betty Comden
Betty Comden co-wrote Singing’ in the Rain with Adolph Green, together forming a comedy duo. Although I don’t have much of a penchant for classic Hollywood, Singin’ in the Rain‘s meta cross-examination of Hollywood’s transition from silent film to the talkies sets itself aside from the rest. Furthermore, you can’t help but appreciate the calibre of talent from Gene Kelly, Debby Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Leigh Brackett
The Empire Strikes Back was written by Leigh Brackett, an American science-fiction writer. Brackett was dubbed the “Queen of Space Opera”, wrote other films such as The Big Sleep (1946), Rio Bravo (1959), and The Long Goodbye (1973). The reason I’ve included Episode V as an honourable mention, is because although she is credited for screenwriting the film, Brackett was never a part of the final film because she passed away before the release. Despite this, Brackett’s abandoned screenplay for Episode V was published in February 2016, and the key plot points remain consistent in the draft and the final film.
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