WGA picks top screenplays of all time

BY Matthew Van Atta

April 07 2006 11:00 PM ET

Casablanca has topped the list of "101 Greatest
Screenplays," a first-ever ranking by members of the Writers
Guild of America that was revealed Thursday night at a
reception in Beverly Hills. The screenplay for
Casablanca, by Julius Epstein, Philip Epstein,
and Howard Koch, was followed, in order, by Mario Puzo
and Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, Robert
Towne's Chinatown, Herman Mankiewicz and Orson
Welles's Citizen Kane, and Joseph Mankiewicz's
All About Eve.

"This list and
the films on it are meant to be scrutinized and
criticized, dissected and collected, viewed and reviewed,"
WGA West president Patric Verrone said. "They are the
literature of our industry and the legacy of our
union." Added WGA East president Chris Albers: "It's
difficult to think of American life without the films
on this list. Just reading the titles reminds us of the
fantastic journeys they have provided."

The results,
sponsored by the unions and Premiere magazine, were
revealed at a gala tribute at the Writers Guild
Theater. Members nominated more than 1,400
screenplays. Any produced screenplay was eligible regardless
of era or language.

Rounding out the
top 10 are Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman's Annie
Hall
, Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and D.M.
Marshman Jr.'s Sunset Blvd., Paddy Chayefsky's
Network, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's
Some Like It Hot, and Coppola and Puzo's
The Godfather Part II. Three
writers—Allen, Coppola, and Wilder—had four
films on the list, while three others had three:
William Goldman, John Huston, and Charlie Kaufman.

All About Eve and Some Like It Hot have long
been favorites among gay viewers, and chart-topper
Casablanca was recently featured in
Advocate arts and entertainment editor Alonso
Duralde's book 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men.
"The real love story going on here," wrote Duralde,
"is between big, bad, butch Rick and the
obviously-besotted Captain Renault, who does everything but
giggle and blush when he's in his beloved's presence."

Forty-five were
original scripts, while 56 were adaptations; the list
also was heavy on dramas (60) as opposed to comedies (26)
and comedy-dramas (15). Full credits and the complete
list can be found at www.WGA.org. (Jesse Hiestand, Reuters;
additional reporting from The Advocate)

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