The Top 10 Well-Written Movies Ranked

Do you enjoy movies with incredible writing? You've got company. Recently a film student asked, “In your opinion, what are the most well-written movies? I want to study them and improve my screenwriting.” The internet responded to deliver this list of some of the most excellent movie scripts of all time.

10. Back to the Future (1985)

back-to-the-future
Image Credit: Universal Studios

Tie-dyed_dolphin stated, “Back to the Future was taught in film school as a perfect script at one point.” Many users agreed that the writing was excellent. However, some noted they disagreed because the mom kissing Marty is part of the plot.

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9. The Others (2001)

the others
Image Credit: Dimension Films

EfraimWinslow agreed, “The Others is excellent. In my opinion, Nicole Kidman's performance is one of the best leading roles in the past 20 years.” Several others either submitted or voted for The Others for phenomenal writing and acting by Nicole Kidman. 

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8. My Cousin Vinny (1992)

my-cousin-vinny-courtroom
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Browncoat93 stated, “My Cousin Vinny is a tight script, with some of the most quotable lines ever.” PugnaciousPangolin agreed, “My Cousin Vinny is a perfect comedy. Every scene is either relevant for a character arc or a storyline thread. Nothing is wasted, except me, at the end because I'm laughing so hard.”

7. The Field (1990)

the-field
Image Credit: Avenue Pictures

Yowser nominated “An old Irish Movie called The Field starring John Hurt and the great Richard Harris.” Another user said, “Omg, I can't believe The Field isn't on more lists.” Finally, Fenderboss added, “Not to gush too much about The Field, but it was one of those movies I never heard of and watched on a whim but have never forgotten. Excellent film!”

6. Chinatown (1974)

chinatown-jack-nicholson
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

WanWinterWasteland nominated “Chinatown by Roman Polanski.” Many others also chose Chinatown as a phenomenally well-written script. TheGaming_Goose stated, “I think Chinatown has one of the best screenplays ever written.”

5. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

two men crouching in prison
Image Credit: Castle Rock Ent

Browncoat93 shared, “The Shawshank Redemption was phenomenal.” Iwonna_ryder added, “Part of the reason Shawshank is so good is that the writing follows the book almost exactly.” 

Idkwhatnametouseok confessed, “It's been about ten years since I read the book, but I remember this being an interesting case where the movie is better. The plot and the dialogue are similar, but I recall many characters have different fates.”

3. The Fugitive (1993)

the fugitive
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Coreytiger stated, “I've watched The Fugitive looking for holes. And I haven't found any.” NCResident5 added, “Part of its strength is several of the plot elements come from the scripts from the 60s TV show that, in my opinion, is one of the best-written TV series. Especially seasons 1-3.”

3. Goodfellas (1990)

goodfellas
Image credit: Warner Bros.

After many users recommended Goodfellas, GorillazMD stated, “In all seriousness, Goodfellas is one of those films that you can watch repeatedly, and it remains entertaining.” Another user admitted to watching it for the fourth time last weekend, “It's that good!”

2. Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Casablanca received praise. TonyTheFTigerBoth said, “Casablanca is one I fell in love with recently after watching. I was hooked immediately and cannot recommend it enough.” Rec12yrs agreed, “Just saw it for the first time last weekend – Casablanca!”

1. The Godfather (1972)

man in suit
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures

Of course, The Godfather script tops this list, and The Godfather: Part II. Several people supported or submitted this answer. One user shared a story I Googled to verify and found several sources confirming its truth. 

Mario Puza admitted, “Yeah, I mean, it was a cinch because it was the first time I'd ever written a screenplay, so I didn't know what I was doing. You know, it's – and it came out right. And the story I tell is that after I had won two Academy Awards, you know, for the first two Godfathers.” 

He continued, “I went out and bought a book on screenwriting because I figured I'd better learn…You know, what it's about because it was sort of off the top of my head. And then the first chapter – the book said to study Godfather I. It's the model of a screenplay. So I was stuck with the book.”

One user joked, “So what happened with the Godfather 3?” Before another replied, “He read the book.” Giggles. Most everyone acknowledges that Godfather 3 is terrible, but the other two are legendary masterpieces. 

What do you think? Did Reddit deliver the best well-written scripts to top this list, or is something seriously missing? Check out the top 100 movies of all time.

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