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Monday December 6, 2021

Announcing WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far)

Get Out Tops List – Followed by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Social Network, Parasite, and No Country for Old Men

New York and Los Angeles – Writers Guilds of America, East and West have announced the list of WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far), as voted by the Guilds’ members, honoring outstanding screenwriting over the last two decades.

From horror films and sci-fi – Get Out (#1, Written by Jordan Peele), Arrival ( #27, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer) – to superhero blockbusters – Black Panther (#57, Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole) – and comedic thrillers – Promising Young Woman (#23, Written by Emerald Fennell), 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.

“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. Plus, it’s a great conversation (and argument) starter,” said Aaron Mendelsohn, chair of WGAW’s Publicity & Marketing Committee, which conceived the Guilds’ latest 101 list.

  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 Sinclair
    Paramount 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, Batman Created 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 Stanton
  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 Priest
    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

This contemporary list, spanning the last two decades, honors outstanding screenwriting for films that were theatrically released or premiered on television or a streaming platform in the U.S. from 2000 to present.

The first two decades of this millennium have witnessed an unprecedented revolution in the way audiences watch films on a variety of platforms, as a wider range of writers have found increased opportunities to tell more diverse, inclusive stories than ever before. These films share one thing in common: They all began with writers.

Films were eligible if they were exhibited theatrically or premiered on television or a streaming platform in the U.S. from 2000 to present; live-action, animation, silent, and documentary and non-English language features were all eligible. Short (under 60 minutes in length), miniseries or limited series, and films that do not feature on-screen writing credits were not eligible for consideration. Coverage under a WGA collective bargaining agreement was not required.

To read more please visit here.

WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far) joins 101 Greatest Screenplays (2006), 101 Best Written TV Series (2013), and 101 Funniest Screenplays (2015)  as projects of WGAW’s Publicity & Marketing Committee, whose members include Aaron Mendelsohn (Chair); W. Bruce Cameron, Michael Conley, Diane Driscoll, Brian Gary, Gary Goldstein, Deric Hughes, Margaret Howell, John Lopez, Felischa Marye, Ken Pisani, Michael Walker, and Susan Walter.

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, new media, and broadcast news.  The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, West, visit  For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit


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