10 Classic Film Scripts to Boost Your Dialogue Writing
10 CLASSIC FILM
SCRIPTS TO BOOST
BROUGHT TO YOU BY…
#1: GOOD FELLAS
“Do I amuse you?”
Not only does Goodfellas serve as one of the prime examples of voiceover
done right, but it also is PACKED with realistic dialogue all screenwriters
should AIM to emulate. Scorsese reportedly gave the actors full reign to
work through much of the dialogue in rehearsals, prioritizing the
achievement of authentic conversations.
#2: ANNIE HALL
“I guess we need the eggs.”
Arguably Woody Allen's best and a groundbreaking film in the rom-com
genre, Annie Hall is wrought with deeply complex and unique characters
and snappy dialogue to boot. What Allen TEACHES aspiring screenwriters
is the skill of WRITING dialogue that is both true to the writer's style,
while also enhancing the complexity of each character.
“Will you still think I’m cute if I’m huge?”
What Diablo Cody ACHIEVES with Juno is witty, smart teenage dialogue
in a world where teen stories are often PLAGUED with stereotypes and
clichés. Juno is her own person, with her own pizazz, and Cody makes her
leading lady smart enough to GAIN the respect and attention from viewers
that she deserves all while discussing the serious topic of teen pregnancy in
a lighthearted way.
#4: JERRY MAGUIRE
“You had me at ‘Hello.’”
What makes Jerry Maguire one of the most quotable movies in history
with CLASSICS like, "Show me the money!" and "You complete me"? Easy,
Cameron Crowe's dialogue. A quotable movie is a memorable movie, and
Crowe's dialogue PROVIDES a much-needed lesson in subtext in a
business where "on the nose" dialogue too often plagues the screen.
#5: BEFORE SUNSET
“Baby, you are gonna miss that plane.”
Linklater's Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight series are
true dialogue-heavy films. The story almost solely RELIES on talking, and
the screenwriters are able to not only make their conversations interesting,
but also ENTICING. It's a movie as close to a novel as they get and proves
that action can take a back burner to quality dialog when it's done
correctly, and be just as fascinating.
#6: RAIN MAN
“I’m an excellent driver.”
This surprise hit won the hearts of viewers due to the expertly CRAFTED
back-and-forth between two "new" brothers. Addictingly quotable, with
fleshed-out characters, Rain Main SERVES as a model Road Trip movie,
with smart, heartfelt dialogue that PAVED the way for outstanding
performances from its stars, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.
#7: ERIN BROCKOVICH
“They’re called boobs, Ed.”
Erin Brockovich not only WON Julia Roberts an Oscar, but the film was
also nominated for best Original Screenplay the year it came out. The film
EMPLOYS many dialogue techniques to convey authentic human
conversation. This includes repetition, interruption, avoidance, and
exaggeration, among other things, to convey Erin's volatile
#8: PULP FICTION
“This is a tasty burger.”
It's true, Pulp Fiction doesn't follow the traditional screenwriting
conventions, and as a model, it certainly isn't by the book. Still, Pulp
Fiction is an excellent example of realistic dialogue. But don't try to
WRITE like Tarantino, instead find your own style. Much of Tarantino's
skill is at making untraditional dialogue sound as if it's exactly how people
#9: MATCH POINT
“Men always seem to wonder.”
Allen's Hitchcockian thriller makes the list purely for its mastery of the
grey line. Allen CRAFTS his characters so carefully that he makes killers so
sympathetic that you find yourself ROOTING for them to get away with the
crime and this is, in large part, due to the clever dialogue.
#10: DEAD POET’S SOCIETY
“I sound my barbaric yawp…”
Yes, this film has its flaws, but it's a classic because of its dialogue. John
Keating's CARPIE DIEM speech is the first thing that comes to mind when
you hear this film's title and it has many quotable lines. Cheesy? Maybe a
little, but as far as quality dialogue interspersed with inspirational
speeches--this film has it down.
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“Sometimes not speaking says more than all the
words in the world.” –Colleen Hoover