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5 Screenplays to learn from

You could have a great idea for a story and a talented star cast, however, if your screenplay is weak, then there is no salvaging the movie. The purpose of a screenplay is to help a filmmaker cinematically visualise the film with all the cues in place.

Here is our list of five great screenplays across genres that any aspiring screenwriter must read:


1 – Taxi Driver:

Martin Scorsese’s 1976 film is one that does become outdated or irrelevant even in today’s time. It captures the human apathy of alienation, loneliness, haplessness and anger. The protagonist, Travis Bickle (played by Robert DeNiro), is a veteran and returns from the tormenting Vietnam War, now struggling with his demons. He grows obsessed with “rescuing” women who may not, in fact, want to be rescued. The film showcases this man’s need to connect and how every time he reaches out, it goes wrong.


#2 – Pulp Fiction:

Directed by Quentin Tarantino is a defining crime film, considered the masterpiece of his works. The film begins with a diner hold-up staged by a couple, then moves to the stories of Vincent, Jules, and Butch. It finally returns to where it began, in the diner. While the screenplay writing of Pulp Fiction defines convention that a work should tell only one story or stick to classical dramatic structures. It is a multi-layered film with circular narrative that tells the story of two criminals (Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield played by John Travolta & Samuel L Jackson) and their boss Butch Coolidge, set in L.A. These three inter-related stories have a few elements that overlap and each of individual story that unravels has a beginning and an end.


#3 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:

That he tries to hide away in the dark crevices of his mind. is essentially a romantic comedy that uses fantasy elements to create a situation that illuminates something important about the human condition. Directed by Kaufman & Gondry, the movie revolves around a falling out couple (Joel & Clementine played by Jim Carrey & Kate Winslet) who decide to erase the memory of their bad relationship entirely. While the idea of memory erasing sounds novel, the story is told out of sequence, jumping around in time, and large parts of the film take place entirely in the mind of its protagonist Joel Barish (Carrey) as his memories are being erased. During the process, Joel wants to abort the procedure but he can’t, so we see the movie unravel through his memories of them together


#4 – Lagaan:

Ashutosh Gowariker’s Oscar nominated drama, explores the theme of patriotism and humanity through the lens of colonialism and sports. The movie sets up a huge challenge where the struggling farmers of famine-stricken Kutch are called on to a cricket play-off with the British commander’s team in order to bring down the taxes levied on their crop. This is handsomely paid off in the climax. It shows how Bhuvan (played by Aamir Khan) bringing together reluctant farmer to form a cricket team and how they encourage each other to learn the game. With many formulaic moments, the movie still manages to keep the suspense.


#5 – Udaan:

Vikramditya Motwane’s debut film is an impressive coming of age film, a genre rarely explored in Indian cinema. ‘Udaan’ tells the tale of a troubled relationship between father and son, where the conflict rises from their differences in lives and aspirations. The movie brings to the fore raw and energy and emotion of human aspirations and struggles of people living in the smaller towns of India. The movie begins with Rohan, the protagonist, an aspiring writer who us expelled from his boarding school and is forced to return home to live with his disciplinarian father who routinely beats him and his step-brother, who pre-decided the career path for his sons. The film shows the struggles of young adult to free himself from the shackles of conformity to pursue his dreams.

Learn more about developing a story into screenplay and understand the nuances that make for a memorable film with our curated courses at Virtual Academy, by clicking here.



Taxi Driver


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind