Undefended: The Top Five Screenwriters Working Today

Undefended is posted every Friday. All FilmFisher writers are given a prompt and respond with a list of five items, none of which are explained or rationalized. This week…

The top five screenwriters working today?

James Banks

1. David Webb Peoples

2. William Goldman

3. Vince Gilligan

4. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

5. Michael Mann


Kanaan Trotter

1. Coen Bros

2. Alfonso Cuaron

3. Terrance Malick

4. Paul T. Anderson

5. Wes Anderson


Christian Leithart

1. Coen Bros

2. Ed Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost

3. Peter Morgan

4. PT Anderson

5. Shane Black


Joseph Gross

1. Charlie Kaufman

2. Joss Whedon

3. The Coen Bros.

4. Vince Gilligan

5. Steven Moffat


Jon Paul Pope

1. Paul Thomas Anderson

2. The Coen Bros.

3. Charlie Kaufman

4. Wes Anderson

5. Lars Von Trier


Joshua Gibbs

1. Paul Thomas Anderson

2. The Coen Brothers

3. Charlie Kaufman

4. Noah Baumbach/Whit Stillman (tie)

5. John Patrick Shanley


Sean Johnson

1. Wes Anderson

2. Paul Thomas Anderson

3. Brad Bird

4. Coen Bros.

5. Matthew Weiner


Joshua Stevenson

1. Charlie Kaufman

2. The Coen Brothers

3. Andrew Bujalski

4. Brad Bird

5. Dan Harmon


Remy Wilkins

1. Paul Thomas Anderson

2. Mike Leigh

3. Charlie Kaufman

4. Woody Allen

5. Sofia Coppola


Justin Spencer

1. Terrence Malick

2. Wes Anderson

3. P.T. Anderson

4. Alfonso Cuaron

5. Mike Leigh


Thomas Banks

1.Ben Hecht

2.Billy Wilder/I.A.L. Diamond

3.Joseph Mankiewicz

4.John Huston

5.Coen bros.

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches great books, collects records and jogs to work. He and his wife have two children, both of whom have seven names. He tweets at @joshgibbs and blogs for the CiRCE Institute.

4 Responses to Undefended: The Top Five Screenwriters Working Today

  1. I realized that I misread the topic as “best screenwriters of all time,”
    Hence all the dead guys on my list.

    • Tom, I prefer to think, at heart, you’re a sentimentalist and that you can’t accept the fact that Billy Wilder is dead. That’s what I prefer to think.

  2. The tally seems to be

    Coen Bros : 8
    Paul Thomas Anderson : 7
    Charlie Kaufman : 5
    Wes Anderson : 4
    Bird/Cuaron/Malick : 2

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