Quinn Steers of WhatCulture recently put together a list of the five greatest screenwriters of all time. His picks are:
5. Ingmar Bergman
4. Stanley Kubrick
3. Paul Thomas Anderson
2. Billy Wilder
1. Woody Allen
Steers says of Allen,
Billy Wilder is second to Woody Allen for the most Oscar nominations for screenwriting. In terms of success Allen is the most successful writer of movies and in my mind, the absolute best. His great contributions are Annie Hall, Manhattan, Midnight In Paris and Sleeper, all of them marked by great influences and great comedy and characters. Allen has the rare gift of having a mixture of talent and endurance. He has made a film a year for over forty years – give a take a year or two as exceptions – and he has, as Martin Scorsese said, “so much to say”. That’s a good thing.
His films explore love, death, time travel, politics and more, all fused together by an identifiable comedy-style. For Allen the most important thing is not music or cinematography, it’s the dialogue. His best films are those he acts in himself but by far the greatest is Midnight In Paris, about a writer who can go back in time in Paris and hang out with Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Zelda. Allen has the rare gift of being supremely funny whilst also knowing what makes people tick, a writer/director like no other. He is a one of a kind but is also one of the filmmakers with a great talent for writing; scripts and prose.