Famous American Screenplay Writers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite American Screenplay Writers

 1 Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes.
4
Famous As: Television Producer
Birthdate: January 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago

Shonda Rhimes is a screenwriter, author, and television producer. She is credited with creating, writing, and executive producing one of the most popular American medical drama TV series ever, Grey's Anatomy. She is also credited with creating series like Private Practice and Scandal. In 2007, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 People Who Help Shape the World.

 2 Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola.
4
Famous As: FilmMaker
Birthdate: April 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Francis Ford Coppola is an American filmmaker. Widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers ever, Francis Ford Coppola was a prominent figure in the Hollywood Renaissance filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A much revered and celebrated filmmaker, he is credited with directing some of the greatest films of all time, including The Godfather movie series.

 3 David Arquette

David Arquette.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 8, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bentonville, Virginia, United States

Born into the illustrious Arquette family, David Arquette is a multitalented personality. As an actor, he grabbed limelight with the Scream film series and other films like Never Been Kissed, Bone Tomahawk and the web series Cleaners. Apart from acting, he has also ventured into direction, production and screen writing. Arquette has also won WCW World Heavyweight Championship’ title in 2000.

 4 Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton.
4
Famous As: Author, Screenwriter, Film Director
Birthdate: October 23, 1942
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: November 4, 2008

Michael Crichton was an American filmmaker and author. He wrote several science-fiction books, which have sold more than 200 million copies. Many of his books, such as The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Congo, Rising Sun, and Disclosure, have been adapted into highly successful films. He is also credited with creating the popular medical drama TV series, ER.

 5 Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach.
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: September 3, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Noah Baumbach is an American filmmaker and screenwriter. One of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers of his generation, Noah Baumbach has received Academy Award nominations for films, such as Marriage Story and The Squid and the Whale. His style of filmmaking is cited as an influence by many aspiring filmmakers.

 6 Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waukegan, Illinois, United States
Died: June 5, 2012
Ray Bradbury is best remembered for his writings in the science-fiction, mystery, and horror genres, the most notable being the short story anthology Martian Chronicles and the novel Fahrenheit 451. He also contributed to the screenplays of various series and films, and won an Emmy for writing The Halloween Tree.

 7 Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone.
4
Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Producer
Birthdate: September 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Oliver Stone is a filmmaker best known for his trilogy of war films, which he made based on his own experience in the Vietnam War, where he served as an infantry soldier. Known for making controversial films based on political issues, he is often criticized for misrepresenting real-world events and promoting conspiracy theories in his films.

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 8 Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 3, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: West Point, New York, United States
Died: July 31, 2012

Gore Vidal was an American intellectual and writer. He served as a major inspiration to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as he was openly bisexual and often incorporated LGBT characters in his novels, which was very unusual at the time. He was also known for his debates with William F. Buckley Jr., which inspired the 2015 documentary film Best of Enemies.

 9 Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry.
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: El Paso
Died: October 24, 1991
TV writer and producer Gene Roddenberry, who created the original Star Trek series of the 1960s, also produced its spin-offs. He was the first TV writer to have a Hollywood Walk of Fame star and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. His ashes were flown into space.

 10 Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron.
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Producer, Director
Birthdate: May 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron was an American writer, filmmaker, and journalist. She is known for writing films like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally... The Nora Ephron Prize was created by the Tribeca Film Festival in her memory. Her life and work inspired the 2016 documentary film Everything Is Copy, which was directed by her son Jacob Bernstein.

 11 Chuck Lorre

Chuck Lorre.
4
Famous As: Writer, Television Producer, Director
Birthdate: October 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bethpage, New York

Chuck Lorre is an American actor, composer, and television director. Referred to as the King of Sitcoms throughout the 2010s, Lorre is credited with creating popular sitcoms, such as The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Dharma & Greg, The Kominsky Method, and Young Sheldon.

 12 Max Landis

Max Landis
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film actor, Film director
Birthdate: August 3, 1985
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beverly Hills

 13 Neil Simon

Neil Simon.
3
Famous As: Playwright & Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York
Died: August 26, 2018

 14 Charlie Kaufman

Charlie Kaufman.
4
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 19, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

Charlie Kaufman is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and novelist. One of the most decorated screenwriters of his generation, Kaufman has won several prestigious awards, such as the Academy Award, BAFTA Awards, and Writers Guild of America award. Three of his scripts feature in the 101 greatest movie screenplays list published by the Writers Guild of America.

 15 Amy Sherman-Palladino

Amy Sherman-Palladino.
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: January 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, United States
Amy Sherman-Palladino created many popular comedy-drama series, such as Gilmore Girls, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Bunheads. The six-time Primetime Emmy-winning director became the first female won win the Emmy for direction and comedy writing. She owns a production house and is known for her signature master-shot style.

 16 Donald P. Bellisario

Donald P. Bellisario
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Television producer, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: August 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington County

 17 Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon.
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Director & Producer
Birthdate: June 23, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City
Joss Whedon is best known for creating the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. He has directed the Marvel film The Avengers and its sequel. He co-wrote Justice League and Toy Story. He has also created various comic book series, such as Astonishing X-Men, and owns two production houses.

 18 David Mamet

David Mamet.
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: November 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Author, screenwriter, and playwright David Mamet is best known for his Pulitzer-winning and Tony-nominated play Glengarry Glen Ross. He has written for many Broadway and off-Broadway plays and also for films such as House of Games. He has produced and written for the show The Unit and authored several books.

 19 Leslie Jones

Leslie Jones
4
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: September 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

 20 David Ayer

David Ayer
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer, Actor
Birthdate: January 18, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Champaign

 21 Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino.
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Famous As: Fimmaker
Birthdate: March 27, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Popular film director, screenwriter, and producer, Quentin Tarantino, first rose to fame as an independent filmmaker in the early 1990s. His films are known for their nonlinear story-lines and neo-noir elements and have garnered both critical and commercial success. He is the winner of two Academy Awards and has been called "the single most influential director of his generation."

 22 Shane Van Dyke

Shane Van Dyke
3
Famous As: Actor, Screenwriter, Film director, Television actor
Birthdate: August 28, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 23 Adam McKay

Adam McKay.
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: April 17, 1968
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Adam McKay began as the chief writer of Saturday Night Live. The Academy Award-winning screenwriter later co-founded the Upright Citizens Brigade and directed the Anchorman films. Along with Will Ferrell, he co-wrote several films and series and founded the site Funny or Die. He has also hosted a science podcast.

 24 Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison.
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 27, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cleveland

 25 John Krasinski

John Krasinski.
2
Famous As: Actor, Director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 20, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
The charming actor John Krasinski is best recognised for playing Jim Halpert in the famous American television show, The Office. Apart from working in numerous other film and television projects as well as commercials, John Krasinski further cemented his position in the entertainment world by branching out into writing, producing and directing movies like The Promised Land and The Hollars.

 26 Dalton Trumbo

Dalton Trumbo.
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist
Birthdate: December 9, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Montrose, Colorado, United States
Died: September 10, 1976
Screenwriter/author Dalton Trumbo had written many popular films such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus. He was one of the Hollywood Ten and was blacklisted by the industry for refusing to testify before the HUAC during the investigation on Communist influences in Hollywood. He later continued to write, using pseudonyms.

 27 Emilio Estevez

Emilio Estevez.
0
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 12, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, United States

Emilio Estevez is known for acting in movies like The Mighty Ducks, The Breakfast Club and Repo Man as well as Bobby and The Public, the last two of which he also wrote and directed. One of the members of 1980s Brat Pack group of actors, he has also directed television shows like CSI: NY and appeared in music videos.

 28 Douglas Fairbanks

Douglas Fairbanks
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
Died: December 12, 1939

 29 Nick Castle

Nick Castle
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, Film actor
Birthdate: September 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 30 Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler.
3
Famous As: Novelist and Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 23, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: March 26, 1959

 31 Nat Faxon

Nat Faxon.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 11, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Nathaniel Faxon is best known for his Academy Award-winning screenplay of The Descendants. He appeared as Ben Fox in the series Ben and Kate and as Russ in Married. He has also lent his voice to many projects, such as Disenchantment and co-directed films such as The Way, Way Back.

 32 Peter Marc Jacobson

Peter Marc Jacobson
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Television actor, Film actor, Film director, Actor
Birthdate: October 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City

 33 Shane Black

Shane Black
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Actor
Birthdate: December 16, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

 34 Greg Berlanti

Greg Berlanti
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer, Television director
Birthdate: May 24, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rye (city), New York

 35 James L. Brooks

James L. Brooks
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer, Film director, Writer
Birthdate: May 9, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 36 David Baldacci

David Baldacci
3
Famous As: Writer, Screenwriter, Lawyer, Novelist, Author
Birthdate: August 5, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, U.S.

 37 Wyatt Cooper

Wyatt Cooper.
3
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 1, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Quitman, Mississippi, United States
Died: January 5, 1978

Wyatt Cooper was an American author, actor, and screenwriter. He is remembered for his marriage with socialite Gloria Vanderbilt—a union that produced Anderson Cooper, a popular television journalist. While being married to Gloria Vanderbilt, Wyatt Cooper often made public appearances and enjoyed hogging the limelight.

 38 S. E. Hinton

S. E. Hinton
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 22, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

 39 Dan Gilroy

Dan Gilroy
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director
Birthdate: June 24, 1959
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Santa Monica

 40 Simon Kinberg

Simon Kinberg
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film producer
Birthdate: August 2, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

 41 Akiva Schaffer

Akiva Schaffer
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film editor, Songwriter, Writer, Television actor
Birthdate: December 1, 1977
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berkeley

 42 Sean Bridgers

Sean Bridgers.
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 15, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

 43 Elaine May

Elaine May
3
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: April 21, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

 44 Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Producer, Director, Dancer, Writer, Journalist
Birthdate: June 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lemont, Illinois, United States

 45 Herman J. Mankiewicz

Herman J. Mankiewicz.
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 7, 1897
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: March 5, 1953
Herman J. Mankiewicz is remembered for co-writing the screenplay for the film Citizen Kane. He had also worked for the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. He came to be known for his signature witty humor, known as "Mankiewicz humor” and inspired the 2020 Netflix biopic Mank

 46 David Chase

David Chase
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: August 22, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mount Vernon

 47 Jenji Kohan

Jenji Kohan
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Television producer
Birthdate: July 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City

 48 Joe Ranft

Joe Ranft.
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: March 13, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pasadena, California
Died: August 16, 2005

 49 Alex Kurtzman

Alex Kurtzman
3
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer
Birthdate: September 7, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 50 Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal

Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
3
Famous As: screenwriter, film producer
Birthdate: March 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City