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WGA Touts 'Casablanca' as Greatest Script

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"Casablanca" has topped the list of "101 Greatest Screenplays," a first-ever ranking by members of the WGA that was revealed Thursday night at a reception in Beverly Hills.

The screenplay for "Casablanca," by Julius Epstein, Philip Epstein and Howard Koch, was followed in order by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather," Robert Towne's "Chinatown," Herman Mankiewicz and Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane" and Joseph Mankiewicz's "All About Eve."

"This list and the films on it are meant to be scrutinized and criticized, dissected and collected, viewed and reviewed," WGA West president Patric Verrone said. "They are the literature of our industry and the legacy of our union."

Added WGA East president Chris Albers: "It's difficult to think of American life without the films on this list. Just reading the titles reminds us of the fantastic journeys they have provided."

The results, sponsored by the unions and Premiere magazine, were revealed at a gala tribute at the Writers Guild Theater.

Members nominated more than 1,400 screenplays. Any produced screenplay was eligible regardless of era or language.

Rounding out the top 10 are Woody Allen and Marshall Brickman's "Annie Hall," Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman Jr.'s "Sunset Blvd.," Paddy Chayefsky's "Network," Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's "Some Like It Hot" and Coppola and Puzo's "The Godfather Part II."

Three writers -- Allen, Coppola and Wilder -- had four films on the list, while three others had three: William Goldman, John Huston and Charlie Kaufman.

Forty-five were original scripts, while 56 were adaptations; the list also was heavy on dramas (60) as opposed to comedies (26) and comedy/dramas (15).

Full credits and the complete list can be found Friday at www.wga.org.


Jesse Hiestand writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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