6 Places to Read + Study Movie Scripts for Free

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If you want to learn how to write screenplays, there’s no better way to start than by reading screenplays. Seeing how a professional scribe brings pathos to the page is an invaluable step toward mastering the art form yourself. Want to make a horror film? Check out Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” script to determine how he builds suspense with the fewest words possible. Dreaming of being a comedy creator? Download Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig’s “Bridesmaids” screenplay to discover how comedic timing translates to text. 

Luckily, the internet has made the search for screenplays and scripts much easier. Here are six go-to resources.

Where to read movie scripts

Internet Movie Script Database: IMSDb has a deep catalog of screenplays—and we mean deep. (The site boasts of being “the biggest collection of movie scripts available anywhere on the web.”) Along with a simple-to-use homepage, IMSDb breaks down scripts by genre and/or alphabetical order—whichever is easiest for you to browse. Each script comes with cast and crew information, as well as trivia, for anyone looking to go further down the rabbit hole. 

Simply Scripts: This all-in-one resource houses thousands of scripts across multiple hosting sites. Instead of having to scour the internet, Simply Scripts does it for you. The website is helpful for looking beyond basic options, too. It has scripts for film and TV, but also radio, plays, and unproduced treatments. You can read, for example, the 1966 outline for a proposed “Batman Meets Godzilla” movie by William Dozier, creator of the “Batman” TV series. 

Drew’s Script-O-Rama: Launched in 1995, Drew’s Script-O-Rama is the OG place to find screenplays online. And here’s an added bonus for the true script scholars: Many of the entries have multiple drafts. You can read, for example, both an “early draft” (1976) and “revised final draft” (1978) of Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett’s screenplay for the 1979 horror film “Alien,” directed by Ridley Scott. Seeing how a story changes through the drafting process is incredibly valuable for new writers.

The Script Lab: The Script Lab’s biggest advantage is its selection of more recently produced screenplays. While the site does have some classics on hand, you’ll be able to download scripts for films like these 2024 Oscar winners: “Oppenheimer,” “Poor Things,” and “American Fiction”—which won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay. 

The Daily Script: In addition to the wide collection of film and television scripts across various genres at your disposal, you’ll notice this site uses Courier New as its font. That might seem like a tiny detail, but that’s the font for screenplays. Every bit of immersion helps. 

StudioBinder: This resource offers a solid and diverse collection, but the real value is in the entries that offer a separate “Script Analysis” section. These break down the screenplay’s story structure, which is great knowledge to have as you go on to read more and more scripts. 

Whenever you download or read a screenplay online, double check that it’s an actual example. Many sites offer a transcript, which is a reproduction of the film’s dialogue. This is wildly different from what a script looks like and won’t be of any real use to you as an educational tool. 

Also, consider which version you want to read. Tracking down multiple drafts of the same story is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the process—both creatively and in a business sense. For instance, Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming sci-fi family film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” written by Melissa Mathisonn, began as an alien invasion horror feature titled “Night Skies,” written by John Sayles. Writing is rewriting; you’ll learn almost as much from the changes as what’s still on the page. 

Finally, make time to read scripts for so-called bad movies. Sometimes, an amazing screenplay turns into a disaster due to poor execution. Other times, the story is simply riddled with pitfalls from the start. Either way, learning what not to do is as valuable as perusing the classics.