100 Movie Quotes Written By Nobody

The LA Times ran an AP article today about this week’s telecast of AFI’s List of 100 Greatest Movie Quotes. Guess who the article completely failed to mention. In my capacity as curator of the Screenwriting Museum Project, its my job to suit up and tilt at these windmills, so I did something I’ve never done before: I wrote a letter to the editor. (full text after the jump)

Here’s what I wrote:

Itís been a heck of a month for the oft-ignored screenwriter. First, the Deep Throat story broke, with nary a mention that the signature phrase of that period – ìFollow The Moneyî – did not belong to W. Mark Felt, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, or Hal Holbrook, but was the invention of screenwriter William Goldman. Now we have AFIís List of 100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes. Your article about this program fails to include a single mention that these lines were created by screenwriters, and did not emerge whole-cloth from the imagination of the actors or the ìauteurî inspirations of the directors. Iím sure Budd Schulberg, Howard Koch, the Epstein Brothers, and the rest of the luminaries responsible for these great lines are used to being snubbed. I, however, am disappointed that Hollywoodís hometown paper is continuing this unfortunate trend.

Jay Bushman
Curator, Screenwriting Museum Project

Anyone want to lay odds on whether they’ll print it?

8 thoughts on “100 Movie Quotes Written By Nobody”

  1. Did they actually try to attribute the lines to the directors or actors? Not that I saw, they mostly spoke about the character saying the line.

  2. They didn’t explicity try to credit the actors or directors. But ignoring the screenwriters perpetuates that idea.

    I didn’t see the program, and AFI has a little parapgraph about the writers at the bottom of their webpage, but my beef is with the Times and the AP for writing a whole article about great dialogue and omitting the people who created the damn things.

  3. I watched a bit of the related program on CBS last night. It was formatted much the same as VH1’s “I Love The __’s” shows with celebs and such waxing nostalgic over the significance of whatever line. Funniest moment was designer Donna Karan ecstaticaly proclaiming that the line “La Dee Da, La Dee Da” uttered by Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall” (and written by Woody Allen) “freed women!” Whatever you say DK.

  4. I looked over the AFI page and it doesn’t list the writers either, unless it’s only on the PDF version. It goes on to mention the actors (how many times Humphrey Bogart was on the list) and at the very end the writers.

    Anyway, I think the more important thing to ask is why the line, “These are not the droids you’re looking for” isn’t on the list.

  5. Cybele, that was not the quotable line you were looking for. You should go about your business. Move along. Move along.

  6. They did mention and praise writers more than once during the show. However, they didn’t try to mention the screenwriters by name for each quote.

    It may be interesting to note that #28, “I’m walking here! I’m walking here!” was actually improvised when a car that was being held during the shot drove through anyway.

    :) Movies rock.

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