If you want to write movie screenplays, you need to read movie screenplays – it’s just as essential as batting practice for professional baseball players. Reading in general is important, whether it’s novels, comics, or the backs of cereal boxes—even if you’re not paying attention, your brain is remembering hundreds if not thousands of subtle connections between language and storytelling.
Reading screenplays provides an added benefit—allowing you and your brain to see proper formatting in action. It’s also vital for aspiring screenwriters to see the difference between how scenes play out on the page and how they play out on the screen. Finally, while proper screenwriting adheres to a very rigid format, it’s extremely useful to see how various writers work within those rules and even use them to their advantage. Even if you know exactly what you’re seeing, your brain is actively learning and your subconscious is absorbing more and stronger information with every script you read.
By reading screenplay after screenplay, you will get a sense of how you can write your own.
Here, then, are ten websites that allow you to download professional movie scripts. Start clicking and start reading today—if not for your own sake, at least do it for your brain’s.
1. IMSDB – Internet Movie Screenplay Database
IMDB has proven a valuable resource for researching movie crews, casts, and trivia. IMSDB is just as useful for those looking for screenplays of all kinds and genres.
2. Go Into the Story
Go Into the Story is the official blog for The Blacklist, the screenwriting community famous for its annual top ten list of unproduced scripts. One useful feature of Go Into the Story is its bank of downloadable movie scripts.
3. Drew’s Script-o-Rama
The titular Drew has been sharing scripts with curious readers and writers for almost two decades now, and has a vast library from which to choose from. A great benefit of Script-O-Rama is that it holds several drafts of certain movies, an invaluable resource for those who want to see how a Hollywood film evolves in the writing process.
4. Simply Scripts
Simply Scripts has a wide, diverse library that also includes plays and non-English screenplays. It’s also constantly updated, providing scripts to current movies such as Interstellar and Foxcatcher.
AwesomeFilm is another resource with dozens of scripts you can download with a single click, alphabetized for easy searching. If you’re looking for a screenplay to read, this site is, well, awesome.
6. Screenplays For You
Screenplays For You is a clean, smooth website with hundreds of scripts. You’re more than likely to find something from the genre you need—its library boasts everything from low-key award-winning dramas like Sideways to action blockbusters like Avatar.
7. The Daily Script
The Daily Script offers a ton of screenplays in a very simple, easy-to-navigate layout. It keeps things homey for the typical screenwriter, even using Courier New as its primary font.
8. The Screenplay Database
The Screenplay Database is another useful resource with a large choice of scripts to choose from. If you’re interested in a certain type of film, the website also allows you to search its library by genre, to better allow you to window shop and find something you didn’t even know you were looking for.
9. The Script Lab
The Script Lab comes in handy if you’re looking for more recent screenplays. Its front page divides its library into the three most recent years of releases, so if there’s something from 2014 you’d like, for instance Birdman or Boyhood, this is the website for you.
10. Movie Scripts and Screenplays
You’ve got to love the straightforward title. Movie Scripts and Screenplays gives you exactly what it says, with a long list of manuscripts that you can also directly find with its search function.
All writers know that reading great material is an essential part of honing and building your craft. But if you’re ready to take the next step in developing your skills as a screenwriter with the most hands-on, intensive training in the world, check out NYFA’s screenwriting programs. Looking for a long-distance way to take your writing to the next level? Check out NYFA’s online screenwriting program options.