The Greatest Movies About Writers, Ranked
Vote up the best films about authors, biographers, novelists, poets, screenwriters, and any other type of writer who puts pen to paper (or fingers to typewriter).
Are you looking for some inspiration and motivation to get your creative juices flowing? If you’re a budding writer, there are plenty of films out there that explore the craft and the live of novelists, screenwriters, poets, and English teachers. From biopics about famous authors (like Truman Capote) to fictional stories about writers in love (As Good as It Gets) or struggling with their work (The Shining), these cinematic gems will not only entertain but also give insight into the often complex worlds of literature, creativity, and even writer's block.
This list ranks the greatest movies about writers set throughout history. Whether it's an exploration into the mind of a genius like William Shakespeare or an insight into creative struggles as presented through the filter of Stephen King, these films have something for everyone who loves the written word and values the way it influences the world.
- Released: 1989
- Directed by: Peter Weir
Dead Poets Society is an inspiring movie about a young actor, Neil Perry, and the English teacher who helps him find his life's purpose. As he introduces students at the all-boys prep school to unorthodox ideas by the likes of writer Walt Whitman, Mr. Keating encourages Neil to break away from society's expectations for him and follow his own dreams. The movie has some amazing performances by Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and Robin Williams, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor.
- Released: 1980
- Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
A classic must-see psychological horror movie based on a novel by Stephen King, The Shining follows writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife (Shelley Duvall), and their son during their stay in the isolated Overlook Hotel for the snowy winter. While Jack attempts to write, supernatural forces at work in the hotel slowly drive him into madness. While it's an intense horror flick, it also serves as a powerful exploration of writer's block and mental illness.
- Released: 2005
- Directed by: Bennett Miller
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote, this film follows his journey to write his non-fiction novel In Cold Blood about a murder in a small town. The film explores the author's relationship with one of the convicted murderers (Clifton Collins, Jr.), who he interviewed extensively for his book, as well as his friendship with aspiring novelist Harper Lee (Catherine Keener). It offers an interesting perspective on writing, death row justice, and morality in criminal cases.
- Released: 1950
- Directed by: Billy Wilder
Sunset Boulevard is an iconic Hollywood classic about a struggling screenwriter who forms a complicated relationship with aging silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) who is living out her days in seclusion. The film explores themes of ambition, fame, love, and betrayal in the context of old Hollywood.
- Released: 1990
- Directed by: Rob Reiner
Based on a psychological thriller novel by Stephen King, Misery follows the story of novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) who is stranded in a blizzard after he crashes his car. He is saved by Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), an obsessive fan of his work who takes him to her home to recover from his injuries. However, it soon becomes apparent that she has more sinister plans for him: holding him captive until he finishes writing his next novel so she can read it.
- Released: 1997
- Directed by: James L. Brooks
As Good As It Gets stars Jack Nicholson in the role of Melvin Udall, a novelist who lives in New York City and has difficulty with social interaction due to his obsessive-compulsive disorder. For his performance, Nicholson won the Oscar for Best Actor, and co-star Helen Hunt won Best Actress as his love interest, waitress and mother Carol Connelly.