Writers The Best Movies for Writers to Watch  

Ranker Film
153 votes 44 voters 26 items

List Rules Vote up the films all aspiring writers must see.

Aspiring writers are highly analytical by nature. When any writer sits down to watch a movie, they inevitably pick it apart and consider the dialogue, story structure, and underlying themes. While any compelling story is great material for a writer, movies for novelists, poets, or other scribes often tackle the topic of writing itself. Such movies ask compelling questions about what it means to be an artist and watching a fictional character create on screen can often prove inspiring for those in need of a creative boost. 

Good movies for writers can be biopics about writers or fictional films about writers. The best writerly films should also feature interesting dialogue and strong character development, which can help guide prospective authors with their own projects. Good narration is also a bonus, as you get to see how a writer frames their personal experience. This list compiles the films all writers should sit down and watch at least once in their lives. Whether you're a veteran of the craft or completely new to writing, browse this list for suggestions. 

1
10 0
Misery is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Misery Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan Misery is a 1990 American psychological thriller film based on Stephen King's 1987 novel of the same name and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances ...more

2
16 1
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more

3
9 0
Barton Fink is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Barton Fink John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand Barton Fink is a 1991 American period film written, produced, directed and edited by the Coen brothers. Set in 1941, it stars John Turturro in the title role as a young New York City playwright ...more

4
8 2
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 American dark comedy film co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam, starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. It was adapted ...more

5
9 3
Stand by Me is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Stand by Me Kiefer Sutherland, Corey Feldman, John Cusack Stand by Me is a 1986 American coming of age comedy-drama adventure film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell. Based on the novella ...more

6
8 3
Almost Famous is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Almost Famous Zooey Deschanel, Kate Hudson, Anna Paquin Almost Famous is a 2000 comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist ...more

7
9 4
Henry Fool is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Henry Fool Parker Posey, Rachel Miner, Liam Aiken Henry Fool is a 1997 American seriocomic film written, produced and directed by Hal Hartley, featuring Thomas Jay Ryan, James Urbaniak, and Parker Posey. As in The Unbelievable Truth, an earlier ...more

8
5 1
Wonder Boys is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Wonder Boys Robert Downey Jr., Katie Holmes, Michael Douglas Wonder Boys is an American 2000 comedy film directed by Curtis Hanson and written by Steve Kloves. The film was based on the novel of the same title by Michael Chabon. Michael Douglas stars as ...more

9
4 1
Midnight in Paris is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Midnight in Paris Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hiddleston Midnight in Paris is an American 2011 romantic comedy fantasy film written and directed by Woody Allen. Set in Paris, the film follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, who is forced to confront the ...more

10
4 1
Naked Lunch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Naked Lunch Ian Holm, Roy Scheider, Julian Sands Naked Lunch is a 1991 science fiction drama film written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, and Roy Scheider. It is a film adaptation of William S. ...more

11
6 4
Adaptation is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Adaptation Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Maggie Gyllenhaal Adaptation. is a 2002 American comedy-drama metafilm directed by Spike Jonze and written by Charlie Kaufman. The film is based on Susan Orlean's non-fiction book The Orchid Thief, with numerous ...more

12
5 3
Sunset Boulevard is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Sunset Boulevard William Holden, Buster Keaton, Gloria Swanson Sunset Boulevard—stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.—is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the ...more

The Best Movies About Real Writers

13
3 1
Ruby Sparks is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Ruby Sparks Annette Bening, Deborah Ann Woll, Humphrey Bogart Ruby Sparks is a 2012 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and written by Zoe Kazan. It stars Paul Dano as an anxious novelist whose fictional character, ...more

14
3 1
Sideways is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Sideways Sandra Oh, Virginia Madsen, Thomas Haden Church Sideways is a 2004 American comedy-drama film written by Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne and directed by Payne. A film adaptation from Rex Pickett's novel of the same name, Sideways follows two ...more

15
2 0
Finding Forrester is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Finding Forrester Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Sean Connery Finding Forrester is a 2000 American drama film written by Mike Rich and directed by Gus Van Sant. An African-American teenager, Jamal Wallace, is invited to attend a prestigious private high ...more

16
2 1
Storytelling is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Storytelling John Goodman, Paul Giamatti, Selma Blair Storytelling is a 2001 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Todd Solondz. It features original music by Belle & Sebastian, later compiled on an album of the same name. It was ...more

17
1 0
In Bruges is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
TylerKoch added In Bruges Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith In Bruges is a 2008 British-American crime-black comedy film written and directed by Martin McDonagh. The film stars Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as two Irish hitmen in hiding, with Ralph ...more

The Best British Documentaries

18
1 0
The Lost Weekend is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
The Lost Weekend Jane Wyman, Ray Milland, Howard Da Silva The Lost Weekend is a 1945 American drama film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman. The film was based on Charles R. Jackson's 1944 novel of the same title about an ...more

19
1 0
Julie & Julia is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Julie & Julia Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Jane Lynch Julie & Julia is a 2009 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Nora Ephron starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Messina. The film contrasts the life of chef ...more

20
1 1
Ace in the Hole is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Ace in the Hole Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Iron Eyes Cody Ace in the Hole is a 1951 American film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper. It marked a series of firsts ...more

21
1 1
Capote is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener Capote is a 2005 biographical film about Truman Capote, following the events during the writing of Capote's non-fiction book In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman won several awards, including ...more

22
1 1
Dead Poets Society is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Dead Poets Society Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Lara Flynn Boyle Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in the ...more

23
1 1
The End of the Tour is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
The End of the Tour Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Joan Cusack The End of the Tour is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by James Ponsoldt and written by Donald Margulies, based on David Lipsky's 2010 book Although of Course You End Up ...more

24
3 4
I Remember Mama is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
I Remember Mama Ellen Corby, Barbara Bel Geddes, Irene Dunne I Remember Mama is a 1948 drama film, directed by George Stevens, from a screenplay by DeWitt Bodeen, based upon the play by John Van Druten, which itself was based on Kathryn Forbes' novel, ...more

25
1 2
Factotum is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Factotum Marisa Tomei, Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor Factotum is a 2005 film directed by Bent Hamer, adapted from the novel of the same name by Charles Bukowski. The script also makes use of Bukowski's poems published in What Matters Is How Well ...more

26
1 2
Stranger than Fiction is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Movies for Writers to Watch
Stranger than Fiction Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 American comedy-drama-fantasy film directed by Marc Forster, written by Zach Helm, and starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, ...more