Writers The Greatest Writer Characters in Film  

Ranker Film
676 votes 241 voters 4.3k views 43 items

List Rules Vote up the most memorable movie characters who were novelists, screenwriters, playwrights, etc.

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." That single typed line helped solidify The Shining as a horror movie classic, and ensured that its unhinged author Jack Torrance numbers among the greatest writer characters in film history. Novelists, playwrights, poets, and other writer characters seem to be particularly inspiring to screenwriters, perhaps due to their shared creative connection. Some of these fictional writers are neurotic intellectuals, while other writers in films use booze and drugs to fuel their creativity. A few of these fictional writers were even inspired by real-life artists.

Who takes the title as the greatest writer character of all time? The aforementioned Jack Torrance is a strong contender, but don't forget about iconic figures like unlucky screenwriter Joe Gillis from Sunset Boulevard. The fictionalized version of Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation is another one of the best writer characters from the movies – Nicholas Cage was even nominated for an Oscar for the role. The character of Barton Fink struggled to write screenplays in the 1991 film of the same name, and journalist Raoul Duke went on a psychedelic journey in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

It's up to you to decide which fictional author deserves top honors. Vote up the most memorable writer characters, and vote down the ones that don't quite make the cut. Make sure to add in any missing characters, too.
list ordered by

1
40 8
Jack Torrance is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
The Shining

2
33 9
Raoul Duke is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

3
19 5
Paul Sheldon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Misery

4
19 7
Carl Bernstein is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
All the President's Men

5
23 11
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
The Hours

6
15 4
Nick Carraway is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
The Great Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, The Great Gatsby

7
19 9
Charlie Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Adaptation

8
12 4
Margot Tenenbaum is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
The Royal Tenenbaums

9
12 6
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Capote

10
14 8
Mort Rainey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Secret Window

11
16 10
Bob Woodward is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
All the President's Men

12
9 5
Andrea Sachs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
The Devil Wears Prada

13
16 13
T.S. Garp is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
T.S. Garp The World According to Garp

14
11 8
Paul Varjak is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Breakfast at Tiffany's

15
10 8
Eli Cash is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
The Royal Tenenbaums

16
9 7
Marty is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Marty Seven Psychopaths

17
6 4
Eugenia 'Skeeter' Phelan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film

18
15 14
Gil is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Gil Midnight in Paris

19
6 5
Ed Wood is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Ed Wood

20
5 4
Joan Wilder is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Romancing the Stone

21
5 5
Joe Gillis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Sunset Boulevard

22
4 4
Andy Farmer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Andy Farmer Funny Farm

23
10 11
Christy Brown is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
My Left Foot

24
5 6
Holly Martins is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
The Third Man

25
5 6
Jesse Wallace is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Jesse Wallace Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Before Sunrise

26
4 5
Riggan Thomson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Birdman

27
3 4
Oscar Madison is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added The Odd Couple II, The Odd Couple: Together Again, The Odd Couple

28
3 4
Felix Unger is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added The Odd Couple II, The Odd Couple

29
2 4
Sidney Bruhl is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Sidney Bruhl Deathtrap

30
4 7
Barton Fink is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Barton Fink

31
4 7
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Amadeus

32
3 6
Lance Clayton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Lance Clayton World's Greatest Dad

33
3 6
Antonio Salieri is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Amadeus

34
2 5
Susan Orlean is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Adaptation

35
6 10
Jamie Bennett is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Love Actually

36
2 6
Prof. Grady Tripp is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Prof. Grady Tripp Wonder Boys

37
2 6
Sarah Morton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Swimming Pool

38
1 5
Tabitha is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Tabitha Birdman

39
1 5
Ira Wright is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Ira Wright Funny People

40
1 5
Henry Chinaski is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
clash1977 added Barfly

41
5 10
Alvy Singer is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Annie Hall

42
2 7
Guy is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Swimming with Sharks

43
1 6
Don Birnam is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Writer Characters in Film
Tom Islava added Don Birnam The Lost Weekend