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The 14 Best Movie Quotes About Writing

adaptationAs the entertainment world awaited the potential strike by 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America, we thought it timely to remember the importance of screenwriters to the film industry.  Great movies begin with a great story, constructed from the experiences and imagination of a talented wordsmith.  This website is dedicated to their collective wisdom.  In their honor, here are the 14 best quotes about the fine art of quality writing. 


“Audiences don't know somebody sits down and writes a picture.  They think the actors make it up as they go along.”
Sunset Boulevard (1950) – Joe Gillis (William Holden) 

“Whatever you say, whatever you do, movies always got there first. Even that line you just said comes from a movie.”
Dot the I (2003) – Theo (Charlie Cox)

“I have to wonder if you people realize the level of responsibility you carry.  From my way of thinking, motion pictures are potentially the most influential form of communication ever invented.  And there’s no control over it.  Your message reaches everyone, everywhere.”
Chaplin (1992) J. Edgar Hoover (Kevin Dunn)

“You must write your first draft with your heart.  You rewrite with your head.  The first key to writing is to write, not to think!”
Finding Forrester (2000) - William Forrester (Sean Connery) 

“Everything in fiction is a tool - pain, betrayal, even death. These are like different colors on a painter's palette. You need to use them.”
The Door in the Floor (2004) – Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges)

“A man writes because he is tormented, because he doubts. He needs to constantly prove to himself and the others that he's worth something.”
Stalker (1979) – Writer (Anatoli Solonitsyn)

“If you wish to practice the art of fiction, then your horizons must be widened.”

Becoming Jane (2007) – Tom Lefroy (James McAvoy) 

“I've always found that writing comes from a great inner pain.”
Barton Fink (1991) – Barton Fink (John Turturro)

“Everything gets revised 4,000 times. There's no writing. There's only rewriting.”

Get Bruce (1999) – Bruce Vilanch (himself) 

“Like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method.”

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) – Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) 

“I lived in the lap of luxury but I was blind.  That’s fatal for a storyteller.”

Chaplin (1992) – Charlie Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.) 

“I once asked this literary agent what kind of writing paid the best.  He said, “Ransom notes.”"

Get Shorty (1995) – Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman) 

“I am the author. You are the audience. I outrank you!”
The Producers (1968) – Franz Liebkind (Kenneth Mars)

“You can't be a proper writer without a touch of madness, can you?”
Quills (2000) – Madeleine (Kate Winslet)

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