Screenwriter William Goldman famously pronounced that, "One way an author dies a little each day is when his books go out of print." If that's true, then surely Goldman will live on forever in his iconic screenplays and screenwriting books. His writing on screenwriting is almost as legendary as his screenplays, one of which, All The President's Men, is available to read and download online. This great political thriller about the Watergate scandal is an example of economical, suspenseful writing. Read the script online and listen to an interview with Goldman below!
When Richard Nixon had members of his staff break in to the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel, he set in motion a chain of events that would end with his resignation and a scandal that loomed over the nation for several years. Another consequence was Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodard's non-fiction book about the events, as well the classic film adaptation of it, All The President's Men, which was released in 1976.
The film starred Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, was directed by Alan J. Pakula, and scripted by Goldman. The taut thriller follows the two reporters as they track down leads, including their infamous source, "Deep Throat," in order to get to the truth of what the Nixon administration was willing to do in order to win the 1972 election:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fLdCZm7qgs
Here's a link to Goldman's screenplay, who also authored The Marathon Man, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride and Misery, among many others, as well as several books. He's not a fan of his own work, and has been quoted as saying, "I don't like my writing," but there are many, many who would beg to disagree.
Check out the John Cleese/William Goldman interview that touches on all sorts of topics, like screenwriting (7:17), the state of cinema in 1991 (pretty much the entire middle section), and how to tell if your film is a success (23:43).
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What do you think? What's your opinion of All The President's Men and other 70's political thrillers, and what lessons do you think Goldman has to teach the indie screenwriter?