Test Your Cinephile Smarts with a Short Featuring 235 Hollywood Classics

In 1987, the Writer's Guild produced Words, a 13-minute short featuring clips and quotes from 235 Hollywood classics. 

"Most of my life is spent in the dark watching movies," says Steven Spielberg at the beginning of Words. 

Written and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Chuck Workman, who won in 1986 for his Live Action Short Precious Images, Words is a montage of 470 half-second clips from movies spanning movie history. The film honors the craft of screenwriting with some of the best lines from classic cinema, including The Graduate, Citizen Kane, and more.

Workman has since directed several documentaries (most recently Magician: The Astonishing Work and Life of Orson Welles), but he's best known as the guy who does the montages shown during the Oscar ceremony, including the yearly In Memoriam tribute

The film was screened at film festivals and college campuses around the country to "inspire writers and celebrate the importance of the written word in entertainment," according to the WGA. Watch it below.

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It's funny and disheartening that the comment section blows up on gear and tech related articles and, articles like this, which offer some substance and insight into actual filmmaking, are totally looked over.

While I think it's fantastic that gear is so cheap and accessible it DOES NOT make a film. A prime example of this are film students. A lot of them have access to the latest and greatest and still produce garbage. And while yes, they're in the process of learning, this can also be seen throughout the industry as a whole. Both the studios and indie filmmakers try and use the newest and shiniest tech and cram it all into one project.

I'm fine with technology pushing boundaries and all that but the same can be said about the "art" of filmmaking. No one is looking to the past for inspiration they're just remaking it with new technology.

Lame. Just sayin'.

March 3, 2016 at 2:00PM

Nick Rowland
Street Bum

Film school seems to be more about becoming a project manager than a film artist. A humanities degree at a local college is probably more useful if you want to make a great film. Understanding human behavior and how to write well is more effective than knowing the latest camera moves. Great art is about the connection between people.

March 3, 2016 at 8:38PM, Edited March 3, 8:39PM

Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker

I completely agree. I am tired of gear whores and only caring about specs on X lens or X camera. I am up to date on that stuff just as much as the next guy but I honestly prefer articles like this. I love old cinema more that modern "cinema." There was something more to the films. -- More depth and substance. I may be wrong in my thinking but I am completely and totally biased towards the thinking that the greatest films have already been shot. There will never be a new Godfather (as an example) or any movie like it for that matter. Nobody has the attention span or even the thought depth required to enjoy older movies nowadays and its a damn shame really. I'll go see the latest superhero movie and probably enjoy it to an extent to be honest, but when people instantly call it the greatest movie ever created I find that very old and very annoying. Most people my age have never heard of half of the greatest movies of all time, let alone actually want to see them. People don't think anymore and that bothers me.

March 16, 2016 at 1:24PM, Edited March 16, 1:24PM


I'm a firm believer in story first. Substance. It's overwhelming and stays with you for days, possibly for life, when done right. This was a beautiful example of that.

March 4, 2016 at 9:18PM, Edited March 4, 9:18PM

Tony Virili
Digital Mercenary

Thanks for the feedback, guys! Much appreciated.

March 5, 2016 at 3:43AM, Edited March 5, 3:43AM

Justin Morrow