101 Funniest Screenplays

“Suddenly, everyone loves Steve Gordon,” began a 1981 New York Magazine profile of the writer-director of Arthur. “Strangers on the street pound him on the back and congratulate him.” Before Arthur, Gordon was a successful TV writer and a not-so-successful playwright (his Broadway comedy Tough to Get Help closed after one night). Arthur earned him a Writers Guild Award for Original Comedy Screenplay and unprecedented acclaim. Two years after the film’s release, Gordon collapsed and died of a heart attack. He was 44. In Arthur, Dudley Moore plays arguably the most likable drunk ever captured on film, with Sir John Gielgud as his devoted, deadpan footman. “The thing about Arthur is innocence,” Gordon told the magazine. “I started saying ‘innocent’ first day on the set, and I never stopped. Arthur is an 8-year-old child.”