101 Funniest Screenplays

Jerzy Kosinski’s adaptation of his novella was a Writers Guild Award winner. Peter Sellers starred as a guileless character of dubious origin who has spent his entire life in the same Manhattan townhouse, tending to a garden, his perception of the wider world consisting of the imagery and consumer messaging he has gleaned from the television. A tabula rasa in human form, the character is called Chance the Gardener, and we know little about him. The highly allegorical story turns when Chance is cast out into the world, and the world takes him for a sage, named Chauncey Gardner. Out of his cocoon, he quickly climbs the rungs of status, as people make projections instead of trying to see him. “It is Kosinski's point, of course, that this hollow man is the man most likely to succeed,” David Ansen wrote in Newsweek.