101 Funniest Screenplays

M*A*S*H “was the first major American movie in which the word ‘fuck’ was spoken,” Ring Lardner Jr. writes in his memoir I’d Hate Myself in the Morning. Lardner was a member of the Hollywood 10, and his career was derailed for decades. Consider: He won an Oscar for writing in 1942 for Woman of the Year (co-written with Michael Kanen), and then another one 28 years later, for M*A*S*H. Adapted from the novel by Richard Hooker, Lardner wrote of “struggling with a basic rule of dramaturgy. One of the things that makes a good story, I had always believed, was a character or characters changing in the course of it. In this case, in violation of the rule, the two heroes, Hawkeye and Trapper John, would be exactly the same people at the end as at the beginning.” Lardner’s agent told him to “forget the rule.”