101 Funniest Screenplays

When he conceived the play, Neil Simon thought he’d come up with “a grim, dark play about two lonely men” in Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison, Simon told The Paris Review. Instead, his Broadway show, a smash hit in 1965, became a hit film in 1968, co-starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon (replacing Art Carney from the Broadway production) and again directed by Gene Saks. The Odd Couple won the Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay in 1968. That the show continues to appear in new iterations speaks to the enduring comedic interplay on the page between two divorced men clashing as roommates. “Felix in The Odd Couple isn’t a watcher – or a doer,” Simon said. “He’s stuck. He’s reached a certain point in his life and developed no further. Most of my characters are people who are stuck and can’t move.”