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Q&A: Locating Movie Scripts

Question: Can you refer me to a source that might have old movie scripts? I've searched for the script of Conrack, a film that starred Jon Voight 1974. The book , Water is Wide was written by Pat Conroy. But I am interested in the translation of his book to film.

Answer: We have an archival collection of movie scripts in the Delmer Daves collection (actual mss.), in Special Collections, but according to the finding aid, the date range only goes up to 1965. Here is a brief description of that collection.

Second, you can get a quick list of all the collections in special collections that hold scripts by searching in Socrates, as follows. This is for original scripts in various collections (film or theater):

a. Click on combined search
b. In the first search box, pull the first menu for search type down to "genre."
c. Input "scripts" as the search term
d. Search catalog.

Just so your hopes don't get too high about this search, most of the collections listed in this fashion do not have scripts past the 1960s.

Third, from Internet Movie Database (IMDB), the credit for the screenplay goes to Conroy, plus the veteran husband-and-wife team of Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr. That information led me to a source called Script City that offers this script (dated 3/5/73) for $14.99. I know nothing about this outfit, but here is the link

Fourth, there is a pretty good listing of web-based script sites.

Fifth, you might want to check Howard Poteet, Published Radio, Television and Film Scripts. 1975. (Call# Z7223.s3.P68 in Green Stacks). It's the latest print bibliography I know of.

Last, to search Socrates for scripts generally, the subject term is a bit odd: "motion picture plays." Any search under that will lead to a bunch of references, but most are individual titles not of interest. The term "Motion picture plays - Bibliography" will lead to biblioigraphies, but there aren't very many. However, you can also use these terms in WorldCat or any other US library catalog to see if anyone else has anything.

Finally, here is a nice guide to searching for Screenplays and Scripts from Yale University.

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Addendum to Locating Movie Scripts question

Special Collections also has a more recent collection of movie screenplays (1990's):

Contemporary American screenplay collection
Call number: PN1997 .A1 C66 1990
The finding aid has details of each script title.

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