William Goldman

Franklin Library William Goldman books

Which Lie Did I Tell?: More Adventures in The Screen Trade - signed first edition - 2000


Writer William Goldman

William Goldman, born on August 12, 1931, in Chicago, Illinois, was an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter known for his versatile contributions to literature and cinema. His career spanned several decades, and he left an indelible mark on both the literary and film industries. Goldman attended Oberlin College in Ohio, where he developed an interest in writing and storytelling. After serving in the military, he pursued a career as a writer, initially focusing on novels and plays. His debut novel, "The Temple of Gold," was published in 1957, but he gained wider recognition with works like Boys and Girls Together (1964) and No Way to Treat a Lady (1964).

In addition to his success as a novelist, William Goldman became highly regarded in Hollywood for his screenwriting talent. He won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and Best Adapted Screenplay for All the President's Men (1976). Both films are considered classics in American cinema. One of Goldman's most enduring contributions to literature is his fantasy novel The Princess Bride (1973). The book, a fairy tale adventure with humor and romance, became a cult classic and was later adapted into a beloved film in 1987. The screenplay for the film, written by Goldman himself, retained his trademark wit and charm.

Goldman was known for his mastery of different genres, transitioning effortlessly between drama, comedy, and adventure. His screenwriting credits include notable films such as Marathon Man (1976), The Stepford Wives (1975), and Misery (1990), an adaptation of Stephen King's novel. In addition to his achievements in writing, William Goldman was recognized for his candid and insightful book on the film industry, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), which became a valuable resource for aspiring screenwriters.

William Goldman passed away on November 16, 2018, leaving behind a legacy of storytelling that continues to captivate audiences. His ability to seamlessly transition between literature and cinema, coupled with his sharp wit and storytelling prowess, established him as a significant figure in both the literary and film worlds.


Which Lie Did I Tell? - More Adventures in the Screen Trade

From the Oscar-winning screenwriter of All the President's Men, The Princess Bride, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, here is essential reading for both the aspiring screenwriter and anyone who loves going to the movies.

William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade was a classic for moviephiles, revealing all the secrets behind the business of the big screen. Now, screenwriter extraordinaire Goldman returns to give us the latest lowdown on Hollywood moviemaking. He dishes the dirt, adventure by adventure, from his most recent films the successes and the failures with inside anecdotes from such star-studded sets as The Princess Bride, Misery , and Absulote Power . We find out what it's like to work with Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Richard Donner, Rob Reiner, Clint Eastwood, and all the rest of Hollywood's major power players.

But this is much more than just a tourist's guide to the backlot. Goldman conducts a virtual writer's clinic: he tells us exactly what works on film and why, dissecting classic moments in great screenplays ranging from the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest to the zipper scene in There's Something about Mary. He gives us insider tips on everything from good storytelling to effective pitch-making, and he shows us where his ideas come from and what he does with them when they get there. Finally, he brings together some of today's top screenwriters to analyze, doctor, or destroy a screenplay he created just for this book.

Something odd, if predictable, became of screenwriter William Goldman after he wrote the touchstone tell-all book on filmmaking, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), he became a Hollywood leper. Goldman opens his long-awaited sequel by writing about his years of exile before he found himself again as a valuable writer in Hollywood. Fans of the two-time Oscar-winning writer ( Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , All the President's Men ) have anxiously waited for this follow-up since his career serpentined into a variety of big hits and critical bombs in the '80s and '90s. Here Goldman scoops on The Princess Bride (his own favorite), Misery , Maverick , Absolute Power , and others. Goldman's conversational style makes him easy to read for the film novice but meaty enough for the detail-oriented pro. His tendency to ramble into other subjects may be maddening (he suddenly switches from being on set with Eastwood to anecdotes about Newman and Garbo), but we can excuse him because of one fact he is so darn entertaining. Like most sequels, Which Lie follows the structure of the original. Both Goldman books have three stories about his movies, a deconstruction of Hollywood (here the focus is on great movie scenes), and a workshop for screenwriters. (The paperback version of the first book also comes with his full-length screenplay of Butch ; his collected works are also worth checking out). This final segment is another gift a toolbox for the aspiring screenwriter. Goldman takes newspaper clippings and other ideas and asks the reader to diagnose their cinematic possibilities. Goldman also gives us a new screenplay he's written ( The Big A ), which is analyzed with brutal honesty by other top writers. With its juicy facts and valuable sidebars on what makes good screenwriting, this is another entertaining must read from the man who coined what has to be the most-quoted adage about movie-business "Nobody knows anything." - Doug Thomas

If you want to know why a no-name like Kathy Bates was cast in Misery,  it's in here. Or why Linda Hunt's brilliant work in Maverick didn't make the final cut, William Goldman gives you the straight truth. Why Clint Eastwood loves working with Gene Hackman and how MTV has changed movies for the worse,William Goldman, one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood today, tells all he knows. Devastatingly eye-opening and endlessly entertaining, Which Lie Did I Tell? is indispensable reading for anyone even slightly intrigued by the process of how a movie gets made.

Enlightening as well as entertaining, Which Lie Did I Tell? is certain to follow its predeccesor as the definitive guide to the real workings behind the glitzy facade of contemporary Hollywood.

"Bill Goldman has proven, once again, that he is the most observant, knowledgeable and intuitive screenwriter in the business today."
- Joe Roth, Producer and former Chairman, Walt Disney Studios

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