Adventures in the Screen Trade

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Adventures in the Screen Trade
First edition
Author William Goldman
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Warner Books
Publication date

Adventures in the Screen Trade is a book about Hollywood written in 1983 by American novelist and screenwriter William Goldman. The title is a parody of Dylan Thomas's Adventures in the Skin Trade.


The book is divided into three parts.

"Part One: Hollywood Realities" is a collection of essays on various subjects ranging from movie stars and studio executives to his thoughts on how to begin and end a screenplay and how to write for a movie star.

"Part Two: Adventures" has stories from eleven projects that Goldman has been involved with, from Charly and Masquerade, to the Academy Award winning Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and All the President's Men, to some projects that didn't get made, like a musical remake of Grand Hotel.[citation needed]

"Part Three: Da Vinci" has Goldman showing the reader how he would go about adapting his own short story "Da Vinci" into a screenplay. The full text of "Da Vinci" and the subsequent screenplay he wrote are included, followed by interviews with key movie industry figures, including director George Roy Hill, cinematographer Gordon Willis and composer Dave Grusin.

"Nobody Knows Anything"[edit]

Perhaps the most famous quotation from the book. It is one of his two "Roman numeral I's" and is repeated throughout the book. Now widely quoted, it is often inaccurately used to suggest that Hollywood executives are stupid, but in fact refers to Goldman's belief that, prior to a movie's release, Hollywood has no real idea how well a film will do.


In the late 1970s, William Goldman did hours of interviews with John Brady for a book that became The Craft of the Screenwriter (1981). Some of Goldman's answers were edited into a magazine piece for Esquire, which was read by an editor at a publishing house who contacted Goldman about writing a book on screenwriting. Goldman agreed and hired Brady to work on the book with him, getting Brady to interview him over several sessions. These conversations were taped and transcribed, which Goldman used as the basis for the book.[1]


The book became a best seller and has since become recognised as an industry classic.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Egan p 177-178
  2. ^ Egan p 182
  • Goldman, William (1989). Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting (reissue ed.). Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-39117-4. 
  • Goldman, William (1996). Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood (2nd rev. ed.). Abacus. ISBN 0-349-10705-X. 
  • Egan, Sean, William Goldman: The Reluctant Storyteller, Bear Manor Media 2014