Philip K. Dick - Top Screenplays Based on the Sci-Fi Classics

Philip K. Dick does at least one thing better than anyone else: mix philosophy with sci-fi drama. His philosophical questions are almost never subtle. And they almost always play out in an over-the-top world of sci-fi perfection. Even if it's a little forced, who cares? At this point, PKD is a sci-fi legend. Calling his philosophical musings "forced" is like saying Woody Allen's characters are too verbose.

Hollywood has been making good use of Philip K. Dick's books and short stories since the early 1980s when Ridley Scott directed Blade Runner. Since then, there have been at least 13 films and half a dozen television series based on his works.

There's no substitute for an original work by PKD. But if you've read his books and seen the movies, you'll be happy to find some very quality writing in the pages of the following screenplays.

1. BLADE RUNNER
Based on PKD's 1968 book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," the Blade Runner screenplay was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. This film set the groundwork for a Hollywood truism: PKD books make good movies. (There's a fascinating backstory to why the movie adaptation of Dick's book was titled "Blade Runner." Suffice it to say, the movie has nothing to do with William S. Burroughs' book "Blade Runner (a movie)."

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2. MINORITY REPORT
PKD's short story "The Minority Report" first appeared in 1965 in a sci-fi magazine. It went on to become Spielberg's iconic 2002 film that regularly enters into public discussion anytime technology gets closer to helping police solve crime before it happens. The film script was written by Frank Scott and Jon Cohen.

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3. A SCANNER DARKLY (Charlie Kaufman version)
In 2006, Richard Linklater wrote and directed the indie film "A Scanner Darkly," which received fairly mediocre reviews. But there was an earlier adaptation of PKD's book by none other than Charlie Kaufman. His version was never produced, but it's worth checking out (especially for Kaufman fans). Dick's original 1977 book was semi-autobiographical, exploring drug culture and police surveillance in dystopian Orange County. 

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4. TOTAL RECALL
Dick's book, "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" not only inspired this Schwarzenegger movie, but also a sequel, a 2012 remake, a comic book, a television series, and a video game. Not bad. 

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5. THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU
Dick's short story "Adjustment Team" served as the basis for this 2011 film written and directed by George Nolfi. Like other memorable PKD stories, its scope is incredibly ambitious.

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Beyond the top 5, there are still a number of scrips worth checking out, including NEXT, based on PKD's short story "The Golden Man," and IMPOSTOR, based on PKD's short story of the same name.