John Patrick Shanley

Screenwriter, Playwright, Director
In his early years as an off-Broadway playwright, John Patrick Shanley was celebrated for his intense dialogue and for his dysfunctional young New Yorkers in search of identity and love. His big-screen, romantic comedy ... Read more »
Born: 10/02/1950 in New York City, New York, USA


Writer (10)

Doubt 2008 (Movie)

(from play: "Doubt") (Source Material)

Doubt 2008 (Movie)

(adaptation) (Screenplay)

Congo 1995 (Movie)


Alive 1993 (Movie)


We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story 1993 (Movie)


Joe Versus the Volcano 1990 (Movie)


January Man 1989 (Movie)


Five Corners 1988 (Movie)


Moonstruck 1987 (Movie)


Live From Baghdad (TV Show)

Actor (3)

Intimate Portrait: Park Overall 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)


The New Hollywood 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)


Crossing Delancey 1988 (Movie)

Celebrity Party Guest (Actor)
Director (2)

Doubt 2008 (Movie)


Joe Versus the Volcano 1990 (Movie)

Music (1)

Joe Versus the Volcano 1990 (Movie)

("The Cowboy Song" "Marooned Without You") (Song)
Producer (1)

Five Corners 1988 (Movie)

(Associate Producer)


In his early years as an off-Broadway playwright, John Patrick Shanley was celebrated for his intense dialogue and for his dysfunctional young New Yorkers in search of identity and love. His big-screen, romantic comedy version of his storytelling was the hit movie "Moonstruck" (1987), which earned the Irish-American an Academy Award for his script. He stayed in Hollywood for a number of years, where he wrote and directed the critically lambasted "Joe vs. the Volcano" (1990) and was subsequently pegged as an adventure writer, hired to do script adaptations like "Congo" (1993) and "Alive" (1995). A rare foray into television screenwriting resulted in an Emmy nomination for the fact-based Gulf War drama "Live from Baghdad" (HBO, 2002), but Shanley generally remained a prolific and versatile playwright on the New York stage. His off-Broadway fare was hit-or-miss with critics, with successes until 2004 when "Doubt" won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Pulitzer Prize Award for Drama. In 2008, Shanley's suspenseful drama about sexual abuse allegations at a Catholic school was adapted and directed by him, making him one of the rare New York theater talents to successfully bring his vision to the screen without sacrificing artistic integrity.


Jayne Hayes



Thomas Moore Prep School

Harrisville , New Hampshire

Attended four parochial high schools in the East Bronx

New York University

New York , New York 1977
Left to enlist in the military and returned after five years to finish university on the G.I. Bill; graduated as valedictorian



Wrote and directed the film adaptation of his Broadway play, "Doubt"; earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay


Scripted the Off-Broadway play "Doubt"; transferred to Broadway in March 2005


Penned the HBO movie "Live from Baghdad," adapted from CNN producer Robert Wiener's book about the Persian Gulf War in 1991


Premiered his play "Where's My Money?" at the LABrynth Theater in NYC


Wrote the play, "Psychopathia Sexualis" as a response to a midlife crisis; staged in NYC at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1997


Penned the screenplay for "Congo," based on Michael Crichton's novel


Wrote the screenplays for "Alive," about survivors of a plane crash in the Andes


Had a hit Off-Broadway with the Hollywood satire "Four Dogs and a Bone"


Helmed debut feature, "Joe Versus the Volcano"


Directed first short, "I Am Angry"


Wrote first screenplay, "Five Corners"


Enjoyed success with Manhattan Theatre Club production of "Italian American Reconciliation"


First released film as screenwriter, "Moonstruck"


Penned the play "Women of Manhattan"; began association with Manhattan Theatre Club


Play "Savage in Limbo" produced Off-Off-Broadway


First play produced in NYC, "Welcome to the Moon"

Wrote first play, "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," while working as bartender in the 1970s

Raised in East Bronx, NY

Began writing poetry at age 11

Bonus Trivia


"I realized that in order to write an effective screenplay, you have to have no distance from your material. You have to be in the scene with the characters. You cannot be cynical, you cannot be removed, you cannot be in a place where you think you know more than they know. Emotionally, you have to respect your characters and you have to be there with them. And also, after all is said and done, there are heroes in the world." - Shanley quoted in American Film, September 1989


"You have to go in and be a fool, a true believer. You have to find a solid place in yourself to stand on - a single vantage, a value system from which you can view the world. If the ground underneath you is shifting the movie will have no point of view."Whatever you do in terms of telling a story, the most important thing that you can define is who you are. The stories are all out there; it's finding a place where you are in relationship to the story that will tell the story." - Shanley quoted in American Film, September 1989


"Where I grew up was both an Irish and Italian neighborhood. I hung out with Italian kids, went to school them, went to their homes. And I was struck with the difference between their life and ours. Maybe that's why I tended to write more about them - their lives fascinated me more than my own." - Shanley to the Daily News, Oct. 17, 1991