The Good Will Hunting script won the Oscar for the Best Original Screenplay in 1997. It also launched the careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. We’re going to analyze the Good Will Hunting screenplay, covering story beats, scene studies, and the most important takeaways. Finally, you’ll also find a complete copy of the Good Will Hunting screenplay below.
The Good Will Hunting Script
Click to view and download the entire Good Will Hunting script PDF below.
WHO WROTE THE Good Will Hunting SCRIPT?
Written by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck originally sold the script to Rob Reiner’s company, Castlerock. The script received notes from Terrence Malik and William Goldman before being put into turnaround. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck took the script to Kevin Smith. He sent it to Miramax who eventually produced the film.
Good Will Hunting PLOT
Beats in the Good Will Hunting script
The Good Will Hunting writers built their script around a classic story structure. The final Good Will Hunting script was 122 pages.
Good Will Hunting Script Teardown
Script Structure of Good Will Hunting
1. EXPOSITION (BEGINNING)
We meet Will and his friends. We see Lambeau's class as he mentions the Fourier equation on the chalkboard.
2. INCIDITING INCIDENT
Will starts a fight and is arrested by the police. He’s then seen solving the new chalkboard equation.
3. CLIMAX OF ACT ONE
Will is being charged with assault. Lambeau arranges for him to be released to solve equations and attend therapy.
4. OBSTACLES (RISING ACTION)
Will resists therapy so Lambeau asks Sean, his old college friend, to help. Will and Skylar go on a date.
5. MIDPOINT (BIG TWIST)
Sean meets Will in the park. Sean gives a profound speech that breaks down Will's defenses.
6. DISASTER & CRISIS
Will puts off meetings and guards himself from Skylar. Will and Lambeau argue over Will’s future.
7. CLIMAX OF ACT TWO
Skylar asks Will to come with here to California. They get into a big fight, and he tells her he doesn’t love her.
8. CLIMAX OF ACT THREE
Will and Sean discuss being beaten as children. They have a breakthrough moment in Will's therapy.
10. DENOUEMENT (WRAP UP)
Will takes a job at Tri-Tech. His friends buy him a car. Sean tells Will about his plans to travel and explore.
Will leaves a letter in Sean’s mailbox explaining that he's leaving Boston because he ‘had to go see about a girl’.
Good Will Hunting Script Takeaway #1
Good Will Hunting bar scene
The Good Will Hunting bar scene is written in two parts, but in the film, it serves as a single continuous scene. There are a few improvised lines by both Affleck and Damon in the scene.
The main difference in the script is the description of the Harvard student, Clark. In the script, Clark is described as a big guy wearing a Harvard lacrosse sweatshirt, but in the film is much more ‘preppy’.
What works so well in this scene is how it encapsulates Will’s problem of being an intelligent guy who lives a blue-collar lifestyle. He doesn’t belong in the Harvard bar, but he doesn’t belong in South Boston either.
This scene shows that point with great style and a bit of a fantasy moment, but it also moves the plot forward with Will meeting Skylar.
GOOD WILL HUNTING SCRIPT TAKEAWAY #2
Good Will Hunting bench scene
The Good Will hunting bench scene is very interesting because it is an entire page devoted to Sean’s monologue without using any action lines or parentheticals to inform the performance.
This important moment happens right at the midpoint of the film and sets Will on a new path of discovering himself, his issues, and the hard truth that he’s a wildly intelligent person with little life experience.
It’s an important moment for the viewer because Sean’s argument is perfect. There’s no way for Will to weasel out of the criticism because it’s both true, and reveals the Achilles heel of Will’s greatest gifts.
GOOD WILL HUNTING SCRIPT TAKEAWAY #3
Good Will Hunting endingThe ending of Good Will Hunting may have gone differently, but it’s said that Terrence Malik met with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and told them that Will should go after Skylar, rather than them leaving together.
It has also been said that Gus Van Sant floated the idea of Chuckie (Affleck) dying in a car accident near the end of the film. Supposedly, Damon and Affleck wrote the scene, but all decided to scrap the idea.
The ending scene is great because it has two callbacks. One is the line ‘have to see about a girl’ as well as Chuckie showing up to Will’s abandoned house. There is a clear resolution because we know Will is off to see Skylar and get out of Boston, and we’re left wanting a bit more.
The Dark Knight Script Analysis
Now that you have a better understanding of The Good Will Hunting script, why not continue learning about more screenplays. See our script analysis for The Dark Knight.