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Download Double Indemnity Script

Double Indemnity, directed by Billy Wilder and released in 1944, is a cornerstone of the film noir genre. Based on James M. Cain’s novella and adapted by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, the screenplay is lauded for its sharp dialogue, intricate plot, and morally ambiguous characters. You can scroll down to read the script.

Key Elements of the Script

Classic Three-Act Structure

The screenplay follows a traditional three-act structure, with each act building tension and deepening the characters’ moral dilemmas:

  • Act One: Introduction of the main characters and the setup of the murder plot.
  • Act Two: Execution of the plan and the immediate aftermath, with rising suspicion from Keyes.
  • Act Three: The unraveling of the scheme and the ultimate downfall of Neff and Phyllis.

Richly Drawn Characters

  • Walter Neff: A complex protagonist whose initial confidence and charm give way to guilt and paranoia. His journey is one of moral descent.
  • Phyllis Dietrichson: The quintessential femme fatale, Phyllis is manipulative, seductive, and ultimately treacherous. Her character drives the plot forward and adds layers of intrigue.
  • Barton Keyes: Keyes is the moral compass of the film. His dogged pursuit of the truth and sharp intellect create a formidable obstacle for Neff and Phyllis.

Themes of Deception and Guilt

The script explores themes of deception, guilt, and the corrupting influence of greed. Neff’s internal conflict and gradual realization of his moral failure are central to the narrative.

Noir Aesthetics and Tone

Wilder and Chandler’s script is a masterclass in noir aesthetics, with its moody atmosphere, cynical tone, and sharp, hard-boiled dialogue. These elements create a sense of tension and foreboding throughout the film.

Voiceover and Flashback Structure

The use of voiceover narration and a flashback structure adds depth to the storytelling. Neff’s retrospective account of the events lends a fatalistic tone and allows for deeper insight into his psyche.

Download the script below.

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