Home Screenwriting Products Screenwriter Community Screenwriting Store
ScriptBuddy - Screenwriting Software for the Web

Screenwriter Community

Back to List of Published Screenplays
View/Leave Feedback

Back in Time
by Chloe Brown (chloe.brown135@gmail.com)

Rated: G   Genre: Drama   User Review:

An English assignment to create a heroic character. Focused during World War II and the sinking of S.S. Normandie in New York.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.



Camera does a wide pan down a quiet tree lined street.
Victorian houses, all equal in their old time grandeur stand
back from the street. Pause and slow turn to face a gray
Victorian house with bright blue shutters. Begin a slow zoom
on the front door. The house is old, and creaks whenever
someone moves about upstairs. The walls are covered in
wallpaper that was once fashionable in another era. The
wallpaper has begun to yellow, but gives the house a cheery
feel, a sense of lived in warmth. Zoom in on a young girl,
standing in the foyer looking very confused. Her name is
Ashley. The girl wanders upstairs to the attic where she
stumbles around in semi darkness. The attic's sloping walls
make it hard for Ashley to navigate. She tugs on the pull
cord for the light above the bed, but the bulb is dead. The
only light streams through the narrow curtained window next
to her. She makes her way, deftly avoiding boxes, to an
old wrought iron bed that creaks when she sits down. The
dust settles around her as she reaches for the nearest box.
I wonder what you are… hmm…
      (holding up a worn
       teddy bear, one
       button eye is
Well, you sure are old, mister!
She continues to sift through the contents of the box, till
her hand touches a smooth metal tin. It is small and heavy,
and is covered with old stickers that have faded away with
time. She pulls it out of the box and holds it up to the
light streaming in from the narrow window. She turns the box
over in her hands. It slips out.
Oh no!
In slow motion zoom the box falls to the scuffed hardwood
floor with a heavy thump. The noise is heard downstairs.
Ashley's grandmother, affectionately referred to as Nana, is
in the kitchen and looks up; startled by the noise. Her face
is one of those classic, timeless beauty and she still looks
beautiful in her old age. Her hair is a regal white. Her
emerald eyes twinkle as she mixes ingredients together to
bake cookies. She holds her head high, and has a half smile


as she works in the kitchen. She has an almost graceful,
dancer's rhythm to her movements.
      (calls out)
Are you okay up there?
Yes, Nana!
Well, come downstairs, I don't
want you to be up there all by
your lonesome.
      (perks up)
I found something! I'll bring it
downstairs with me.
Well, hurry up then! I have a
fresh pot of hot cocoa with your
name on it.
The girl bounds downstairs, taking the steps two at a time.
Her arms cradle the box to her chest; the contents rustle
around. She slides into the kitchen. The kitchen is a cheery
place, with large windows with white curtains and painted a
bright sunny yellow. Old pots hang almost artfully from the
walls. Ashley carefully puts the box on the counter and
reaches for a mug of steaming hot cocoa; nearly knocking
over all of the other mugs.
Hmmm… be careful you!
Let's see what this old boy has
inside to show us.
The grandmother wheels around and grabs a sharp knife and
after many attempts, manages to pry open the tin with a sigh
of relief.


Well, that was quite hard!
I guess I'm not that old yet!
They scatter the contents on top of the counter. The box
contains a pile of letters whose envelopes have yellowed
with age. The stamps have begun to peel off with time and
the postal stamps are from different countries. A sudden
shock of recognition crosses Nana's face.
      (Suddenly she
       grasps her chest
       and slowly shakes
       her head.)
Oh… my… How could I have
forgotten…? I… I am… I am so
sorry, my love.
Nana! Nana what is it? Nana,
please tell me!
Nana, what is it? Why are you so
quiet? Why are you looking like
that? Nana?
Have I ever told you about your
I've only just got here, remem-
He is…
      (pauses and takes
       a breath)


                       NANA (cont'd)
was… a good man
I wish I could have met him…
      (looks off into
       the distance out
       the window, then
       turns around to
       face Nana)
Where is he now?
Your parents never told you?
Told me what?
He's gone… he's been gone for 11
Oh… I… I'm… I'm sorry. Are those
letters from him?
Yes… from a long time ago.
      (Points to one on
       the countertop
       near their mugs)
This one is the first one he ever
Ashley picks up the envelope with care, and looks at the
date stamped in the corner.
      (reading aloud)
January 17th 1942.
Look, it's all the way from New
Oh, silly, I used to live there! I
used to be one of the bandstand
girls that sang along to raise
morale and hope during the war.
      (standing up


                       NANA (cont'd)
       almost boasting)
I had the best voice in the
company. If you can believe it,
that's actually how your
grandfather and I met.
Really? Nana you must tell me the
I bet you'd wouldn't want to hear
it… it's been so long I'm not even
sure if I remember it.
Please Nana? I'll listen. I won't
even interrupt you when you tell
the story.
Are you sure?
Like you could keep quiet for that
      (nodding and
       bobbing up and
       down excitedly)
Hey! I could!
Come, sit child.
Nana pulls out a chair. They both sit down at the breakfast
table in the sunniest corner of the kitchen. Ashley leans
forward and gives her grandmother her full attention; almost
falling out of her chair.
Well it all began when…
The scene opens on a busy street. As the camera pans down
the street. The Empire State Building is visible in the
distance. People are rushing by, places to go but nothing to
buy since the war is on. The camera slowly turns the corner,


passing a newsstand that reads THE SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR.
HILTER'S PLANS FOR AMERICA in bold font and zooms in on a
stage that has a backdrop of the American flag. A small
crowd, all wearing slightly drab, worn clothes, gathers
around the base of the stage.
      (Voice over)
I was only 22 years old when I
first met the man that would come
to be your grandfather. Little did
I know that he was not exactly
human. You see-
The scene abruptly shifts back to the present. The
grandmother and Ashley are sitting in the breakfast table,
afternoon light streams through the curtained windows behind
WHAT?!?! He's not human. Grandma,
what are you talking about? What
does it mean to not be human? If
he's not human, then what is he
then? Does this mean I'm part
alien? Does this mea-
Oh calm down, dear! Remember what
you said about not interrupting
me? You want to hear the story or
Yes Grandma… so what was he then?
Well technically your grandfather
is human, but he comes from a
different time than us. He came
from the future, 2245. He left his
time on Christmas Day at exactly
12:01. He left because a terrible
thing was happening.
What? What would make him want to
leave the future to come visit
this boring old past…
No offense.


Nana gives Ashley a cold glance.
Oh yeah... No interrupting. Got
It was the end of the human race.
You hear about all these things on
the radio and TV stations about
how pollution is going to ruin the
planet, the hole in the ozone
layer, Global warming… well
they're all happening and it's all
true. This planet, this place we
call home is dying in the future
and the human race was dying with
it. Your grandfather went back in
time, to save the human race or
die trying.
The scene returns to the flashback. The scene continues from
the same bandstand as in the beginning of Scene 2. Slow
focus on a tall man standing near the back of the crowd.
      (Voice over)
Your grandfather was a tall
attractive man when we met. He was
the wittiest man I ever met. He
could make you laugh on your
deathbed, that man. I had no clue
how he managed to get us out of
some of the situations that we got
into. He had this ability, this
power almost, to make any
situation instantly better. He
had brown eyes –now, not your
normal plain brown eyes, these
could melt a girl's heart with
just one glance; but, they had
also seen some great sadness. A
sadness that you and I could not
begin to understand.
Slow pan over from the man, rotating towards the stage. A
younger version of Nana appears on stage, ready to
entertain. Wearing a red, white and blue version of an Army
uniform. She is followed by two other girls, one red haired


and one brunette, each stand on either side of her onstage.
The band fills the back half.
                       YOUNGER NANA
You ready girls?
                       RED HAIRED SINGER
Yeah, yeah. Let's do this, Bonnie.
Okay, Betty.
      (clears throat and
       begins to sing
       "Boogie Woogie
       Bugle Boy" by the
       Andrews Sisters)
He was a famous trumpet man from
out Chicago way.
He had a boogie style that no one
else could play .
He was the top man at his craft
But then his number came up and he
was gone with the draft-
She suddenly locks eyes with the man standing in the back.
She stares at him and her mouth hangs open in a state of
shock. She loses her place in the song, and hurriedly tries
to catch up with the band and the other harmonizing girls.
The music fades to a soft background noise and Bonnie never
breaks eye contact with him. The song ends and the crowd
cheers joyfully.
                       BONNIE AND THE OTHER GIRLS
Now, don't you forget to buy your
war bonds... there's a war on, you
The crowd cheers even more and applauds the girls as they
leave the stage.
      (turns to Bonnie)
What was that? Why did you stop
       twisting hands)
Sorry, I got distracted, I... I
thought I saw someone.


You have to get your act together!
Remember, we are in NEW YORK this
is the big leagues now... Isn't
this what you always wanted?
While Betty is talking, Bonnie stops paying attention and
looks out to the park behind her. Focus on bench behind
Betty's head. Sitting on a bench facing the girls is the man
from the crowd that caught Bonnie's eye. Betty notices that
Bonnie is not paying attention.
Bonnie... Bonnie...
      (shifts back to
Sorry, Betty... I need to... You
know what I'll meet up with you
girls back at the hotel tonight.
She quickly hurries off before the other girls can protest.
She takes a roundabout way to the bench as to appear
Oh hello sir. I saw that you were
enjoying the show earlier.
Yes. It was nice to hear some
entertainment even though
everything seems so bleak right
now. Your singing voice is
wonderful, almost goddess like, if
I may add. Call me Robert.
I know this may seem strange, but
I just noticed something different
about you than everyone else.
Maybe it's the way you walk, or
the look in your eye when you were
watching the show; but there's
something... something different
about you.
Surprisingly, I get that a lot. So
ummm... you see I am in town for a


                       ROBERT (cont'd)
couple days and I was wondering if
you would give me the honor of
taking you out to dinner.
How do I know you're not a secret
spy trying to get U.S. information
by taking me out to town.
Well I guess you're going to have
to trust me on this one
sweetheart. So what do you say?
It's the last week before the
cruise liner S.S. Normandie goes
off to battle after being stuck
like a good little ship in the
      (smile on her lips)
Okay then.. it's a date. See you
then secret spy!
It is about 7:00 at night. The scene opens on a harbor side
street. Slow pan across the water, the many bright lights of
ships glisten off in the distance. Focus on the nearby
bridge that spans the water. A lone figure waits on the
nearby bridge. Slow zoom on figure's back from a distance
from behind the supports. It is Robert, smoking a cigarette.
He is dressed in a worn suit and bow tie.
      (To himself)
What am I even doing here? Going
out on a date with some girl?
Hell, Robert this girl doesn't
need you, she could live a happy,
normal, uncomplicated life without
you swooping in. What do you think
you are going to do? Marry her?
She's probably got dozens of guys
chasing her. So what makes you any
different. Don't forget the real
reason you're here. Something bad
is going to happen and you have no


                       ROBERT (cont'd)
God, why couldn't I have wisened
up like the rest of them and given
up hope. Just as soon as this
date-- if you can even call it a
date-- is over, I can work on the
machine to get back home. Back to
the future, where you belong.
Walks back to edge of the bridge, holds on to the support
with one hand and swings himself around. Drops his cigarette
into the deep dark navy expanse below.
Well, that's enough of that! Off
to find Bonnie.
Slow camera pan to the horizon. The lights of the other
ships out on the horizon blur and then sharpen to reveal the
beauty of the S.S. Normandie. Focus on a couple standing
together in the line to get on the cruise liner. It is easy
to distinguish Robert with the back of his hair standing up.
His warm brown eyes turn to face Bonnie, the lights that
outline the dark ship reflect back in his eyes.
I never thought a ship could be,
so... so beautiful.
Well, not nearly as beautiful as
you tonight.
Thank you.
Together they board the ship through the gangplank. They
enter through a small door into the dining area. The dining
area is elegant, with large dangling chandeliers over every
table. The tablecloths are made of a luxurious linen. The
glasses sparkle and chinking of silverware and laughter
fills the room. Bonnie and Robert sit at a table with
another two couples near one of the many large landscape
windows that overlook the water. Robert pulls out the chair
for Bonnie.
      (faces other
Good evening, everyone.


                       THE OTHER COUPLES
Good evening!
                       ELDERLY WOMAN ON BONNIE’S LEFT
Hello, my name is Mrs. Baker
      (points to the man
       at her left)
This is the mister. Such a shame
that the ship is being turned over
to the Navy after this. But, at
least it is to a noble cause.
                       TEENAGE BOY ACROSS TABLE
Hello, I'm Howard and this is my
      (Smiles at
       Margaret and
       leans in)
Did you know, FDR is on this very
boat? He wanted to come enjoy
dinner and send the ship off on
its' farewell.
                       MR. BAKER
Now son, you can't expect us to
believe that, can you? The missus
and I may be old, but we are not
naive like children.
But sir it's true. I heard the
kitchen staff talking about it
when I left to take a smoke
      (Squints behind
       Mrs. Baker)
Look, he's over there!
      (gestures across
       the room)
Now, now. No need to make a scene.
I think it's swell that he is
Me too, it's so hard to stay
positive during the war.


      (suddenly pale)
What day is it?
February 9th. What, what is it,
The camera slides slowly out of focus. The lights become
orbs of light. Visions of fires dance across the screen.
Screams are heard in the distance. Sounds of a ship sinking
and hitting the ocean floor. A newspaper headline comes into
view. In bold S.S. NORMANDIE SINKS and is replaced by
another headline FDR DIES IN SHIP FIRE.
      (Voice over)
This is it. February 9th, 1942. I
can't believe it, I have been
running away from this since the
beginning. There's no more time to
run, and I am tired of trying to
run away from my fate rather than
face it head on. I have to face
this, though I may die trying.
      (to Bonnie)
No, nothing to worry about. I, I
just need a splash of water. I'll
be back.
      (with a smile)
Don't worry.
The camera follows Robert from the table to the narrow
hallway on the ship's deck that continues on to the
bathroom. Robert enters, his hands are shaking as he turns
on the tap. Letting the basin fill, he submerges his face.
Focus from below. He closes his eyes and the camera imitates
eyelids. His vision fills with Bonnie. A slow montage of her
singing, her laughing at dinner, the moon reflecting in her
eyes before dinner. Then it fades to Bonnie in her dinner
dress underwater, unmoving, the ship's lights blink out
behind her. Robert suddenly jerks up out of the water.
       steely-eyed in
       the mirror)
You will do it for her. No one
else must die. Especially not


Suddenly, the lights flicker out and then go dark. An alarm
begins to blare. In the darkness, Robert fumbles around to
try and turn the doorknob. He sprints outside and finds
himself knee deep in sea water. There are cargo boxes
partially floating in the seawater around him. He jumps over
them but cuts his leg and falls in the process. The ship is
tilting up at an increasing incline. Cries for help are
muffled by the heavy doors. Pushing himself back up on the
nearest cargo box, getting splinters in his hand; Robert
sprints to the door and pounds against it. He attempts to
move the door but it does not budge. He dashes to the
nearest window. With the help of the lights from the other
ships on the horizon he is able to make out the dim forms of
Bonnie, the Bakers and Howard and Margaret.
      (Visibly relieved)
Thank... Thank you, God, she is
still alive.
      (Cupping his hands
       and screaming
       into the glass)
      (Sees his outline
       in the window)
Oh Robert!
Bonnie rushes over, leaving the Bakers and the young couple
behind at the table.
      (to Bonnie through
       the glass))
Thank God, you are okay.
How is it in there?
It's okay. There's a couple inches
of water on the ground. What
I wish I could say nothing is
wrong, but the ship is sinking.
      (breathing heavily)
he...the ship is s-sinking and
we're tr-trapped in here.


                       BONNIE (cont'd)
      (turns away)
C'mon, Bonnie. Stay calm.
      (Breathes deeply
       and turns back)
Well, any good news?
Yes, if you help me, everyone can
make it out alive. Just tell me
one thing, how is the President?
      (looks over
He's fine. The Secret Service are
trying to find ways out now.
Thank God. Now, get everyone to
move back. I'm going to try and
bust out one of the windows so we
can escape onto the lifeboats.
Hurry! The water is about a foot
high in here. And Robert, please
be careful.
Don't worry. I will.
Bonnie turns around and ushers everyone to the other side of
the dining hall. Most huddle together on the opposite side
and begin crying.
                       MRS. BAKER
      (to Bonnie)
What is that man going to do?
I don't know, ma'am.
But, I think he's trying to save
our lives.
Pan over from where they are huddled to outside where Robert
is pacing back and forth muttering to himself. The lights
from distant ships light up his face.
Okay, we have to rescue a ship
full of passengers and the crew,
prevent it from sinking to poison


                       MAN (cont'd)
the environment and oh, I HAVE
      (rests his head on
       a pole)
This, is going to be a close one.
He looks to his left and spies a long narrow piece of pipe.
Lifting it with a grunt, he compares it to the window.
Well this is one of the stupidest
things you have ever done...
Well here it goes.
Taking a few steps back he runs full force into the window.
Shards of glass fly everywhere and he crashes through to the
dining hall, where the water has risen six more inches and
is rising rapidly.
      (looks up)
Oh Robert!
      (rushes to hug him)
You're okay!
Well, I promised I would be
careful didn't I?
Now off to save some lives.
      (Turns to the
       crowd and shouts)
LISTEN UP EVERYONE!As you have all
most likely figured out by now,
the ship is sinking. I do not know
what the cause was but, I do know
you are frightened and scared but,
we all need to keep level headed
if we want to survive.
                       SECRET SERVICE MAN
How do we know we can trust you?
Who are you even?
Chorus of who are you? and why should we trust you? travel
through the crowd.


I'm your ticket out of here,
ladies and gentlemen. And believe
me, when I say, you are going to
have to trust me on this.
Someone in the back clears his throat. He steps out from the
mass of men in suits.
                       FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
You heard the man, ladies and
gentlemen and I do not see anyone
with a better plan, so listen to
Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr.
      (Shakes his head)
Okay, we must calmly make our way
to the lifeboats? Does anyone know
where they are?
      (timidly raises
       her hand)
There are some on the other side
of the boat.
      (Looks at her)
Thank you very much. My best guess
is that we have 10 minutes left.
So half of you line up in the
front of the room and the other
half in the back, to keep the ship
from tilting up any more than it
already has.
      (to Robert)
Don't even try to throw me on a
lifeboat. I am not leaving without
      (with a smile)
I wouldn't dare.
The passengers and remaining crew file together. The able
bodied men, help Robert deploy the lifeboats. Women,
children and elderly huddle together to keep warm. There is


seemingly too many people to fit into the lifeboats but
everyone manages to fit. There is one remaining lifeboat for
Robert, Bonnie, Howard, Margaret and the President along
with one of his Secret Service. Bonnie, Margaret and the
President board. The ship is far past 45 degrees at this
point. The deck is slippery and Robert, Howard and Secret
Service remain to lower the lifeboat.
      (to Robert)
Get in! It's only a job for two. I
can handle it.
No, you get in. I have it.
Okay then, afraid to be shown up
by a teenager, I see.
Howard tries to move toward the life raft but the boat
suddenly jerks up 10 more degrees. Howard slips off the
already slick deck and into the dark water below. There is
no sign of him.
      (Turns and begins
      (Shouts at the
       Secret Service
Drop the line, we have to go
rescue him.
The boat plummets into the water with a huge splash sending
a large wave. The passengers begin searching in the water
for Howard but there is no sign of him. Robert looks
stunned. He desperately searches the water. Margaret
continues crying.
      (to Margaret)
I am so sorry. He was a good boy.
I only told him to get in the boat
      (chokes back a sob)
Because, I thought it would be
safer. I am so, so sorry.


I know there was nothing you could
have possibly done. I'm... I'm
just glad he died saving others,
saving all of us, rather than only
caring about his own skin.
                       FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
When I return to Washington, I
will be sure to award Howard with
the highest possible honors for
extreme bravery, public service
and heroism.
      (turns to Robert)
And the same honor will be awarded
to you, sir for tremendous valor.
Without you, the ship and all of
its passengers would have gone
down. You have saved so many
people's lives today. You will be
a national hero, as well as young
The crew, with somber expressions on their faces, slowly
begin the arduous job of paddling back to the shore.
Nana and Ashley are sitting in the kitchen. Early evening
light filters through the window. The mugs on the counter
top are empty and pushed to the side.
      (shocked and
So Howard... he really died?
Nana stares out the window for a moment. A single tear rolls
down her cheek.
Yes. He was a good man. It was one
of your grandfather's biggest
regrets, that he could not save
So, what happened to Margaret?


Well, Howard was the only thing
she had left in life. Her parents
were dead. Her mother died when
she was young and her father had
died a year before in the war. She
lived with an aunt who was usually
so drunk, she didn't know where
Margaret was most of the time.
My, my mother's name is Maggie.
Did you name her after Margaret?
That's just the thing, sweetie.
She is Margaret. Since your
grandfather had saved FDR and
later recovered the cruise liner
from the sea floor, he was able to
go out and live his life. And that
included marrying me. We adopted
Margaret and together we've
traveled around places near and
far. Your grandfather with his
time machine, took us anywhere and
everywhere we wanted to go. We
settled down, and your father met
your mother and then you came
along. Sadly, your grandfather was
gone by then.
He died?
Yes, he passed away due to
      (stands up and
       looks out into
       the deepening
A man so full of life shouldn't
have died like that. He's seen the
horrors of the past but still
cares enough to save the future; a
future filled with much scarier
and yet even more beautiful
things. I am reminded he was a
good man, and without him there
would be no future for us… For
anyone. I miss him more than life


                       NANA (cont'd)
      (Deep breath)
But now I have you in my life.
Nana turns around towards Ashley again with a smile on her
face and tears glistening in her eyes.
And I can't leave you and your
dear mother alone now can I?
Ashley rushes over around the table to Nana, giving her a
hug around the middle and burying her head in her stomach.
I love you.
      (Hugging Ashley
I love you too sweetheart.
      (Squeezes tighter)
And your grandfather loves you
Begin slow pan out from the lighted kitchen window where
Nana and Ashley are still embracing. It is night out and the
camera draws out still focused on the window behind a tree.
The camera travels up the house to a lone star in the sky
directly in the sky. The star blinks once, then twice and
the screen fades to black.


Back to Top of Page
Leave Feedback
There is currently no feedback for this screenplay.

Back to Top of Page
Leave Feedback
You must be logged in to leave feedback.
Home    My Account    Products    Screenwriter Community    Screenwriter's Corner    Help
Forgot Your Password?    Privacy Policy    Copyright 2024, ScriptBuddy LLC.    Email help@scriptbuddy.com