He is the author of many scripts of famous movies such as Chinatown (1974 ), with whom he won an Oscar, the sequel to the film The Two Jakes (1990) and Shampoo ( 1975), as well as the screenplays for the first two Mission Impossible movies. He is also known to revise existing scripts that have not yet been made final. This has made The Godfather at Towne screenplay for the film, for example.
Having for years on the screenplay for the film Greystoke - collaborated The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984 ), he was so upset about the production of the actual movie that he had deleted from the biasing its name and its in place the name of his dog, PH Vázák, was used for the script. Vázák was thus the first dog in the history of the Academy Awards, which was nominated for best screenplay, but ultimately did not win the Oscar.