Award Shows The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)  

Ranker Film
1.3k votes 317 voters 1.6k views 81 items

Every year the Academy evaluates a year's worth of brilliant original screenplays and picks what they believe to be the best of the best, nominating these for the most prestigious writing awards in cinema: the Oscars. This in itself is an honor - just to be nominated for an Academy Award. But only one person can win each year, and the men and women listed here are all Academy Award winners for Best Adapted Screenplay - but which Best Adapted Screenplay winners are the best?

Of the screenwriters who have won in this category, who is the greatest?  Is it a classic writer like Francis Ford Coppola (Godfather I, II, and III)? Maybe a more contemporary writer like William Monahan (The Departed) or Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)? Maybe it's writer who penned a contemporary classic like Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List). What about the other top Hollywood writers who can count themselves among the ranks of Oscar-winning screenplay writers?

With so many options choosing the best is hard, but that's where you come in. Vote up the very best writers of all the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award winners below!
list ordered by

1
73 11
James Ivory is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer - Call Me by Your Name, 2018

2
78 16
Eric Roth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter - Forrest Gump, 1995

3
32 12
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - The Godfather, 1972; The Godfather Part II, 1975

4
25 11
Bo Goldman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Playwright - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

5
21 9
Ted Tally is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright - The Silence of the Lambs, 1992

6
22 10
Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Actor - The Social Network, 2011

7
21 10
Horton Foote is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - To Kill a Mockingbird, 1963

8
21 10
Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Comedian, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Sense and Sensibility, 1996

9
22 11
Steven Zaillian is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Editor - Schindler's List, 1994

10
11 3
Billy Bob Thornton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Musician, Singer-songwriter, Screenwriter - Sling Blade, 1997

11
15 8
John Ridley is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - 12 Years a Slave, 2014

12
16 9
Peter Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author, Playwright - Amadeus, 1985

13
13 7
Brian Helgeland is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - L.A. Confidential, 1998

14
14 8
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author - All the President's Men, 1977

15
12 7
Pierre Boulle is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author - The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1958

16
10 5
Ring Lardner Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
MASH, 1971

17
12 7
Chris Terrio is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Film Editor, Film Director - Argo, 2013

18
11 6
Waldo Salt is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter - Midnight Cowboy, 1970

19
13 9
William Monahan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Journalist, Novelist, Film Producer - The Departed, 2007

20
11 7
Stephen Gaghan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - Traffic, 2001

21
10 6
Larry McMurtry is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author - Brokeback Mountain, 2006

22
9 5
James L. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Terms of Endearment, 1984

23
8 5
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer - A Room with a View, 1987;  Howards End, 1993

24
10 8
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - No Country for Old Men, 2008

25
9 7
Alexander Payne is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Sideways, 2005;  The Descendants, 2012

26
9 7
Philip G. Epstein is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer - Casablanca, 1944

27
8 6
George Seaton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Theatre Director, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Miracle on 34th Street, 1948;  The Country Girl, 1955

28
7 5
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - The Treasure of the Sierre Madre, 1949

29
6 4
Stirling Silliphant is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - In the Heat of the Night, 1968

30
10 9
Sidney Howard is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Playwright - Gone with the Wind, 1940

31
9 8
Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television director, Soldier, Television producer - Midnight Express, 1979

32
8 7
Alfred Uhry is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author, Writer - Driving Miss Daisy, 1990

33
7 6
Ernest Thompson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television director, Screenwriter, Author - On Golden Pond, 1982

34
6 5
William Peter Blatty is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - The Exorcist, 1974

35
5 4
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Marty, 1956

36
7 7
Christopher Hampton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Lyricist - Dangerous Liaisons, 1989

37
6 6
Victor Heerman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - Little Women, 1934

38
6 6
Robert Bolt is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Soldier, Screenwriter, Playwright - Doctor Zhivago, 1966;  A Man for All Seasons, 1967

39
5 5
Frank Butler is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Actor - Going My Way, 1945

40
5 5
Graham Moore is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Graham Moore The Imitation Game, 2015

41
4 4
Harry Brown is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter - A Place in the Sun, 1952

42
4 4
Edward Anhalt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - Becket, 1965

43
7 8
John Irving is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author - The Cider House Rules, 2000

44
6 7
James Goldman is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwright - The Lion in Winter, 1969

45
6 7
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Journalist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - The Lost Weekend, 1946

46
5 6
Geoffrey Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Geoffrey Fletcher Precious, 2010

47
4 5
Richard Brooks is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Elmer Gantry, 1961

48
4 5
Joseph L. Mankiewicz is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - A Letter to Three Wives, 1950;  All About Eve, 1951

49
3 4
Costa-Gavras is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - Missing, 1983

50
3 4
George Froeschel is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)