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

Ranker Film
1.4k votes 327 voters 1.8k 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
76 15
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
80 20
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
34 15
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
22 11
Ted Tally is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright - The Silence of the Lambs, 1992

5
23 12
Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Comedian, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Sense and Sensibility, 1996

6
25 15
Bo Goldman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Playwright - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

7
22 13
Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Actor - The Social Network, 2011

8
23 14
Steven Zaillian is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Editor - Schindler's List, 1994

9
18 10
Peter Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author, Playwright - Amadeus, 1985

10
21 13
Horton Foote is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - To Kill a Mockingbird, 1963

11
11 5
Billy Bob Thornton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Musician, Singer-songwriter, Screenwriter - Sling Blade, 1997

12
15 10
John Ridley is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - 12 Years a Slave, 2014

13
14 10
William Monahan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Journalist, Novelist, Film Producer - The Departed, 2007

14
13 9
Brian Helgeland is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - L.A. Confidential, 1998

15
12 8
Waldo Salt is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter - Midnight Cowboy, 1970

16
11 7
Larry McMurtry is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author - Brokeback Mountain, 2006

17
11 7
Ring Lardner Jr. is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
MASH, 1971

18
14 11
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author - All the President's Men, 1977

19
12 9
Chris Terrio is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Film Editor, Film Director - Argo, 2013

20
12 9
Pierre Boulle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author - The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1958

21
9 6
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer - A Room with a View, 1987; Howards End, 1993

22
11 9
Stephen Gaghan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - Traffic, 2001

23
9 7
James L. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Terms of Endearment, 1984

24
10 9
Oliver Stone is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television director, Soldier, Television producer - Midnight Express, 1979

25
9 8
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
7 6
William Peter Blatty is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - The Exorcist, 1974

27
10 10
Philip G. Epstein is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer - Casablanca, 1944

28
8 8
Christopher Hampton is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Lyricist - Dangerous Liaisons, 1989

29
8 8
George Seaton is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
7 7
John Huston is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - The Treasure of the Sierre Madre, 1949

31
7 7
Robert Bolt is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Soldier, Screenwriter, Playwright - Doctor Zhivago, 1966; A Man for All Seasons, 1967

32
6 6
Stirling Silliphant is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - In the Heat of the Night, 1968

33
10 11
Sidney Howard is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Playwright - Gone with the Wind, 1940

34
10 11
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - No Country for Old Men, 2008

35
8 9
Alfred Uhry is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author, Writer - Driving Miss Daisy, 1990

36
7 8
James Goldman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwright - The Lion in Winter, 1969

37
7 8
Ernest Thompson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television director, Screenwriter, Author - On Golden Pond, 1982

38
6 7
Victor Heerman is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - Little Women, 1934

39
6 7
Geoffrey Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Geoffrey Fletcher Precious, 2010

40
5 6
Joseph L. Mankiewicz is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
5 6
Edward Anhalt is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - Becket, 1965

42
5 6
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Marty, 1956

43
5 6
Graham Moore is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Graham Moore The Imitation Game, 2015

44
5 6
Frank Butler is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Actor - Going My Way, 1945

45
4 5
Harry Brown is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Poet, Novelist, Screenwriter - A Place in the Sun, 1952

46
4 5
George Froeschel is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

47
6 8
Alvin Sargent is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Actor - Julia, 1978; Ordinary People, 1981

48
5 7
Donald Ogden Stewart is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author, Writer - The Philadelphia Story, 1941

49
4 6
Abby Mann is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Judgement at Nuremberg, 1962

50
3 5
Costa-Gavras is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - Missing, 1983