29 Greatest Movies With Best Adapted Screenplay Award!

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When it comes to film adaptations of novels, comic books, historical texts, plays, and even TV movies, writers constantly run into huge obstacles.  What material should they remain faithful to?  Where can they take license to revamp the story? And is there any forumla or set way to please everyone who liked the original material in the first place?

These are the films that have done it best, and in many cases, have taken license in changing a significant amount of the original material to make the movie version work. Enjoy!

29. Precious, 2009

In 1987, Claireece Precious Jones endures unimaginable hardships in her young life. Abused by her mother, raped by her father, she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. So what better way to learn about her than through her own, halting dialect.

IMDb: 7.4

28. The Descendants, 2011

Attorney Matt King is having a difficult time coping with his life at the moment. His wife Elizabeth is in a coma in the hospital following a boating accident. His youngest daughter Scottie is acting out and in many ways Matt is forced to be a parent for the first time in a long time. Matt is also in control of a family trust, one that is set to expire in a few years time. The trust owns a huge tract of land - vigorously sought by developers - the sale of which would be of great help financially to many of his cousins. He fetches his eldest daughter Alexandra from school and in a heated argument learns that Elizabeth was having an affair and was going to divorce him. Matt sets out to see the man, but isn't quite sure what he will say or do when he locates him.

IMDb: 7.4

27. Traffic, 2000

A modern day look at America's war on drugs told through four separate stories that are connected in one way or another. A conservative judge who's just been appointed as the US drug czar learns that his teenage honor student daughter is a drug addict. A beautiful trophy wife struggles to save her wealthy husband's drug business, while two DEA agents protect a witness with inside knowledge of the spouse's business. In Mexico, a slightly corrupt, yet dedicated cop struggles with his conscience when he learns that his new boss may not be the anti-drug official he made himself out to be.

IMDb: 7.7

26. Brokeback Mountain, 2005

Two young men, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, meet when they get a job as sheep herders on Brokeback Mountain. They are at first strangers, then they become friends. Throughout the weeks, they grow closer as they learn more about each other. One night, after some heavy drinking, they find a deeper connection. They then indulge in a blissful romance for the rest of the summer. Unable to deal with their feelings for each other, they part ways at the end of the summer. Four years go by, and they each settle down, Ennis in Wyoming with his wife and two girls, and Jack in Texas with his wife and son. Still longing for each other, they meet back up, and are faced with the fact that they need each other. They undeniably need each other, and unsure of what to do, they start a series of "fishing trips", in order to spend time together. The relationship struggles on for years until tragedy strikes.

IMDb: 7.7

25. Midnight Express, 1978

On October 6, 1970, American college student Billy Hayes is caught attempting to smuggle drugs out of Turkey. The Turkish courts decide to make an example of him, sentencing him to more than 30 years in prison. The prison environment is inhospitable in every sense, with a sadistic prison guard named Hamidou ruling the prison, he who relishes the mental and physical torture he inflicts on the prisoners for whatever reason. Hayes has two opportunities for release: the appeals made by his lawyer, his family, and the American government, or the "Midnight Express".

IMDb: 7.7

24. The Last Emperor, 1987

This sweeping account of the life of Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China, follows the leader's tumultuous reign. After being captured by the Red Army as a war criminal in 1950, Pu-Yi recalls his childhood from prison. He remembers his lavish youth in the Forbidden City, where he was afforded every luxury but unfortunately sheltered from the outside world and complex political situation surrounding him. As revolution sweeps through China, the world Pu-Yi knew is dramatically upended.

IMDb: 7.8

23. Argo, 2012

In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans were taken hostage. However, six managed to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA was ordered to get them out of the country. With few options, exfiltration expert Tony Mendez devised a daring plan: create a phony Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran and smuggle the Americans out as its production crew. With the help of some trusted Hollywood contacts, Mendez created the ruse and proceeded to Iran as its associate producer. However, time was running out with the Iranian security forces closing in on the truth while both his charges and the White House had grave doubts about the operation themselves.

IMDb: 7.8

22. The Social Network, 2010

On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history... but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.

IMDb: 7.8

21. Ordinary People, 1980

Beth, Calvin, and their son Conrad are living in the aftermath of the death of the other son. Conrad is overcome by grief and misplaced guilt to the extent of a suicide attempt. He is in therapy. Beth had always preferred his brother and is having difficulty being supportive to Conrad. Calvin is trapped between the two trying to hold the family together.

IMDb: 7.9

20. Dances with Wolves, 1990

Lt. John Dunbar is dubbed a hero after he accidentally leads Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. He requests a position on the western frontier, but finds it deserted. He soon finds out he is not alone, but meets a wolf he dubs "Two-socks" and a curious Indian tribe. Dunbar quickly makes friends with the tribe, and discovers a white woman who was raised by the Indians. He gradually earns the respect of these native people, and sheds his white-man's ways.

IMDb: 8.0

19. Slumdog Millionaire, 2008

Jamal and his brother Salim were raised in the slums of Mumbai. Orphaned at a young age, they managed to survive as did their young friend Latika. Jamal becomes a contestant on India's version of Who Wants To Be A Millionnaire. He manages to get to 10 million rupees in his first appearance but is arrested by the police who want to know how an illiterate 'slumdog' - as children raised in the slum are called - could possibly know all of those answers without cheating. He explains how specific events in his life taught him the answers and all he can say that being asked questions to which he knows the answers is simply fate. He hopes that fate will give at least one more good turn as he had a very specific reason for going on the show in the first place.

IMDb: 8.0

18. 12 Years a Slave, 2013

Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.

IMDb:  8.1

17. The Imitation Game: Enigma, 2014

Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain's top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.

IMDb: 8.1

16. Sling Blade, 1996

Karl Childers, now a grown man, is released from a psychiatric hospital where he has been hospitalized since the age of 12 for the murder of his mother and her lover. He returns to his childhood town, and although being mentally handicapped, gets a job fixing small motors at a local repair shop. Karl befriends a young boy, Frank, and is soon invited by Frank's mother Linda to move into the family's garage. As a strong relationship develops between Karl and Frank, a confrontation builds with Linda's abusive and sometimes violent boyfriend Doyle

IMDb: 8.1

15. Gone with the Wind, 1939

Scarlett is a woman who can deal with a nation at war, Atlanta burning, the Union Army carrying off everything from her beloved Tara, the carpetbaggers who arrive after the war. Scarlett is beautiful. She has vitality. But Ashley, the man she has wanted for so long, is going to marry his placid cousin, Melanie. Mammy warns Scarlett to behave herself at the party at Twelve Oaks. There is a new man there that day, the day the Civil War begins. Rhett Butler. Scarlett does not know he is in the room when she pleads with Ashley to choose her instead of Melanie.

IMDb: 8.1

14. A Beautiful Mind, 2001

From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over his tragedy, and finally - late in life - received the Nobel Prize.

IMDb: 8.1

13. No Country for Old Men, 2007

After stumbling across a case of money among dead bodies, Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) thinks he can keep it quiet, but when silent killer Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) locates Moss and his money, Vietnam veteran Moss makes a run for it. With bodies falling everywhere Anton goes, it's only a matter of time before he catches up with Llewelyn. Whilst all this is going on, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is overseeing the investigation and begins to see the country in a different light than it once was.

IMDb: 8.1

12. To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962

Small-town Alabama, 1932. Atticus Finch (played by Gregory Peck) is a lawyer and a widower. He has two young children, Jem and Scout. Atticus Finch is currently defending Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Meanwhile, Jem and Scout are intrigued by their neighbours, the Radleys, and the mysterious, seldom-seen Boo Radley in particular. 

IMDb: 8.3

11. Amadeus,1984

Antonio Salieri believes that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music is divine and miraculous. He wishes he was himself as good a musician as Mozart so that he can praise the Lord through composing. He began his career as a devout man who believes his success and talent as a composer are God's rewards for his piety. He's also content as the respected, financially well-off, court composer of Austrian Emperor Joseph II. But he's shocked to learn that Mozart is such a vulgar creature, and can't understand why God favored Mozart to be his instrument. Salieri's envy has made him an enemy of God whose greatness was evident in Mozart. He is ready to take revenge against God and Mozart for his own musical mediocrity.

IMDb: 8.3

10. Los Angeles Confidential, 1997

1950's Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime.

IMDb: 8.3

9. The Pianist, 2002

A brilliant pianist, a Polish Jew, witnesses the restrictions Germans place on Jews in the Polish capital, from restricted access to the building of the Warsaw ghetto. As his family is rounded up to be shipped off to the German Nazi labor camps, he escapes deportation and eludes capture by living in the ruins of Warsaw.

IMDb: 8.5

8. The Departed, 2006

Two just-graduated officers from Massachusetts State Police Academy follow opposite sides of the law: Billy Costigan is assigned to work undercover with the Irish mobster Frank Costello to get evidence to arrest him. His true identity is known only by his superiors Dignam and Oliver Queenan. The protégé of Costello, Colin Sullivan, is promoted in the Massachusetts State Police and is the informer of Costello. Each police officer gives his best effort trying to disclose the identity of the other "rat."

IMDb: 8.5

7. Casablanca, 1943

In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining a Czechoslovak underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick's one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan....

IMDb: 8.5

6. The Silence of the Lambs, 1991

Young FBI agent Clarice Starling is assigned to help find a missing woman to save her from a psychopathic serial killer who skins his victims. Clarice attempts to gain a better insight into the twisted mind of the killer by talking to another psychopath: Hannibal Lecter, who used to be a respected psychiatrist. FBI agent Jack Crawford believes that Lecter, who is also a very powerful and clever mind manipulator, has the answers to their questions and can help locate the killer. However, Clarice must first gain Lecter's confidence before the inmate will give away any information.

IMDb: 8.6

5. One Flew the Cukoo’s Nest, 1975

McMurphy has a criminal past and has once again gotten himself into trouble and is sentenced by the court. To escape labor duties in prison, McMurphy pleads insanity and is sent to a ward for the mentally unstable. Once here, McMurphy both endures and stands witness to the abuse and degradation of the oppressive Nurse Ratched, who gains superiority and power through the flaws of the other inmates. McMurphy and the other inmates band together to make a rebellious stance against the atrocious Nurse.

IMDb: 8.7

4. Forrest Gump, 1994

When Forrest gets up to talk at the Vietnam rally in Washington, the microphone plug is pulled and you cannot hear him. According to Tom Hanks, he says, "Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don't go home at all. That's a bad thing. That's all I have to say about that."

IMDb: 8.8

3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2003

Gondor is overrun by the orcs of Mordor, and Gandalf rides to Minas Tirith to aid the humans in the war that is ahead. Aragorn must realize his true identity and purpose as the King of Men, and journey with Gimli and Legolas to summon the Army of the Dead so that the battle against evil can be won. Meanwhile, paranoia and suspicion rises between Frodo, Sam and Gollum as they continue their increasingly dark and dangerous travel to Mount Doom, the one place where The Ring can be destroyed once and for all.

IMDb: 8.9

2. Schindler’s List, 1993

Oskar Schindler is a vainglorious and greedy German businessman who becomes an unlikely humanitarian amid the barbaric German Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews. Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler who managed to save about 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp, it is a testament to the good in all of us.

IMDb: 8.9

1. The Godfather, 1972

When the aging head of a famous crime family decides to transfer his position to one of his subalterns, a series of unfortunate events start happening to the family, and a war begins between all the well-known families leading to insolence, deportation, murder and revenge, and ends with the favorable successor being finally chosen.

IMDb: 9.2

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