Every Oscar Best Picture-Winning Movie Based on a Book or a Play

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Every Oscar Best Picture-Winning Movie Based on a Book or a Play

From Ben-Hur to The Silence of the Lambs, movies rooted in literature have captivated audiences for decades. The Academy must be enthralled by these films as well, because two-thirds of Oscar Best Picture winners have been adapted from literary sources.

Moonlight’s dramatic win made it the 60th literary movie to earn the award, so we decided to list every winning title inspired by a book, short story, play or epic poem (here’s looking at you, Braveheart). Enjoy diving back in time through 80+ years of Oscar history.

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Moonlight

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Based on: “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” (play) by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

Starring: Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2017 (89th Academy Awards Ceremony)

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12 Years a Slave

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Based on: Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2014 (86th Ceremony)

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Argo

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Based on: The Master of Disguise by Antonio J. Mendez and “The Great Escape” (Wired article) by Joshuah Bearman

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2013 (85th Ceremony)

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Slumdog Millionaire

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Based on: Q & A by Vikas Swarup

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2009 (81st Ceremony)

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No Country for Old Men

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Based on: No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

Directed by: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2008 (80th Ceremony)

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Million Dollar Baby

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Based on: Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner by F.X. Toole

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2005 (77th Ceremony)

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Based on: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Directed by: Peter Jackson

Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2004 (76th Ceremony)

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Chicago

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Based on: Chicago (musical) by Fred Ebb, Bob Foss and John Kander, which was based on Chicago (play) by Maurine Dallas Watkins

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Starring: Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2003 (75th Ceremony)

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A Beautiful Mind

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Based on: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

Directed by: Ron Howard

Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly

Year Awarded Best Picture: 2002 (74th Ceremony)

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The English Patient

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Based on: The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1997 (69th Ceremony)

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Braveheart

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Based on: The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace (epic poem) by Blind Harry

Directed by: Mel Gibson

Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1996 (68th Ceremony)

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Forrest Gump

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Based on: Forrest Gump by Winston Groom

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1995 (67th Ceremony)

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Schindler’s List

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Based on: Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes

Year Awarded Best Picture:1994 (66th Ceremony)

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The Silence of the Lambs

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Based on: The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

Starring: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1992 (64th Ceremony)

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Dances with Wolves

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Based on: Dances with Wolves by Michael Blake

Directed by: Kevin Costner

Starring: Kevin Costner, Mary McDonnell, Graham Greene

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1991 (63rd Ceremony)

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Driving Miss Daisy

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Based on: Driving Miss Daisy (play) by Alfred Uhry

Directed by: Bruce Beresford

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1990 (62nd Ceremony)

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The Last Emperor

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Based on: From Emperor to Citizen: The Autobiography of Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi by Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi

Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci

Starring: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O’Toole

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1988 (60th Ceremony)

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Out of Africa

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Based on: Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen; Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Story Teller by Judith Thurman; Silence Will Speak: A Study of the Life of Denys Finch Hatton and His Relationship with Karen Blixen by Errol Trzebinski

Directed by: Sydney Pollack

Starring: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1986 (58th Ceremony)

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Amadeus

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Based on: Amadeus (play) by Peter Shaffer

Directed by: Miloš Forman

Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1985 (57th Ceremony)

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Terms of Endearment

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Based on: Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurty

Directed by: James L. Brooks

Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1984 (56th Ceremony)

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Ordinary People

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Based on: Ordinary People by Judith Guest

Directed by: Robert Redford

Starring: Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, Judd Hirsch

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1981 (53rd Ceremony)

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Kramer vs. Kramer

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Based on: Kramer vs. Kramer by Avery Corman

Directed by: Robert Benton

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1980 (52nd Ceremony)

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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Based on: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Directed by: Miloš Forman

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, William Redfield

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1976 (48th Ceremony)

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The Godfather Part II

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Based on: The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1975 (47th Ceremony)

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The Godfather

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Based on: The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1973 (45th Ceremony)

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The French Connection

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Based on: The French Connection by Robin Moore

Directed by: William Friedkin

Starring: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1972 (44th Ceremony)

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Patton

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Based on: Patton: Ordeal and Triumph by Ladislas Farago; A Soldier’s Story by Omar N. Bradley

Directed by: Franklin J. Schaffner

Starring: George C. Scott, Karl Malden

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1971 (43rd Ceremony)

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Midnight Cowboy

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Based on: Midnight Cowboy by James Leo Herlihy

Directed by: John Schlesinger

Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1970 (42nd Ceremony)

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Oliver!

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Based on: Oliver! (musical) by Lionel Bart, which was based on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Directed by: Carol Reed

Starring: Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1969 (41st Ceremony)

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In the Heat of the Night

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Based on: In the Heat of the Night by John Ball

Directed by: Norman Jewison

Starring: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1968 (40th Ceremony)

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A Man for All Seasons

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Based on: A Man for All Seasons (play) by Robert Bolt

Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

Starring: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1967 (39th Ceremony)

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The Sound of Music

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Based on: The Sound of Music (musical) by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, which was based on The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp

Directed by: Robert Wise

Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1966 (38th Ceremony)

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My Fair Lady

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Based on: My Fair Lady (musical) by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, which was based on Pygmalion (play) by George Bernard Shaw

Directed by: George Cukor

Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1965 (37th Ceremony)

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Tom Jones

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Based on: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling by Henry Fielding

Directed by: Tony Richardson

Starring: Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1964 (36th Ceremony)

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Lawrence of Arabia

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Based on: Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence

Directed by: David Lean

Starring: Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn

Year Awarded Best Picture: 1963 (35th Ceremony)

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West Side Story

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Based on: West Side Story (musical) by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, which was based on Romeo and Juliet (play) by William Shakespeare

Directed by: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins

Starring: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno
Year Awarded Best Motion Picture*: 1962 (34th Ceremony)

*Award title change.

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Ben-Hur

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Based on: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Directed by: William Wyler

Starring: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1960 (32nd Ceremony)

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Gigi

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Based on: Gigi (novella) by Colette

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli

Starring: Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1959 (31st Ceremony)

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The Bridge on the River Kwai

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Based on: The Bridge Over the River Kwai by Pierre Boulle

Directed by: David Lean

Starring: William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1958 (30th Ceremony)

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Around the World in 80 Days

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Based on: Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Directed by: Michael Anderson

Starring: David Niven, Cantinflas, Shirley MacLaine

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1957 (29th Ceremony)

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From Here to Eternity

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Based on: From Here to Eternity by James Jones

Directed by: Fred Zinnemann

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1954 (26th Ceremony)

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All About Eve

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Based on: “The Wisdom of Eve” (short story) by Mary Orr

Directed by: Joseph L Mankiewicz

Starring: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1951 (23rd Ceremony)

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All the King’s Men

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Based on: All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

Directed by: Robert Rossen

Starring: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Mercedes McCambridge

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1950 (22nd Ceremony)

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Hamlet

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Based on: Hamlet (play) by William Shakespeare

Directed by: Laurence Olivier

Starring: Laurence Olivier

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1949 (21st Ceremony)

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Gentleman’s Agreement

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Based on: Gentleman’s Agreement by Laura Z. Hobson

Directed by: Elia Kazan

Starring: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1948 (20th Ceremony)

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The Best Years of Our Lives

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Based on: Glory for Me (novella) by MacKinlay Kantor

Directed by: William Wyler

Starring: Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1947 (19th Ceremony)

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The Lost Weekend

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Based on: The Lost Weekend by Charles R. Jackson

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Starring: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman

Year Awarded Best Motion Picture: 1946 (18th Ceremony)

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Casablanca

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Based on: Everybody Comes to Rick’s (unproduced play) by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison

Directed by: Michael Curtiz

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

Year Awarded Outstanding Motion Picture*: 1944 (16th Ceremony)

*Award title change.

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Mrs. Miniver

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Based on: Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

Directed by: William Wyler

Starring: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon

Year Awarded Outstanding Motion Picture: 1943 (15th Ceremony)

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How Green Was My Valley

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Based on: How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn

Directed by: John Ford

Starring: Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O’Hara, Anna Lee

Year Awarded Outstanding Motion Picture: 1942 (14th Ceremony)

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Rebecca

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Based on: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Starring: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine

Year Awarded Outstanding Production*: 1941 (13th Ceremony)

*Award title change.

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Gone with the Wind

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Based on: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Directed by: Victor Fleming

Starring:Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1940 (12th Ceremony)

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You Can’t Take It with You

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Based on: You Can’t Take It with You (play) by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart

Directed by: Frank Capra

Starring: Jean Arthur, Lionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Edward Arnold

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1939 (11th Ceremony)

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The Life of Emile Zola

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Based on: Zola and His Time by Matthew Josephson

Directed by: William Dieterle

Starring: Paul Muni, Gloria Holden, Gale Sondergaard

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1938 (10th Ceremony)

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Mutiny on the Bounty

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Based on: Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall

Directed by: Frank Lloyd

Starring: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1936 (8th Ceremony)

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It Happened One Night

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Based on: “Night Bus” (short story) by Samuel Hopkins Adams

Directed by: Frank Capra

Starring: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert

Year Awarded Be Outstanding Production: 1935 (7th Ceremony)

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Cavalcade

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Based on: Cavalcade (play) by Noël Coward

Directed by: Frank Lloyd

Starring: Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O’Connor

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1934 (6th Ceremony)

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Grand Hotel

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Based on: Grand Hotel (play) by William A. Drake, which was based on Menschen im Hotel by Vicki Baum

Directed by: Edmund Goulding

Starring: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1932 (5th Ceremony)

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Cimarron

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Based on: Cimarron by Edna Ferber

Directed by: Wesley Ruggles

Starring: Richard Dix, Irene Dunne

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1931 (4th Ceremony)

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All Quiet on the Western Front

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Based on: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Directed by: Lewis Milestone

Starring: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim

Year Awarded Outstanding Production: 1930 (3rd Ceremony)

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