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Following is a detailed list of 30 best drama movies of the new millennium. These movies have been ranked solely based on their overall popularity as well as our personal preferences.

30 Best drama movies of the 21st century


Title of the Movie
Year / Director / Cast
Movie Description
1 Django Unchained Release Date:
2012

Country:
USA

Director:
Quentin Tarantino

Cast:
Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Dennis Christopher, Walton Goggins, David Steen, James Remar, Dana Gourrier, Nichole Galicia, Laura Cayouette
Rated as amongst the top films of 2012, ‘Django Unchained’ is among the top American black drama movies which offers an insight into the plight of black men and women in America during the 1800s, and also offers an interesting take on action drama movies. The film is set in 1858, and focuses on the life a slave named Django, who is purchased by a bounty hunter by the name of Dr. King Schultz.
The slave, Django, is offered a deal by Dr. Schultz whereby if he offers to help the latter to find certain men as part of Schultz’s bounty hunting escapades, he would receive his freedom, a horse to ride North, and $ 75. After learning that Django has been separated from his wife, Schultz proposes that they team up for the winter, and in return he would give Django a third of his rewards, in addition to helping him rescue his wife.
Together, the couple sets out on their bounty hunting adventure, and at the culmination of their arrangement they began their search to rescue Broomhilda, Django’s wife. Their search takes them to Mississipi, where they learn that Broomhilda has been sold to a cruel farm-owner named Calvin Candie Von Shaft in Candyland. Subsequently, Schultz and Django conjure an elaborate scheme to rescue Broomhilda from the plantation; however, they run into several obstacles, with Calvin’s servant Stephen posing the biggest threat.
2 The Wrestler Release Date:
2008

Country:
USA, France

Director:
Darren Aronofsky

Cast:
Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Mark Margolis, Evan Rachel Wood, Todd Barry, Wass Stevens, Ernest Miller, Judah Friedlander, Dylan Keith Summers, Tommy Farra, Mike Miller, John D'Leo, Marcia Jean Kurtz
Counted amongst the best drama movies of all time, this film about an aging professional wrestler – Robin Ramzinski, popularly known as ‘The Ram’ Robinson (his stage name) or Randy. He was quite famous during the 80s, but 20 years later, Randy has been reduced to just a has-been. He barely gets any wrestling gigs now and works part-time during weekdays at a local grocery store to earn a livelihood.
Fortunately, Randy is offered a redemption chance and agrees to a rematch with Ayatollah, his well-known opponent, marking the 20th anniversary of the original fight. But Randy is forced into retirement as he suffers a heart attack after a wrestling match. With his wrestling career over, he doesn’t have any option but to start afresh. He tries working on a relationship with Cassidy, a stripper, he feels attached to, but Cassidy always turns down his advances.
Randy also attempts reconciliation with his daughter Stephanie whom he had left at a very young age. But Stephanie rejects him because he is far from an ideal father. Having a hard time adjusting to the new life, and faced with rejections from everywhere, Randy goes ahead with the 20th anniversary rematch, putting his life in danger.
3 12 Years a Slave Release Date:
2013

Country:
USA, UK

Director:
Steve McQueen

Cast:
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dwight Henry, Bryan Batt, Dickie Gravois, Kelsey Scott, Ashley Dyke, Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Zeigler, Tony Bentley, Taran Killam, Scoot McNairy, Christopher Berry, Bill Camp
12 years a slave is the true story of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York who is abducted and forced into a life of slavery. Set in 1841, Northup lives in Saratoga, New York, his wife and kids and earns his living as a violinist. The film charts his struggle for survival after he is abducted by slavers, after being duped on the pretext of a music event outside his town, and sold to slavers in Southern USA.
While initially he refuses to believe the unfortunate turn of events in his life, he gradually learns that cooperation is going to be his key to survival. During his captivity on various plantations he is subject to immense cruelty and hardship at the hands of his masters. He also forges new relationships with others in similar position as him, but these relationships are cruelly broken when he is separated from other slaves.
Northup’s struggle against cruelty and hardship of slavery continues for several long and painstaking years, until he meets a Canadian proponent of slavery abolition, in a chance encounter in the 12th year of his unforgettable journey. This encounter brings together the destinies of the two men, promising to forever alter life of Solomon Northup.
4 The Revenant Release Date:
2015

Country:
USA, Hong Kong, Taiwan

Director:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Duane Howard, Joshua Burge, Kristoffer Joner, Melaw Nakehk'o, Arthur RedCloud, Fabrice Adde
The Revenant is an Academy Award winning semi-biographical film, partially adapted from Michael Punke’s 2002 novel titled ‘The Revenant’. The film is set in the 1820s and focuses on Hugh Glass, a frontiersman and fur trapper and Hawk, his teenage son, as they venture out together with a band of men on an expedition for pelt gathering.
However. the group is attacked by a band of Native Americans, causing a death of a number of men. Glass then takes charge of the group, and attempts to lead them to safety to a US Army fort. However, Glass is brutally mauled by a bear soon after, while trying to find food for the group. Mortally wounded, he is left under the care of John Fitzgerald and John Bridger. The duo ultimately decides to abandon Glass, after burying him alive in a shallow grave.
Against all odds, Glass manages to escape from the grave, and sets out across the unforgiving wintry terrain to exact revenge upon John Fitzgerald for his betrayal, and the death of Glass’ son. What follows is a gripping cat and mouse chase, with Glass’ intense character putting everything at stake to satisfy his thirst for revenge.
5 Slumdog Millionaire Release Date:
2008

Country:
UK, France, USA

Directors:
Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan

Cast:
Dev Patel, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto, Raj Zutshi, Jeneva Talwar, Irrfan Khan, Jira Banjara, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar, Sheikh Wali, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ankur Vikal, Sanchita Choudhary
Slumdog Millionaire is a British drama film from the year 2008, and is a loose adaptation of the novel ‘Q&A’, written by Indian author Vikas Swarup. The film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a teenage orphan who hails from one of the biggest slums in the world: Dharavi, in Mumbai, who is in the midst of a once in a lifetime experience on the sets of Kaun Banega Crorepati, a televised quiz game-show.
Just a question away from the jackpot of prize of 20 million rupees, he is arrested by the police on suspicion of having cheated in the show. In a bid to clear his name and prove his innocence, Jamal proceeds to tell his life’s story, to explain how he knew the answers to the questions. The film backtracks several years, and Jamal begins to talk about his life, taking the viewer through his many experiences, and how he came to be the person on the gameshow.
As Jamal delves deeper into his story, each chapter of his life reveals how he knew the complex answers to the questions, but the reasons for his presence on the show remains shrouded in mystery. The entire nation waits with bated breath as Jamal returns to the show the next day to answer the final question, but they end up getting more than what they bargained for.
6 There Will Be Blood Release Date:
2007

Country:
USA

Director:
Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Martin Stringer, Jacob Stringer, Matthew Braden Stringer, Joseph Mussey, Barry Del Sherman, Stockton Taylor, Harrison Taylor, Paul F. Tompkins, Dillon Freasier
Ranking amongst the best drama movies of 2000s, the brutal and hard hitting epic ‘There Will Be Blood’ which is based on an adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel ‘Oil!’ revolves around the life of Daniel Plainview, who stumbles upon crude oil in a tragic expedition that leaves him with a fractured leg. Plainview overcomes odds and sets out on a course to becoming a master in the crude oil trade by convincing local landowners to allow him to drill for oil on their property.
With masterful tact, Plainview becomes the owner of a crude oil empire, but with his growing power and financial capabilities, came a sense of paranoia and a tendency to easily lose his cool. Finally, Plainview is confronted by a teenage pastor named Eli Sunday, from the tiny settlement of Little Boston, from whose brother Plainview had received information regarding the abundant supply of crude oil at Little Boston. The lives of the two men are often at odds, with Eli looking to make money off the sale of the land to Plainview in order to raise money to create his religious empire, while Daniel attempts to expand his burgeoning oil business by purchasing the surrounding lands.
7 Gangs of New York Release Date:
2002

Country:
USA, Italy

Director:
Martin Scorsese

Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas, Gary Lewis, Liam Neeson, Stephen Graham, Brendan Gleeson, Eddie Marsan, David Hemmings
Witnessing his father’s death during a major gang war in New York, the young Amsterdam Vallon has no option but to run away to a distant place, for his own good. A few years later, Amsterdam returns to the same place where his father was killed – the notoriously known five points district of New York. The year is 1863 and all of lower Manhattan area is ruled by gangs. The natives gang, led by Bill Cutting, The Butcher, is the most powerful gang of the region right now.
The Butcher believes that America is owned by the native-born Americans and there is no place for immigrants, mostly Irish, in it. He strongly dislikes the wave of Irish immigrants entering the country. This unfortunate time period of the century is also marked by forced conscription and a raging civil war, leading to the worst-ever riots witnessed in the US history. Amidst all this corruption and violence, the young Amsterdam Vallon tries establishing himself in the region, while avenging his father’s death. Gangs of New York easily ranks as one of the best period drama movies of the new millennium.
8 Gran Torino Release Date:
2008

Country:
Germany, USA

Director:
Clint Eastwood

Cast:
Clint Eastwood, Christopher Carley, Bee Vang, Geraldine Hughes, Ahney Her, Brian Haley, Dreama Walker, John Carroll Lynch, Brian Howe, Brooke Chia Thao, Scott Eastwood, Doua Moua
Gran Torino revolves around the life of Walt Kowalski, a Korean War veteran who lives alone after the death of his wife. Kowalski appears out of sync with the rapidly changing world around him, and even his once all-white neighborhood is now dominated by people from South-East Asia. In his personal life, Kowalski is estranged from his children and grandchildren, who appear to be more interested in his house rather than his life.
While Kowalski leads a lonely life, he finds solace in his mint condition 1972 Gran Torino, a car which he takes great pride in owning. Things take a turn for the worse when Thao, his neighbor, attempts to steal the Torino at the behest of local gang members. While initially Kowalski is enraged, he subsequently develops a bond with his Asian neighbors, winning their hearts with his heroic antics by stopping Thao’s kidnapping.
Kowalski and Thao develop a friendship, and Kowalski teaches the boy about the ways of life, and goes to the extent of helping him find a job. The situation rapidly deteriorates when the local gangs decide to do a drive-by shootout of Thao’s house, prompting Kowalski to take matters into his own hands, in a bid to clean up the gang-infested neighborhood.
9 United 93 Release Date:
2006

Country:
USA, UK, France

Director:
Paul Greengrass

Cast:
J.J. Johnson, Polly Adams, Gary Commock, Opal Alladin, Nancy McDoniel, Trish Gates, Starla Benford, David Alan Basche, Susan Blommaert, Richard Bekins, Ray Charleson, Christian Clemenson
On the ill-fated morning of September 11, 2011, 19 terrorists hijacked four passenger planes in the United States of America and embarked on a suicide mission to crash the commercial airliners into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and in Washington DC. Released in 2006, the historical drama film ‘United 93’ is a speculative reconstruction of the events that were likely to have unfolded on the doomed flight, from the perspective of the passengers, the flight crew and the ground controllers.
In a tragic recreation from the flight data recorders and the frantic calls that were made by the passengers on the flight to their families, the film captures the courageous and remarkable efforts of the passengers to take back control of the plane after the pilots had been murdered by four middle-eastern terrorists, presumably to crash the aircraft into a prominent landmark in Washington DC. Alongside, the ground flight controllers of the FAA attempt to take stock of the situation, and look on helplessly as the airspace rapidly descends into anarchy with four hijacked aircraft heading for different targets across the United States.
Despite the bravery exhibited by the passengers onboard Flight 93, the plane eventually crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania without reaching its intended target.
10 Dear White People Release Date:
2014

Country:
USA

Director:
Justin Simien

Cast:
Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris, Brittany Curran, Justin Dobies, Brandon P Bell, Marque Richardson, Peter Syvertsen, Malcolm Barrett, Dennis Haysbert, Brandon Alter, Peter Syvertsen
A culture war starts in the Winchester University’s college campus, challenging the traditional notions of what essentially means to be black when activist Samantha White is elected as the head of a conventionally black residence hall.
While Samantha banks upon her notoriety as the host of a highly polarizing and provocative radio show called “Dear White People” to somehow prevent the diversification of the Armstrong Parker House, Troy Fairbanks, the outgoing head of that house and also the son of the university’s dean, goes against his father’s wishes and applies for the post of staff at Pastiche, the influential humor magazine of the college instead.
On the other hand, Lionel Higgins, an Afro sci-fi and sporting geek, is appointed by the all-white student newspaper to carry out an undercover operation and submit a piece about the black culture in the college, a subject that he has little familiarity with. Coco Conners is an aggressively assimilated person who tries to take advantage of the campus’ controversy to make a career in reality television for herself.
However, not one person at the Winchester University agrees with the ill-conceived and outrageous Halloween party planned by Pastiche, courtesy its derogatory tag line ‘Unleash your inner Negro.’ It does the work of oil on already fired-up sentiments of misunderstanding and resentment among the college students. Everyone is forced to choose a side when this party converts into a riotous mayhem.
11 The Pianist Release Date:
2002

Country:
France, Poland, Germany, UK, USA

Director:
Roman Polanski

Cast:
Adrien Brody, Emilia Fox, Michal Zebrowski, Frank Finlay, Jessica Kate Meyer, Maureen Lipman, Ed Stoppard, Julia Rayner, Richard Ridings, Wanja Mues, Nomi Sharron, Anthony Milner, Lucy Skeaping, Roddy Skeaping
The winner of three Academy Awards, and acclaimed as the best amongst good drama movies on Netflix, ‘The Pianist’ is based on Wadyslaw Szpilman’s autobiography ‘The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945’. The film revolves around the protagonist, Spzilman who is one of the most skilled piano players in Poland.
The film captures the brutalities exacted by the Nazis on Jews all over Europe in the years of the Second World War, and shows how Spzliman is forced to come to terms with the growing restrictions and hatred towards Jews in Warsaw. Spzilman’s life is turned upside down when he is evicted from his residence by the Nazis and confined to the harsh realities of the Warsaw Ghetto.
While the members of his family are arrested and deported to various concentration camps across the continent, Spzilman is able to escape being deported and is instead forced to work in a labor compound operated by the German Army. With the war in Europe intensifying, Spzilman provides assistance to the Jewish Resistance, and eventually escapes from the forced labor camps to live in hiding in Warsaw till the war finally came to an end in 1945.
12 The Lives of Others Release Date:
2006

Country:
Germany

Director:
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Cast:
Martina Gedeck, Ulrich Mühe, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur, Hans-Uwe Bauer, Thomas Thieme, Matthias Brenner, Volkmar Kleinert, Charly Hübner, Herbert Knaup, Marie Gruber, Volker Michalowski, Bastian Trost
Released in 2006, the Lives of Others, a historical German drama film which captures the surveillance and monitoring of the residents of East Berlin by the agents of the East Germany Secret Police called the Stasi, and is the best amongst the good drama movies of this generation. Coming in 16 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the film received critical acclaim for its remarkable accuracy and depiction of life in East and West Germany.
Set in the year 1984, the film revolves around Gerd Weisler, a captain in the secret police, who proceeds to conduct surveillance on Georg Dreyman, a playwright who is considered by all to be the embodiment of an ideal East German Citizen. As Weisler continues to monitor the lives of Dreyman and his partner Maria, he learns that the surveillance was sanctioned by the Minister of Culture because he viewed Dreyman as a threat and his personal rival.
Over time, Weisler begins to care for Dreyman and his wife, and the formerly impeccable officer deviates from his duties to shield the couple from harm, whenever it is possible. The surveillance charade orchestrated by the Stasi captain eventually come to an end when he is discovered, but since there was no material evidence against him, he is simply confined to mundane desk jobs instead of facing any punitive sanction, till the occurrence of a landmark historical event.
13 A Good Year Release Date:
2006

Country:
USA, UK

Director:
Ridley Scott

Cast:
Freddie Highmore, Russell Crowe, Albert Finney, Archie Panjabi, Rafe Spall, Richard Coyle, Ben Righton, Daniel Mays, Patrick Kennedy, Ali Rhodes, Nila Aalia, Giannina Facio, Stephen Hudson
A Good Year is a top drama film from 2006 with undertones of comedy and brimming romance, and is a loose adaptation of a book of the same title, authored by British novelist Peter Mayle. The film revolves around the life of Maxamillian Skinner who spent his childhood with his uncle Henry, at the latter’s vineyard in Provence in Southern France. Later in life, Max becomes an unethical but successful bond trader, but also becomes estranged from his uncle, with little correspondence between them for over 25 years until he learns of his demise.
Consequently, Max learns that his uncle’s chateau and vineyard has passed to him since his uncle died without a will. With the intent of selling off the vineyard and the adjoining chateau, Max heads off to Provence, and spends some time at the property to prepare it for sale. His time at the old house stirs up old memories, and his steadfast plan to sell the property is derailed when he is confronted by a young American girl who claims to be Henry’s illegitimate daughter. To add to his woes, Max becomes smitten with a local woman. This film takes one through childhood nostalgia, the allure of money and the tremors of romance through the life of Max Skinner and how he grapples these emotions, in what promises to be among the better romantic drama movies.
14 Spotlight Release Date:
2015

Country:
USA

Director:
Tom McCarthy

Cast:
Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d'Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Elena Wohl, Sharon McFarlane, Gene Amoroso, Doug Murray, Jamey Sheridan, Neal Huff
Spotlight is a 2015 biographical crime drama film that is based upon the true story of how Boston Globe’s team of reporters, called ‘Spotlight’, dug into the allegations of sexual abuse plaguing the Catholic Church. Set in the year 2001, the film follows Spotlight and how it was convinced by Boston Globe’s editor-in-chief to delve into a story by a Globe writer about an instance of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest, which was subsequently covered up by the Archdiocese of Boston.
While initially hesitant to pursue the story, the group eventually decides to follow up on the allegations, when they unexpectedly stumble upon a broader, widespread problem of sexual abuse. Through detailed conversations with lawyers working on existing cases involving the Catholic Church, the group learns that their story is not an isolated incident, but a part of a larger pattern of systematic sexual abuse within the Church.
After a year of in depth investigation, and meeting several of the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, Spotlight publishes the names of twenty priests who were known for their pedophilic activities, with the broader story of rampant sexual abuse and apathy within the Catholic Church.
15 Silver Linings Playbook Release Date:
2012

Country:
USA

Director:
David O. Russell

Cast:
Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver, John Ortiz, Julia Stiles, Shea Whigham, Anupam Kher, Paul Herman, Patrick McDade, Dash Mihok, Matthew Russell, Cheryl Williams
Silver Linings Playbook is an American romantic-drama film from 2012, with broader elements of comedy drama movies infused into the film, and is an adaptation of Matthew Quick’s novel ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’. The film focuses on Pat Solatano Jr. who is suffering from bi-polar disorder, and is discharged from a mental institution by his mother Dolores, against the advice of Pat’s doctors.
Subsequently, Pat moves into his parents’ house in accordance with the terms of the conditional release, and is forced to come to terms with his wife’s absence from his life, who had left him after he had assaulted her lover. He sets out to rebuild his life by leading a healthy life, and looking at the ‘silver linings’ to his dismal days, with the ultimate goal of getting back his wife. Pat finds solace in Tiffany Maxwell, a young widow coping with depression, who promises to help him get back his wife if he’ll participate in a dance competition along with her, placing this film amongst the must watch period drama movies of this millennium.
As is typical in family drama movies, during this time Pat faces several problems, especially in his father who has become involved in sports betting for a livelihood, and his pal Ronnie who struggles to deal with the controlling nature of his wife. The film culminates with the dance competition, and a radical change in Pat and Tiffany’s relationship, making Silver Linings Playbook a must-watch among drama romance and drama comedy movies.
16 A Beautiful Mind Release Date:
2001

Country:
USA

Director:
Ron Howard

Cast:
Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Adam Goldberg, Christopher Plummer, Josh Lucas, Judd Hirsch, Jason Gray-Stanford, Anthony Rapp, Austin Pendleton, Jillie Simon, Vivien Cardone
A Beautiful Mind is a biographical drama film from 2001, which is adapted from a 1998 book authored by Sylvia Nasar titled ‘A Beautiful Mind’. The film is based on the life of John Nash, a nobel laureate in the field of Economics. It begins at the time of his education in Princeton, where he is an asocial student who rejects the utility of conventional classes and instead spends his time pouring over mathematical equations and problems. While at Princeton, he finds a meaningful friend in Charles, his roommate.
After completing graduate school, Nash takes up teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met Alicia, a student in one of his classes, with whom he later became romantically involved. At MIT, Nash is approached by William Parcher, a DoD agent, for decoding Soviet messages. It is soon discovered that Nash was in fact suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and as a result experienced hallucinations, and the assignment was a product of his imagination.
Subsequently, Nash struggles to come to terms with his mental illness but finds solace in the comfort offered by his old friends and in the steadfast support his wife. After getting a hold on his mental health, he begins to work out of Princeton’s library for several years, before finally being recognized for his groundbreaking work by being awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994.
17 Catch Me If You Can Release Date:
2002

Country:
USA, Canada

Director:
Steven Spielberg

Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Nathalie Baye, Amy Adams, Martin Sheen, James Brolin, Brian Howe, Chris Ellis, John Finn, Frank John Hughes, Steve Eastin, Jennifer Garner, Nancy Lenehan
‘Catch Me If You Can’ is a 2002 biographical-crime drama film, with subtle elements of drama comedy movies, which tells the riveting tale of Frank Abagnale Jr., a con-artist who managed to cheat the banking system and make millions of dollars in the process, making this one of the best crime drama movies in recent times. Set in New Rochelle in late 1960s, the protagonist, Frank Abagnale Jr. is a high school student with a happy home life, until his father runs into serious financial difficulties.
After his parents decide to get a divorce, Frank runs away from his family home to New York with just $ 25 in his bank account, swearing to undo his father’s financial woes and get his family together again. With no source of income, Frank begins to forge bank checks, and poses as a Pan Am pilot to provide legitimacy to his fraud.
Despite the FBI catching a whiff of his activities, Frank continues to cash forged checks all over America while changing his disguise from a pilot to a doctor, and eventually a lawyer. With the adroit FBI agent Carl Hanratty Jr. on his tail, the cat and mouse adventure comes to an end when Frank is finally captured in France in 1967, and extradited to the USA two years later. Subsequently, Frank is tried and convicted to 12 years in prison, before being allowed to allowed to serve the rest of his punishment by working to detect check fraud with the FBI.
18 The Aviator Release Date:
2004

Country:
Germany, USA

Director:
Martin Scorsese

Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Alec Baldwin, Ian Holm, John C. Reilly, Alan Alda, Danny Huston, Gwen Stefani, Matt Ross, Kelli Garner, Jude Law, Adam Scott, Frances Conroy
Winner of five Academy Awards, and critically acclaimed as an immaculate biographical-drama film, ‘The Aviator’ looks at the life of billionaire aviator Howard Hughes, and how he emerged as one of the most prominent figures of the 20th century. The story revolves around how a young Hughes became the heir to a small fortune at the age of 18, after the death of his father, leaving him with a majority stake in ‘Hughes Tool Co.’
Being an aspiring film-maker, Hughes quickly shifts to Los Angeles to become a producer for Hollywood films. During his stint with producing films, he is instrumental in launching the careers of stars such as Jean Harlow amongst others, while also producing timeless classics such as Hell’s Angels, the Flying Leathernecks and Scarface. With his growing fortune and repute, Hughes ventures into other industries like aviation, leading to the creation of TWA airlines, and war contracting during the Second World War. In the aftermath of the war Hughes faces an enquiry for war profiteering, and the subsequent enquiry scenes lend all the elements of gripping courtroom drama movies to The Aviator.
The entrepreneur’s adventures culminate in the creation of his magnum opus, the Spruce Goose, wherein the ambitious project consisted of building the largest plane ever, made entirely out of wood. Underneath the entrepreneurial zeal, however, Hughes is a troubled man who battles mental illness and germ phobia his entire life. The film takes the viewer through a roller coaster of adventures in Hughes’ life, including his escapades with Hollywood sweetheart Katharine Hepburn, and how he managed to achieve success against all odds.
19 Hotel Rwanda Release Date:
2004

Country:
UK, South Africa, Italy

Director:
Terry George

Cast:
Don Cheadle, Xolani Mali, Desmond Dube, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Neil McCarthy, Tony Kgoroge, Rosie Motene, Mabutho 'Kid' Sithole, Nick Nolte, Sophie Okonedo, Jeremiah Ndlovu, Fana Mokoena, Lebo Mashile, Antonio David Lyons
The 2004 biography drama ‘Hotel Rwanda’ revolves around the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi tribes at the hands of the Hutu majority, and how Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager, overcame heavy odds to provide refuge to people at his hotel. Receiving huge critical acclaim, the film is amongst the best historical drama movies of this generation. Set in the year 1994, the film depicts how the social fabric in the Rwandan state rapidly came undone, with the army systematically eliminating the Tutsi minority.
In the midst of these tensions, Paul Rusesabagina, the manager at the posh Hotel Mille Collines, which primarily caters to the needs of Westerners in the region. Paul is steadfast in his belief that the international community, and the UN in particular will ensure that the conflict in Rwanda will be contained, but is quickly proven wrong when the Western population rapidly evacuated from Rwanda upon escalation of hostilities.
Despite increasing hostilities, Paul manages to keep the hotel open to anyone seeking refuge from the conflict, by using his considerable adroitness to manipulate military leaders to receive protection. Alongside Paul, Col. Oliver of the United Nations and Pat Archer of the Red Cross make unrelenting efforts to keep order in the region. As the Rwandan state rapidly descends into anarchy, the efforts of a few individuals help to preserve a sanctuary at Hotel Rwanda in the face of immense adversity. Notably, the palpable tension in the film ensures that Hotel Rwanda makes it to the list of must watch drama thriller movies.
20 Hachi: A Dog’s Tale Release Date:
2009

Country:
UK, USA

Director:
Lasse Hallström

Cast:
Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Jason Alexander, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Sarah Roemer, Erick Avari, Kevin DeCoste, Robbie Sublett, Davenia McFadden, Rob Degnan, Tora Hallström, Frank S. Aronson, Donna Sorbello
Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is a 2009 family-drama film presents a tearful and emotionally stirring account of how Hachiko, an Akita-Inu breed dog, dealt with the untimely demise of his owner. The film begins with a schoolboy presenting a class report on ‘My Hero’, for which he chose Hachi, a dog. The film backtracks several years, to when Parker Wilson, a college professor in New York City finds a lost puppy at Bedridge Station.
Parker is unsuccessful in finding a home for the puppy, despite making considerable efforts to locate its owner, and ultimately decides to keep it as a pet even though his wife was initially opposed to the idea. The dog, Hachi, and professor Parker are soon inseparable, and the couple became a regular feature at Bedridge Station, where Hachi used to wait for Parker to return every day from work.
Unfortunately, one-day Parker suffers a heart attack at work and dies at the university, leaving Hachi waiting at the station. However, despite attempts by Parker’s family to take Hachi with them, he made it to the station every day until the end of his life, earning the love and respect of the passer-bys and station workers. Today, a bronze statue has been erected at the station, to commemorate Hachi’s unwavering loyalty and affection.
21 Whiplash Release Date:
2014

Country:
USA

Director:
Damien Chazelle

Cast:
Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stowell, Paul Reiser, Nate Lang, Suanne Spoke, Damon Gupton, Max Kasch, Chris Mulkey, Charlie Ian, Kofi Siriboe, Jayson Blair, Kavita Patil, Tarik Lowe, Tyler Kimball
Whiplash is an Academy Award winning film from 2014 that portrays the trials and tribulations of a young drummer in a cut-throat musical industry, and is among the top teen drama movies of this millennium. The film focuses on Andrew Nieman, a teenager without any musical background, who enrolls at the most prestigious music school in the United States, the Shaffer Conservatory of Music, with dreams of becoming a great jazz drummer.
Nieman quickly moves up the rung at Shaffer after getting noticed by Terence Fletcher, and being asked to join Shaffer’s studio band. However, Nieman soon learns that Fletcher runs a tight ship using intimidation and fear as his tools, and never settles for anything less than absolute perfection. Despite the unhealthy competition in the band, Andrew continues to work hard to cement his place in Fletcher’s band, making this a very different experience from conventional high school drama movies.
Nieman’s increasingly focused and competitive nature takes a toll on his relationship with Nicole, a girl with whom he had become romantically involved. Fletcher’s growing demands at Shaffer compels Nieman to question his priorities in life, and whether he is willing to endure the emotional abuse at the hands of his mentor to achieve greatness. He is also confronted with his own beliefs, as he believes that greatness can only be achieved under Fletcher’s guidance and mentorship, giving a unique perspective unlike any other teenage drama movies.
22 Wolf of Wall Street Release Date:
2013

Country:
USA

Director:
Martin Scorsese

Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Rob Reiner, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Jon Bernthal, Joanna Lumley, Cristin Milioti, Jean Dujardin, Jon Favreau, Christine Ebersole, Shea Whigham
The Wolf of Wall Street from 2013 is among the top crime drama movies that takes one through the labyrinths of white collar crime in corporate America. Based on a true story, the film revolves around the life of Jordan Belfort who formed a partnership with his friend Donny Azoff in the 1990s after realizing the money-making potential in penny stocks.
Together, their partnership in Statford-Oakmont quickly grows in size from an initial size of merely 20 employees to a burgeoning stock broking empire of more than 250 employees. With the growth came money, sex and drugs, and soon Stratford-Oakmont became a force to reckon with on Wall Street. However, the FBI and the SEC soon catch a whiff of the illegalities of Belfort’s trading schemes, but he continues to mint money through elaborate schemes and saving it by hoarding the cash in European banks.
Despite the stern warnings given by his father, and the promises of leniency by the FBI if he stops his illegal activities, Belfort is unable to give up his life at Stratton-Oakmont. In the end, however, fate catches up Belfort and he is forced to become an informant for the FBI in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. Post his stint in prison, Belfort embraces his true passion for marketing, and spends his days conducting seminars on sales techniques.
23 The Paperboy Release Date:
2012

Country:
USA

Director:
Lee Daniels

Cast:
Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, Scott Glenn, John Cusack, David Oyelowo, Ned Bellamy, Edrick Browne, Macy Gray, Nealla Gordon, Kevin Waterman, Danny Hanemann, John P. Fertitta, Peter Murnik
This racially and sexually charged drama film features the eldest son, Ward Jansen of the Jansen family who is a famous investigative reporter for a Miami-based newspaper. He has returned home along with Yardley Acheman, his close friend, to carry out an investigation into a racial murder case. The case promises to be a sensational and career-making story for them. Ward’s younger brother Jack has also just returned home, after a failed stint as his university’s star swimmer, dropping out from the college.
In order to give some direction to Jack’s life, Ward hires Jack for the ongoing investigation as the team’s driver. However, things get complicated when the imprisoned convict’s (Van Wetter’s) fiancée Charlotte Bless comes into the mix. She stirs up very confusing feelings of lust and love in the young Jack.
Yardley and Ward on the other hand continue with their investigation and unearth some very deep rooted societal issues, concerning acceptance and race, that could lead to serious consequences for each one of them. With the investigation coming to the conclusion, it becomes increasingly clear to the Jansen brothers that there’s much more to the story than they initially believed, and that it is full of betrayal in many different ways.
24 Not Today Release Date:
2013

Country:
USA

Director:
Jon Van Dyke

Cast:
Justin Baldoni, John Schneider, Wilson Bethel, Cody Longo, Cassandra Scerbo, Shari Rigby, Riyaz Khan, Shireen Mirza, Walid Amini, Preston Davis, Lindsey Mitchell, Diane Freiman Reynolds, Mardi Cork
Caden Welles has every luxury of life available to him, courtesy his wealthy father. Almost everything he wants is at his disposal and he leads his life in the grandest possible manner, in a way that any average 20- year old could only dream of. However, things turn around sharply as his larger-than-life existence transforms into a nightmare halfway across the world.
By chance Caden travels to Hyderabad, India, with his friends, in the hope of enjoying a never-ending party. But his conscience takes a huge hit when he turns down a starving man, and his little girl. Thereafter, he is constantly haunted by Kiran and Annika’s images. Caden then tries to right his wrong by discovering Kiran and trying to help him. But he learns that Kiran had no option but to sell his own daughter.
Learning about that shatters Caden completely and his eyes open to a world of human-trafficking trade that Americans are completely oblivious of. In addition, the dehumanization that Kiran and hundreds of millions of Dalits are subjected to in India, because of an age-old caste system, could easily force Caden to turn his back.
However, he discovers his true purpose in life and backed by his girlfriend’s and mother’s prayers back home, he sets on a mission to help Kiran find his daughter.
25 The 5th Quarter Release Date:
2010

Country:
USA

Director:
Rick Bieber

Cast:
Andie MacDowell, Aidan Quinn, Anessa Ramsey, Andrea Powell, R. Keith Harris, Ryan Merriman, Kendrick Cross, Jillian Batherson, Dave Blamy, Bonnie Johnson, Patt Noday, Patrick Stogner, Jon Stafford, Michael Harding
The Abbate family belonging to Marietta, Georgia, lose their 15-year-old son Luke, in an unfortunate car accident while he is returning home from school one day, in the year 2006.
Luke’s older brother, John Abbate, is a defensive linebacker for the Demon Deacons team and a junior student at the Wake Forest University. He obtains a special permission to change his existing jersey number to number 5, same as that was worn by Luke during his high school field hockey days.
The Abbate family also honor Luke by starting a specific season-long tradition of holding up five fingers in every football game’s 4th quarter, in a way calling it the 5th quarter of the game. Not just the Deacon’s supporters, players of both the sides, fans in the stands and people watching the game on television start raising their five fingers to honor Luke’s memory.
Such actions bring about a community spirit among the football team’s supporters and inspire Deacons to have their most successful-ever season in their history, winning 11 games and losing only 2. They eventually go on to win the conference championship.
26 The Intouchables Release Date:
2011

Country:
France

Directors:
Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano

Cast:
François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Alba Gaïa Bellugi, Joséphine de Meaux, Clotilde Mollet, Cyril Mendy, Grégoire Oestermann, Absa Diatou Toure, Salimata Kamate, Dominique Daguier, Christian Ameri
The Intouchables is easily one of the best drama movies of all time, and tells the true story of Phillipe, a wealthy aristocratic man who is left quadriplegic after a tragic paragliding accident. He lives alone in his lavish Paris mansion, assisted by his secretary Magalie and the housekeeping staff. Philippe is hopelessly interviewing candidates for the position of his personal caretaker, when he has his first encounter with Driss, an unemployed man with no intention of getting hired, to continue getting his welfare benefits.
Taking a liking to his upfront and unsympathetic nature, Phillipe hires Driss, giving him an option to quit a month later, in case he decides to. Driss soon moves into the mansion and infuses new life into the place. He even makes some feeble attempts to woo Magalie with his charming personality. Being involved with his day to day tasks, Philippe and Driss develop a deep bond and understanding for each other’s problems, and their humorous exchanges take The Intouchables to among the best drama comedy movies.
The good times come to a sudden halt when Driss has to move back home to support his poverty stricken family. Devastated with Driss’ sudden departure, Philippe falls into a state of depression. Upon seeing this, Driss decides to take him on a trip to Northern France to lift his spirits, with a surprise visit from Philippe’s love interest Eleonore. The duo continues to be friends for the rest of their lives.
27 Safe Haven Release Date:
2013

Country:
USA

Director:
Lasse Hallström

Cast:
Julianne Hough, Irene Ziegler, Jon Kohler, David Lyons, Josh Duhamel, Tim Parati, Giulia Pagano, Noah Lomax, Red West, Juan Piedrahita, Mimi Kirkland, Jasper Grey, Robin Mullins, Tora Hallström, Ric Reitz
The sudden arrival of a mysterious young woman called Katie, in Southport, a small North Carolina town, gives rise to many questions related to her past. Katie is both beautiful and self-effacing. She is determined to avoid any personal relationships until a series of different events forces her to form two reluctant bonds – the first with Alex, a kind and widowed store owner who has two young children, and the other one with her plain speaking single neighbor called Jo.
Regardless of her reservations, Katie slowly starts letting down her guard and putting down roots in that well-knit community. She becomes highly attached to Alex as well as his family members. However, as Katie starts falling in love, her dark secret comes back to haunt and terrify her. Her past is of the kind which had actually set her on that shattering and fearful journey throughout the country, finally finding shelter in the oasis of Southport. The stubborn and emphatic support of Jo helps Katie to finally realize that she must either opt for a life with riskier rewards or one with transient safety. Katie eventually discovers that love is the only thing that can serve as true safe haven during the darkest hours of life.
28 Tiny Furniture Release Date:
2010

Country:
USA

Director:
Lena Dunham

Cast:
Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Rachel Howe, Merritt Wever, Jemima Kirke, Amy Seimetz, Alex Karpovsky, Garland Hunter, David Call, Isen Ritchie, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Charlotte Istel, Paul Warneke
One of the popular American independent comedy drama movies, Tiny Furniture is about a recently-graduated college student Aura who faces many obstacles in the outside real world. She has passed out from a Midwestern University and received her degree in film theory, which she believes is worthless. Devoid of any real prospects and with feelings of hopelessness, Aura gets back home to her mother Siri, who’s a successful photographer in New York City. Nadine, 17-year-old sister of Aura on the other hand is about to pass high school and is selecting from different college options in front of her. Aura gets back home to be of some help to Nadine and Siri, but both are in no need of her assistance.
Aura becomes friends with Jed, a YouTube celebrity, who tells her that he’s in New York and is recruiting for an upcoming television project. He self-invites himself to Aura’s bedroom, however, shows no intention to have any sexual or romantic relationship with Aura.
Not having anything to do, Aura takes up a job offer at a nearby restaurant where she meets Keith, one of the chefs, and gets completely smitten with him. Although he has a girlfriend, he makes his move after both of them get stoned one night. On the whole, the story is about Aura’s struggles as a young adult.
29 Blood Diamond Release Date:
2006

Country:
Germany, USA

Director:
Edward Zwick

Cast:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly, Arnold Vosloo, Antony Coleman, Kagiso Kuypers, Benu Mabhena, David Harewood, Anointing Lukola, Basil Wallace, Marius Weyers, Jimi Mistry, Michael Sheen
Blood Diamond is one of the must watch great drama movies of this generation, which encapsulates the story of the lives of two men, that become intertwined in an increasingly unstable and hostile environment in Sierra Leone towards the end of the 20th century. The first, Solomon Vandy, is a fisherman with dreams of raising his son to be a doctor. Solomon’s hopes are dashed when his village is razed by rebels, and he is sent off to work in the local diamond mines.
While at the mines, Solomon discovers a rare pink diamond and stashes it away before being arrested by the army when they seized the mine. In jail, Solomon meets Danny Archer, who is a big player in the trade of diamonds sourced from conflict areas. Archer learns of Solomon’s pink diamond, and offers to help find his family if he finds the diamond for Archer.
The couple set out on an expedition to find the diamond, and thereafter seek the help of Maddy Bowen, an American journalist in Sierra Leone, to find Solomon’s family. They soon locate Solomon’s family at an evacuee camp, but learn that his son has been whisked away by the rebels. In a tale of greed and love intertwined, Archer and Solomon create a partnership, with the former running after the prized diamond, and the latter scrambling to save his family, giving Blood Diamond a place among the best drama romance movies in recent times.
30 Half Nelson Release Date:
2006

Country:
USA

Director:
Ryan Fleck

Cast:
Ryan Gosling, Jeff Lima, Shareeka Epps, Nathan Corbett, Tristan Mack Wilds, Rosemary Ledee, Tyra Kwao-Vovo, Bryce Silver, Erica Rivera, Kaela C. Pabon, Stephanie Bast, Eleanor Hutchins, Tina Holmes, Starla Benford
A young Caucasian eighth-grade history teacher at a Brooklyn high school, consisting of mainly Hispanic and black students, Dan Dunne often bypasses the provided curriculum and gives deeply heartfelt and off-the-cuff lectures about the significance of understanding history, instead of just memorizing it mindlessly.
He mostly talks about the concept of dialectics, a formal reasoning system where one arrives at truth through exchange of logical arguments. He is constantly torn between his deep desire to make a change in the world and his realization that he cannot, at least not in the big awe-inspiring ways he always envisioned himself doing as an idealistic university student.
He had to resort to drugs’ use to escape the pains of day-to-day life, and his dependency on them has become a crutch that bears a very heavy psychological weight on him. In his classroom, Dan often lecturers his students about how the present-day world is divided into two opposing forces, sometimes making his point by engaging them in an arm-wrestling match. Although his unorthodox method inspires students when they’re in the classroom, the effect wanes-out once they step out of the classroom.
The film talks about Dan’s relationship with his 13-year-old student, Drey, who once catches him smoking pot in the school’s washroom. Drey empathizes with Dan’s frustrations as she also has an overworked single mother whom she hardly gets to spend any time with. Most of the time she’s alone and on her own, which although has helped her become self-reliant, but also a little harsh.


cinema



About Drama Movies


Drama movies are serious stories or presentations based on life situations or circumstances that effectively portray realistic characters, found in conflict with their environment, themselves or sometimes even the forces of nature.
A dramatic film is one that mostly relies on highly emotional themes, involving in-depth character development and plenty of character interaction. A good drama movie makes the audience vicariously experience the feelings of the portrayed characters, often making it identify with some. You see human beings shown at their worst, best and all the different life states in between!
The genre is particularly useful in challenging society’s ignorance towards stereotypes, and its habit of indulging in overly simplistic generalizations, bringing the issues closer home, at a more complex and personal level. These movies also have a therapeutic aspect to them as they show how characters effectively cope with different circumstances, challenges, issues or problems, making the audience identify with them, in the context of their own world.
Every subject matter theme taken up in these types of films, often has its own unique dramatic plot. Drama movies are by far the biggest film genre owing to the fact that they encompass a pretty broad movie spectrum. In most cases, apart from belonging to the drama category, these films are also based on other major themes including: romance, crime, epics, biopics, courtroom dramas, comedy, thriller and more. Please note, these are only a handful of movie genres that evolve from dramatic plots.
The dramatic themes taken up in movies also frequently focus on current issues, racial prejudices, injustices or concerns, societal problems and ills, political unrest, sexual inequality, corruption in societal institutions, mental illnesses, class divisions, drug addiction, religious intolerance (for instance, anti-Semitism), time-based explosive issues, violence towards women and more. Majority of the films falling in this category successfully draw attention to the concerned issues, by effectively tapping into the topical interest of the viewers.
Despite the fact that dramatic movies have dealt with social problems head on in the past, in a rather realistic and frank manner, Hollywood’s tendency, especially during its earlier censorship days, was to exonerate the societal institutions and society in general, and put the entire blame on certain individuals, who in majority of the cases, would be dealt adequate punishment for their transgressions.

movie


The evolution of the Drama movie genre

The Early years
Starting from the Hollywood’s silent era to the 50s productions, the drama films were used as a means to impart certain lessons to the audience during these times. For instance, The Grapes of Wrath (1940) focused on the after-effects of the Great Depression. Thereafter, Citizen Kane (1941) was essentially not of William Randolph Hearst’s biography, but a screen representation of many people belonging to his era.

1950s
1950s witnessed the rise of many popular dramatic actors including Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, James Dean and Glenn Ford. The dramatic films of these times focused on all kinds of complicated character relationships as well as their development. For instance, All About Eve (1950) was majorly about women, and how they relate to men. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) on the other hand was more a depiction of teenage angst. Then there were drama films like Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and 12 Angry Men (1957) that showed the inner workings of courtrooms. 50s was also the era that witnessed Akira Kurosawa’s debut, and works like Seven Samurai (1954) and Rashomon (1950).

1960s
The 60s were mostly about politically-driven good drama movies focused on war, for instance, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Judgement at Nuremberg (1961) and others. Sports-based drama productions such as Downhill Racer (1969) and The Hustler (1961) inspired a whole new generation.

1970s
70s saw the arrival of modern dramatic directors producing their first drama films. Francis Ford Coppola came out with The Godfather in 1972, Martin Scorsese with Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976) and then the popular musical drama titled New York, New York in the year 1977.
Rocky, by far the most successful sports-based drama film in the history of Hollywood was released in the year 1976. Sylvester Stallone also directed the sequel Rocky II in 1979. The Longest Yard (1974) and Brian’s Song (1970) were the other two immensely popular sports drama movies of the 70s that focused on the hard times faced by athletes.
Many war films, especially related to World War II, were produced during the 70s as well. These movies were more realistic adaptations of war compared to their predecessors. Patton (1970), Apocalypse Now (1979) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) showed the trials and hardships faced during the war and are still counted among the best classic war films.

1980s
The top drama movies of the 80s were mostly based on emotional themes. The Color Purple (1985) and Spike Lee’s debut movie, Do the Right Thing (1989) were comprehensive character studies and revolved around the African-American history and culture.
There were many war dramas during the 80s too, including the popular titles such as Das Boot (1981) which provided the Germans’ viewpoint on World War II and Platoon (1986), depicting the horrors of the Vietnam War.
Steven Spielberg’s ET or Extra Terrestrial (1982) and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) were two of the most popular science fiction drama films of this decade.

1990s
The drama genre of Hollywood films assumed an altogether new epic proportion with the release of titles like Goodfellas (1990) in the 90s. Schindler’s list (1993) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994) were both full of hope. Dramas took another turn with thrillers such as Leon (1994), American Beauty (1999) and Fight Club (1999). While race relationships took the centre stage in drama productions like American History X (1998), AIDS and the discrimination associated with it were the main themes of Philadelphia (1993). Comedy-drama genre had its own share in the form of popular releases like Barton Fink (1991) and Jerry Maguire (1996).

The 21st century
The dramatic films produced in the new millennium showcase various themes of life. Right from Gangs of New York (2002) that showcased the civil wars, racial prejudices etc. faced by the American ancestors and how the country evolved, we see the new age top drama movies like Dear White People (2014) which shows society the mirror that we’re far from completely doing away with racial prejudices in America and rest of the world.