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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.

The 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 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.
3 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.
4 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Release Date:
2004

Country:
USA

Director:
Michel Gondry

Cast:
Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Gerry Robert Byrne, Thomas Jay Ryan, Elijah Wood, Jane Adams, Mark Ruffalo, David Cross, Debbon Ayer, Ryan Whitney, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, Brian Price
On a Valentine Day, a man wakes up disheveled. He is Joel Barish, the main character of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, one of the best romantic drama movies of all time. He feels the urge of skipping work and heading to a shore instead. After spending a cold day at the beach, he notices Clementine Kruczynski, a woman in orange with blue-dyed hair. They both chat and by the end of the day have a crush on each other. What these two are unaware of is the fact that they were mates in the past.
Joel had ended the relationship with Clementine when he discovered that his girlfriend got memories of Joel erased using a process invented by Dr. Howard Mierzwalk. In his desperation, Joel also contacts Dr. Howard for the same procedure. However, as the memories start to disappear from Joel’s mind, he is astonished to realize that he still loves Clementine and is unable to develop hatred for her. As Dr. Howard and his team chase Joel through his memories and the procedure, Joel just cannot get Clementine out of his head. He does not wish to lose her and fights on to retain his moments of togetherness with her.
5 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.
6 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.
7 Birdman Release Date:
2014

Country:
USA

Director:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Cast:
Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Kenny Chin, Zach Galifianakis, Jamahl Garrison-Lowe, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Jeremy Shamos, Edward Norton, Katherine O'Sullivan, Keenan Shimizu, Damian Young, Natalie Gold
Actor Riggan Thomson is most acclaimed for his role of the comic book hero Birdman in the blockbuster film of a similar name and its two sequels. The character of Birdman became much more renowned than actor Riggan Thomson himself. Presently past middle age, Riggan is endeavoring to set himself up as a skilled artist by composing, directing, featuring in and co-producing a Broadway with his close friend Jake. Riggan is all set to make a big appearance in the Broadway which is an adaptation of Raymond Carver's story, What We Talk about When We Talk about Love.
As he and Jake experience the procedure of the premiere night, Riggan keeps running into a few issues: finding a support for the integral male role, hiring Mike Shiner, who even though a popular Broadway name is difficult to work with as he could end up overshadowing Riggan, requiring to be there for his girl, Sam, whom he has appointed as his production assistant and who has quite recently left the drug rehab. Be that as it may, Riggan's most concerning issue in this top drama movie might be his own particular insecurities, which are witnessed by him always hearing what he accepts to be a reality from the voice of his Birdman character, who he frequently fights with both inside and outside.
8 Cidade de Deus Release Date:
2002

Country:
Brazil, France

Directors:
Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund (co-director)

Cast:
Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Matheus Nachtergaele, Jonathan Haagensen, Jefechander Suplino, Seu Jorge, Alice Braga, Emerson Gomes, Roberta Rodrigues, Edson Oliveira
Cidade de Deus or City of God is one of the best drama movies based on a true story from the 1960s. It opens with the scene of a chicken meal being prepared. One of the chicken escapes and an armed gang gears to chase it in a slum known as the Cidade de Deus. The chicken takes a pause between a young man, Rocket (Buscape) and the armed gang. Moving on, Rocket narrates the story in a flashback.
Rocket is an aspiring photographer based in a lawless slum of Rio de Janeiro. He is waiting for his big break so that he can escape the treacherous area without looking back at it again. He shares his days as a young boy and how he dealt with his law-bending brother and gang. The movie chronicles his teen years as a pseudo-hippie. When the level of violence and corruption rises in the city with one of the most notorious bosses, Li’l Ze, Rocket realizes that his interest in photography is the only way he can remain honest. He decides to expose the brutality of the city to the world through his work of pictures and sets out on the most dangerous task of all.
9 Black Swan Release Date:
2010

Country:
USA

Director:
Darren Aronofsky

Cast:
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Ksenia Solo, Benjamin Millepied, Janet Montgomery, Kristina Anapau, Toby Hemingway, Sergio Torrado, Sebastian Stan, Abraham Aronofsky
Thomas Leroy, the artistic director of a ballet company in New York City, is preparing for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake. When a decision is taken to replace ballerina Beth MacIntyre from the lead, Nina Sayers, a ballerina completely consumed with dance, is seen as the choice. Nina wants to be just like Beth in every aspect. But even before she knows, she has competition from Lily, another ballerina from San Francisco, who impresses Leroy.
The lead role for Swan Lake demands a dancer who can play both the White Swan and the Black Swan. The White Swan has innocence and grace while the Black Swan signifies sensuality and guile. Nina fits the role of the White Swan perfectly but Lily can step into the role of the Black Swan better. Nina is technically proficient and hard working but Thomas cannot see the dark passion in her. Lily is looser in every aspect of life when compared with Nina. Nina realizes that Lily is to Nina what she herself was to Beth.
The story unfolds to be one of the best drama movies when to get their hands on the role, the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship. Nina does whatever she can and starts to get more in touch with her dark side, ultimately descending into madness.
10 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.
11 (500) Days of Summer Release Date:
2009

Country:
USA

Director:
Marc Webb

Cast:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Clark Gregg, Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Rachel Boston, Patricia Belcher, Darryl Alan Reed, Minka Kelly, Charles Walker, Ian Reed Kesler
500 Days of Summer, is one of the top drama movies focusing on the journey of Tom Hansen from New Jersey and Summer Finn from Michigan. It also brings with it an element of romantic comedy between two completely different individuals – a woman who does not believe in true love and a man who falls for her.
Tom worked in L.A writing greeting cards when Summer joins the company as the administrative assistant. For Tom, it is love at first sight. In a few conversations, Tom is sure that Summer is the woman he wishes to spend his entire life with. However, Summer does not believe in relationships or boyfriends.
The movie jumps back and forth in time, moving to Day 67 when Summer decides to end the lovemaking and just be friends with Tom. Tom always depends on the advice of his two best friends, Paul and McKenzie. As the days proceed, Tom begins to wallow in self-pity. He sulks but somehow continues to pass Day 100. But, when Day 500 approaches, the two find themselves standing across each other at a wedding. Is Tom’s belief that destiny controls love right? Does the old flame between the two rekindle to form the relationship of a lifetime?
12 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.
13 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.
14 Requiem for a Dream Release Date:
2000

Country:
USA

Director:
Darren Aronofsky

Cast:
Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher McDonald, Marlon Wayans, Louise Lasser, Suzanne Shepherd, Joanne Gordon, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Janet Sarno, Mark Margolis, Charlotte Aronofsky, Jack O'Connell
Sara Goldfarb is a retired widow who spends most of her time watching television, especially a particular self-help show. Her son, Harry; his girlfriend, Marion; and his best friend Tyrone indulge in drugs. The two friends, Harry and Tyrone, together aspire to make it big by becoming drug dealers. Marion wishes to be a fashion designer but is also swept by the drug-centric world Harry lives in.
One day, Sara receives a call informing her that she has won a spot on a television game show. She is extremely thrilled with the idea and desperately tries to lose weight. She follows some unsuccessful diets until her friend recommends a physician, who suggests a crash diet involving popping pills. These pills turn out to be amphetamines that are extremely addictive and start messing with her mental state. She loses weight and is excited with the energy she has. Soon after, Sara develops amphetamine psychosis, Tyrone is caught in a shootout during a drug deal, and Harry has to part with his earned money to get Tyrone bail.
Based in Brooklyn, the plot just like good drama movies continues to unfold showcasing the lives of four paralleled individuals and their frightening addiction to cocaine, diet pills, and heroin. Even with aspirations of greatness, all four surrender to their addictions.
15 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.
16 21 Grams Release Date:
2003

Country:
USA

Director:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Cast:
Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Danny Huston, Claire Pakis, Carly Nahon, Nick Nichols, Benicio Del Toro, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eddie Marsan, Loyd Keith Salter, John Rubinstein, Melissa Leo, Teresa Delgado, Marc Musso
21 Grams is the story of three well-meaning yet flawed people. Jack Jordan is an ex-convict who is now using his Christian faith to overcome alcoholism and drug addiction. Paul Rivers is an ailing mathematics professor married to a dedicated homemaker, Mary Rivers. Paul has a fatal heart condition and can survive only if he receives a new heart from an organ donor. Christina Peck is a suburban housewife living with a supporting husband and two young daughters. Christina is hiding her secret past of recovering from drug addiction.
What follows as in drama movies is a terrible accident that brings all three lives together changing them forever. Jack kills Christina’s husband and daughters in a hit-and-run accident. Paul receives the heart of Christina’s husband and begins to recover. Christina cannot handle the loss of her family and returns to drugs and alcoholism. Paul finds out that her wife had undergone an abortion and ends his relationship with her. Jack is guilt-stricken following the accident and re-enters the world of drugs.
The closure of the film showcases how the three lives are not at all as they were, to begin with. The characters have learned the harsh truths about faith, desire, love, guilt, courage, and how one chance can transform our lives for a lifetime.
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.
20 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.
21 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.
22 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.
23 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.
24 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.
25 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.
26 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.
27 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.
28 Jagten Release Date:
2012

Country:
Denmark, Sweden

Director:
Thomas Vinterberg

Cast:
Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Susse Wold, Lasse Fogelstrøm, Lars Ranthe, Sebastian Bull Sarning, Anne Louise Hassing, Steen Ordell Guldbrand Jensen, Alexandra Rapaport, Daniel Engstrup
After recession causes Lucas to lose his job as a high school teacher, he joins as a pre-school teacher in a close-knit Danish community. Both he and his work are appreciated. Klara, a 5-year old girl, is Lucas’ student and the daughter of his close friend, Theo. Klara develops a crush on Lucas as he is kind to her, unlike her own parents who only argue. As Klara’s feelings develop, she puts a heart-shaped ornament into his pocket and plants a kiss on his lips. Lucas does not take this positively which hurt Klara’s feelings.
Klara allegedly accuses Lucas of sexual abuse. The preschool director believes children do not lie and fire Lucas on account of being a pedophile and sexual predator. Lucas relations with his best friend and Klara’s father, Theo are destroyed. He is harassed at several intervals in the community. His teenage son from his ex-wife, Marcus is also forbidden from staying with him.
Just like all good drama movies, the scenes continue to show Lucas’ struggle to prove his innocence until one day he confronts Theo during a public church service. Klara apologizes to Lucas for her wrongdoings. Believing in what Klara has to say now and Lucas’ innocence, Theo visits him with alcohol and food as a peace offering.
29 Babel Release Date:
2006

Country:
France, USA, Mexico

Director:
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (as Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Cast:
Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Mohamed Akhzam, Peter Wight, Trevor Martin, Harriet Walter, Matyelok Gibbs, Claudine Acs, Georges Bousquet, Michael Maloney, Dermot Crowley, André Oumansky, Wendy Nottingham
Babel describes a powerful connection between four interlocking stories and a vision into how we are seemingly random but connected in the real sense. Richard and Susan, a married couple from San Diego, are on a vacation in Morocco. Their children are back at home with a Mexican housekeeper, Amelia. A Moroccan herder purchases a rifle for his sons to keep jackals from attacking his herd. The young son irresponsibly uses the gun and shoots at a tour bus hitting Susan’s shoulder to cause her severe injury. At the other end, when Richard calls to inform Amelia of the dire situation, she departs for Mexico with Richard and Susan’s children to attend her son’s wedding. The situation turns in to become a good drama movie when the trouble multiplies as Amelia gets into trouble on her return trip.
At the same time, a Japanese girl dealing with rejection, an emotionally disturbed relationship with her father, the loss of her mother, a disability, and several other challenges is recognized to have some ties with the rifle in question. The story takes an unexpected turn with the ownership of the rifle with the father of the Japanese girl, much to the audience’s surprise.
30 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.




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.



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.