Best Drama movies portray characters in conflict extremely realistically. The conflict either with themselves or with others. listofBestNet presents a wide spectrum of this genre, such as a romantic-drama, comedy-drama, drama mystery, etc.

10. Blue Valentine

best drama movies

Blue Valentine (2010) is probably one of the best romantic drama movies of all time, directed by Derek Cianfrance. Starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling.


The story follows Cindy and Dean, a dysfunctional couple who are at the edge of a breakup trying to raise their young daughter and save their marriage.

  • Initial release: December 27, 2010 (Australia)
  • Director: Derek Cianfrance
  • Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne,
  • Joey Curtis
  • Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams,
  • Music by: Grizzly Bear
  • Budget 1 million USD
  • Box office 16.6 million USD

9. Lord of War

best drama movies

Lord of War (2005) is a crime drama movie directed by Andrew Niccol, and co-produced by and starring Nicolas Cage.


The story follows an illegal arms dealer, inspired by the stories of several real-life arms dealers and smugglers.

  • Initial release: September 16, 2005 (USA)
  • Director: Andrew Niccol
  • Written by: Andrew Niccol
  • Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan,
  • Ian Holm, Ethan Hawke
  • Music by: Antonio Pinto
  • Budget 42 million USD
  • Box office 72.6 million USD

8. The Mist

best drama movies
The Mist (2007) is a supernatural horror drama movie based on the 1980 best seller novel “The Mist” by Stephen King. Directed by Frank Darabont. Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Nathan Gamble, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Frances Sternhagen, Buck Taylor.

When a mist covers the entire city, bringing along creatures that devour anyone in their path, David finds himself trapped in a supermarket along with his son and random townsfolk.

  • Initial release: November 21, 2007 (USA)
  • Director: Frank Darabont
  • Based on: the novel The mist by Stephen King
  • Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden,
  • Laurie Holden
  • Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, 
  • Music by: Mark Isham
  • Budget 18 million USD
  • Box office 57.3 million USD

7. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

best drama movies
Birdman (2014) is a black comedy-drama movie directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It was written by Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bó. Starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone.

The sorry follows Riggan Thomson, a faded actor best known for playing the superhero “Birdman”, as he struggles to mount a Broadway adaptation of a story by Raymond Carver.

  • Initial release: October 17, 2014 (USA)
  • Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Written by: Alejandro G. Iñárritu,
  • Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.
  • Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis,
  • Edward Norton, Emma Stone
  • Music by: Antonio Sánchez
  • Budget 18 million USD
  • Box office 103.2 million USD

6. The Life of David Gale

best drama movies
The Life of David Gale (2003) is a drama movie, directed by Alan Parker which was his last and probably the best drama movie.
Starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann.

The story follows Bloom, a journalist, who decides to investigate the case of Professor David, a social activist who is against capital punishment, who finds himself convicted in a similar case.

  • Initial release: February 18, 2003 (USA)
  • Director: Alan Parker
  • Written by: Charles Randolph
  • Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet,
  • Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann
  • Music by: Alex Parker, Jake Parker
  • Budget 38 million USD
  • Box office 38.9 million USD

5. Malèna

best drama movies
Malèna (2000) is a romantic comedy-drama movie directed and written by Giuseppe Tornatore based on a story by Luciano Vincenzoni. Starring Monica Bellucci and Giuseppe Sulfaro.
Film Malena won the Grand Prix at the 2001 Cabourg Film Festival.

The story takes place in Sicily, during the Second World War, a teenage boy gets obsessed by Malena, a sensual woman living in a small town.

  • Initial release: October 27, 2000 (Italy)
  • Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Story by: Luciano Vincenzoni
  • Starring: Monica Bellucci, Giuseppe Sulfaro 
  • Music by: Ennio Morricone
  • Budget 10 million USD
  • Box office 14.4 million USD

4. SE7EN

best drama movies
Seven (1995) is a mystery drama movie directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. Starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey.

The story follows David Mills, a detective who partners with the retiring William Somerset to track down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as a religious motif in his murders.

  • Initial release: September 15, 1995 (New York)
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker
  • Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman,
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley
  • Music by: Howard Shore
  • Budget 33 million USD
  • Box office 327.3 million USD

3. Another Earth

best sci fi drama
Another Earth (2011) is an independent science-fiction drama movie directed by Mike Cahill. Starring Brit Marling, William Mapother, and Robin Lord Taylor.

the story follows Rhoda, an ambitious student, who crosses paths with John in a tragic accident, in which his wife and son get killed. After serving her prison sentence, she is determined to mend John’s disturbing life.

  • Initial release: July 22, 2011 (USA)
  • Director: Mike Cahill
  • Written by: Mike Cahill, Brit Marling
  • Starring: Brit Marling, William Mapother
  • Music by: Fall On Your Sword
  • Budget 100,000  million USD
  • Box office 1.9 million USD

2. Schindler’s List

best drama movies
Schindler’s List (1993) is an epic historical drama movie directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the 1982 non-fiction novel Schindler’s Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. Starring Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth and Ben Kingsley as Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.

The story takes place during World War II and it follows Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who together with his wife Emilie Schindler saved more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

  • Initial release: November 30, 1993 (DC)
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Based on: Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
  • Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley,
  • Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall
  • Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz
  • Music by: John Williams
  • Budget million USD
  • Box office million USD
1. The Shawshank Redemption
best drama movies
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is a drama movie directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, William Sadler, Clancy Brown

The story follows Andy Dufresne banker, who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a prisoner, contraband smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding, and becomes instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden.

  • Initial release: September 22, 1994 
  • Director: Frank Darabont
  • Based on: novel Rita Hayworth and
  • Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
  • Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman,
  • William Sadler, Clancy Brown
  • Music by: Thomas Newman
  • Budget 25 million USD
  • Box office 58.3 million USD

 


Best Drama movies portray characters in conflict extremely realistically. The conflict either with themselves or with others. listofBestNet presents a wide spectrum of this genre, such as a romantic-drama, comedy-drama, drama mystery, etc.

10. Blue Valentine

best drama movies

Blue Valentine (2010) is probably one of the best romantic drama movies of all time, directed by Derek Cianfrance. Starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling.


The story follows Cindy and Dean, a dysfunctional couple who are at the edge of a breakup trying to raise their young daughter and save their marriage.

  • Initial release: December 27, 2010 (Australia)
  • Director: Derek Cianfrance
  • Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne,
  • Joey Curtis
  • Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams,
  • Music by: Grizzly Bear
  • Budget 1 million USD
  • Box office 16.6 million USD

9. Lord of War

best drama movies

Lord of War (2005) is a crime drama movie directed by Andrew Niccol, and co-produced by and starring Nicolas Cage.


The story follows an illegal arms dealer, inspired by the stories of several real-life arms dealers and smugglers.

  • Initial release: September 16, 2005 (USA)
  • Director: Andrew Niccol
  • Written by: Andrew Niccol
  • Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jared Leto, Bridget Moynahan,
  • Ian Holm, Ethan Hawke
  • Music by: Antonio Pinto
  • Budget 42 million USD
  • Box office 72.6 million USD

8. The Mist

best drama movies
The Mist (2007) is a supernatural horror drama movie based on the 1980 best seller novel “The Mist” by Stephen King. Directed by Frank Darabont. Starring Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Nathan Gamble, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Frances Sternhagen, Buck Taylor.

When a mist covers the entire city, bringing along creatures that devour anyone in their path, David finds himself trapped in a supermarket along with his son and random townsfolk.

  • Initial release: November 21, 2007 (USA)
  • Director: Frank Darabont
  • Based on: the novel The mist by Stephen King
  • Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden,
  • Laurie Holden
  • Toby Jones, William Sadler, Jeffrey DeMunn, 
  • Music by: Mark Isham
  • Budget 18 million USD
  • Box office 57.3 million USD

7. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

best drama movies
Birdman (2014) is a black comedy-drama movie directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. It was written by Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., and Armando Bó. Starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone.

The sorry follows Riggan Thomson, a faded actor best known for playing the superhero “Birdman”, as he struggles to mount a Broadway adaptation of a story by Raymond Carver.

  • Initial release: October 17, 2014 (USA)
  • Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Written by: Alejandro G. Iñárritu,
  • Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.
  • Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis,
  • Edward Norton, Emma Stone
  • Music by: Antonio Sánchez
  • Budget 18 million USD
  • Box office 103.2 million USD

6. The Life of David Gale

best drama movies
The Life of David Gale (2003) is a drama movie, directed by Alan Parker which was his last and probably the best drama movie.
Starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann.

The story follows Bloom, a journalist, who decides to investigate the case of Professor David, a social activist who is against capital punishment, who finds himself convicted in a similar case.

  • Initial release: February 18, 2003 (USA)
  • Director: Alan Parker
  • Written by: Charles Randolph
  • Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet,
  • Laura Linney, Gabriel Mann
  • Music by: Alex Parker, Jake Parker
  • Budget 38 million USD
  • Box office 38.9 million USD

5. Malèna

best drama movies
Malèna (2000) is a romantic comedy-drama movie directed and written by Giuseppe Tornatore based on a story by Luciano Vincenzoni. Starring Monica Bellucci and Giuseppe Sulfaro.
Film Malena won the Grand Prix at the 2001 Cabourg Film Festival.

The story takes place in Sicily, during the Second World War, a teenage boy gets obsessed by Malena, a sensual woman living in a small town.

  • Initial release: October 27, 2000 (Italy)
  • Director: Giuseppe Tornatore
  • Story by: Luciano Vincenzoni
  • Starring: Monica Bellucci, Giuseppe Sulfaro 
  • Music by: Ennio Morricone
  • Budget 10 million USD
  • Box office 14.4 million USD

4. SE7EN

best drama movies
Seven (1995) is a mystery drama movie directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. Starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey.

The story follows David Mills, a detective who partners with the retiring William Somerset to track down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as a religious motif in his murders.

  • Initial release: September 15, 1995 
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker
  • Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman,
  • Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley
  • Music by: Howard Shore
  • Budget 33 million USD
  • Box office 327.3 million USD

3. Another Earth

best sci fi drama
Another Earth (2011) is an independent science-fiction drama movie directed by Mike Cahill. Starring Brit Marling, William Mapother, and Robin Lord Taylor.

the story follows Rhoda, an ambitious student, who crosses paths with John in a tragic accident, in which his wife and son get killed. After serving her prison sentence, she is determined to mend John’s disturbing life.

  • Initial release: July 22, 2011 (USA)
  • Director: Mike Cahill
  • Written by: Mike Cahill, Brit Marling
  • Starring: Brit Marling, William Mapother
  • Music by: Fall On Your Sword
  • Budget 100,000  million USD
  • Box office 1.9 million USD

2. Schindler’s List

best drama movies
Schindler’s List (1993) is an epic historical drama movie directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the 1982 non-fiction novel Schindler’s Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. Starring Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth and Ben Kingsley as Schindler’s Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern.

The story takes place during World War II and it follows Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who together with his wife Emilie Schindler saved more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

  • Initial release: November 30, 1993 (DC)
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Based on: Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally
  • Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley,
  • Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall
  • Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz
  • Music by: John Williams
  • Budget million USD
  • Box office million USD
1. The Shawshank Redemption
best drama movies
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is a drama movie directed by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Starring Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, William Sadler, Clancy Brown

The story follows Andy Dufresne banker, who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a prisoner, contraband smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding, and becomes instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden.

  • Initial release: September 22, 1994 
  • Director: Frank Darabont
  • Based on: novel Rita Hayworth and
  • Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
  • Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman,
  • William Sadler, Clancy Brown
  • Music by: Thomas Newman
  • Budget 25 million USD
  • Box office 58.3 million USD