The Best Drama Movies You Can Watch on Netflix This Instant

The Best Drama Movies You Can Watch on Netflix This Instant

So many titles at the click of a button! 

There is tons of content on Netflix which at times makes it difficult to choose an option to play. Sometimes you find yourself flipping through the titles and end up wasting a good chunk of your time and the dinner goes cold. Here is a curated list of the best drama movies on Netflix you can watch this instant. 

The movies are from some big names and contain stellar performance, some oscar worthy notes and make for great entertainment. All titles mentioned are a must watch. 


1. The Irishman

The Irishman

IMDB rating: 7.8

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Steven Zaillian

Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci

A Martin Scorsese’s three and half hour long masterpiece if you enjoy a good cinematic mob story. It’s a life story about a hitman Frank Sheeran, played by Robert De Niro that touches on lessons of regret, age and bad decisions. The film is about getting caught between friends, just friends with guns and some brutal mobster action. The movie is not just another mob movie but in fact one of the best works of Scorsese that helps you reflect about all choices you have made in life.


2. 22 July

22 July

IMDB rating: 6.8

Director: Paul Greengrass

Writer: Paul Greengrass

Cast: Anders Danielsen Lie, Jon Øigarden, Thorbjørn Harr, Jonas Strand Gravli, Ola G. Furuseth, and Ulrikke Hansen Døvigen

The story is about the harrowing details about the bombing and massacre carried out by Anders Behring Breivik on 22nd July 2011 killing 70 people. Paul Greengrass’ movie is not about the terrorist and his political agenda but about a boy who was shot in the head and 

has a long journey of recovery ahead of him. The movie plays a contrast of the human element of a terrorist who was captured and jailed versus the boy who represents hope and courage in the face of absolute evil. 


3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 

Ma Rainy’s Black Bottom 

IMDB rating: 7

Director: George C. Wolfe

Writer: George C. Wolfe

Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo

A true celebration of black artists and what they brought to the blues music industry. Based on the play by Pulitzer Prize-winning African playwright August Wilson Set in Chicago, 1927, Ma Rainey (played by Viola Davis) goes head to head with ‘white wash’ management over the rights to her music, a eager trumpeter played by non other than Chadwick Boseman wanting to start his solo career. This was Boseman’s last performance and he was Oscar nominated for it. 


4. Alive 

alive

IMDB rating: 7.1

Director: Jo Il-Hyeong

Writer: Matt Naylor, Jo Il-Hyeong

Cast: Yoo Ah-In, Park Shin-Hye, Jeon Bae-Su, Lee Hyun-Wook

A fight for survival, mysterious virus, and isolation, the Korean siege movie draws painful contrasts to the pandemic  if set in a zombie apocalyptic world. Jun-u and Yu-bin, two apartment tenants, and the main leads of the movie shut themselves indoors and fight the survival battle between flesh eating zombies hordes, scarcity of food, and emotional burnout. Alive is a must watch suspenseful zombie thriller drama that delivers superbly on the horror, carnage with human feels of hope.  


5. The Outpost

The Outpost

IMDB rating: 6.8

Director: Rod Lurie

Writers: Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson

Cast: Scott Eastwood, Caleb Landry Jones, Orlando Bloom,Jack Kesy ,Cory Hardrict, Milo Gibson, Jacob Scipio, Taylor John Smith.

The Outpost is based on the Battle of Kamdesh 2009 in which a small unit of 53 American soldiers got trapped at the Camp Outpost Keating. The post was at the bottom of steep mountains just 14 miles from Pakistan. The soldiers were greatly outnumbered against the 400 Taliban fighters who took them for an easy mark. The movie drops the hammers on how human lives are lost because of political stupidity and military pomposity. 


6. There Will be Blood

there will be blood

IMDB rating: 8.2

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Kevin J. Connor

Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, a vindictive oil miner in an Oscar winning performance in the movie There Will be Blood which is set at the turn of the 20th century. The movie is about the power hungry Daniel who stakes everything for it, including his young adoptive son. He cons people into selling him their properties for a pittance but is soon suspected by the local pastor about his evil doings which begins long hostility. The movie is heavy and rich on themes, the characters are deep and you have to be in a mood to connect. 


7. Wildlife

wildlife

IMDB rating: 6.8

Director: Paul Dano

Writers: Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbould, and Bill Camp

The movie is an intensely eye-opening narration of  a marriage coming to splits and as witnessed by the couple’s young son. It is based on the book of the same name by Richard Ford, Wildlife takes place in 1960. The couple is played by Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal (Jeanette and Jerry — a housewife and a golf pro) who move to Montana with their teenage son. Soon the father loses his job and finds work here and there and goes on and off to fight wildfires to find his purpose leaving the wife and the all to soon grown up son to take care of themselves.


8. Marriage Story

Marriage Story

IMDB rating: 7.9

Director: Noah Baumbach

Writer: Noah Baumbach

Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta

This one is a nerve-wrecking emotional ringer and you need a box of tissues by your side! Marriage Story is Noah Baumbach’s stellar take on what makes and breaks a marriage and a perspective of both sides. The movie shows the couple navigating divorce, with brutal hostilight, custody battle of their son and how people in love fall out of it. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver deliver outstanding performances in this heart breaking account of divorce and what it puts a family through. 


9. The Trial of Chicago 7

The Trial of Chicago 7

IMDB rating: 7.8

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Mark Rylance, Frank Langella, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, and John Carroll Lynch

A stellar screenplay by none other than Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of Chicago 7 is a movie based on the events of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in which Vietnam War Protesters were accused of inciting riots. The trial begins and the judge outright is quite biased and the trial is white washed. The film is a striking contrast to the political climate of America today and it tugs at the question of power, race, justice and equality. The entire cast has delivered on a rousing performance and it makes for a must watch. 


10. Mudbound

Mudbound

IMDB rating: 7.4

Director: Dee Rees

Writers: Dee Rees and Virgil Williams

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell. Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, Jonathan Banks

This one is not only an original by Netflix but also went ahead to win four Oscar nominations. The film follows Laura McAllan who is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm, a place she finds unwelcoming. Two young men return from war to work on the farm, one white and one black. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is fighting PTSD, while Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, battles racism and prejudice. The movie is a raw lens into the story centered on  the fear, the humiliation, horror,  black people face in the South by white folks. 


11. Miss Sloane

Miss Sloane

IMDB rating: 7.5

Director: John Madden

Writer: Jonathan Perera

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, Alison Pill 

This one is a slight older pick but still makes for an awesome drama movie. Miss Sloane, played by Jessica Chastain is about a highly sought after lobbyist in Washington DC who refused to oppose a bill imposed on regulations of firearms. Her stance leads her down the road of threats to her career, mockery and getting targeted by powerful enemies. Chastain’s performance is outstanding and the pace of the movie keeps you hooked with unexpected twists. The cast is diverse and multifaceted characters give it enough bite to enjoy to the very ends.  


12. The Devil All The Time

The Devil All The Time

IMDB rating: 7.1

Director: Antonio Campos

Writers: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos

Cast: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Sebastian Stan, Haley Bennett, Harry Melling, Eliza Scanlen

Based on the debut novel by the American Writer Donald Ray Pollack, ‘The Devil All the Time’ is set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia. The film revolves around fascinating and outlandish characters and how their lives are tangled in depravity at the end of World War II in the 1960s. The story unfolds across generations, families, and how two wars shaped their individual stories. Another theme discussed in the movie is how sin and traumas are often passed from one generation to the other.    


13. Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy

IMDB rating: 6.7

Director: Ron Howard

Writers: Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos

Cast: Amy Adams, Glenn Close, Gabriel Basso. J.D. Vance · Haley Bennett. Lindsay · Freida Pinto. Usha · Bo Hopkins. Papaw

Based on the memoir Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance, the movie largely focuses on the virtues of hard work and perseverance of the American welfare state . The movie follows a Yale Law student  who goes back to his Appalachian hometown and ponders over his family’s history and what his future holds for him.  Hillbilly Elegy is an Oscar-friendly movie star studded with A-listers and tearful sad monologues. Fan of the memoir will recognize how the film adapts scenes and relationships to the screen quite smoothly. 


14. Pieces of a Woman

Pieces of a Woman

IMDB rating: 7.1

Director: Kornél Mundruczó 

Writer: Kata Wéber

Cast: Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn, Iliza Shlesinger, Benny Safdie, Sarah Snook.

Vanessa Kirby and Shia LeBouf play expecting parents whose lives come to a devastating turn when they lose their child amidst home birthing. Kirby’s intense performance is palpable through the screen and viewers get to see a woman teetering on the edge of her sanity as her marriage unfolds. The movie is about child loss, grief, pain and mourning. The accounts are achingly raw and the movie makes audiences identify with and feel the anguish of losing a baby. 


15. The Dig

The Dig

IMDB rating: 7.1

Director:  Simon Stone

Writer: Moira Buffini

Cast:  Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Johnny Flynn, Ben Chaplin, Ken Stott, Archie Barnes, and Monica Dolan

Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes lead the cast of ‘The Dig,’ a Simon Stone’s period drama which is based on the true story of Edith Pretty, a wealthy landowner who in the 1930s hired an archeologist Basil Brown to investigate mounds on her vast property in England. The excavation of the burial ground unearths a king’s ship from the dark ages. A story of hope, history, discovery and sacrifice. 


16. Extremely Wicked ,Shockingly Evil and Vile

Extremely Wicked ,Shockingly Evil and Vile

IMDB rating: 6.7

Director: Joe Berlinger

Writer: Michael Werwie

Cast: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment, Jim Parsons, John Malkovich, James Hetfield

Based on the book ‘The Phantom Prince: My life with Ted Bundy’ written by Elizabeth Kendall who was the girlfriend of America’s most notorious serial Killer and refused to accept the reality of him as a killer.  It chronicles his crime based on her memoir with some fictional screenplay license. Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy while Lily Collins as Liz Kendall. The movie is very unsettling and dares to ask the question of who is Ted Bundy. 


17. The Florida Project

the florida project

IMDB rating: 7.6

Director: Sean Baker 

Writers: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Valeria Cotto, Christopher Rivera, Caleb Landry Jones

Sean Beaker’s indie take on a story of a 6-year old Moone and her two best friends go on their daily adventures in a largely downtrodden part of Florida, amidst the shadow of the Disney World. Moonee’s Mom is a struggling Motel Manager and tries her best to protect the kids from the bleak reality of life. The Florida Project is a slice of life drama that is simple but a very humbling watch. 


18. Lost Girls

Lost Girls

IMDB rating: 6.1

Director: Liz Garbus

Writer: Michael Werwie

Cast: Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie, Lola Kirke, Oona Laurence, Dean Winters, Miriam Shor, Reed Birney, Kevin Corrigan, Gabriel Byrne

Based on the non-fiction book ‘Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery’ by Robert Kolker, the film brings forth to the screen some of the harrowing stories of the victims of ‘Long Island Serial Killer’. The director has done a great job of taking the limelight away from ‘gruesomeness’ of the crime and instead reflecting it on victims and their treatment. The lead is played by Amy Ryan as Mari Gilbert who draws attention to how not all people get the same police attention when they get killed, like prositutues and sex workers. 


19. Mank

Mank

IMDB rating: 6.9

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Jack Fincher

Cast: Gary Oldman,Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Arliss Howard, Tom Pelphrey, Charles Dance

A David Fincher’s best, co-written with his late Father the movie is about the Old Holywood and highlights its derisive and venomous side instead of painting it with rosy feels. Mank is a black and white movie that is nothing short of technical brilliance, unique subplots and on spot acting. The lead is played by Gary Oldman as Herman Mankiewicz  who is an alcoholic screenwriter trying to finish his movie “Citizen Kane.”


20. Horse Girl

Horse Girl

IMDB rating: 6

Director: Jeff Baena

Writers: Jeff Baena, Alison Brie

Cast: Alison Brie, Debby Ryan, John Reynolds, Molly Shannon, John Ortiz, Paul Reiser, Matthew Gray Gubler

Alison Brie stars in the lead as Sarah, who is suffering from depression. Her lucid dreams take over her life. The movie is an excellent narrative of how depression looks like as Sarah takes you on a personal journey in the entire film. With 103 minutes of running time, unsettling music score, and brilliant editing, Horse Girl delves too deep into Sarah’s view of depression and explores uneasy and disturbing ideas. The movie’s ending is also a debate, and everyone can interrupt their version of it. 

Closing thoughts

Have you watched any of these best drama movies on netflix? What did you think? Did you enjoy them? Which movies should have made the list? Drop us your comments below.

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Chris Mack

Chris Mack

Chris is a technology and entertainment writer whose main interests revolve around the art of writing and expression. He loves writing research-based articles in different niches and translating his thoughts into words that inspire others.


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