The Best Drama Movies Of All Time in New Zealand

The best drama movies of all time in New Zealand touch us most authentically. They affect us in different ways based on our unique life experiences.

Dramatic films are pretty impactful because they showcase issues that almost every person can relate to in some way or the other.

While we’d all want to believe we could knock a meteor into space or survive the night against a slasher with a Christmas motif, none of those things will ever happen to us in real life. You will, however, fall in love with the charm of these stories.

Keeping this in mind, we have compiled a list of the 30 best drama movies of all time in New Zealand for you to watch. Get ready to experience the different feelings each of these movies shares.

Mank (2020)


Director: David Fincher
Writer: Jack Fincher
Cast: Gary Oldman, Lily Collins, Amanda Seyfried, Arliss Howard, Charles Dance
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10
Run Time: 2h 11m
Genre: Comedy, Biography, Drama

Herman J. Mankiewicz, an American screenwriter, is stranded in the remote North Verde Ranch in the Mojave Desert and has just 60 days to complete the first script draft for Citizen Kane (1941).

Herman J. Mankiewicz, battling an alcohol addiction, teams up with Orson Welles, the 24-year-old golden boy of Hollywood, and begins production of a film.

He draws inspiration from his time working for MGM, his acquaintance with newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, and Hearst’s 20-year-old lover, actress Marion Davies. He gives Orson Welles complete creative freedom.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut gems-nz

Director: Benny Safdie
Writer: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Cast: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett, Eric Bogosian
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
Run Time: 2h 15m
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

A once-prosperous New York gem trader named Howard Ratner is now deeply in debt due to his gambling addiction, which has destroyed his family and job.

Howard is constantly searching for the next big wager. Finally, when he comes across a rare uncut Ethiopian opal, he believes he has finally hit the jackpot as it is an interest of a high-profile bidder.

However, the more Howard realizes he must face the repercussions of his deeds, the closer he goes to ultimately calling off the deal. This is one of the best drama movies on Netflix.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

the trial of Chicago 7-nz

Director: Aaron Sorkin
Writer: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alex Sharp, Sacha Baron Cohen
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10
Run Time: 2h 09m
Genre: Thriller, History, Drama

In 1968 in Chicago, The Convention of the Democratic Party was attended by protesters like the aggressive Yippies, headed by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, and the militant Democratic Society students.

Tom Hayden was the leader and led the violent clashes with the police. Later, the adversarial Nixon administration detained seven suspect leaders on allegations of conspiracy.

Although he was not involved in the incident, they detained the Black Panthers’ Bobby Sealer. The film’s plot develops into an unfair trial overseen by the polarizing Judge Hoffman and charged by a reticent yet responsible Richard Schultz.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)

the Ballad of Buster Scruggs-nz

Director: Joel Coen
Writer: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: James Franco, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson, Tim Blake Nelson
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Run Time: 2h 13m
Musical, Comedy, Drama

Movie Plot: One of the best drama movies of all time, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, explores the book titled “BUSTER SCRUGGS & OTHER TALES OF THE AMERICAN FRONTIER.”

Six stories from the book are anthologized in the movie, and each story represents a different color plate drawing. Watch the movie that beautifully showcases the art of storytelling.

The film is filled with comedy scenes and is one of the best comedy movies you should watch.

The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

The other side of the wind-nz

Director: Orson Welles
Writer: Oja Kodar, Orson Welles
Cast: Oja Kodar, John Huston, Peter Bogdanovich, Norman Foster, Susan Strasberg
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
Run Time: 2h 2m
Genre: Drama

The next name in our list of best drama movies of all time is The Other Side Of The Wind. JJ Hannaford, a well-known and notorious film director, perishes in a car accident.

He was about to release his most recent film. The plot shows a documentary camera crew following him in the days before his passing.

The circumstances that led up to his passing are depicted, along with the careers Hannaford ruined, the enemies he created, and some facts about his final movie: The Other Side of the Wind.

Mudbound (2017)


Director: Dee Rees
Writer: Virgil Williams, Dee Rees
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Rob Morgan, Jason Mitchell
IMDB Rating: 7.4/10
Run Time: 2h 14m
Genre: War, Drama

Two families—the Jacksons (blacks) and the McAllans (whites)—are compelled to live together on the same plot of land in the muddy Mississippi Delta after World War II while maintaining a tenuous, racialized peace.

The long-awaited return of two war veterans, Ronsel, the eldest son of the Jacksons, and Jamie, Henry McAllan’s younger brother, will, however, unexpectedly foster a blossoming friendship.

Their bond raises intolerance to racism as they struggle together with hardship and extreme poverty. But in the end, when racism and segregation are still the rules of the land, their life gets more difficult due to virulent racism.

Wildlife (2018)


Director: Paul Dano
Writers: Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp
IMDB Rating: 6.8/10
Run Time: 1h 45m
Genre: Drama

Joe saw both of his parents’ divorces. Jerry, his father, loses his job and moves out. Jeanette, his mother, has moved in with a new significant other.

Joe develops uncomfortable feelings toward his mother as a result of her actions. However, his father does come back. But, it doesn’t make the three any happier.

His mother eventually relocates to Oregon to start a teaching career, and Joe stays with his father. But, one day, she abruptly states that she will travel by bus to see them in the upcoming weekend.

Private Life (2018)

private life-nz

Director: Tamara Jenkins
Writer: Tamara Jenkins
Cast: Kathryn Hahn, Kayli Carter, Paul Giamatti, Molly Shannon, John Carroll Lynch
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10
Run Time: 2h 3m
Genre: Drama, Comedy

One of the excellent drama movies of all time in New Zealand, Private Life, follows an infertile couple, Richard and Rachel. They are going through advanced pregnancy treatments.

Both struggle to save their marriage as they go further into the strange realm of artificial reproduction procedures.

At first, they protest when their doctor suggests surrogacy. Then, however, they change their minds when Sadie, a recent college dropout, comes into their lives.

Da 5 Bloods (2020)

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Director: Spike Lee
Writer: Kevin Willmott, Paul De Meo
Cast: Jonathan Majors, Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr.
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
Run Time: 2h 24m
Genre: Drama, War, Adventure

Four African American soldiers are in search of the gold treasure their squad leader helped them bury leading them into conflict with the people of Vietnam.

As horrifying pictures of war atrocities linger on screen, characters and spectators alike are forced to face deeds committed by the American army.

The visuals make you turn away from the screen because they are so awful. You can watch this drama war movie on Netflix.

The Florida Project (2017)

The florida project-nz

Director: Sean Baker
Writers: Chris Bergoch, Sean Baker
Cast: Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Willem Dafoe, Caleb Landry Jones
IMDB Rating: 7.6/10
Run Time: 1h 51m
Genre: Drama

The Magic Castle, a garishly painted motel in the shadow of Walt Disney World’s bustling Magic Kingdom, is the struggling single mother Halley and her mischievous six-year-old daughter Moonee’s home.

It is crammed with the imperceptible homeless who can’t afford proper accommodation.

However, this location was a magical playground of unending adventure and a perfect nirvana in Moonee’s eyes. But, will she ever understand that the appearance of a carefree existence is never without cost?

The precious mother-and-daughter idyll will eventually seek to be marred by childhood’s careless misdeeds, and an inevitable nasty clash as Halley attempts risky ways to survive.

The Irishman (2019)

the irishman-nz

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Steven Zaillian
Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Bobby Cannavale, Joe Pesci, Ray Romano
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
Run Time: 3h 29m
Genre: Crime, Drama, Biography

 Martin Scorsese’s THE IRISHMAN stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci in an epic narrative of organized crime in post-war America as seen through the eyes of World War II veteran Frank Sheeran.

Frank is a hustler and hitman who worked with some of the most prominent people of the 20th century. The absence of iconic union boss Jimmy Hoffa is one of the greatest mysteries in American history.

And this film is a monumental journey into the shadowy world of organized crime, revealing its inner workings, rivalries, and connections to mainstream politics over the course of several decades. This is one of the best crime movies to watch on Netflix.

High Flying Bird (2019)

High flying bird-nz

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Tarell Alvin McCraney
Cast: Andre Holland, Melvin Gregg, Zazie Beetz, Kyle MacLachlan, Zachary Quinto
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Run Time: 1h 30m
Genre: Sport, Drama

Sports agent Ray Burke finds himself caught up in the conflict between the league and the players during a professional basketball lockout. Although Ray’s career is on the line, the stakes are more extensive.

With just 72 hours to execute a risky scheme, he outwits all the significant players while discovering a flaw that might fundamentally alter the game. The result makes one wonder who should own the match and who does.

If you are a sports lover, then check out our list of best sports movies of all the time.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

El Camino a breaking bad movie-nz

Director: Vince Gilligan
Writer: Vince Gilligan
Cast: Aaron Paul
IMDB Rating: 7.3/10
Run Time: 2h 2m
Genre: Crime, Drama, Action

Jesse must flee his past demons after being freed from Tod’s uncle Jack’s torture and slavery. His last chance of escaping a police manhunt is Ed Galbraith, the hoover man played by Saul Goodman. He can grant Jesse a new name and a new beginning with a reasonable sum of money.

With the aid of his crew, Jesse attempts to escape while working against the clock to save money for a “new dust filter for his Hoover MaxExtract PressurePro model” and a new life.

Roma (2018)


Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writer: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Marina de Tavira, Yalitza Aparicio
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10
Run Time: 2h 15m
Genre: Drama

Cleo is a domestic assistant who aided Antonio and Sofa in caring for their four children in Mexico City in the 1970s.

But when Cleo finds out she’s pregnant, and Antonio abruptly leaves with his mistress, things soon get depressing. Cleo needs to take a much-needed break, unwind, and spend time with the family.

Thus, Sofa invites Cleo along when she chooses to take the kids on vacation. You must definitely watch this title from the best drama movies of all time list.

1922 (2017)


Director: Zak Hilditch
Writer: Zak Hilditch
Cast: Neal McDonough, Thomas Jane, Molly Parker
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Run Time: 1h 42m
Genre: Drama, Crime, Horror

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, this 1922 tale with hints of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Black Cat” and “A Tell-tale Heart” centers on a straightforward but proud farmer named Wilfred James.

He kills his wife with the reluctance of his teenage son to take possession of her inherited land. But soon after, James and his farm experience strange and paranormal events. Is it just poor luck, or might it be the result of something much darker?

A Gray State (2017)

A Gray State-nz

Director: Erik Nelson
Writer: N/A
Cast: Danny August Mason, David Crowley, Alex Jones, Jason Allen
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Run Time: 1h 33m
Genre: Documentary

An Iraq War veteran, aspiring filmmaker, and charismatic newcomer to the fringes of politics, David Crowley, started making his movie “Gray State” in 2010.

The film’s crowd-funded trailer, which depicts a dystopian near-future in which an unchecked federal government violates civil liberties, was warmly embraced by the emerging online libertarian community, Tea Party activists, and members of the emerging alt-right. Crowley and his family were discovered dead in their suburban Minnesota home in January 2015.

Conspiracy theorists believe that Crowley was murdered by a covert government concerned that some filmmakers were about to discover the truth. Their terrible deaths become a cause célèbre for these theories.

The Old Guard (2020)

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Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer: Greg Rucka
Cast: KiKi Layne, Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
Run Time: 2h 5m
Genre: Thriller, Action

Andromache (also known as Andy) has been playing God for over a millennium. Since she has this power of immortality, all the while doing her best to help humanity progress.

However, Andy has grown bored of living to the point that she is considering ending her life. After all, she has already tried every cuisine, learned most languages, and knows many more lethal techniques than any human could ever hope to master.

Andy is aware of the pain that may result from getting too close to someone mortal. Her only friends are a few people like herself she managed to track down.

Bad Trip (2021)

bad trip-nz

Director: Kitao Sakurai
Writer: Eric André, Dan Curry
Cast: Lil Rel Howery, Eric André, Tiffany Haddish
IMDB Rating: 6.6/10
Run Time: 1h 26m
Genre: Comedy

Bad Trip is one of the comedies and best drama movies of all time in New Zealand. It is a hidden camera comedy film of two best friends on a road trip from Florida to New York. It starts when Chris’s best friend Bud, working in a computer shop, is visited by his sister Trina.

She pulls up her car and fights with Bud for money. However, he refuses to give her money. Now the two talk about everything and plan for a road trip to New York. On their journey, they capture comic moments on the hidden camera.

Chris declares his love for his high school crush Maria to the car wash man. The man tries to take Maria’s number for Chris, but his actions go in vain.

Berlin Syndrome (2017)

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Director: Cate Shortland
Writer: Shaun Grant
Cast: Max Riemelt, Teresa Palmer
IMDB Rating: 6.3/10
Run Time: 1h 56m
Genre: Horror, Drama, Mystery

Australian photojournalist Clare meets charming native Andi while on vacation in Berlin, and the two are immediately attracted to one another.

An intensely romantic evening follows. But when Clare wakes up the following day to find Andi, he has left for work and locked her in his apartment.

What at first seems to be the beginning of a romance quickly takes an unexpected and frightening turn.

Burning Sands (2017)

Burning sands-nz

Director: Gerard McMurray
Writer: Christine Berg, Gerard McMurray
Cast: Trevor Jackson, Steve Harris, Alfre Woodard, DeRon Horton, Trevante Rhodes
IMDB Rating: 6.0/10
Run Time: 1h 36m
Genre: Drama

Frederick Douglass University student Zurich Condoll is honored to be a pledge in a renowned African-American fraternity.

But unfortunately, anti-hazing laws force his Hell Week underground and his fraternity’s experienced members to turn into a gang of nasty, drunk, and sadistic louts.

Chasing Coral (2017)

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Director: Jeff Orlowski
Writer: Davis Coombe, Jeff Orlowski
Cast: Andrew Ackerman, Neal Cantin, Pim Bongaerts, Phil Dustan, Ruth Gates
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
Run Time: 1h 33m
Genre: Documentary

Chasing Coral is an American documentary about the disappearance of coral reefs. All around the world, coral reefs are vanishing at an exceptional rate because of climate change.

The movie follows the divers, scientists, and photographers who march in the ocean to learn why the reefs are disappearing.Through their journey, they also reveal the underwater mystery to the world.

Chasing Coral is about the disappearance of an incredible animal group. It’s in the form of a poem about how these animals have vanished. The poem calls humanity to open its eyes to the sad reality.

At Eternity’s Gate (2018)

At Eternity_s gate-nz

Director: Julian Schnabel
Writer: Louise Kugelberg, Jean-Claude Carrière
Cast: Willem Dafoe, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Friend, Mathieu Amalric, Oscar Isaac
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
Run Time: 1h 51m
Genre: Drama, Biography, History

The last two years of Vincent van Gogh’s life are shown; these years were primarily spent in southern France, particularly Arles. Instead of focusing on gaining money by selling his paintings, he relies on his brother, Theo van Gogh, for financial and emotional support. Nevertheless, he is driven by his art.

Due to the pace at which he works and what is perceived as the haphazard technique of thick strokes of paint on the canvas, Van Gogh is considered less contemplative about his work than his friend and fellow artist Paul Gauguin, who had some measure of success.

Atlantics (2019)


Director: Mati Diop
Writer: Olivier Demangel, Mati Diop
Cast: Ibrahima Traoré, Amadou Mbow, Mame Bineta Sane
IMDB Rating: 6.7/10
Run Time: 1h 46m
Genre: Romance, Mystery, Drama

Overlooking a Dakar suburb is a futuristic structure that will shortly be inaugurated. Ada, 17, and Souleymane, a young builder, are in love.

However, she was sworn to another guy. Souleymane and his coworkers vanish at sea one night. Soon after, they return to terrorize their former workplace.

Several workers show up when the developer fails to pay their salary, threatening to burn the tower.

Blaze (2018)


Director: Ethan Hawke
Writer: Sybil Rosen, Ethan Hawke
Cast: Ben Dickey, Sam Rockwell, Alia Shawkat, Steve Zahn, Richard Linklater
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
Run Time: 2h 9m
Genre: Drama, Biography, Music

Movie Plot: It’s inspired by the biography of Blaze Foley, a lesser-known Texas outlaw music movement songwriter. He was influenced by artists like Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. The movie braids reimagined versions of Blaze’s past, present, and future throughout three different time frames.

The threads examine his relationship with Sybil Rosen, his final, gloomy night on Earth, and the effects his songs and passing had on his supporters, friends, and rivals.

The complex plot is wrapped up in a bittersweet conclusion that recognizes Blaze’s profound highs and lows and the impressions he left on those who traveled with him. This film is one of the best films to watch on Amazon Prime.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020)

Crip Camp A Disability Revolution (2020)-nz

Director: James Lebrecht
Writer: James Lebrecht, Nicole Newnham
Cast: James Lebrecht, Joseph O’Connor, Lionel Je Woodyard, Denise Sherer Jacobson
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10
Run Time: 1h 46m
Genre: History, Documentary

Teenagers with impairments faced an institutionalized, segregated, and isolated future in the early 1970s. Then, those boundaries were destroyed by Camp Jened, a dilapidated camp in the Catskills for the disabled.

Jened was their wild Utopia, a location where everyone could enjoy summertime activities, smoking, and makeout sessions, and campers who felt whole as people.

Friends from Camp Jened realized that disruption and unity might achieve life-changing accessibility for millions as they moved west to Berkeley, California, a promised home for a growing and diverse disability community.

Fear Street (2021)

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Director: Leigh Janiak
Writers: R.L. Stine, Leigh Janiak
Cast: Maya Hawke, Ryan Torres, Charlene Amoia, Noah Bain Garret, Skull Mask
IMDB Rating: 6.2/10
Run Time: 1h 47m
Genre: Horror, Drama, Mystery

Another cruel, senseless massacre in Shadyside, the murder center of the United States, sends chills down the spine. And the threat of the local witch Sarah Fier, who is cursed, keeps increasing.

Now that something evil has awakened, a group of five young friends is forced to muster the bravery to uncover a gory, centuries-old secret and struggle valiantly against uncontrollable supernatural forces to survive.

But in this dangerous game of cat and mouse, someone else sets the parameters. Can the young protectors break the town’s curse and put an end to everything?

Gerald’s Game (2017)

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Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Jeff Howard, Mike Flanagan
Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Carla Gugino
IMDB Rating: 6.5/10
Run Time: 1h 43m
Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller

Gerald’s game is a movie about a married couple who go to a remote retreat to participate in a harmless game.

Unfortunately, the game turns into a harrowing fight in no time, and the wife accidentally kills her husband. Handcuffed to the bed with no possibility of rescue, the wife starts hearing voices and seeing strange visions.

Moreover, for survival, the wife Jessie must confront the long-buried demons of her mind. You can watch this horror movie on Netflix.

A Ghost Story (2017)

A ghost story-nz

Director: David Lowery
Writer: David Lowery
Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10
Run Time: 1h 32m
Genre: Fantasy, Drama, Romance

The old house is connected to “C,” a sensitive composer who hesitates to leave it. At the same time, his devoted wife “M,” on the other hand, is eager to move out because she has a terrifying premonition of danger.

The old house resonates with vivid memories and silent echoes of a shared life. But unfortunately, tragedy soon occurs, and C’s free spirit, which separates from the dead body and rises from the morgue table, decides to stay in this realm and faithfully accompany the grieving M back to the old house.

As silent as a shadow and as invisible as the air, C’s unappealing phantom watches M’s rejection and depression transform into acceptance and hope.

The Devil All the Time (2020)

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Director: Antonio Campos
Writer: Paulo Campos, Antonio Campos
Cast: Tom Holland, Riley Keough, Bill Skarsgård, Jason Clarke
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10
Run Time: 2h 18m
Genre: Drama, Crime, Thriller

The movie is based on the life of a young man named Arvin Eugene Russel. He is an orphaned son of Charlotte and Willard.

The young man is very dedicated to keeping his beloved ones safe in a sinister town. The plot focuses on the time when World War II came to an end in the 1960s.

The other important characters you’ll see are Willard Russell and his fantastic wife Charlotte, who later dies. You’ll also see Sandy and Carl Henderson, a duo of serial killers who also happen to be husband and wife.

Stowaway (2021)


Director: Joe Penna
Writer: Ryan Morrison, Joe Penna
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Shamier Anderson, Daniel Dae Kim, Toni Collette
IMDB Rating: 5.6/10
Run Time: 1h 56m
Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure, Thriller

The carefully-selected, exceptionally skilled crew of astronauts, including Commander Marina Barnett, biologist David Kim, and medical researcher Zoe Levenson, launched from Earth on a two-year scientific mission to faraway Mars. The crew is in their quest to make the celestial body habitable and locate a potential new home for humanity.

When the flight has passed the critical point of no return, and its fuel and oxygen supplies are running low, Marina makes the startling discovery of Michael Adams, the fourth passenger who was hidden, unconscious, and injured. Now, they have to find a way to survive.


The best drama movies of all time in New Zealand have one thing in common: the capacity to elicit a strong emotional response from their audience, whether it is a slice-of-life story like The Florida Project or a suspenseful war epic like Mudbound.

These intricately built worlds might make us cry/laugh or leave us in deep thought. So, in no particular order, these are some of our all-time favorite drama movies you must stream. Remember to use the best VPN for streaming so that you can watch all these movies without facing any geo-restrictions.

Chris Mack

Chris Mack

Meet Chris Mack, your go-to expert for the best of BBC iPlayer with a twist—he's also a cybersecurity enthusiast. Whether you're into British entertainment classics or searching for hidden gems, Chris has you covered, always with an eye for secure streaming practices. Beyond the screen, Chris blends his love for reading and exploring the outdoors with a passion for staying ahead in the world of cybersecurity, ensuring a safe viewing experience. If you're looking for top British TV picks or tips on keeping your digital viewing secure, Chris is your guide. Dive into the drama of British TV with Chris!

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