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The best dramas on Netflix right now

Since 2015’s Beasts of No Nation, Netflix has made a name for itself in original drama, boasting multiple nominees in the Best Picture category at the Academy Awards each of the past few years. Drama is one of Netflix’s best categories due in part to the quality of those originals, but the streaming service is also a home for excellent dramatic offerings from other studios. It’s a crowded collection, however, and you don’t want to experience any drama in your own life while searching for something to watch. To save you some time and effort, we’ve pulled together a list of the best dramas on Netflix right now.

Netflix may be a treasure trove when it comes to content, but it doesn’t have everything. Thankfully, we’ve also curated a list of the best dramas on Hulu and the best drama shows on Amazon Prime Video.

Recently added to Netflix
Emily the Criminal (2022) new
Emily the Criminal
75 %
r 97m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke
Directed by John Patton Ford
Aubrey Plaza gives one of her finest turns to date in this crime drama full of clever and insightful social commentary. The plot centers on Emily Benetto, a young woman living in Los Angeles and drowning in student loan debt. Unable to secure a high-paying job due to a minor felony conviction, Emily becomes involved in a credit card fraud ring, leading to dangerous and potentially deadly consequences.
Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Da 5 Bloods
82 %
r 156m
Genre War, Drama
Stars Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters
Directed by Spike Lee

Spike Lee directs an ensemble cast including Delroy Lindo — robbed of an Oscar nomination — Jonathan Majors, and the late Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods. The plot follows a group of four aging Black Vietnam veterans who return to the country to retrieve the remains of their squad leader and the gold treasure they buried during their war days.

Hustle (2022)
68 %
r 118m
Genre Drama, Comedy
Stars Adam Sandler, Queen Latifah, Juancho Hernangómez
Directed by Jeremiah Zagar
The king of the underdogs, Adam Sandler, stars in Jeremiah Zagar’s drama Hustle. The veteran actor plays Stanley Sugerman, a down-on-his-luck basketball scout for the Philadelphia 76ers looking for an opportunity. When he discovers a promising but inexperienced young talent in Spain, Sugerman sets out to prove they are both worthy of making it to the NBA.
Roma (2018)
96 %
r 135m
Genre Drama
Stars Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Four-time Academy Award winner Alfonso Cuarón directs Roma, a semiautobiographical film based on his childhood in 1970s Mexico. The story follows Cleo, a Mixteco housekeeper living with an upper-middle-class family. Things get complicated when Antonio, the patriarch, leaves to be with his mistress while Cleo discovers she is pregnant, throwing the family’s fragile balance into disarray. Nominated for 10 Oscars at the 2019 ceremony, Roma became the first-ever Mexican film to win Best Foreign Language Film.
Lion (2016)
69 %
pg-13 118m
Genre Drama
Stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham
Directed by Garth Davis
Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman earned Oscar nominations for their performances in Garth Davis’ 2016 biographical drama Lion. Based on Saroo Brierley’s 2013 nonfiction novel, Lion tells the story of Saroo Brierley, a 25-year-old man adopted by an Australian couple after separating from his family as a five-year-old. Curious to know more about his birth family, Saroo uses Google Earth to find his hometown, but his overwhelming curiosity about his origin strains his relationships with his adoptive family and girlfriend, Lucy.
All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) new
All Quiet on the Western Front
77 %
r 147m
Genre Action, Drama, History, War
Stars Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Aaron Hilmer
Directed by Edward Berger
The 1930 adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s classic World War I novel is considered an all-time great war movie, but modern special effects add another level of heightened reality in this Netflix original. Motivated by romantic dreams of heroism and glory, Paul Baumer (Felix Kammerer), and his friends Albert (Aaron Hilmer) and Muller (Moritz Klaus) answer the call to fight for Germany on the Western Front of World War I, but the initial euphoria of fighting for their country and a just cause quickly turns into a terrifying hellscape in the trenches.
Still Alice (2014) new
Still Alice
72 %
pg-13 101m
Genre Drama
Stars Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart
Directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Julianne Moore won Best Actress for her portrayal of Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor who suddenly starts to forget words. Initially nonplussed, the issue spirals, and Alice receives an early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis that devastates her husband, John (Alec Baldwin), and their three grown children, Lydia (Kristen Stewart), Anna (Kate Bosworth,) and Tom (Hunter Parrish). As she struggles to maintain her mind, Alice’s bond with her family is tested to its limit.
Up in the Air (2009) new
Up in the Air
83 %
r 110m
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Directed by Jason Reitman
A movie about the angst of the corporate grind, Up In the Air addresses its themes through an appropriately grim perspective: that of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a corporate downsizing expert who spends his life traveling from city to city to lay people off on behalf of corporate clients. But Ryan loves his life in and out of planes, airports, and hotels and is dead set on reaching 10 million frequent flyer miles. Just as he’s on the cusp of reaching the milestone, however, he meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), another frequent flyer who makes Ryan fall hard enough to re-evaluate his entire transient life.
Phantom Thread (2017)
Phantom Thread
90 %
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
If Daniel Day-Lewis is truly retired from acting, then he went out on a high note in Phantom Thread. In the film, Day-Lewis portrays Reynolds Woodcock, a fashion designer in the ‘50s whose dresses are highly sought after. After encountering a waitress named Alma Elson (Vicky Krieps), Reynolds courts her to become both his muse and his lover. However, Reynolds’ controlling ways alienate Alma, who wants to reassert control over her own life. And she will go to some surprising lengths to get it.
The Lost Daughter (2021)
The Lost Daughter
85 %
r 122m
Genre Drama
Stars Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson
Directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal
Somewhat polarizing between critics and audiences, The Lost Daughter is an artsy drama about memory and the endurance of pain. Leda (Olivia Colman) is alone on a seaside vacation when she becomes obsessed with the relationship between a mother and daughter — as well as their extended family. As Leda gets closer to the family, she becomes overwhelmed by a wave of memories of her own early motherhood until an impulsive act shocks her deep into the recesses of her own mind, forced to face the choices she made as a young mother.
The Power of the Dog (2021) new
The Power of the Dog
89 %
r 127m
Genre Drama, Western
Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons
Directed by Jane Campion
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as cowboy Phil Burbank in this slow-burning Western. Phil’s entire life is tied up in the land, and he’s known throughout 1920s Montana as one of the best ranchers around. One night, he heads into market with his brother, George (Jesse Plemmons), where they meet Rose (Kirsten Dunst), the widowed proprietress of the Red Mill restaurant and her son, Peter. While George takes an immediate liking to Rose, Phil treats her barbarically. But when George returns to the restaurant to propose to Rose and bring her back to the Burbank ranch, Phil is forced to adapt. As such, he takes Peter under his wing. Or does he?
Passing (2021)
85 %
pg-13 98m
Genre Drama
Stars Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland
Directed by Rebecca Hall
In 1920s New York, Irene (Tessa Thompson) reconnects with an old childhood friend (Ruth Negga) whom she soon discovers is passing as white in the city. Irene soon finds her consideration of her own identity and her relationship with the world turned upside down by this shocking development.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
The Fundamentals of Caring
55 %
pg-13 97m
Genre Comedy, Drama
Stars Paul Rudd, Craig Roberts, Selena Gomez
Directed by Rob Burnett
Paul Rudd headlines The Fundamentals of Caring as Ben Benjamin, a frustrated writer whose marriage has crumbled. Ben reinvents himself as a caregiver, and he is soon hired to look after Trevor (Craig Roberts), a teenager suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Despite their shared emotional pain, Ben and Trevor form a bond and take a road trip together. Along the way, they run into a hitchhiker named Dot (Selena Gomez), a young woman who also wants to get away from her life. But while the trip is a fun experience, it also leads the trio to face some uncomfortable truths about themselves and each other.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
The Trial of the Chicago 7
76 %
r 130m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Directed by Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed The Trial of the Chicago 7, based on the real experiences of anti-war protesters Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch), Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins), and John Froines (Daniel Flaherty). Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) may not have been among the seven, but he was also on trial, and the film tells his story as well. Together, they took a strong moral stand even as the judge appeared to be hellbent on putting them away.

Pieces of a Woman (2020)
Pieces of a Woman
66 %
r 127m
Genre Drama
Stars Vanessa Kirby, Shia LaBeouf, Ellen Burstyn
Directed by Kornél Mundruczó
Tragedy runs rampant in Kornél Mundruczó’s Pieces of a Woman, starring Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf as Martha and Sean, a Boston couple welcoming their first baby by way of a home birth. When the beautiful moment turns into devastation, Martha slips into a spell of overbearing grief, an emotional bubble that begins to eat away at the young woman and her closest relationships. Featuring one of the most intense first acts in recent dramatic history, Pieces of a Woman is led by a powerhouse performance from Kirby, elevating our sense of grief and pain to whole new levels.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
87 %
r 94m
Genre Drama, Music
Stars Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman
Directed by George C. Wolfe
Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress for their powerhouse turns in the adaptation of August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. While neither Boseman nor Davis won, this is a movie that will only add to their respective legends. Davis portrays an iconic blues singer, Ma Rainey, during a contentious studio recording in 1927. The late Boseman plays Levee Green, Ma’s ambitious trumpeter who dreams of having a band of his own. Unfortunately, Levee’s antagonistic personality threatens to destroy all of his hopes in one night. Regardless, Boseman imbues the role with raw emotion and an unforgettable performance.

Mank (2020)
79 %
r 132m
Genre Drama, History
Stars Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins
Directed by David Fincher
Mank was the passion project of writer Jack Fincher, who wrote the screenplay in the ‘90s. Three decades later, Jack’s son, David Fincher, directed the film for Netflix and earned a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Fittingly, the movie is about the making of one of the all-time great films: Citizen Kane. Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman) is chosen by Orson Welles (Tom Burke) to write his magnum opus, which was inspired in part by the powerful publisher William Randolph Hearst. In flashback, we learn that Herman has a history with both William and William’s much younger lover, Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried). Creating a masterpiece isn’t easy, but it sure is entertaining.
Concrete Cowboy (2020)
Concrete Cowboy
67 %
r 111m
Genre Drama, Western
Stars Idris Elba, Caleb McLaughlin, Jharrel Jerome
Directed by Ricky Staub
When 15-year-old Cole (Caleb McLaughlin) is uprooted from the hard streets of Detroit, the youth is sent to live with his father, Harp (Idris Elba), in Philadelphia. What Cole could never expect to experience in a new city setting is an Old West lifestyle, propagated by his father and a larger band of inner-city Black cowboys. Patrolling the streets on horseback, the nomadic cavalcade acts as a vigilante group for crime-plagued North Philly. Inspired in part by the Fletcher Street Stables and based upon the novel Ghetto Cowboy by Greg Neri, Concrete Cowboy is powered by an incredible script, superb cinematography, and an especially impressive father-and-son dynamic between Elba and McLaughlin.

Marriage Story (2019)
Marriage Story
94 %
r 137m
Genre Drama
Stars Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story was one of an astonishing number of Netflix Originals to win Academy Awards in 2019. On the surface, it’s an ordinary movie about an ordinary situation: Man and wife struggle through a divorce. But the depths through which Baumbach explores his characters and gut-wrenching performances from Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver make it hard to look away as these two people who clearly still love each other come to the unavoidable conclusion that they just can’t stay married.

The Two Popes (2019)
The Two Popes
75 %
pg-13 125m
Genre Drama, Comedy, History
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce, Juan Minujín
Directed by Fernando Meirelles
Headlined by tour de force performances from two legendary actors, The Two Popes centers on the transition from Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. A quiet movie that takes place behind the Vatican walls, the two popes could not be more different, but they’re bound by a devotion to the Catholic Church and a shared desire to leave the world a better place. Regardless of your feelings on the Catholic Church, The Two Popes is an entertaining, heartwarming movie about finding common ground through difference. Something we could all learn a little about these days.
The Irishman (2019)
The Irishman
94 %
r 209m
Genre Crime, Drama, History
Stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci
Directed by Martin Scorsese
One of the first Netflix Original Films to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman is one of his most ambitious films to date. Scorsese helped establish the gangster genre with films like Goodfellas and Casino, but The Irishman is notably more subdued than those seminal films. The story follows Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), an employee of legendary union leader and mob boss Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino), as he rises from bodyguard to confidante. But as Hoffa becomes more trouble than he’s worth, the other mafia bosses feel it may be time to move on from him, and Sheeran’s the key to it all.

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