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The best dramas on Netflix right now (September 2022)

Netflix has always been a home for prestige cinema and all the award-winning drama you could handle. The streaming giant gives you access to a wealth of provocative dramas from other studios, as well as a number of high-quality original entries as well. Over the past few years, Netflix original dramas have even been nominated for Best Picture several times. It’s thanks in part to those films that Netflix’s drama collection is always top-notch. In such a crowded library, however, you might feel a little overwhelmed on movie night. To help you out, we’ve narrowed down our selections 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
8 Mile (2002) new
8 Mile
77 %
r 111m
Genre Music, Drama
Stars Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy
Directed by Curtis Hanson
The semi-autobiographical story of rapper Eminem’s early days, 8 Mile follows Jimmy Smith, Jr. (Eminem) as he wages a personal struggle to find his voice in Detroit’s hip-hop scene. Unfortunately, as a white guy who lives in a trailer with his mom, few take him seriously — a problem compounded by his considerable stage fright and myriad issues with his mother and girlfriend at home.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) new
Eyes Wide Shut
68 %
r 159m
Genre Drama, Thriller, Mystery
Stars Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick’s final film stars Tom Cruise as Dr. Bill Harford, a man who becomes obsessed with having extramarital sex after learning this his wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), has fantasies about a man she met more than a year ago. Wounded and seeking some sort of redress, Harford finds his way into an underground sexual group, only to discover that he is not remotely ready for this world.
The Town (2010) new
The Town
74 %
r 125m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner
Directed by Ben Affleck
Part heist movie, part crime thriller, part romantic drama, The Town takes place in the bank robbery capital of the world, Charlestown, Massachusetts. Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) has been at the heart of this criminal industry for his whole life, but he is now looking for a way out. After his crew’s most recent score, the job goes awry and they wind up kidnapping bank manager Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall). To ensure she doesn’t know anything, MacRay takes on the role of monitoring her. However, he can’t help but get close to the alluring manager, and soon finds his feelings for her outweigh his loyalty to his crew. That’s an issue that threatens to expose his friends to FBI agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm), who is hot on their tails.
Flight (2012) new
76 %
r 138m
Genre Drama
Stars Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Whip (Denzel Washington) is a commercial airline pilot thrust into the forefront of American heroism after safely landing a damaged plane, saving 98 lives. As the world attempts to lift him up as a hero, Whip just wants to return to his quiet life. But when an investigation brings into question his behavior the night before the flight, Whip must enter the limelight to defend himself and his reputation.
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The Hurt Locker
95 %
r 131m
Genre Drama, Thriller, War
Stars Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Winner of six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker is a meditation on war and how it quietly drives you mad. James (Jeremy Renner) takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst a conflict and immediately institutes a far more reckless oversight than his predecessor. The change in style forces Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty) to play an awkward game of trying to reign in their commander, who seemingly has a death wish, while navigating urban warfare.
The Fighter (2010)
The Fighter
79 %
r 116m
Genre Drama
Stars Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams
Directed by David O. Russell
Lowell, MA boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) took a Rocky-like rise to have an extremely unlikely shot at the world light welterweight title. Behind the scenes, his half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale) relentlessly pushes Micky to succeed as a push for redemption after his own boxing career was derailed by crippling drug addiction. Bale won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his engrossing performance as Dicky.
Road to Perdition (2002)
Road to Perdition
72 %
r 117m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law
Directed by Sam Mendes
Mike Sullivan (Tom Hanks) is a hitman for crime boss John Rooney (Paul Newman), whom he views as a father figure. But when Sullivan’s son witnesses him killing a man at Rooney’s behest, both father and son become loose ends, forcing Sullivan on the run to save his son and seek vengeance on the people who set them up.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump
82 %
pg-13 142m
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
Stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
A beloved, family-friendly epic, Forrest Gump follows the life of a charming young simpleton (Tom Hanks) as he somehow finds himself at the forefront of some of the most significant events of American history throughout the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. All the while, he makes fans everywhere he goes and never gives up his love for his childhood pal, Jenny (Robin Wright).
A River Runs Through It (1992)
A River Runs Through It
68 %
pg 123m
Genre Drama, Family
Stars Craig Sheffer, Brad Pitt, Tom Skerritt
Directed by Robert Redford
Robert Redford directs this adaptation of Norman Maclean’s classic memoir of the same name that follows young Norman (Craig Sheffer) and his brother Paul (Brad Pitt) in their rebellion against their stern minister father. But while Norman focuses his personal rebellion into writing, Paul goes a more self-destructive route.
Argo (2012)
86 %
r 120m
Genre Drama, Thriller
Stars Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin
Directed by Ben Affleck
Winner of three Oscars, including Best Picture, Argo chronicles the true covert operation to rescue six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis. At the Iranian Revolution’s boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. Six Americans, however, manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. CIA “exfiltration” specialist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) knows its likely only a matter of time until the hostages are found and killed. So, he crafts a seemingly ridiculous plan to shoot a movie in Iran, passing the hostages off as contributors to the film.
Monster (2021)
56 %
r 98m
Genre Drama, Crime
Stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Hudson
Directed by Anthony Mandler
Kelvin Harrison, Jr. never fails to carry the scene in Monster, which speaks highly about his trajectory as a leading man down the line. In this film, Harrison plays Steve Harmon, a high school honor student with a bright future in front of him. Or at least that’s what he had before he fell in with James King (ASAP Rocky) and Richard “Bobo” Evans (John David Washington). The next thing Steve knows, he’s on trial for murder. Is Steve an innocent young man suffering from a cruel twist of fate? Or is he a monster in the making? The film plays its answers close to the vest, so you may be left guessing for most of its runtime.
Monster | Official Trailer | Netflix
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.
PHANTOM THREAD - Official Trailer [HD] - In Select Theaters Christmas
Donnie Brasco (1997)
Donnie Brasco
76 %
r 127m
Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Stars Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Michael Madsen
Directed by Mike Newell
Donnie Brasco is based on the life of FBI Agent Joseph D. Pistone (Johnny Depp), a man who went undercover in the Bonanno crime family in the late ‘70s. As Donnie/Joseph works his way up the ranks, he forms a genuine bond with an aging mobster named Lefty (Al Pacino). But Joseph’s Donnie persona is so all-consuming that he loses track of where Donnie ends and Joseph begins. He also comes to realize that his assignment may ultimately cost him his marriage or even get Lefty killed. But can Joseph afford a crisis of conscience when the stakes are so high?

Wind River (2017)
Wind River
73 %
r 107m
Genre Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Stars Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Gil Birmingham
Directed by Taylor Sheridan
Wildlife officer Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) finds the body of an 18-year-old woman on an American Indian reservation in the dead of winter in Wyoming. The autopsy reveals that she was raped, pulling FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) into the investigation. As the two law enforcement officers join forces, they soon find that the teen’s death is part of a much larger conspiracy that threatens both of their lives.

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.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apocalypse Now
94 %
r 147m
Genre Drama, War
Stars Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Martin Sheen
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Based on Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” Apocalypse Now is considered one of the greatest war movies ever made. The intense drama follows Secret Ops assassin Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) on a mission up a river during the Vietnam War to terminate the rogue Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Netflix offers Apocalypse Now Redux, a 2001 re-release that includes new footage and improved color reproduction.
The Power of the Dog (2021)
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.
Sky High (2020)
Sky High
Genre Action, Drama, Thriller
Stars Miguel Herrán, Carolina Yuste, Asia Ortega
Directed by Daniel Calparsoro
When Angel (Miguel Herrán) leaves the slums of Madrid behind, he becomes smitten with the lovely Estrella (Carolina Yuste). As the youth struggles to prove himself in a newfound life of crime, an unrelenting detective will stop at nothing to put Angel behind bars. A gritty, well-executed drama featuring impressive performances from the main ensemble, Sky High may not get the attention of other Netflix fodder, but it’s a film that definitely deserves to be noticed.

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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