Sometimes drama is just what you need for a change of pace. You’re not in the mood for spine-tingling horror and suspense, and maybe you just don’t want the noise and pace of an action flick. All you want is a good story, solid writing, good acting, and maybe a premise that isn’t completely ridiculous. Well, Netflix has you covered. Here is our list of the best dramatic movies currently streaming on Netflix.
Also see our article 25 Best ’80s Movies Streaming on Netflix
If you need more, check out our list of the best crime dramas on Netflix, and the flat-out best movies on Netflix.
35. 5 to 7
Brian is an up-and-coming author attempting to write a novel. One day in Manhattan, he meets a glamorous French woman who is the wife of a diplomat. Their intense attraction leads to a steamy affair, but they're only able to meet at the hotel for two hours each day: from 5 to 7. This drama stars Anton Yelchin, who most people know as the frenetic Ensign Chekov in the new Star Trek movies, and who tragically died in a car crash in 2016.
34. Sadece Sen
In this Turkish drama, a retired boxer named Ali finds himself falling in love with woman who lost her sight after a car crash. They both want to build a new life together, but Ali's violent past throws dangerous obstacles in their way.
33. Safe Haven
This movie, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, follows a mysterious woman named Katie. We meet her in Boston, holding a bloody knife, before she tries to settle down in the small North Carolina town of Southport. Inevitably, though, the man she falls in love with and her newly adopted family will try to find out what she's running from, and get wrapped up in the trouble themselves.
32. The Crucible
This is a lavishly produced adaptation of Arthur Miller's famous play about the hysteria of the Salem witch trials. (Originally meant as a metaphor for the Red Scare in the 50s, Miller's warnings have unfortunately stayed relevant into the present day.) Daniel Day-Lewis plays the strong-willed farmer John Proctor, who tries to stand up to the growing injustice. Winona Ryder is at her best as Abigail Williams, who instigates the panic.
This movie is based on the first novel in the popular Twilight series. When teenager Bella Swan moves to a new town, she's preparing for life as a lonely and awkward girl in a new school. Instead she attracts the romantic attention of Edward, a vampire who is over 100 years old, and part of a group of vampires struggling to control their own bloodlust. As their relationship develops Edward and his family must work to protect Bella from another group of vampires who are out to hurt her.
30. Begin Again
In a bar in New York, a musician whose career won't get off the ground meets a producer whose career has collapsed. Together, they try put each other's lives back together by collaborating on an album recorded in public places around the city. This comedy-drama thrives on the performances of Mark Ruffalo (better known as the Hulk in The Avengers) and Keira Knightley (best known from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies).
29. A Royal Night Out
This film is a delightful combination of drama, romance, comedy and history. In 1945, on the day that World War II officially ended in Europe, the King of England grants the wishes of his two princess daughters to go out and join in the celebrations. Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth is tasked with noting the people's feelings about her father's speech delivered over the radio, and the disapproving elder Queen Elizabeth gives the princesses disguises, strict itineraries, escorts, and curfews. Both princesses want to have more fun, however, so they quickly slip away from their chaperones to have a few adventures. Elizabeth meets an AWOL airman, while Margaret finds a Naval Officer whose only goal is to take advantage of a local girl.
28. Burning Sands
In this Netflix original drama, a promising college student named Zurich wants nothing more than to join the presitgious Lambda Lambda Phi fraternity. But when the fraternity's "Hell Week" hazing rituals escalate into violence and abuse, Zurich finds himself torn between honoring a code of silence and standing up for his own conscience.
27. Be Somebody
Jordan is a teenage pop star who needs a break from the stress of fame, so he hides away as a normal guy in a small town. He ends up meeting Emily, an art student in high school, and they develop a deep bond. They end up becoming close friends, falling in love, and discovering themselves together.
Chloe is a teenage girl that everyone believes is troubled. She is a great artist, but when she begins drawing disturbing images of visions she has had, some people believe she is mentally disturbed and should be placed in a hospital. But Chloe suspects her dreams may actually be suppressed memories. As the story unfolds, her drawings and visions seem to be connected to an unsolved murder.
25. Another Forever
Another Forever is a story about grief and finding the path to healing. In this movie, we follow a woman who is taking a long journey after the death of the love of her life. Along the way she explores memories of her husband and their lives together, as she struggles to begin living her own life again.
Mike could have a promising future as a lawyer, but he wants to go to Las Vegas to follow his real passion. Are his friends what's holding him back, or is it that his passion is to to play poker professionally. Trying to put together a stake to enter the World Series of Poker, Mike ends up deep in debt to a vicious card shark, and his only way out is to play his way out.
23. In Your Eyes
Two people who have never met and don't know anything about each other find themselves seeing and hearing what the other is experiencing. Somehow they have a telepathic bond across the United States, giving them an intense connection that leads to love. But will anyone else believe them--and can they trust the ones who do not to use their ability for their own ends?
A teenager with a dream of a basketball career discovers is diagnosed with a life-threatening a brain tumor. This should be the end, but he absolutely refuses to give up on his dream.
21. The Last Samurai
Captain Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is a washed up veteran of the American Civil War who comes to Japan to help the modernizing Emperor put down a rebellion and wipe out their ancient warrior class, the samurai. When Algren is taken captive by the samurai, however, he comes to respect their code of honor more than the modern way of waging war. He befriends the rebel samurai leader, and ultimately fights beside them in their final battle for the soul of Japan.
20. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Ruth is a depressed, timid woman who works as a nursing assistant but does little else with her life. When burglars break into her home, she decides she has had enough. She makes it her new purpose in life to track down the thieves and making them pay for their crimes. To do this, she teams up with an obnoxious neighbor, but the two of them quickly find themselves on dangerous ground against a group of seasoned criminals.
19. The Giver
Based on the Newbery-Medal-winning novel, The Giver is a compelling story about a dystopian society where everyone is equal and seemingly content. But the world is dull and gray, emotions are repressed, and no one is allowed to know the history of their society or make choices on their own. Jonas is a young man who, at the community coming of age ceremony, is assigned to be an apprentice to the one and only keeper of all memories. His discovery of both good and bad memories and historical events puts Jonas in the position of needing to save the life of people he loves.
18. Lee Daniels' The Butler
The Butler tells the story of the butler who served at the American White House for thirty years. Working for eight presidents throughout conflicts such as the Vietnam war, the civil rights movement and much more, was witness to massive changes in American society. This film explores how those changes affected one man who was always on the edge of history, and those closest in his life.
17. Palm Trees in the Snow
This Spanish epic (subtitled in English) revolves around several generations of one family, and the secrets that it has kept buried for years. After her father dies, a young woman finds part of a mysterious letter written in the 1950s. Since she can't ask her father about it, and her uncle--who would know more--has Alzheimer's, she is left to search out the clues on her own. The investigation takes her to her family's plantation in Africa, where they tried to leave their secrets behind.
16. Devil's Knot
Devil's Knot is a movie based on the true story of small town slayings in West Memphis Arkansas. The murders happened in 1993, in the midst of what became known as the Satanic ritual abuse panic. After three different eight-year-old boys are murdered, the entire town grieves and demands vengeance. The local police department works quickly to bring in three teenagers who are believed to be devil worshipers.
15. A Long Way Down
A TV personality who is past his prime decides he will jump off of a skyscraper on New Year's Eve. Before he can do it, he meets three more people with the same plan. One is an obnoxious teenager, another is a self-absorbed musician, and the third is an overwhelmed mother. The four end up making an agreement to hold off on their plans for at least six weeks. As the story progresses, the four become fast friends, and end up learning how to keep on living through each other.
14. Heaven's Door
Riley is a young teenager who accidentally finds a way to open a window into Heaven. This window gives her the power to heal others, and she decides to use them to help heal everyone and increase the faith in her small town, but very quickly she discovers that this gift will require a terrible personal sacrifice.
13. The Road
The Road is a story of a man and his child. These two are survivors of the end of the world, and as they travel across the desolate and dangerous expanse of what use to be the United States, they struggle to find a better life, and a place to call home.
This movie was intended to be a message for change. As a teenage girl discovers a new social media site, she becomes the target of a vicious bullying campaign. Anonymity and the power of the internet amplify her high school troubles until they become a crisis.
11. Mississippi Damned
Mississippi Damned is a story about three children growing up in poor black families in rural Mississippi. Kari plays the piano and hopes to someday make a career of it. Leigh, Kari's sister, struggles to hide her love affair with her friend, Paula. Meanwhile Sammy, one of their cousins, is a basketball player facing abuse by the adults in his life. Each of these children attempt to find ways to live through--and escape from--deep family issues of poverty, addiction, and abuse.
Philomena is about a woman's journey to find her son. She got pregnant out of wedlock 50 years ago, and was forced to sign a contract with her church stating that she would never try to find the baby. The child was put up for adoption in the United States, and Philomena proceeded to carry on with a somewhat traditional life. Years later, though, with a family and a new life in England, she meets a BBC reporter and decides to work with him to find the son she lost so long ago.
9. Missing William
Abby lives in Rhode Island with her husband William, and finds herself as William's primary caretaker after he gets injured in a bar fight. She struggles to help William get better, when her childhood sweetheart shows up and causes her question her choices. He tries to encourage Abby to begin living and enjoying life again--soon a complicated yet touching love triangle develops.
8. August: Osage County
All of the women in the Weston family are strong willed, stubborn, and opinionated. The grown daughters have been living lives of their own and they think their mom is dysfunctional at best. When their father disappears, these four intense women have to share a house again and get along--or at least not kill each other. This comedy-drama pits a boatload of excellent actors against each other and watches the sparks fly.
7. Lion Heart
Not the American fight movie of the same name, this movie is actually about a female lawyer who falls in love with a charming man over the phone. When they meet in person, however, she has to face some of her own uncomfortable prejudices, as she discovers to her dismay that the man is strikingly short.
6. The Hunter
The always-entertaining Willem Dafoe plays a skilled mercenary named Martin, who is hired anonymously by a company that wants genetic material from an animal previously believed to be extinct: a Tasmanian tiger. Martin ventures to the Tasmanian forest to hunt down what may be the last living specimen. He poses as a scientist and soon becomes close with a family he is living near. The father of the family is missing, which complicates Martin's job and makes things much more dangerous.
This movie is based on a true story about Hannah Silberstien, who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp and rescued by her lover at the time, a Polish man known as Tamasz. Thirty years later, Hannah lives comfortably in Manhattan's upper east side with her husband and her college aged daughter. An unexpected sighting of Tamasz stirs up old memories and reminds Hannah that she had pledged to find him when they were separated so many years ago.
4. The Great Gilly Hopkins
Gilly Hopkins is a rebellious girl who has outwitted every foster family she has ever been sent to live with. The latest foster mother is Maime, someone the system hopes will be Gilly's feisty match. Gilly has other ideas though. She is determined to do whatever it takes to ensure she is reunited with her mother. In fact, she thinks she has figured out exactly how to make her mom come swooping in to rescue her. The plan unfortunately puts Gilly at risk of losing the best family option she's ever had.
3. The Big Short
This movie, based on real people and real events, is about four investors who separately predicted the economic crash of 2008. Each of these guys individually decides to take advantage of the situation and make fortunes in the process. Michael Burry is a hedge fund manager who sees the coming housing market crash; Jared Vennett is a banking salesman who understands Burry's analysis and predictions; and two young investors--Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley--accidentally acquire the prospectus created by Vennett.
2. Forrest Gump
Forrest is a mentally handicapped but brave and kind man. Somehow he keeps ending up at important points in American history, from teaching Elvis Presley how to dance to starting the Watergate investigation. He stumbles through adventures in the 60s and 70s and ends up touching, and even saving, many lives in the process.
1. Schindler's List
This wrenching historical drama tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a factory owner in Nazi Germany who used his business and political connections to save over 1,000 Jews from the Holocaust. Directed by Stephen Spielberg and starring Liam Neeson as Schindler, the movie won seven Academy Awards and is considered one of the best movies ever made.