Drama movies to watch? Here is a list of great films do not miss

Table of Contents

The drama movies are born like other genres with creation of Hollywood and cinema as an industrial production process. It is the genre with the highest number of productions made as well as the one where we find the greatest number of movies to see absolutely.

Thinking of cinematographic works as products similar to any other object, the need arose classify genres, to create a target audience for each genre and for each big screen star. Each star usually worked within only one genre of film, to generate mental association in the target audience. 

Drama is probably the most popular genre for directors in history of cinema.

How the drama genre was born 


Drama comes from the Greek word drama, which means action, story. Even the dramatic genre, such as tragedy and comedy, was born in the cradle of civilizations, ancient Greece. 

Its ancient meaning was not linked to a dramatic and tragic story: by drama we meant any text for a theatrical representation of both a drama and comedy genre

The term drama had a direct link with dramatization, dramaturgy. Terms that indicated the writing and the scenic representation of a text. 

The first playwrights in history


The oldest playwrights known to exist are Aeschylus , Sophocles and Euripides, Aristophanes and Menander. The historical drama of Aeschylus The Persians is the oldest known. 

By drama today we mean, especially in cinema, a film with a dramatic conflict, without irony, where the story does not have a light tone. But the nuances and exceptions are obviously endless. 

The drama genre in cinema

Drama movies are those that come closest to the experience of life and with which it is easier to identify. The dramas in fact deal with life stories in which the conflict is something more realistic than the genre of horror, thriller or science fiction. 

There are no killer monsters or spaceships traveling to other planets in the play. The drama, like the comedy, it is often inspired by news, costume or real life events. 

It can be an autobiographical film in which the screenwriter or director tells a piece of their life in the form of fiction. It can be the dramatic and tragic story of a character who finds no possibility of redemption. 

The Realism of Drama


A Drama movie can be about exceptional facts or about the dreamlike and inner world, but one of its peculiarities is that the story, even if of an exceptional nature, is realistic. 

Drama is rarely perceived as an escape cinema. Comedy, Comedy Movies also remain grounded in reality, but are often watched for entertainment. 

The drama, on the other hand, looks conflicts directly in the face without easing them. Indeed, it is often a peculiarity of the best dramas to enter the conflict, to dig deep into the tragic and apparently unsolvable nature of events. 

The drama movies is also the one that can range in a broader way between human affairs. A multitude of sub-genres could be identified in the drama genre. 

Catharsis in drama 


Some self-styled web magazines could tell banalities, without any foundation, like saying drama movies don’t have a happy ending. Nothing more absurd, of course. Conflict is the core of the drama but it is not destined for a tragic ending. A drama can very well result in a happy ending. 

Other nonsense written on the web could be that people love to watch drama movies because they love to enjoy the misfortunes of others. Writing things like this takes courage, as well as a disproportionate dose of ignorance. 

Obviously the drama, more than other genres, has a cathartic value, the cathartic value of identification in a story. We look at a story to live other lives, to go beyond our selves, and experience conflicts and fears that apparently do not concern us in reality. 

The Identification Process in the Drama 

They actually affect us because we are all connected. The impression of being separate individuals is false. When we live a drama through the telling of a story we live our drama. That’s why we get so excited and so involved. 

Watching a movie our individual consciousness connects to universal consciousness. Looking at a character in a film who lives his drama we are observing a part of ourselves, perhaps never lived, but which exists somewhere. 

The success of a film, and more generally of a story, consists precisely in this process of identification. When we say that a film has “hooked us” we are saying that the identification process has been successful. 

We lived the drama on our skin, we went through the conflict together with the protagonist. We became the protagonist of the film ourselves. The mind works like this and doesn’t make much distinction between what is real and what we see on the screen. 

Drama movies and personal growth 


If we identify with a character and a story we experience real emotions, almost as if we lived that story in reality. A bit like when we think of a tasty dish and the thought is enough to make our mouth water. But it doesn’t make much sense to detail films into sub-genres. There are many film critics who advocate avision of cinema de-genre, where genres do not exist. 

A vision where films are not perceived as a consumer product but as unique artistic works. Each film is a work of art unique and unrepeatable. The most memorable films In fact they are frequently a mix of genres that is difficult to identify. 

Drama movies ultimately prove to be an extraordinary tool of personal growth. Not a somewhat sadistic and sick vision to watch other people’s tragedies. By experiencing the drama and the conflict, we know in greater depth an aspect of reality that would otherwise escape us. 

And knowing these dramatic aspects we can live them, understand them and understand how to avoid them. Someone, masochistically, may also decide to draw them into their life and decide to experience firsthand. There is no limit to the experience. 

Drama Movies to Watch

Charlie says

Karlene Faith is a social worker who works in the women’s prison where Leslie Van Houten, called Lulu, Patricia Krenwinkel called Katie and Susan Atkins called Sadie are held. There are three “Manson’s Girls”, the girls of the sect of Charles Manson, guilty of having participated in heinous crimes, sentenced to the death penalty for the murder of nine people, including actress Sharon Tate.

Screenwriter Guinevere Turner writes a heartfelt story, starting from a personal experience of her adolescence in which she and her family found themselves participating in a cult in the community of Mel Lyman, whose followers aspired to go to live on the planet Venus. Director Mary Harron does not describe Charles Manson as the personification of evil, an enigmatic and cursed character. Instead, she describes him as a mediocre, a racist drifter, a frustrated man who has failed to fulfill his dreams and lives on the fringes of society. Charlie Manson is in fact a man with a strong personality capable of plagiarizing the will of others with false ideals, a false mysticism that is the fruit of his madness.


It is May 27, 2001. Abu Sayyaf’s group of Islamic separatists, fanatical murderers and thieves who believe themselves to be revolutionaries fighting for a noble cause, take twelve people hostage from a resort on the island of Dos Palmas , south of the Philippines. But there was a mistake: they are not the right people they wanted to capture. 


Based on a terrifying true story, Captive is a film shot with the participation of non-professional actors. A must-see drama by Filipino director Brillante Mendoza, with thriller and action undertones. Shot in the wild and rugged nature of Palawan Island. 


Joachim Zand, a TV producer in crisis, returns to France after a long period in the United States. Joachim had cut off all relations in France: friends, enemies, children. He arrives with a group of chubby, boisterous Californian strippers who do burlesque shows and who he wants to show in Paris.


The existential drama of a man who wanted to cut off all links with his past and has to deal with emptiness and alienation. An inner path common to many people who decide to move away from their place of origin to seek a new life and remove suffering. A drama movie not to be missed that deals with a fundamental theme of life: the desire to escape, reinventing oneself, and confronting the accounts left open. 

The Fifth Season

In a small town in the Ardennes lives a community that is about to celebrate the end of winter with a traditional bonfire. The joy of the party vanishes when a strange event occurs, interpreted by the villagers as a bad omen: the fire of the stake does not light.


Drama movie not to be missed by the metaphorical value that speaks to us of the condition of humanity. An inspirational story to reflect on a moment in which man and nature seem to no longer be in harmony. Because of man’s behavior and selfishness, of course. 

The Monk

In 17th century Spain, a child is abandoned in front of the door of a monastery. As an adult he will become the Capuchin father Ambrosio. Raised with the friars, Ambrosio is an example for others. However, he suddenly finds himself facing temptations due to a man arriving at the convent.


Drama movie not to be missed, dark and nuanced horror, with Mephistophelic atmospheres. The settings in a convent are vaguely reminiscent of The Name of the Rose. Vincent Cassel’s interpretation is superb. The film deals with the theme of temptation and religious fanaticism which is sometimes more demonic than material sins. One of those drama movies where the drama is colored with tragedy. 

A Page of Madness

In a country asylum, under torrential rain, the caretaker meets patients with mental illness. The next day a young woman arrives who is surprised to find her father there working as a caretaker. The woman’s mother first went mad because of her husband when he was a sailor. The husband has decided to change jobs to stay close to his wife in the asylum and take care of her.


Masterpiece of avant-garde surrealist and expressionist. Dreamlike, anti-narrative and experimental film that becomes a journey into the deepest nightmares of the protagonist. The images, however, seem to draw on the universal symbolism of a collective unconscious that affects us all. Drama not to be missed with continuous forays into the horror genre. Avant-garde masterpiece. 

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The Cow

Hassan loves his one and only livelihood cow more than anything else. When he leaves the village for a short time, his wife finds the dead cow in the stable. The villagers, to avoid his displeasure, hide the animal’s body in a well.


Immense drama film, seminal masterpiece of Iranian New Wave. Many places and storytelling that are not easily forgotten. A highly dramatic story of a man who identifies his own life with his only heritage: a cow. Drama film to be seen at least once in a lifetime to understand what cinema can be far from the mechanisms of the industrial mainstream, in a poor country like Iran. Pure creativity, actors at the highest levels. Read the full article on The Cow.

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Gate of Hell

Lord Kiyomori leaves his castle to go to fight. While he is absent, some local lords attempt a coup d’état to take over his castle. The samurai Endō Morito escorts the lady-in-waiting Kesa as she walks away from the palace disguised as the daimyō’s sister, giving her father and royal sister time to escape without being seen.


Breathtaking film of images, sets and costumes. Winner of an Oscar and Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. The theme of this drama film is the conflict of a man possessed by a sick, violent love, which makes him lose the light of reason. A typical theme of some Japanese masterpieces, such as the film by Kenji Mizoguchi Tales of the Pale Moon in August. Passions are ghosts, demons, which can transport us to a world of illusions and self-destruction. Read the full article on The gate of hell.

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Crazed fruit

The sweet life of the rich Japanese youth of the Sun Tribe subculture who was inspired by the Western lifestyle in the late 1950s, between lust and violence, water skiing and speed boats.


the decline of the young generation of rich Japanese bourgeois. The sweet life of one of the tribes of the sun, young oriental alternative who loved to practice the western lifestyle in a completely different context. Japanese drama film shot in a sublime fashion, with beautiful contrasting black and white photography. Here too the drama merges with the tragedy. 

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Jean, the captain of the barge L’Atalante, wife Juliette, and the couple decides to live on board with the crew of the Atalante Jean, all ‘ eccentric Père Jules and the hub. The couple travel to Paris to deliver the cargo, enjoying an impromptu honeymoon en route.


Masterpiece of the French director Jean Vigo, an iconic film from the 1930s, is a journey through the existential torments caused by jealousy and possessiveness. The two young men are just married but these contradictory feelings are not waiting to manifest themselves. Freedom and leisure in the entertainment of the big city or the routine of a long crossing aboard a boat that never seems to end? Drama film not to be missed, a masterpiece of a cinema that, thinking of other authors such as Jean Epstein, could be defined as impressionist. But that’s only part of it is the unique style, unclassifiable by Jean Vigo. 

Miss Oyu

The Shinnosuke bachelor falls for Miss Oyu, escort her younger sister that Shizu visits as a bride-to-be. The family taboo prevents Shinnosuke from marrying Oyu.


The first drama of Mizoguchi which would have made the director famous in the West. It is one of his best films. A varied representation of Japanese culture in all its forms. The theme is one of the director’s most cherished: the woman imprisoned in a social cage from which he cannot free himself. The woman who is humiliated, in her most intimate inner essence, by taboos and retrograde traditions. 

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Osaka Elegy

Ayako Murai is a telephone operator for the pharmaceutical company Asai, in the city of Osaka in 1930. To pay off the debts of her father, unemployed and threatened with arrest for not repaying a loan, she agrees to become the lover of his employer.


In a society where the race for money and power dominates, women can do nothing but submit to these macho mechanisms. Mizoguchi returns once again to the issue of women’s rights, this time describing the city of Osaka in an exemplary manner. The neon lights of modernity are a metaphor for the values ​​of tradition that no longer exist. Drama film to see for its sensitivity towards the female world. 

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Early Summer

Noriko resides in Kamakura with her family along with her parents and extended family. Noriko’s friends are divided into 2 groups, the married and the single, who constantly tease each other, with Aya Tamura being her close ally in the singles group.


A must see drama, a masterpiece by Yasujiro Ozu who is part of the so-called Noriko trilogy, the main character of the film. In this cinematic tale Ozu returns to the fundamental theme of his photography: the unity of the family that disintegrates while the great social changes build new values ​​and a new future. 

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Tokyo Story

Shukichi and Tomi, now in their seventies, travel to Tokyo to visit their children before it’s too late. When they arrive in the city, however, the welcome is not what they expected: the eldest son Koichi and his sister Shige have too many work commitments and seem to experience the visit of the elderly parents more as a nuisance than a joy.


The most famous film of Ozu it is one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of cinema. For an entire generation of directors and film critics the most important film ever made. Indeed, the sensitivity with which the master of Japanese cinema Ozu has filmed a pivotal theme of human life is incredible. Parents who age and are pushed aside as the hustle and bustle of modern life leaves no room for authentic communication. The journey of the two elderly parents to the big city. Their composure and apparent naivety, typically oriental, with which they do not give importance to the indifference they perceive of their children. Drama movie not to be missed, to be seen and reviewed several times. Read the full article on Tokyo Story.

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Japan, late 16th century: the potter Genjurō and his brother Tobei, live with their wives Miyagi and Ohama in a village in the Omi region ; Genjurō, convinced that he can earn a lot of money by selling his goods in the nearby city, goes to the county of Omizo with Tobei, who joins him with the sole purpose of being able to become a samurai. 


Another masterpiece drama film, another pearl of Japanese cinematography. The story of the Samurai Genjurō, blinded by ambition and easy prey of demons and love spells, is one of the most memorable of the history of cinema. The direction reaches very high levels here, very rare. It is a drama, dreamlike and surreal film about man’s vulnerability to his “lowest” passions. It is also a mystery film, rather than a mystery one. That is, a film that reveals with the language of cinema esoteric knowledge ancient. An entire book would not be enough to expose its contents.

Watch Ugetsu

The Naked Kiss

Kelly is a prostitute who arrives by bus in the small town of Grantville, after straying from the big city to escape her former protector. She meets the local police captain Griff who hosts her in his apartment, but then invites her to leave the city.


Drama film about a woman who tries to change his life and try to free himself from his past. The men with whom he comes into contact, however, seem not to have a conscience of their own. They are rather unaware gears of a social mechanism that decides how they should behave. They are rather characters looking for a scapegoat on which to vent their frustration. Men who no longer know forgiveness, compassion, the confident vision of a new future, but only repression. 

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In the third century AD Sebastiane was part of the guards of the Emperor Diocletian. When he tries to avoid the killing of one of the emperor’s boyfriends, he is severely punished, deprived of his role and sent into exile in a distant location.


Extravagant and original reworking of the story of the life of St. Sebastian, taken from the Apocryphal Gospels. The icon director of the gay world Derek Jarman chooses to record the film’s dialogues in Latin, and to show nakedness and love affairs between Roman soldiers without filters. This causes him several problems with censorship and with the release of the film, but also a great recognition from the gay world of the time that was fighting against discrimination for their rights. Drama film that tells us about the tragedy of the persecutions against the “different”, the one who is perceived as not aligned with the dominant system. What was once perceived as criminal, perverse and shameful, even to be crucified and tortured, is then declared worthy of respect and dignity. The dramatic contradictions of man and human history in a film that, when read in a broader way than the LGBT genre, makes us aware of very important things. 

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The Stranger

In the small town of Harper, lives Charles Rankin, who is about to marry the daughter of an important judge. But Charles Rankin is actually Frank Kindle, a Third Reich criminal who has created a new identity for himself. But Inspector Wilson is on his trail.


Drama and thriller film, it is a genre film made by Orson Welles in one of his troubled collaborations with Hollywood to bring home some money. The themes are fairly standard and compliant with the Hollywood editorial line: the danger of the Nazi spy, the family and the quiet American province in danger, the small church in the country that acts as a symbol of divine justice. In the film, however, there is Orson Welles who plays the protagonist, the man of the third Reich who has reinvented a personality in good American society, and this is enough to recommend his vision. Even Welles’ direction, despite its imperfections, is far above the average level for this type of anti-Nazi Hollywood-produced story. 

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A man, nicknamed the thief, who represents the Fool’s card in the Tarot, lies unconscious in a desert, among swarms of flies. When he wakes up he meets a dwarf with no feet and no hands, representing the Five of Swords. The two become friends and go to the nearest town where they earn money by entertaining tourists.

The Holy Mountain


It is not easy to talk about de The Holy Mountain and a director like Jodorowsky, two entities in front of which one remains speechless. Is it a drama? The film is labeled a drama film, but it is so much more, it is one of films where the film genre completely shatters. It is one of the most bizarre, absurd and extreme films in the history of cinema. A visually impressive film, at the levels of Federico Fellini’s cinema, from which it certainly draws inspiration. Each shot is a figurative work where the smallest details are taken care of. Every detail has a symbolic, esoteric value. Images of unprecedented violence alternate with spiritual moments, with the presence of a protagonist very similar to Jesus Christ. The film is also a visual interpretation of the meanings of the cabal and the tarot, as well as a ferocious critique of war, consumerism and capitalism. You can’t miss Jodorowsky’s Sacred Mountain. Its excesses and its baroque aesthetics may not please. But it really is the work of a man with uncommon courage. It looks like a mega blockbuster from Hollywood instead it was made with crowdfunding. No big Industrial film studios would never have funded such a film.

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