Netflix is jam-packed full of content spanning movies, TV shows, documentaries, and more. There’s lots to navigate, making the right movie somewhat hard to find. If you’re in the mood for tear-jerking or knuckle-whitening drama, have we got the list for you. Here are the ten best drama movies on Netflix you can stream right now, from old favorites to recent releases you might have missed.
Don’t have Netflix? You can start a free trial by clicking the button below:
Best drama movies on Netflix:
Editor’s note: We will update this list of the best drama movies on Netflix regularly as the service rotates its library or we find something better.
1. All the President’s Men
This movie is about the Watergate scandal that drove Richard Nixon out of the White House in 1974 during his second term. It’s based on the book written by Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford), the two journalists who investigated the scandal for The Washington Post in 1972.
The story begins at the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. Police arrest five burglars caught in the complex’s Democratic National Committee headquarters. The Washington Post sends Woodward to investigate the next day. He’s later joined by semi-rival reporter Carl Bernstein who helps generate credible sources tying Watergate to President Richard Nixon.
2. Bird Box
Consider this Netflix’s nod to A Quiet Place. Instead of tiptoeing and keeping quiet to avoid blind monsters, humans must wear blindfolds when going outside. A single look at these supernatural entities drives humans insane to the point of suicide.
The story follows Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock) and her two children. They’re heading downstream in a rowing boat packed with a blanket, supplies, and blindfolds. Their goal is to reach a sanctuary, but the journey won’t be easy.
Steven Spielberg serves up this historical drama chronicling Abraham Lincoln’s fight to end slavery. The movie opens at the beginning of Lincoln’s second term as he ponders over the Civil War’s coming end, and how his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 doesn’t make slavery illegal. He aims to create the Thirteenth Amendment before the war ends and Southern slaves return to servitude.
The movie chronicles Lincoln’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) struggles to win over the House of Representatives and pass his proposed amendment. Meanwhile, Lincoln goes through issues of his own at home.
Based on the novel by Hillary Jordan, this movie focuses on two World War II veterans who return home. Jamie McAllan (Garrett Hedlund) served as an Army pilot flying the B-25 Mitchell bomber and suffers from PTSD. Ronsel Jackson (Jason Mitchell) commanded a Sherman tank in the Army’s infantry and is now a defiant man.
However, Jamie’s family owns a farm outside Marietta, Mississippi, where Ronsel’s family works. Ronsel’s dad tends to the cotton fields, while mom is the McAllan’s housekeeper. The two veterans become friends, but racism still runs deep in the McAllan family blood.
Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) drops out of college to join the fight in Vietnam during 1967. He’s dazzled by the promise of heroism, but war viciously slaps him in the face upon arrival. Taylor quickly discovers the fight is vicious and brutal both in the jungles and within his own platoon. He struggles to contain fear along with feelings of isolation sparked by his more experienced comrades in arms.
Platoon follows Taylor’s journey from a young college dropout to a seasoned veteran caught between two battles.
6. Pulp Fiction
This crime drama mixes gore with humor to create three stories told out of sequence. Stealing the show are hitmen Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta), along with prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis). At the center is gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) who controls all three.
In the Jules Winnfield’s story, Wallace sends his two hitmen to retrieve a briefcase carrying something glowing inside. In the Butch Coolidge story, Wallace tells him to purposely lose an upcoming fight, but Coolage accidentally kills his opponent, sending him on the run from Wallace.
Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutierrez (Yalitza Aparicio) is one of two live-in housekeepers in a family’s home located in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma neighborhood. Antonio (Fernando Grediaga) is a doctor, while his wife Sofia (Marina de Tavira) stays home with their four children. Sofia’s mother Teresa (Veronica Garcia) lives in the home too along with the other live-in housekeeper, Adela (Nancy Garcia). With all these people living elbow-to-elbow under one roof, everyone — at least all the adults — knows your business.
This family drama focuses on Cleo as she struggles with pregnancy and locks down the baby’s daddy.
Based on Emma Donoghue’s novel, we are introduced to Jack (Jacob Tremblay) celebrating his fifth birthday. He lives with mom (Brie Larson) in a tiny soundproof shed they call “Room” complete with a tiny kitchenette, a bed, a toilet, a sink, a bathtub, a television, and a skylight serving as their only window. They’re locked away by Jack’s biological father, Old Nick (Sean Bridgers).
Jack doesn’t realize there’s an outside. He’s led to believe Room is his entire world. Moreover, he doesn’t know Old Nick abducted his mother, Joy, seven years ago.
9. Schindler’s List
Here’s another historical drama by Steven Spielberg. Based on Schindler’s Ark written by Thomas Keneally, the story follows businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) of Czechoslovakia who arrives in Krakow, Poland, seeking fortune during World War II. He acquires a factory to produce enamelware for the German army, pleasing the Nazis.
Once Amon Göth (Ralph Fiennes) — one of Hitler’s Nazi butchers — arrives to build a concentration camp, he kills everyone within the Krakow Ghetto, a walled zone housing the Jewish population. The massacre changes Schindler’s view of his Jewish factory workers.
The story picks up during the Zodiac’s second attack that killed Darlene Ferrin and wounded Mike Mageau. Not only does the killer call 911 but sends written letters to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Vallejo Times, and the San Francisco Examiner.
Enter political cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) and crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.), both from the San Francisco Chronicle. Their involvement eventually crosses paths with San Francisco police inspectors Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and Bill Armstrong (Anthony Edwards).
The movie chronicles all four as the case affects their professional and family lives over the years leading up to Graysmith’s published book.
That concludes our list of the best drama movies on Netflix you can stream right now. For additional cord-cutting lists, check out these selections: