Throughout our lives, we try to avoid drama and conflict with our relatives, friends, and coworkers. It’s unavoidable, sure, but we think the dramatics are best left in the movies. Rather than picking fights of your own, watch all the action from the comfort of your couch via countless drama movies on Netflix. Some are based on real life events while others are fictional — yet they all provide exhilarating entertainment. You’ll laugh, cry, and even jump at the scenes in these well-known drama movies. After all, there’s a reason why nearly all of these films have won at least one Oscar at the Academy Awards.
Pop all the popcorn, cozy up on your couch, and queue up any and all of these award-winning and fan favorite drama movies on Netflix. Acting pairs like Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, and Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay collaborated and lit up the screen with their rousing performances. There are so many different options to choose from, and each of our picks is bound to remind you of old favorites and introduce you to hidden gems.
The King (2019)
Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.
In Ewan Mcgregor’s breakout role he stars as Mark Renton, a charismatic heroin user who deals with realities of addiction in this energetic, Scottish film. Grey’s Anatomy fans will recognize a young Dr. Owen Hunt as one of Renton’s friends who gets caught up in the drug scene.
Roman J. Isreal, Esq. (2017)
Roman J. Israel, Esq., a driven, idealistic defense attorney, finds himself in a tumultuous series of events that lead to a crisis and the necessity for extreme action.
The Fighter (2010)
Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams put on their best Boston accents for this underdog story of a struggling boxer (Wahlberg) trying to go pro as his half-brother (Bale) struggles with the drug addiction that ruined his own boxing career.
Billy Elliot (2000)
It’s impossible not to root for little Billy Elliot in this endearing British film. The coal miner’s son learns that his true passion is ballet, and must keep his talent a secret from his disapproving father.
The Squid and the Whale (2005)
Equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious, this film about the messy divorce of two Brooklyn writers is based on director Noah Baumbach’s recollection of his own parent’s divorce.
This Sundance favorite focuses on the relationship between two families, a black family and a white family, at the end of World War II in rural Mississippi.
The Theory of Everything (2014)
Go back to the 1960s in this drama movie about famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s real-life experiences at Cambridge. There, he fell in love with Jane Wilde, who stands by his side during his diagnosis with motor neuron disease. Their heartbreaking true story is retold by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
When Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) moves in with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) in San Francisco, much of her life has fallen apart. Her marriage is over and her elite status in the New York social scene seems to be slipping away. Like most Woody Allen films, this drama movie has a star-studded cast that will give you all the feels.
Filmed over the course of 12 years, this drama movie on Netflix follows the coming-of-age story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane). You see the actor and character grow up before your eyes, and experience every milestone imaginable. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke play his parents — just another reason it’s a must-see movie.
Nominated for Best Picture and winner for Best Cinematography at this year’s Academy Awards, Roma’s accolades speak to the movie’s powerful content. The drama movie focuses on a middle-class family’s maid Cleo in Mexico City in the 1970s. Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) not only has to deal with the ups and downs of the family she works for, but she also has to navigate her own unexpected series of events.
For this 2012 wartime drama movie, director Steven Spielberg transported viewers to the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel-Day Lewis) was in power. His legacy is established in this epic movie, which won two Oscars, including Best Actor.
What if you became so invested in technology that you actually fell in love with it? In this futuristic romantic drama, Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore, a divorced man who develops an intimate relationship with an operating system called Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
In his Oscar-winning performance, Matthew McConaughey
plays Ron Woodroof, who learns he is diagnosed with AIDs in the ’80s. Woodroof learns of a drug that can improve the prognosis and starts selling it illegally in Texas to others with the diagnosis.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay star in this moving film about a young girl who is kidnapped, imprisoned, and later gives birth to a child in captivity. Their life in “Room,” is one that involves plenty of drama, but also triumph (that’s all we’ll say for now).
The King’s Speech (2010)
The Imitation Game (2014)
Based on the biography of renowned computer scientist Alan Turing, this historical drama on Netflix follows Turing’s accomplishments with the British intelligence service in World War II. He helped break the Germans’ “Enigma” code, which made him a hero. The Oscar-winning film is one that will definitely have you on the edge of your seat.
In this moving coming-of-age story, we meet Chiron, a gay African-American boy, who struggles throughout his life with his sexuality, his drug-addicted mother, and trying to find his place in tis world.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Winner of a whopping seven Oscars, this 1993 drama movie about a German businessman who saved the lives of 1,200 Jewish people during the Holocaust. Liam Neeson starred in this epic film, which is considered one of the greatest films of all time.
Rain Man (1988)
What started as a run for his estranged father’s $3 million fortune turns into an epic tale of brotherly love. Tom Cruise plays Charlie Babbitt, a car dealer whose older brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is autistic. Charlie uses Raymond’s gift for his own gain, but eventually his life is changed for the good.
If there was ever an under dog story, this is it. Sylvester Stallone plays Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer who finds incredible fame after taking on the heavyweight champion of the world Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).
Based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, the biographical film follows Milk’s (Sean Penn) journey to becoming the first openly gay man elected to public office. Often met with extreme opposition from people, Milk never gave up in his fight for change and equality.
Howards End (1992)
Adapted from E.M. Forster’s 1910 novel, the film is about two British families: the Schlegels and the Wilcoxes. A deathbed wish made by Ruth Wilcox is ignored, and the repercussions of that haunt the family forever.
This 1993 drama stars Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett, a lawyer who’s hiding his sexuality and HIV diagnosis from his colleagues. But when his secrets are exposed and he’s fired, he joins forces with another lawyer named Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), to fight the discrimination he experienced in the workplace.
The Graduate (1967)
Benjamin Braddock is seduced by his older family friend, Mrs. Robinson, and they start an unexpected secret affair — until he falls for his lover’s daughter. There’s romance, fighting, and a score by Simon & Garfunkel that we simply can’t get enough of.