ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at
Game of Thrones, ASOUE, and all things '00s. Twitter: @gen_vanvee Email: [email protected]
Genevieve Van Voorhis

2017 is a pretty wonderful time to be alive. Sure, the 1990s had Pogs, the Spice Girls and Friends, but did they have the amazing selection of on-demand video content that Netflix has to offer? No. They barely had internet, and we are still haunted by the dial-up screech.

With such a vast array of TV shows, movies and documentaries to watch on Netflix, it can sometimes be hard to navigate that particular minefield to find the perfect date night/night in/drunk-flixing thing to watch.

But don't worry. If you're looking for a list of popular drama films to watch right now, we've got you covered. The following movies are the latest and greatest drama flicks to watch online from the comfort of your very own Netflix account. The list is updated every month, so keep us bookmarked and you'll never run out of quality content to find on your favorite streaming service.

Note: This list will be updated monthly to reflect the must-see drama movies currently streaming in June 2017. Newest additions are at the top.

Available June 28:

23. Okja (2017)

'Okja' [Credit: Netflix]
'Okja' [Credit: Netflix]
  • Director: Bong Joon-ho
  • Who's In It? Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-Hyun Ahn
  • IMDb Score: 6.3
  • Also Available On: Netflix UK, Netflix Canada

This Netflix studios film premiered at Cannes 2017 to mixed reactions — during several screenings, the appearance of the Netflix logo was met with boos, yet ultimately, the film competed for the coveted Palme d'Or award and most viewers left with a positive impression of Bong Joon-ho's sci-fi adventure film. Set in the future, scientists have genetically engineered enormous, ecological pig-like creatures to be slaughtered for meat. Tilda Swinton plays the head of an evil corporation, intent on making a profit from the creatures, until the young farm girl Mija attempts to save her giant new animal friend, Okja.

Available June 10:

22. Daughters Of The Dust (1991)

'Daughters of the Dust' [Credit: Kino International]
'Daughters of the Dust' [Credit: Kino International]
  • Director: Julie Dash
  • Who's In It? Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbarao, Kaycee Moore, Cheryl Lynn Bruce
  • IMDb Score: 6.4/10

The first feature-length movie directed by an African American woman to receive a theatrical release in the US, Daughters of the Dust is staple viewing for any American cinema buff. Filmed and set on St. Helena Island off the coast of South Carolina, the story follows the lives of the Peazant family, three generations of Gullah islander women. Viola and Yellow Mary are cousins — Viola a devout Christian woman and Yellow Mary her free-spirited foil — that meet in their hometown for a meal together before Mary departs for a new life in Nova Scotia. Eula and Eli are a married couple in crisis, as Eli grapples with the fact that his wife was raped by a white man and the baby she's carrying may not be his own. The entire story is narrated from the perspective of Eli and Eula's unborn baby, and critics applauded the poetic imagery, style, and circular narrative structure.

Available Now:

21. My Left Foot (1989)

'My Left Foot' [Credit: Miramax]
'My Left Foot' [Credit: Miramax]
  • Director: Jim Sheridan
  • Who's In It? Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan, Kirsten Sheridan
  • IMDb Score: 7.9/10

This fictionalized biography of the life of Christy Brown tells the story of a young man growing up in a poor family in Ireland with cerebral palsy. The movie illustrates the loving and at times heart-breaking family dynamic that often revolved around Brown's illness. At just 10 years old, Brown learns to paint by holding a brush with his left foot, and the ensuing saga of perseverance, creativity and talent, peppered with some gripping drama, romance and heartbreak is sure to have you welling up in no time. Daniel Day Lewis's portrayal of Brown won the Academy Award for Best Actor, and Brenda Ficker brought home the award for Best Supporting Actress for playing Brown's mother, Bridget Fagan Brown.

20. Full Metal Jacket (1987)

'Full Metal Jacket' [Credit: Warner Brothers]
'Full Metal Jacket' [Credit: Warner Brothers]
  • Director: Stanley Kubrick
  • Who's In It? Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio
  • IMDb Score: 8.3/10

From legendary director Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket follows the story of a group of US Marines during their training and deployment in the Vietnam War. The movie most closely follows Privates James T. "Joker" Davis, Robert "Cowboy" Evans, and the overweight, clumsy Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence. The majority of critics greeted the movie favorably, although there were some that found it uneven, claiming that the initial training sequence is much stronger than the later war sequence. Across the board, however, fans and critics agreed that the cast is outstanding, handing the harrowing subject matter brilliantly.

19. Schindler's List (1993)

[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Who's in it? Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall
  • IMDb score: 8.9/10
  • Also Available On: Netflix Canada

Few war films are as impacting and critically loved as Schindler's List, and is commonly listed amongst the greatest movies ever made.

Schindler's List was adapted from the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally, which was based upon the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman, spy and member of the Nazi party who saved the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, with Ralph Fiennes portraying the SS officer Amon Göth. So convincing was Fiennes's portrayal of Göth that when Mila Pfefferberg (a survivor of the events Schindler's List depicts) met him in costume, she trembled with fear.

Schindler's List won seven Academy Awards — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction — and was nominated for five more.

18. The Prestige (2006)

[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Who's in it? Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson
  • IMDb score: 8.5/10
  • Also Available On: Netflix Canada

With a star studded cast and an incredibly dark plot twist, The Prestige proved that movies about magic aren't always all fun and games.

Set toward the end of the 19th century in London, England, The Prestige tells the story of two warring magicians, Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale). The two were once friends working under a famous magician named Cutter (Michael Caine), but the death of Robert's wife Julia (Piper Perabo) during a trick tore a rift between them. They both rise to the heights of fame, but their quest to outdo each other creates tragic consequences when Robert becomes obsessed with exposing the secret behind Alfred's most successful magic trick.

The Prestige received Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction, and in case that wasn't enough, the movie also features an appearance from the late, great David Bowie as the famous physicist and inventor, Nikola Tesla.

17. Memento (2000)

  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Who's in it? Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
  • IMDb score: 8.5/10

Memento always comes pretty close to topping the list when it comes to mind-benders, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, based on a short story written by his brother, Westworld creator Jonathan Nolan.

Momento stars Guy Pearce as Leonard, a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia, a condition which has left him without the ability to form new memories. Every five minutes, his short-term memory resets. In the attack that left him with this condition, his wife was also killed. He is searching for her killers using a system of Polaroid photographs and tattoos on his body in order to keep track of the memories and information that he cannot remember.

Memento is one of the most lauded examples of nonlinear narrative, and it was nominated for Academy Awards for both Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

16. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
[Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Who's in it? Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman
  • IMDb score: 8.1/10

Another notch in Clint Eastwood's impressive belt, Million Dollar Baby tells the tale of Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) a down on her luck waitress turned amateur boxer who enlists cantankerous trainer Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) in an attempt to go pro. In doing so Frankie is forced to confront ghosts from his past in a search for atonement. And Maggie will fight her way to the top at any cost, even if threatens her own life.

Million Dollar Baby was critically acclaimed upon release, and won four Oscars — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Hilary Swank) and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman).

15. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

  • Director: Wes Anderson
  • Who's in it? Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett
  • IMDb score: 7.3/10

One for the Wes Anderson fans, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou received mixed reviews upon release, but it's certainty one for those who enjoy a spot of whimsy.

Featuring an impressive cast, which ranges from Willem Dafoe to Jeff Goldblum, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was created both as a parody of and homage to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the French diving pioneer who died in 1997. The movie features the irreplaceable Bill Murray as Steve Zissou, an oceanographer who embarks on a revenge mission to find the rare jaguar shark that killed and ate his partner, Esteban.

A weird yet touching story, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou also features a gorgeous soundtrack with music from Sigur Rós, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Seu Jorge performing David Bowie in Portuguese. Classic Wes Anderson.

14. Woman In Gold (2015)

  • Director: Simon Curtis
  • Who's in it? Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes.
  • IMDb score: 7.3/10

The indomitable Helen Mirren stars as Maria Altman in The Woman in Gold, a movie based on the true story of a Jewish refugee who took on the Austrian government in order to regain a world famous painting of her aunt that was taken by the Nazis during World War II.

When the Nazi forces arrived in Vienna, the oppression of the Jewish community came with targeted looting and pillaging from Jewish families. One such family was the Altmanns, who managed to flee to the United States. In the present day the recently widowed Maria Altmann discovers a letter of her sisters that details an attempt to recover a famous painting of Altmann's aunt, the Woman in Gold, which was stolen by the Nazis.

The painting later fell into the hands of the Austrian government, who did not want to part with the famous painting to return it to Maria. Enlisting the help of Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a young and inexperienced lawyer, Maria's fight for justice will take her back to her homeland, then as far as the Supreme Court of the United States.

13. Milk (2008)

[Credit: Focus Features]
[Credit: Focus Features]
  • Director: Gus Van Sant
  • Who's in it? Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, Alison Pill.
  • IMDb score: 7.6/10

Milk is a biographical drama based on the life of Harvey Milk, a famous American gay activist who became California's first openly gay elected official. His assassination by city supervisor Dan White (Josh Brolin) made him a martyr in the LGBT community, and an icon in San Francisco.

Weaving together dramatized flashbacks and archival footage, Milk follows Harvey Milk's career starting with his 40th birthday when he first became involved in activism and politics alongside his younger lover Scott Smith (James Franco). After publicly announcing his sexuality and opening a shop that becomes the cornerstone for San Francisco's gay community, he triumphantly runs for office. But such great publicity also meant that his life was increasingly at risk.

Milk received critical acclaim upon release, and received eight Oscar nominations — Best Picture; Directing; Best Leading Actor; Best Supporting Actor; Best Original Screenplay; Editing; Costume Design and Music — of which it won two, Best Leading Actor for Sean Penn and Best Original Screenplay.

12. Braveheart (1995)

[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
  • Director: Mel Gibson
  • Who's in it? Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Brian Cox.
  • IMDb score: 8.4/10

Mel Gibson's dramatization of the Scottish uprising led by William Wallace against the English in the 1280s may not have been the most historically accurate of war dramas, but it certainly was a popular one.

Braveheart tells the story of the rebel William Wallace (Mel Gibson) who fought against the English ruler Edward Longshanks (Patrick McGoohan), following in the footsteps of his father and brother who gave their lives in an attempt to free Scotland from the rule of the English. After a tragedy befalls his wife at the hands of the English, Wallace sets out to truly free Scotland — no matter what the cost may be.

Braveheart was nominated for 10 Oscars, of which it won five: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, and Best Sound Editing.

11. Hugo (2011)

[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
[Credit: Paramount Pictures]
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Who's in it? Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen.
  • IMDb score: 7.5/10

Martin Scorsese's historical drama Hugo might not have made the biggest waves when it was released, but it's a fitting addition to the respected filmmaker's credit reel. It was also the first movie Scorsese ever shot in 3D.

Set in 1930s Paris, Hugo is the story of Hugo (Asa Butterfield) — an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station and has a keen interest in machinery. He inherited this interest from his late father (Jude Law), who left Hugo an automaton that requires a special key to work. On his quest to find the missing key he meets George Méliès (Ben Kingsley) — the famous illusionist and director — and his god-daughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who both appear to have a mysterious connection to Hugo's father and the key.

Despite the fact that Hugo was a box office disappointment, the movie was critically acclaimed both as a children's drama and a love letter to the origins of cinema. It was nominated for 11 Oscars, and won five: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.

10. V For Vendetta (2005)

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Director: James McTeigue
  • Who's in it? Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Stephen Rea
  • IMDb score: 8.2/10

The live-action adaptation of Alan Moore's famous graphic novel V for Vendetta still sits as one of the most respected graphic novel adaptations yet, and gave a whole new meaning to the Guy Fawkes mask — just ask Anonymous.

Set in Britain in the late 2020s, V for Vendetta explores a fascist state in the wake of worldwide turmoil, in which "undesirables" are exterminated in government concentration camps. Evey Hammond (Natalie Portman) is an ordinary girl living in London, until she meets the mysterious V (Hugo Weaving), a mask-wearing freedom fighter who first saves her life then recruits her to his cause — inciting revolution by blowing up the Houses of Parliament.

A film steeped in politics, V for Vendetta has been read as an allegory of governmental oppression, and loved by anarchists the world over. But even if that's not your thing, it's still well worth the watch.

9. Lucky Number Slevin (2006)

  • Director: Paul McGuigan
  • Who's in it? Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Liu, Stanley Tucci
  • IMDb score: 7.8/10

Paul McGuigan's crime drama Lucky Number Slevin brings together an impressive cast. And though it received mixed reviews from critics, it was almost universally loved by audiences.

A New York drama, Lucky Number Slevin focuses on Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett), a young man who is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity, and forced to either repay his friend's large gambling debt, or kill a man. Throw two feuding crime lords played by Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley into the mix, along with a healthy dose of Lucy Liu as Slevin's love interest and Bruce Willis as a mysterious hitman, and you've got one interesting ride.

8. Always (1989)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Who's in it? Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman, Brad Johnson
  • IMDb score: 6.4/10

When it comes to dramas and drama romance movies, Always belongs on both lists. It's also perhaps best known for being the last movie made by the late, great, Audrey Hepburn. She appears in a cameo role as her final film appearance as the supernatural guide, Hap, and died of cancer four years later in 1993.

A remake of 1943's A Guy Named Joe, Always is a rom-com drama set during an aerial firefighting operation. Richard Dreyfuss plays Pete Sandich, a hotshot pilot who dies in a tragic accident. From beyond the grave he is tasked with a new role, to provide support to new pilot Ted Baker (Brad Johnson). But when Ted starts to fall in love with Pete's girlfriend Dorinda (Holly Hunter), and she him, Pete has to reconcile what it really means to move on.

7. Take Me To The River (2015)

  • Director: Matt Sobel
  • Who's in it? Logan Miller, Robin Weigert, Josh Hamilton, Richard Schiff
  • IMDb score: 6.0/10
  • Also Available On: Netflix Canada

Matt Sobel's feature length directorial debut comes with harrowing drama Take Me To The River, taking a look at a dysfunctional family reunion gone very, very wrong.

Ryder (Logan Miller) is a Californian teenage boy who intends to come out to his extended family at their family reunion in Nebraska. But an incident involving his young cousin and a mysterious bloodstain on her dress places him as suspect in a case of abuse. Things spiral out of control when his uncle and mother try to reconcile the family, dreading up a long buried family secret.

6. Burn After Reading (2008)

  • Director: Ethan and Joel Coen
  • Who's in it? George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Brad Pitt
  • IMDb score: 7.0/10

Another entry from the Coen Brothers arrives on Netflix this month, and it's another master exercise in black humor featuring an all-star cast with Burn After Reading.

When Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) — a CIA agent with a drinking, swearing and anger problem — quits his job to write his memoirs, his cheating wife Katie Cox (Tilda Swinton) accidentally lets some of his ramblings fall into the hands of two dimwitted gym employees. They mistake the numerical data to be sensitive government information, and attempt to blackmail him, not reckoning with the ex-agents anger problem. The all star cast in this pseudo crime drama will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Burn After Reading was nominated for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes, won two BAFTAs and was named by the National Board of Review as one of the Top 10 Movies of 2008.

5. Boyhood (2014)

  • Director: Richard Linklater
  • Who's in it? Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke.
  • IMDb score: 7.9/10

When it comes to teen drama movies, no film has earned a more revered place in cinema than Boyhood. The movie that rocked cinema, Richard Linklater's ambitious project took more than a decade to film in an ambitious drama project spanning eleven years.

In 2001 the then 9-year-old Ellar Coltrane was cast by Linklater to play Mason Evans, Jr., the titular character of Boyhood, a coming of age movie like nothing ever created before. The aim of Boyhood was to have the actors age alongside the characters on screen, filming them over the course of several days at a time between May 2002 and August 2013.

Boyhood received numerous awards for its ambitious filming method, including a Golden Globe, a British Academy Award for Best Film and an Oscar for Supporting Actress.

4. Big Eyes (2014)

[Credit: The Weinstein Company]
[Credit: The Weinstein Company]
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Who's in it? Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Jon Polito, Krysten Ritter
  • IMDb score: 7.0/10
  • Also Available On: Netflix Canada

A biographical drama, Big Eyes is based upon the life of American artist Margaret Keane, famous for her "big eyes" style of painting and the fact that her husband — Walter Keane — took credit for her work.

Amy Adams portrays Margaret Keane, a painter in the 1950s who meets and marries fellow painter Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz). When the two host a gallery show together, Margaret's "big eyes" paintings become the subject of much interest in the art community. Seeing this as an opportunity for self-promotion — and due to the fact that galleries were reluctant to showcase female painters — Walter convinces Margaret to stay home and paint whilr he sells her work, passing it off as his own.

Big Eyes follows Margaret's struggle to be recognized as a true artist in the public eye, and her legal battle against her husband over the paintings. The film itself was well received, winning Adams a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, as well as nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical (Waltz), and Best Original Song (Lana del Rey).

3. Jesus Camp (2006)

[Credit: Magnolia Pictures]
[Credit: Magnolia Pictures]
  • Directors: Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady
  • Who's in it? Becky Fischer, Mike Papantonio
  • IMDb score: 7.5/10
  • Also Available On: Netflix UK, Netflix Canada

Cheating a little here with a docudrama, but one which is still an interesting watch 10 years after it was originally released. Jesus Camp is a startling and controversial look at the now closed Kids on Fire School of Ministry, a Christian summer camp in North Dakota.

Run by the Reverend Becky Fischer, the Kids on Fire School was a summer camp school that sought to purify children in the Christian faith as part of what Fischer called the "army of God." Jesus Camp focuses on three summer camp attendees — Levi, Rachael, and Tory — who are all already devout Christians at a very young age. The three all display strong anti-Islamic beliefs, as they are taught that they are "the enemy" they will fight, with Fischer saying that she wishes to see the children in the camp "radically laying down their lives for the gospel, as they are over in Pakistan and Israel and Palestine."

Though it was controversial upon release due to what some saw as an anti-Christian message, Jesus Camp was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, though it did not win.

2. Babel (2006)

[Credit: Paramount]
[Credit: Paramount]
  • Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
  • Who's in it? Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal, Mohamed Akhzam, Rinko Kikuchi
  • IMDb score: 7.5/10
  • Also Available On: Netflix UK

Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel explores how language, culture and race separate people along cultural boundaries, and how one mistake can change the life of someone completely unrelated to you. The movie weaves together four different stories in a disconnected manner, and watching it is like trying to understand a language you don't speak.

The accidental shooting of an American tourist, Susan Jones (Cate Blanchett), in the desert landscape of Morocco sparks a wave of international incidents across the world as her husband, Richard Jones (Brad Pitt), fights to save her life. The path to justice intersects with local Moroccan goat herders, a strained relationship between a father and daughter in Japan, and an incident at the US/Mexican border that changes the lives of everyone involved.

Babel won the Academy Award for Best Original Score, and was nominated for six others, including Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. It also won three awards at Cannes: Best Director, the François Chalais Award and the Technical Grand Prize.

1. No Country For Old Men (2007)

[Credit: Miramax Films]
[Credit: Miramax Films]
  • Directors: Ethan and Joel Coen
  • Who's in it? Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Woody Harrelson
  • IMDb score: 8.1/10

One of the Coen brothers' finest films, No Country for Old Men is a startling and violent take on chance and fate in the West Texas deserts of the 1980s. A pinnacle of the cat-and-mouse drama, it moves along at breakneck pace toward an unpredictable ending fueled by a stellar cast.

Based on the book by The Road writer Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men charts the violent path of hitman Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), as he sets out to retrieve missing drug money from a deal gone horribly wrong. The money ends up in the hands of Josh Brolin's Vietnam veteran Llewelyn Moss, who finds himself the target of a dangerous man who will do anything and kill anyone to get to him.

No Country for Old Men was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning four: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem), Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Javier Bardem's Oscar win marked the first time a Spanish actor won the prestigious accolade, so that's something too.

Which is your favorite drama on Netflix right now? Tell us in the comments below!


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