Best American Drama Movies

This page is updated regularly. Subscribe, so you don't miss new recommendations. The list of "Best American Drama Movies" contains films with the following parameters. Style: realistic, interesting, dramatic, serious, intense and thought provoking. Plot: redemption, storytelling, mentor, friendship, honest, loneliness, dialogue, destiny, greed and powerful ending. Genre: Drama, Biography and Music. Country: USA.
Best American Drama Movies
Best American Drama Movies
TOP Movies: American Beauty (1999), Moonlight (2016), Manchester by the Sea (2016), There Will Be Blood (2007), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Help (2011), Boyhood (2014), Whiplash (2014), Rain Man (1988), Minari (2020), Forrest Gump (1994), Django Unchained (2012), Precious (2009), Saving Private Ryan (1998), American History X (1998), The Florida Project (2017), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Social Network (2010), Pulp Fiction (1994), Dallas Buyers Club (2013).

List of Best Movies

 8.3
 1.1M
American Beauty (1999)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 122 min.
Story: Lester Burnham, a depressed suburban father in a mid-life crisis, decides to turn his hectic life around after developing an infatuation with his daughter's attractive friend.
Style: thought provoking, melancholic, sexual, cerebral, cynical ...
Audience: teen drama
Plot: midlife crisis, older man young girl relationship, coming of age, existentialism, loneliness, character study, age difference, virgin, dysfunctional family, older man younger woman relationship, closeted homosexual, youth ...
Time: 90s, 1990s, 20th century
Place: usa
Is relevant ?
 7.4
 287K
Moonlight (2016)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 111 min.
Story: The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man’s struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life as he experiences the ecstasy, pain, and beauty of falling in love, while grappling with his own sexuality.
Style: gay cinema, lgbt cinema, serious, sad, rough ...
Plot: lgbt, homosexuality, first gay sexual experience, gay, drug dealer, african american, parent child relationship, forgiveness, childhood friend, revenge, drug addict, gay slur ...
Time: 2010s
Place: florida, atlanta georgia, miami
Is relevant ?
Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 137 min.
Story: After his older brother passes away, Lee Chandler is forced to return home to care for his 16-year-old nephew. There he is compelled to deal with a tragic past that separated him from his family and the community where he was born and raised.
Style: depressing, heartbreaking, psychological, emotional, sad ...
Plot: depression, sadness, family drama, loneliness, dysfunctional family, suicide attempt, death, loss, nephew, house fire, funeral, hospital ...
Time: 2010s
Place: boston, massachusetts
Is relevant ?
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 158 min.
Story: Ruthless silver miner, turned oil prospector, Daniel Plainview moves to oil-rich California. Using his adopted son to project a trustworthy, family-man image, Plainview cons local landowners into selling him their valuable properties for a pittance. ...
Style: serious, bleak, atmospheric, realistic, disturbing ...
Plot: greed, character study, rise to the top, ambition, bowling, oil, rivalry, obsession, money, villain, marriage, evil ...
Time: 1900s, 20th century, 1910s, 1920s, 20s ...
Place: california, usa, pacific ocean, san francisco, los angeles
Is relevant ?
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The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 142 min.
Story: Framed in the 1940s for the double murder of his wife and her lover, upstanding banker Andy Dufresne begins a new life at the Shawshank prison, where he puts his accounting skills to work for an amoral warden. During his long stretch in prison, ...
Style: captivating, clever, touching, inspirational, uplifting ...
Plot: prison, human spirit, prison escape, false accusation, freedom, powerful ending, prison life, hopes, life is a bitch, existentialism, life sentence, confined ...
Time: 1940s, 20th century, 60s, 50s, 40s ...
Place: usa, maine, pacific ocean, mexico
Is relevant ?
 8.0
 438K
The Help (2011)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 146 min.
Story: Aibileen Clark is a middle-aged African-American maid who has spent her life raising white children and has recently lost her only son; Minny Jackson is an African-American maid who has often offended her employers despite her family's ...
Style: touching, uplifting, thought provoking, inspirational, emotional ...
Audience: girls' night, chick flick
Plot: racism, maid, friendship, master and servant, discrimination, civil rights, storytelling, racial issues, interracial relations, hopes, social relations, human spirit ...
Time: 60s, 1960s, 20th century, year 1963
Place: mississippi, usa, mississippi river, southern usa, united states
Is relevant ?
 7.9
 343K
Boyhood (2014)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 165 min.
Story: The film tells a story of a divorced couple trying to raise their young son. The story follows the boy for twelve years, from first grade at age 6 through 12th grade at age 17-18, and examines his relationship with his parents as he grows.
Style: depressing, realistic, sincere, serious, emotional ...
Audience: kids
Plot: coming of age, childhood, divorced parents, boy, marital problem, divorce, stepsister stepsister relationship, abusive husband, parents and children, teenage life, youth, classmate ...
Time: 21st century, contemporary, year 2011, 2000s, year 2012 ...
Place: usa, texas, houston texas, austin texas
Is relevant ?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 133 min.
Story: While serving time for insanity at a state mental hospital, implacable rabble-rouser, Randle Patrick McMurphy inspires his fellow patients to rebel against the authoritarian rule of head nurse, Mildred Ratched.
Style: psychological, tragicomedy, dramatic, uplifting, serious ...
Plot: mental institution, human spirit, fighting the system, freedom, insanity, anti hero, nurse, dehumanization, escaped mental patient, doctors and patients, unlikely friendships, society ...
Time: 60s, 1960s, 20th century
Place: oregon
Is relevant ?
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 8.5
 757K
Whiplash (2014)
Genre: Drama, Music
Country: USA
Duration: 106 min.
Story: Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.
Style: motivational, psychological, dramatic, emotional, realistic ...
Plot: follow your dream, obsession, teachers and students, mentor, musician's life, music, desire for fame, jazz, drummer, musician, teaching the ways of the world, music teacher ...
Time: 21st century, contemporary
Place: new york, usa, manhattan new york city
Is relevant ?
 8.0
 488K
Rain Man (1988)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 133 min.
Story: Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.
Style: sincere, uplifting, road movie, touching, captivating ...
Plot: autism, road trip, redemption, mentally challenged, runaway, siblings relations, brother brother relationship, greed, family relations, yuppie, self discovery, boyfriend girlfriend relationship ...
Time: 80s, 20th century
Place: las vegas, california, cincinnati ohio, usa, texas ...
Is relevant ?
 7.5
 57K
Minari (2020)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 115 min.
Story: A Korean-American family moves to Arkansas in search of their own American Dream. With the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother, the stability of their relationships is challenged even more in this new life in the ...
Style: captivating, sincere
Plot: countryside, korean american, grandmother grandson relationship, american dream, farmer, husband wife relationship, family relations, grandmother granddaughter relationship, trailer, church, family, direction and purpose ...
Time: 80s
Place: arkansas
Is relevant ?
 8.8
 1.9M
Forrest Gump (1994)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Country: USA
Duration: 142 min.
Story: A man with a low IQ has accomplished great things in his life and been present during significant historic events - in each case, far exceeding what anyone imagined he could do. Yet, despite all the things he has attained, his one true love eludes ...
Style: touching, uplifting, sentimental, sincere, inspirational ...
Audience: date night, girls' night
Plot: mentally challenged, life philosophy, human spirit, journey, destiny, philosophy, true love, rise to the top, storytelling, human relationship, selflessness, army ...
Time: 50s, 20th century, 60s, 70s, 1950s ...
Place: usa, washington d.c., new york, san francisco, united states ...
Is relevant ?
Django Unchained (2012)
Genre: Drama, Western
Country: USA
Duration: 165 min.
Story: With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Style: captivating, rough, serious, talky, realistic ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: dark humor, bounty hunter, vengeance, gunfight, old west, racism, slavery, african american, violent, revenge, one against many, society ...
Time: 19th century, 1850s
Place: usa, mississippi, tennessee, texas
Is relevant ?
 7.3
 108K
Precious (2009)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 110 min.
Story: Set in Harlem in 1987, Claireece "Precious" Jones is a 16-year-old African American girl born into a life no one would want. She's pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother, ...
Style: bleak, rough, emotional, serious, harsh ...
Plot: domestic violence, poverty, rape, child abuse, illiteracy, fat girl, dysfunctional family, social misfits, sexual abuse, parents and children, abusive mother, life is a bitch ...
Time: 80s, 20th century, year 1987
Place: new york, usa, manhattan new york city, harlem manhattan new york city, harlem
Is relevant ?
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Genre: Drama, War
Country: USA
Duration: 169 min.
Story: As U.S. troops storm the beaches of Normandy, three brothers lie dead on the battlefield, with a fourth trapped behind enemy lines. Ranger captain John Miller and seven men are tasked with penetrating German-held territory and bringing the boy home.
Style: realistic, captivating, epic, rough, bleak ...
Plot: world war two, war, military, army, battles, sniper, courage, heroic mission, warrior, rescue, d day, self sacrifice ...
Time: 1940s, 20th century, 40s, year 1944
Place: normandy, france, europe, poland, germany ...
Is relevant ?
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 119 min.
Story: A fading actor best known for his portrayal of a popular superhero attempts to mount a comeback by appearing in a Broadway play. As opening night approaches, his attempts to become more altruistic, rebuild his career, and reconnect with friends and ...
Style: psychological, surreal, semi serious, suspense, tragicomedy ...
Plot: existentialism, midlife crisis, theater, father daughter relationship, dark humor, ambition, actor's life, desire for fame, alter ego, surrealism, introspection, satire ...
Time: contemporary, 21st century
Place: new york, usa, manhattan new york city
Is relevant ?
American History X (1998)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 119 min.
Story: Derek Vineyard is paroled after serving 3 years in prison for killing two thugs who tried to break into/steal his truck. Through his brother, Danny Vineyard's narration, we learn that before going to prison, Derek was a skinhead and the leader ...
Style: rough, serious, cerebral, tense, realistic ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: racism, skinhead, prison, juvenile delinquency, nazism, prison rape, gang, racial slur, male rape, hate, crimes, racial prejudice ...
Time: 90s, 20th century, 1990s
Place: usa, los angeles, california, united states, venice beach california
Is relevant ?
The Florida Project (2017)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 111 min.
Story: The story of a precocious six year-old and her ragtag group of friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure while the adults around them struggle with hard times.
Style: touching, sincere, captivating, thought provoking
Plot: mother daughter relationship, motel, friendship, little girl, eviction, drug addiction, children, social services, mother child separation, female friendship, parent child relationship, single mother ...
Time: 2010s
Place: florida, orlando florida
Is relevant ?
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Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 102 min.
Story: The hopes and dreams of four ambitious people are shattered when their drug addictions begin spiraling out of control. A look into addiction and how it overcomes the mind and body.
Style: psychological, bleak, disturbing, depressing, atmospheric ...
Plot: heroin, drug abuse, addiction, life is a bitch, drug addiction, insanity, depression, hallucination, drug trip, destructive relationship, downfall, drug use ...
Time: 90s, 20th century
Place: new york, usa, brooklyn new york city, coney island brooklyn new york city
Is relevant ?
The Social Network (2010)
Genre: Biography, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 120 min.
Story: On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room as a small site among ...
Style: clever, intellectual, realistic, serious, talky ...
Plot: rise to the top, computers and web, programmer, computer genius, hacker, ambition, social relations, success, facebook, corporate world, ego clash, businessman ...
Time: contemporary, 21st century, 2000s, year 2003
Place: harvard university, usa, california, massachusetts, san francisco ...
Is relevant ?
 8.9
 1.9M
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 154 min.
Story: A burger-loving hit man, his philosophical partner, a drug-addled gangster's moll and a washed-up boxer converge in this sprawling, comedic crime caper. Their adventures unfurl in three stories that ingeniously trip back and forth in time.
Style: neo noir, exciting, witty, interesting, clever ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: dark humor, crimes, gunfight, hitman, drugs, cocaine, crime, drugs/alcohol, twists & turns, criminal heroes, heroin, multiple storylines ...
Time: 90s, 20th century, 1990s, 70s
Place: los angeles, california, usa
Is relevant ?
Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Genre: Biography, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 117 min.
Story: Loosely based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a drug-taking, women-loving, homophobic man who in 1986 was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live.
Style: psychological, heartbreaking, sincere, thought provoking, touching ...
Plot: human spirit, aids, fighting the system, transsexual, gay slur, terminal illness, life is a bitch, death, gays and lesbians, treatment, society, casual sex ...
Time: 80s, 20th century, 90s, year 1986, year 1985
Place: texas, usa, japan, dallas texas, china ...
Is relevant ?
 7.7
 231K
Philadelphia (1993)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 125 min.
Story: No one would take his case until one man was willing to take on the system. Two competing lawyers join forces to sue a prestigious law firm for AIDS discrimination. As their unlikely friendship develops their courage overcomes the prejudice and ...
Style: touching, thought provoking, sincere, uplifting, compassionate ...
Audience: girls' night
Plot: courtroom drama, aids, lawyer, gay, terminal illness, lgbt, hiv, court, homosexual, lawsuit, prejudice, judiciary ...
Time: 20th century, 90s, 80s
Place: philadelphia, usa, pennsylvania
Is relevant ?
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 7.6
 106K
Gifted (2017)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 101 min.
Story: Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.
Style: inspirational, touching, sweet, light, emotional ...
Audience: kids, girls' night
Plot: child prodigy, childhood, genius, school, mathematics, uncle niece relationship, child custody, teacher, girl, friendship, family, happiness ...
Time: year 1998
Place: florida, boston, california
Is relevant ?
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 105 min.
Story: Ted Kramer is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to leave him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy.
Style: touching, sincere, captivating, sentimental, emotional ...
Plot: custody battle, courtroom, divorce, single father, family relations, selfishness, couples, lawyer, marriage, father son relationship, family problems, family ...
Time: 70s, 20th century, 80s
Place: new york, usa, manhattan new york city, california, manhattan, new york city
Is relevant ?
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Genre: Drama, Sport
Country: USA
Duration: 132 min.
Story: Despondent over a painful estrangement from his daughter, trainer Frankie Dunn isn't prepared for boxer Maggie Fitzgerald to enter his life. But Maggie's determined to go pro and to convince Dunn and his cohort to help her.
Style: emotional, bleak, sad, rough, bad ending ...
Audience: girls' night
Plot: underdog, determination, athlete and trainer, athlete's life, sport, female boxer, boxing, human spirit, follow your dream, suffering, ambition, mentor protege relationship ...
Time: 21st century, contemporary
Place: los angeles, usa, las vegas, europe, missouri ...
Is relevant ?
 7.2
 162K
The Master (2012)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 138 min.
Story: Freddie, a volatile, heavy-drinking veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, finds some semblance of a family when he stumbles onto the ship of Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic leader of a new "religion" he forms after World ...
Style: stylized, intellectual, atmospheric, art house, psychological ...
Plot: right hand man, drifter, alcoholic, belief, cult leader, psychiatry, guru, religious cult, society, life is a bitch, teaching the ways of the world, wisdom of life ...
Time: 20th century, 50s, 1940s, post world war two, future ...
Place: usa, phoenix arizona, philadelphia, pennsylvania, england ...
Is relevant ?
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Genre: Biography, Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 135 min.
Story: At Princeton University, John Nash struggles to make a worthwhile contribution to serve as his legacy to the world of mathematics. He finally makes a revolutionary breakthrough that will eventually earn him the Nobel Prize. After graduate school he ...
Style: psychological, captivating, cerebral, dramatic, intellectual ...
Plot: mathematics, paranoia, mental illness, genius, prodigy, insanity, schizophrenia, existentialism, imagination, obsession, hallucination, mentally unstable ...
Time: 60s, 20th century, 50s, 70s, 90s ...
Place: boston, usa, massachusetts, stockholm sweden, washington d.c. ...
Is relevant ?
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 127 min.
Story: "The Passion of the Christ" is a film about the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus. Director Mel Gibson received much criticism from critics and audiences for his explicit depiction of and focus on violence and on christs suffering, ...
Style: biblical, factual, rough, bleak, epic ...
Plot: christianity, jesus christ, betrayal, jesus, religion, suffering, life philosophy, religions or cults, bible, torture, sacrifice, roman ...
Time: ancient history, 1st century, 30s, 1930s
Place: holy land, middle east, jerusalem
Is relevant ?
 8.0
 298K
Magnolia (1999)
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Duration: 188 min.
Story: An epic mosaic of many interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.
Style: realistic, bleak, sincere, meditative, non-linear ...
Plot: human nature, introspection, terminal illness, coincidence, depression, infidelity, child prodigy, redemption, death, dysfunctional family, dishonesty, family problems ...
Time: 20th century, 90s, 1950s, 50s, 60s ...
Place: los angeles
Is relevant ?
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