The 11+ Best Dramas Streaming on Netflix and Amazon

Earlier in December we posted the best Documentaries on Netflix, and got a lot of positive feedback from people who found stuff they didn’t know about. Checking back with Cinesift, there are more Dramas at the top of the list where it used to be more Documentaries (their list is sorted by the average scores of Rotten Tomatoes Critics, RT Audience Score, IMDB, and Letterboxd). Here are our picks for the best Dramas to stream now.

Free with Netflix/Amazon Prime:

  1. Spotlight (2015) – Netflix (US)
    Avg Score: 89

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Spotlight gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects.
Director: Tom McCarthy
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Billy Crudup

  1. Boyhood (2014) – Netflix (Canada, US)
    Avg Score: 88

The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.
Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition.
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Elijah Smith, Lorelei Linklater

  1. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) – Free with Prime
    Avg Score: 88

The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn’t paralyzed.
Breathtaking visuals and dynamic performances make The Diving Bell and the Butterfly a powerful biopic.
Director: Julian Schnabel
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josée Croze, Anne Consigny

  1. Room (2015) – Free with prime
    Avg Score: 88

After five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery.
Led by incredible work from Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, Room makes for an unforgettably harrowing — and undeniably rewarding — experience.
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson

  1. About Elly (2009) – Netflix (US, France)
    Avg Score: 87

The mysterious disappearance of a kindergarten teacher during a picnic in the north of Iran is followed by a series of misadventures for her fellow travelers.
About Elly offers viewers performances as powerful as its thought-provoking ideas, and adds another strong entry to Asghar Farhadi’s impressive filmography.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Golshifteh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Merila Zare’i

  1. The Second Mother (2015) – Free with Prime
    Avg Score: 87

When the estranged daughter of a hard-working live-in housekeeper suddenly appears, the unspoken class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray.
The Second Mother’s compelling characters serve an artfully drawn, thought-provoking story that’s beautifully brought to life by a talented cast.
Director: Anna Muylaert
Cast: Regina Casé, Michel Joelsas, Camila Márdila, Karine Teles

  1. The Hunt (2012) – Netflix (Brasil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, US)
    Avg Score: 86

A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Anchored by Mads Mikkelsen’s sympathetic performance, The Hunt asks difficult questions with the courage to pursue answers head on.
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrøm

  1. Selma (2014) – Free with Prime
    Avg Score: 85

A chronicle of Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.
Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. — but doesn’t ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied.
Director: Ava DuVernay
Cast: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Jim France, Trinity Simone

  1. Winter Sleep (2014) – Netflix (Canada, US)
    Avg Score: 84

Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce….
Epic in length, thrilling to behold, and utterly absorbing, Winter Sleep demands — and rewards — viewers’ patient attention.
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Cast: Haluk Bilginer, Melisa Sözen, Demet Akbag, Ayberk Pekcan

  1. Phoenix (2014) – Netflix (US)
    Avg Score: 84

A disfigured concentration-camp survivor (Nina Hoss), unrecognizable after facial reconstruction surgery, searches ravaged postwar Berlin for the husband (Ronald Zehrfeld) who might have betrayed her to the Nazis.
Tense, complex, and drenched in atmosphere, Phoenix is a well-acted, smartly crafted war drama that finds writer-director Christian Petzold working at peak power.
Director: Christian Petzold
Cast: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Kunzendorf, Trystan Pütter

  1. Beasts of No Nation (2015) – Netflix (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brasil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US)
    Avg Score: 84

A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.
Beasts of No Nation finds writer-director Cary Fukunaga working with a talented cast to offer a sobering, uncompromising, yet still somehow hopeful picture of war’s human cost.
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cast: Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Affadzi, Ricky Adelayitor, Andrew Adote

Honorable Mentions:

Some of the top dramas aren’t available above, though these have better average scores than what’s available for free so they’re worth a mention.

Moonlight (2016) – In Theaters
Avg Score: 91

A timeless story of human connection and self-discovery, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
Moonlight uses one man’s story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema.
Director: Barry Jenkins
Cast: Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, Duan Sanderson, Alex R. Hibbert

A Separation (2011) – Amazon Video ($3.99)
Avg Score: 91

A married couple are faced with a difficult decision – to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Morally complex, suspenseful, and consistently involving, A Separation captures the messiness of a dissolving relationship with keen insight and searing intensity.
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Cast: Peyman Moaadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini

Manchester by the Sea (2016) – In Theaters | Pre-Order on Amazon
Avg Score: 91

An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies.
Manchester by the Sea delivers affecting drama populated by full-bodied characters, marking another strong step forward for writer-director Kenneth Lonergan.
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedges

Whiplash (2014) – Amazon ($3.99)
Avg Score: 90

A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.
Intense, inspiring, and well-acted, Whiplash is a brilliant sophomore effort from director Damien Chazelle and a riveting vehicle for stars J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist


Note: If you see country restrictions on some of the movies on Netflix, we’re still using Strong VPN to connect from those countries. They’re still blocking all DNS codes from getting around country restrictions, so unfortunately paying for a VPN is currently the only way to do it. If you want to check out the VPN we’re using, we’d appreciate you using our link so they know we sent you: Link

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