What are the best drama movies on Netflix? The 18 titles below feature the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hanks, Aamir Khan, and Parvathy. And they come from directors such as Vikramaditya Motwane, Chaitanya Tamhane, Rima Das, Ivan Ayr, Neeraj Ghaywan, Hardik Mehta, Venkatesh Maha, and Lenin Bharathi A “⭐” marks an editors’ choice.
You might find more drama movies in our list of best movies. If you’re looking for more movies on Netflix, we’ve recommendations for some select other genres as well that you should check out.
- C/o Kancharapalem (2018)
Set in the eponymous Andhra Pradesh town, this Telugu film spans four love stories across religion, caste, and age — from a schoolboy to a middle-aged unmarried man. A debut for writer-director Venkatesh Maha, featuring a cast mostly made up of non-professional actors.
- Cast Away (2000)
After his plane crash-lands in the Pacific, a FedEx employee (Tom Hanks) wakes up on a deserted island and must use everything at his disposal and transform himself physically to survive living alone.
- Court (2014)⭐
This National Award-winning debut for writer-director Chaitanya Tamhane follows an abetment of suicide case slapped on a protest singer (Vira Sathidar) — and through it, examines the sociopolitical realities of modern-day India. Largely performed by non-professional actors.
- Into the Wild (2007)
Based on Jon Krakauer’s nonfiction book, Sean Penn goes behind the camera to direct the story of a top student and athlete who gives up all possessions and savings to charity, and hitchhikes across America to live in the Alaskan wilderness.
- Kaamyaab (2020)
National Award-winning director Hardik Mehta concocts a tribute to Bollywood’s character actors with this tale of a washed-up actor (Sanjay Mishra) who comes out of retirement after realising that he’s one film away from the magic number of 500, hoping to end on a memorable high.
- Lucky (2017)
A nonagenarian atheist (Harry Dean Stanton) goes on a spiritual journey and comes to terms with his own mortality, in what would poetically prove to be the final on-screen appearance of its lead nonagenarian character actor.
- Masaan (2015)
Neeraj Ghaywan ventures into the heartland of India to explore the life of four people in his directorial debut, all of whom must battle issues of caste, culture and norms. Winner of a National Award and the FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes.
- Merku Thodarchi Malai (2018)
Set along the mountainous border that divides the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala — the location is a character in its own right — a labourer desires of owing his own patch of land but struggles with the political powers that-be. A debut effort for director Lenin Bharathi that’s better off when it’s not chasing a narrative.
- On Body and Soul (2017)
A shy, introverted man and a woman who work at a Hungarian slaughterhouse discover they share the same dreams after an incident, and then try to make them come true.
- Rang De Basanti (2006)
Aamir Khan leads the ensemble cast of this award-winning film that focuses on four young New Delhi men who turn into revolutionary heroes themselves while playacting as five Indian freedom fighters from the 1920s for a docudrama.
- Secret Superstar (2017)
Though frequently melodramatic, this coming-of-age story — produced by Aamir Khan and wife Kiran Rao — of a Muslim girl from Vadodara who dreams of being a singer dealt with important social issues and broke several box office records during its theatrical run.
- Soni (2019)
A short-tempered young policewoman and her cool-headed female boss must contend with ingrained misogyny in their daily lives and even at work, where it impacts their coordinated attempts to tackle the rise of crimes against women in Delhi. A Netflix original.
- Super Deluxe (2019)
An inter-linked anthology of four stories, involving an unfaithful wife, a transgender woman, a bunch of teenagers, which deal in sex, stigma, and spirituality. Runs at nearly three hours.
- Swades (2004)
Shah Rukh Khan stars as a successful NASA scientist in this based on a true story drama, who returns home to India to take his nanny to the US, rediscovers his roots and connects with the local village community in the process.
- The Two Popes (2019)
Inspired by real life, the tale of friendship that formed between Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the future Pope Francis, after the latter approached the former regarding his concerns with the direction of the Catholic Church. A Netflix original.
- Udaan (2010)
Vikramaditya Motwane made his directorial debut with this coming-of-age story of a teenager who is expelled from boarding school and returns home to the industrial town of Jamshedpur, where he must work at his oppressive father’s factory.
- Uyare (2019)
Before Chhapaak, this Parvathy-starrer Malayalam-language social drama delivered a more nuanced and deeper exploration of the seed of acid attacks and how they aim to push women to the fringes of society, through the tale of an aspiring pilot fighting for her dreams — and justice.
- Village Rockstars (2017)
A young Assamese girl of a widow pines to own a guitar and start her own rock band, but societal norms routinely get in the way. Rima Das writes, directs, shoots, edits, and handles costumes.
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