Straightforward dramas like 12 Angry Men, 25th Hour, and The Accused are all as relevant in modern times as they were at the time of release. The genre captures human nature in a way that’s timeless because the topics covered in the films have unfortunately persisted.
Dramatic movies can also seemingly cross the line into any other genre while retaining the ability to tug heartstrings. Furthermore, as far as Redditors are concerned, certain years have contributed an unusually large amount of great films to the genre’s history.
From 12 Angry Men‘s courtroom drama without the courtroom to The Seventh Seal‘s chess game with death, 1957 was a year for remarkably interesting concepts on the big screen. There was also Stanley Kubrick’s war movie Paths of Glory as well as the satirical A Face in the Crowd.
As one of Ingmar Bergman’s best films, The Seventh Seal is within some prestigious company. A now-deleted user made a lengthy post about ’50s classics and included it, writing “incredible in every way, gorgeous looking.” On a separate thread, AnHeroicHippo99 wrote about the deliberation room-set classic 12 Angry Men, calling it “one of the best conversation movies in existence.”
The ’60s second calendar year gave drama fans films such as The Hustler, with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason, and an adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun.
Adamd2s summarized The Hustler‘s appeal well with “Paul Newman has swagger, in abundance.” Malafakka felt it was the best film of 1961, writing that it’s a movie with “Great dialogue, great performances, and great scenes.” On a thread looking for the late Sidney Poitier’s best movie, his filmography was narrowed down to A Raisin in the Sun and In the Heat of the Night (1967). Orourkekings was clear on their choice, writing “A Raisin in the Sun and it’s not even close. In the Heat of the Night is a good film but the former is special.”
1976 was a year for dramas laced with political and social commentary, such as Network, All the President‘s Men, and Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. But there were also crowd-pleasing and tear-jerking hits like Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky and A Star Is Born, with Barbra Streisand.
Xpurplehayes championed the early Scorsese film in a lengthy post, ending with “In the end, it’s just a really well-made, powerful, intense character study.” Elsewhere, i-had-no-good-ideas started a thread to describe their first experience watching it: “I think Rocky is an incredible movie…it does a really good job of the fight choreography.”
Two of the best movies about the experience of being a prisoner came out in the very same year. 1978 also saw the release of Terrence Malick’s poignant and surprisingly straightforward Days of Heaven, starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, and Sam Shepard.
Midnight Express followed an American student facing a horrendous 30-year sentence in a Turkish prison. Whimling wrote this of the Oliver Stone-scripted film: “Brutal, suspenseful, never dull, this is a great prison movie.” The Deer Hunter won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Christopher Walken), Best Sound, and Best Film Editing. It’s easy to see why, as the film is powerful even today. RareSpirit started a thread and started their post with a convincing sell: “I finally got around to watching The Deer Hunter and it was without a doubt one of the greatest decisions I have ever made….”
From romantic movies like The Accidental Tourist and Working Girl to heartbreaking stories like Mississippi Burning, The Accused, A Cry in the Dark and Beaches, 1988 is filled with classic dramatic films. There was also Stand and Deliver, Gorillas in the Mist, Clean and Sober, and the year’s Academy Award for Best Picture winner, Rain Man.
Arushi20 started a thread to talk about Rain Man, writing that it’s “a brilliant movie that touches your heart and soul.” On a separate thread, a few Redditors discussed Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning performance in The Accused, easily one of Foster’s most iconic roles. As Dark_Vengence put it, “Jodie Foster is one of the best and she always plays these types of characters. She is tough and vulnerable. She deserved that Oscar win….”
1996 could be considered the ’90s year for crime and courtroom dramas, with Primal Fear, Fargo and Trainspotting. There were also dramas that ranged in tone, from the charming Jerry Maguire to the more serious Breaking the Waves and The English Patient.
Apoplectic-confetti commented on a thread devoted to Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire: “I love this movie, such memorable characters, and dialogue. ‘It’s not show friends, it’s show business’ is my personal fave.” On a thread for the controversial Academy Award for Best Picture winner The English Patient, DenverFlorida stated that they “think it’s better than Titanic in terms of a love story…Ralph Fiennes is amazing in it and the desert and the music are a relaxing combination with plenty of drama to keep you entertained. Great film.”
Along with two major Leonardo DiCaprio dramas, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, 2002 provided audiences with 8 Mile, The Pianist, City of God, Joe Carnahan’s underrated Narc, and Spike Lee’s 25th Hour.
DarrylthedudeWayne started a thread after watching Catch Me If You Can for the first time, calling it one of Spielberg’s best: “The score, the music, and that opening sequence are all wonderful. The directing, writing acting is some of the best and top-notch….” TheCheshireCody advocated for Lee’s film to get more attention: “I’m going to nominate 25th Hour because it is one of my absolute all-time favorite films…Phenomenal acting, excellent story, and dialogue, gorgeous cinematography. It should have swept the Oscars that year.”
2003 had bombastic and beautiful war dramas like Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Last Samurai, and Cold Mountain as well as fairly straightforward dramas like House of Sand and Fog, Mystic River, and Lost in Translation.
One Redditor, VaguerCrusader, mentioned Clint Eastwood’s film alongside some other greats such as Memento and another Eastwood classic, Million Dollar Baby. Then, undercooked_lasagna came in with “You couldn’t pay me to watch Mystic River again. Takes depressing up another level.” It is an unsettling movie, just like the novel, but it’s a masterwork featuring excellent performances from the entire cast. Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation is a lighter viewing experience that still manages to jerk tears. SuPeRflyKiD3 started a thread and summarized Coppola’s movie well: “The script is just so pure and about nothing more than two characters going through an empty period in their lives trying to make each other more whole by spending time together and bonding.”
2007 was the year for dramatic 21st Century Westerns, with films like No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and There Will Be Blood all fitting into the genre to a certain extent. There were also crime dramas like American Gangster and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead as well as thrilling dramas like The Brave One and Michael Clayton.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is widely seen as one of the best movies of the aughts, but one Redditor started a thread to gain clarification on why. Russelly came in and explained it well: “My favorite part of the film is that they don’t dumb it down for the audience. They aren’t constantly speaking trying to convey every emotion with words, instead, they let you live through the characters….” Meanwhile, Clunky_glunky wrote of Tony Gilroy’s George Clooney drama: “Michael Clayton. Great film, beautifully shot, terrific acting, amazing ending.”
2013 was a major year for dramatic films; It saw the release of excellent films such as the crime-soaked Prisoners, American Hustle, and The Wolf of Wall Street as well as highly-regarded smaller films such as Dallas Buyers Club, Before Midnight, All is Lost, and the Academy Award for Best Picture winner 12 Years A Slave.
TheDezKillah wrote of Denis Villeneuve’s dramatic thriller Prisoners: “Tough one to watch at certain parts but really an amazingly acted and well-written movie was Prisoners.” Narwhal_of_death suggested David O. Russell’s ABSCAM movie, American Hustle: “I thought all of the performances were great. The period music and clothes were perfect.”
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