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The Best Drama Movies of 2016 

Ranker Film
Updated March 1, 2019 708 votes 143 voters 6.6k views 24 items

Heroic characters, beautiful love stories, and tales of survival comprise the best drama movies of 2016. The best 2016 drama films told stories of famous historical figures, intimate relationships, and desperate situations. This is a list of the best drama movies of 2016 featuring everything from The Lobster to La La Land to Sully.

What films will you find on this roundup of the best 2016 drama movies? You won't be surprised to see Moonlight here. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, this film is expected to win a lot of trophies during awards season. It is based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney, and tells the story of a young man dealing with a dysfunctional family, the war on drugs, and his own sexuality. The original musical La La Land is another one of the best dramas of 2016. Hello, My Name Is Doris was a favorite among fans of independent cinema in 2016. Other good films featured on this best 2016 dramas list include Don't Think Twice, Miles Ahead, and Hell or High Water.

Which 2016 drama is the best? That's up to you to decide. Looking for more drama? Check out these 2019 drama films.

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list ordered by
1
Arrival is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Arrival is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang. It stars Amy ...more

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2
Hacksaw Ridge is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Andrew Garfield, Richard Pyros, Jacob Warner

Directed by: Mel Gibson

Hacksaw Ridge is a 2016 American biographical war film directed by Mel Gibson, based on the 2004 documentary The Conscientious Objector. WWII American combat medic and Christian pacifist Desmond ...more
3
Hell or High Water is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Ben Foster, Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges

Released: 2016

Directed by: David Mackenzie

Hell or High Water is a 2016 American neo-western heist-crime film directed by David Mackenzie. To save their family ranch, two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) carry out a series of bank ...more
4
La La Land is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend

Released: 2016

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

La La Land is a 2016 American romantic musical comedy-drama film written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, and Rosemarie DeWitt. The plot ...more

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Every Song in La La Land, Ranked by Singability #64 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Lion is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Lion Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara

Directed by: Garth Davis

Lion is a 2016 Australian-American-British drama film directed by Garth Davis and written by Luke Davies, based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley. Brierley (Dev Patel), ...more
6
Sully is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Anna Gunn

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Sully (also known as Sully: Miracle on the Hudson) is a 2016 American biographical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Todd Komarnicki, based on the autobiography Highest Duty ...more

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#27 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #15 of 124 The Best New Drama Films of the Last Few Years #91 of 222 The Best Historical Drama Movies Of All Time, Ranked

7
Manchester by the Sea is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler

Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan

Manchester by the Sea is a 2016 American drama film directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan. After the death of his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked to ...more

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8
Captain Fantastic is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler

Directed by: Matt Ross

Captain Fantastic is a 2016 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Matt Ross and starring Viggo Mortensen. The story centers on a family who are forced by circumstances to ...more

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9
Moonlight is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Mahershala Ali, Shariff Earp, Duan Sanderson

Released: 2016

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

Moonlight is a 2016 American coming-of-age drama film directed by Barry Jenkins, based on Tarell Alvin McCraney's unpublished semi-autobiographical play. A chronicle of the childhood, ...more

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10
Loving is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton

Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Loving is a 2016 historical drama film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It features Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ...more
11
Love and Friendship is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Love and Friendship Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel
12
Midnight Special is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Kirsten Dunst, Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton

Released: 2015

Directed by: Jeff Nichols

Midnight Special is an upcoming American science fiction film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. The film stars Adam Driver, Michael Shannon, Kirsten Dunst, and Joel Edgerton. It is Nichols' ...more

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#60 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #23 of 27 Great Movies About Precocious Children #29 of 62 The Best New Sci-Fi Movies of the Last Few Years

13
The Lobster is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden

Released: 2015

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos

The Lobster is a 2015 science fiction romantic comedy-drama film directed by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos in his English-language debut. Its script was awarded the ARTE International Prize ...more

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14
Florence Foster Jenkins ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg

Released: 2016

Directed by: Stephen Frears

Florence Foster Jenkins is a 2016 biographical comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Frears. A New York heiress (Meryl Streep) decides to became an opera singer despite her painful lack of ...more

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#371 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #89 of 209 The Best Movies About Music #206 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

15
Rules Don't Apply is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Rules Don't Apply Lily Collins, Haley Bennett, Taissa Farmiga
16
Jackie is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig
Jackie is a 2016 biographical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Noah Oppenheim. The film stars Natalie Portman as the titular character, following her life after the ...more

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#182 of 243 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #50 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #5 of 54 The Best Biopics About Women

17
Goat is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Goat Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, Gus Halper
18
Cafe Society is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell

Directed by: Woody Allen

Café Society is a 2016 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen. The plot follows a young man (Jesse Eisenberg) who moves to 1930s Los Angeles to work for ...more

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#54 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #20 of 25 The Best Comedy Movies of 2016 #15 of 46 The Best Amazon Studios Movies

19
Miles Ahead is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Miles Ahead Ewan McGregor, Don Cheadle, Michael Stuhlbarg

Released: 2015

Directed by: Don Cheadle

Miles Ahead is a 2015 American music film directed by Don Cheadle in his feature directorial debut. Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) attempts to get his career back on track following a period of ...more

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#37 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories #25 of 27 The Greatest African American Biopics #132 of 134 The Best Directorial Debuts of Famous Actors

20
Hello, My Name Is Doris ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Sally Field, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs

Released: 2016

Directed by: Michael Showalter

Hello, My Name Is Doris is a 2016 US romantic comedy-drama film directed by Michael Showalter. A woman (Sally Field) in her 60s tries to act on her attraction to a younger co-worker (Max
21
A Bigger Splash is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton

Released: 1974

Directed by: Jack Hazan

22
The Birth of a Nation is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller

Directed by: Nate Parker

The Birth of a Nation is a 2016 American period drama film based on the story of Nat Turner, the enslaved man who led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1831. The film is ...more
23
Into the Forest is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella

Directed by: Patricia Rozema

Into the Forest is a 2015 Canadian drama film written and directed by Patricia Rozema. The film is based on the book written by Jean Hegland published in 1996. In the near future, two teenage ...more
24
Don't Think Twice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2016
Don't Think Twice Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia