Entertainment

The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston 

Ranker Film
Updated March 18, 2020 118 votes 16 voters 22 items

List Rules The drama movie must be primarily set in Boston.

The best drama movies set in Boston feature several A-list stars who come from the city. Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck are all Boston natives, and all have made dramas showing their city's unique qualities. Other beloved actors and filmmakers have similarly given us drama movies based in Boston. It is a very atmospheric city, with wealthy sections and working class areas that give it real diversity onscreen. Hollywood and indie productions alike have taken advantage of that.

Vote up the best drama films based in Boston below. Don't see your favorite? Add it to the list and let others weigh in with their votes. 

list ordered by
1
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Matt Damon

Released: 1997

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgård. Written by Affleck and ...more
2
The Departed is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin

Released: 2006

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

The Departed is a 2006 American crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, and a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. Irish Mob boss Francis "Frank" Costello (Jack ...more
3
The Fighter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg

Released: 2010

Directed by: David O. Russell

The Fighter is a 2010 American biographical sports drama film directed by David O. Russell. Fledgling boxer Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled ...more
4
Gone Baby Gone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris

Released: 2007

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Ben Affleck and starring his brother Casey Affleck. The screenplay by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard is based on the novel of ...more
5
Manchester by the Sea is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
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
6
Spotlight is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams

Released: 2015

Directed by: Tom McCarthy

Spotlight is a 2015 American biographical drama film directed by Tom McCarthy. The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the ...more
7
Mystic River is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

Released: 2003

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Mystic River is a 2003 American mystery drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood. It stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. ...more
8
Black Mass is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Kevin Bacon, Joel Edgerton, Jesse Plemons

Released: 2015

Directed by: Scott Cooper

Black Mass is a 2015 American biographical crime drama film directed by Scott Cooper, based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by ...more
9
The Boston Strangler is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis, George Kennedy

Released: 1968

Directed by: Richard Fleischer

The Boston Strangler is a 1968 American film based on the true story of the Boston Strangler and the book by Gerold Frank. It was directed by Richard Fleischer, and stars Tony Curtis as Albert ...more
10
Edge of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Denis O'Hare

Released: 2010

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Edge of Darkness is a 2010 crime thriller film directed by Martin Campbell and also produced by Michael Wearing, starring Mel Gibson. It was based on the 1985 BBC television series Edge of ...more
11
A Civil Action is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kathy Bates

Released: 1998

Directed by: Steven Zaillian

A Civil Action is a 1998 American drama film that was directed by Steven Zaillian, that stars John Travolta and Robert Duvall, and that is based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Harr. ...more
12
Harvard Man is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ray Allen, Rebecca Gayheart

Released: 2002

Directed by: James Toback

Harvard Man is a 2001 crime comedy-drama thriller film written and directed by James Toback, and starring Adrian Grenier, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joey Lauren Adams, Eric Stoltz, and Rebecca
13
Monument Ave. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Famke Janssen, Martin Sheen, Billy Crudup

Released: 1998

Directed by: Ted Demme

Monument Ave., originally titled Snitch in the USA and titled Noose in Australia, is a 1998 American crime comedy-drama film directed by Ted Demme and starring Denis Leary. The film takes place ...more
14
Southie is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Rose McGowan, Amanda Peet, Will Arnett

Released: 1999

Directed by: John Shea

Southie is a 1999 American film directed by John Shea and starring Donnie Wahlberg. The film centers on Danny Quinn who returns home to South Boston from New York City and gets stuck between his ...more
15
The Brink's Job is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
mrpyro08 added Peter Falk, Gena Rowlands, Paul Sorvino

Released: 1978

Directed by: William Friedkin

The Brink's Job is a 1978 film directed by William Friedkin and starring Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield, Warren Oates, Gena Rowlands, and Paul Sorvino. It is based on the Brink's ...more
16
The Cardinal is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Burgess Meredith, John Huston, Romy Schneider

Released: 1963

Directed by: Otto Preminger

The Cardinal is a 1963 American drama film which was produced independently and directed by Otto Preminger, and distributed by Columbia Pictures. The screenplay was written by Robert Dozier, ...more
17
The Friends of Eddie Coy... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Alex Rocco

Released: 1973

Directed by: Peter Yates

The Friends of Eddie Coyle is a 1973 film directed by Peter Yates and starring Robert Mitchum and Peter Boyle. The screenplay by Paul Monash was adapted from the novel of the same name by George ...more
18
The Verdict is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Bruce Willis, Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling

Released: 1982

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

The Verdict is a 1982 courtroom drama film that tells the story of a down-on-his-luck alcoholic lawyer who takes a medical malpractice case to improve his own situation, but discovers along the ...more
19
What Doesn't Kill You is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Amanda Peet, Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke

Released: 2008

Directed by: Brian Goodman

What Doesn't Kill You is a 2008 film directed by Brian Goodman.
20
Brinks: The Great Robber... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
mrpyro08 added Brinks: The Great Robbery Leslie Nielsen

Released: 1976

Directed by: Marvin J. Chomsky

Brinks: The Great Robbery is a 1976 American crime drama television film. It stars Leslie Nielsen and is based on the Great Brink's Robbery in Boston in 1950.
21
Patriots Day is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Mark Wahlberg, J. K. Simmons, John Goodman

Directed by: Peter Berg

Patriots Day is a 2016 American biopic drama film directed by Peter Berg, based on the book Boston Strong by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge. Starring Mark Wahlberg, J. K. Simmons, John Goodman, ...more
22
Stronger is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Drama Movies Set in Boston
Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson

Directed by: David Gordon Green

Stronger is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed by David Gordon Green, based on the memoir by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter. After losing his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing, Jeff ...more