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The Best Drama Movies of 2013 

Ranker Film
Updated November 5, 2019 407 votes 64 voters 9.7k views

List of the best drama movies of 2013, as ranked by movie critics and fans. Although there are showier movie genres, from supernatural horror thrillers to romantic comedies, the drama film genre often attracts the most talent. The top drama films of any given year usually have the best screenwriters, finest actors, and world renowned directors working tirelessly to put together a truly amazing film. Fantastic drama movies usually end up being the ones that take home the most statues during award season. These films can be emotionally honest, suspenseful, thought provoking, and make the viewers feel hundreds of emotions during the course of the film.

In 2013, there were many drama films that deserved every word of praise they received. Films like Twelve Years a Slave and The Butler depicted real life events in a well-done package. Movies like Prisoners and Captain Phillips kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Other dramatic film told completely fictional stories in the most interesting ways possible.

What are the best drama films of 2013? For movies with the best performances, best directors, best scripts, and overall greatest experience in the movie theater, these drama films are the perfect option.

list ordered by
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Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

Released: 2013

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Prisoners is a 2013 American drama thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve. Two young girls in Pennsylvania are kidnapped and the father of one of the girls, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), must ...more

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2
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Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Steve McQueen

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free ...more

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3
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Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto

Released: 2013

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée

Dallas Buyers Club is a 2013 American biographical drama film, co-written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. Ron Woodroof was an AIDS patient diagnosed in ...more

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#70 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #75 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreakslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
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Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Max Martini

Released: 2013

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

Captain Phillips is a 2013 American biographical thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. The film is inspired by the true story of the 2009 Maersk ...more

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#954 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #5 of 21 The Greatest Lost at Sea Movies Ever Made

5
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie

Released: 2013

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the memoir by Jordan Belfort. An ambitious stockbroker (Leonardo DiCaprio) tells ...more

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#196 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #9 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

6
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Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde

Released: 2013

Directed by: Ron Howard

Rush is a 2013 biographical sports film directed by Ron Howard. The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl).

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#12 of 155 The Greatest Car Movies Ever Made #3 of 22 The Best Chris Hemsworth Movies

7
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Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

Released: 2013

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Gravity is a 2013 science fiction thriller film directed, co-written, and produced by Alfonso Cuarón. It stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts, and sees them stranded in ...more

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#246 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #15 of 28 The Best Movies Where Nothing Really Happenslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
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Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Robert De Niro

Released: 2013

Directed by: David O. Russell

American Hustle is a 2013 American comedy-drama film directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, inspired by the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and ...more

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#875 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #58 of 113 The Best Mafia Films

9
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Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Heike Makatsch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Brian Percival

This film is a 2013 American-German drama film directed by Brian Percival and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse. The film is about a young girl living with her ...more

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#180 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #27 of 78 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels

10
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Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jude Law, Channing Tatum

Released: 2013

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Side Effects is a 2013 American psychological thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay written by Scott Z. Burns. The film stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, ...more
11
The Butler is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2013
Mariah Carey, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey

Released: 2013

Directed by: Lee Daniels

The Butler is a 2013 American historical drama film directed and produced by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong. Loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen, the film stars Forest ...more

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#180 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #430 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #8 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

12
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Isla Fisher, Carey Mulligan

Released: 2013

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

The Great Gatsby is a 2013 Australian-American 3D drama film based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name. The film was co-written and directed by Baz Luhrmann, and stars Leonardo ...more

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#57 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #118 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
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Judi Dench, Michelle Fairley, Steve Coogan

Released: 2013

Directed by: Stephen Frears

Philomena is a 2013 drama film directed by Stephen Frears, based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by journalist Martin Sixsmith. Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, it tells the ...more
14
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Rachel McAdams, Margot Robbie, Bill Nighy

Released: 2013

Directed by: Richard Curtis

About Time is a 2013 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Richard Curtis. A young man (Domhnall Gleeson) with the special ability to time travel tries to change his past in order to ...more

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#167 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #168 of 263 Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals

15
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Steve Carell, Amanda Peet, AnnaSophia Robb

Released: 2013

Directed by: Jim Rash, Nat Faxon

The Way, Way Back is a 2013 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash in their directorial debut. The film stars Liam James, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison ...more
16
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Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt

Released: 2013

Directed by: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Don Jon is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Produced by Ram Bergman and Nicolas Chartier, the film stars Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett ...more
17
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Kate Winslet, Tobey Maguire, Josh Brolin

Released: 2013

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Labor Day is a 2013 American drama film directed by Jason Reitman, based on the novel by Joyce Maynard. Depressed single mom Adele (Kate Winslet) and her son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) offer a ...more

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18
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Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Athina Rachel Tsangari

Released: 2013

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Before Midnight is a 2013 American romantic drama film, the third in a trilogy featuring two characters, following Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. It was directed by Richard Linklater and ...more
19
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Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Alma Jodorowsky

Released: 2013

Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche

Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a 2013 French romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, based on the graphic novel by Julie Maroh. French teenager Adèle ...more

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Rosario Dawson, James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel

Released: 2013

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Trance is a 2013 British psychological thriller film directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge from a story by Ahearne. The film stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel, ...more
21
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Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling

Released: 2013

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer

This film is a 2013 American film directed by Ruben Fleischer, from a screenplay written by Will Beall and starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn. The story is ...more

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#9 of 15 Movie Couples With Creepy Age Gaps #655 of 735 The Greatest Action Movies of All Time

22
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Drama Movies of 2013
Julianne Moore, Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer

Released: 2013

Directed by: Kimberly Peirce

Carrie is a 2013 American supernatural horror film. It is the third film adaptation of Stephen King's 1974 novel of the same name, though Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Screen Gems, who produced the ...more

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#1,101 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #8 of 20 Horror Movies That Originally Had Much Darker Endings

23
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Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Burke

Released: 2013

Directed by: Nicolas Winding

Only God Forgives is a 2013 Danish-French thriller film written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Vithaya Pansringarm. The film was shot on ...more

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24
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Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz

Released: 2013

Directed by: Ridley Scott

The Counselor is a 2013 British-American crime thriller film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Cormac McCarthy. It stars Michael Fassbender as the eponymous Counselor—who gets in over his ...more