Entertainment

The Best Indie Drama Movies, Ranked

List Rules
Vote up your favorite drama films released by independent film studios.

This list contains information on the best indie drama movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best indie drama films come in many forms. Some indie drama movies are based on family conflicts while other good indie drama films feature mobsters, murderers, and mayhem. A few of the best indie dramas even won Academy Awards.

What films will you find on this top independent drama movies list? Reservoir Dogs has to be at the top. This 1992 movie introduced fans to writer-director, Quentin Tarantino. It is largely considered the best independent film of all-time and features an all-star cast including Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, and more. Memento is also an unforgettable independent movie.

David Lynch's first feature, Eraserhead, was shot on a small budget and went on to be preserved in the National Film Registry. Other good independent dramas include Donnie Darko, Lost in Translation, and Boyhood.

Which indie drama do you think is the best? Take a look at this list and give your favorites a thumbs up to make sure that they end up in the top spot.

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list ordered by
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more
  • A lonely, aging movie star named Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and a conflicted newlywed, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), meet in Tokyo. Bob is there to film a Japanese whiskey commercial; Charlotte is ...more
  • Imaginatively evoking the inner landscape of human beings longing to connect, to love and feel loved, the film is a parable of happiness gloriously found and tragically lost. "Requiem for a Dream" ...more
  • In a funny, moving and distinctly mind-bending journey through suburban America, one extraordinary but disenchanted teenager is about to take Time's Arrow for a ride. After surviving a freak ...more
  • Irréversible is a 2002 French mystery thriller film written and directed by Gaspar Noé, starring Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel. The film employs a non-linear narrative and ...more
  • Short Term 12 is a 2013 American drama film written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. The film is based on Cretton's short film of the same name, produced in 2009. It stars Brie Larson as Grace, ...more
  • Léon: The Professional is a 1994 English-language French action thriller film written and directed by Luc Besson. The film stars Jean Reno and Gary Oldman, and features the film debut of Natalie ...more
  • Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, in pursuit of rising to the top of his elite music conservatory. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor known for his ...more
  • In the San Fernando Valley in 1977, teenage busboy Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) gets discovered by porn director Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds), who transforms him into adult-film sensation Dirk Diggler. ...more
  • It's the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student ...more
  • Submarine is a 2010 coming-of-age comedy-drama film adapted from the 2008 novel of the same name by Joe Dunthorne. The film was written and directed by Richard Ayoade, and starred Craig Roberts, ...more
  • Clemency is a 2019 American drama film directed by Chinonye Chukwu. A Death Row prison warden, Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) makes a connection to the prisoner she is sanctioned to execute.
  • Amoral teen Telly (Leo Fitzpatrick) has made it his goal to sleep with as many virgin girls as possible -- but he doesn't tell them that he's HIV positive. While on the hunt for his latest conquest, ...more
  • 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, adolescence and ...more
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a 2016 New Zealand adventure comedy-drama film written and directed by Taika Waititi, based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump.
  • Before Sunrise is a 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. The film follows Jesse, a young American man, and Céline, a young French ...more
  • Though he once spent time in San Quentin, 22-year-old black man Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is now trying hard to live a clean life and support his girlfriend (Melonie Diaz) and young daughter ...more
  • Serenity is a 2019 American noir thriller-drama film directed by Steven Knight. The mysterious past of a fishing boat captain (Matthew McConaughey) living in the Caribbean comes back to haunt him, ...more
  • Ann (Andie MacDowell) is trapped in a sexually and emotionally unfulfilled relationship with her husband, John (Peter Gallagher), a successful but unpleasant lawyer who is sleeping with her sister, ...more
  • Amores perros is a 2000 Mexican drama thriller film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. Amores perros is the first installment in González Iñárritu's "Trilogy of ...more
  • The joys and pitfalls of growing up are seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his parents (Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke) and his sister (Lorelei Linklater). Vignettes, ...more
  • Saint Frances is a 2020 American comedy drama film directed by Alex Thompson. A deadbeat nanny forms an unlikely friendship with a six-year-old she must protect.
  • 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
  • El Mariachi is a 1992 American action film and the first installment in the saga that came to be known as Robert Rodriguez's Mexico Trilogy. It marked the debut of Rodriguez as writer and director. ...more
  • In mid-1980s Texas, electrician Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is stunned to learn that he has AIDS. Though told that he has just 30 days left to live, Woodroof refuses to give in to despair. He ...more