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The Best Indie Drama Movies, Ranked

Updated August 28, 2020 1.1k votes 175 voters 5.9k views44 items

List RulesVote 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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  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind1
    48
    7

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst

    Released2004

    Directed byMichel Gondry

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama...  more
  • Donnie Darko2
    45
    14

    Donnie Darko

    Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale

    Released2001

    Directed byRichard Kelly

    Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly...  more
  • Lost in Translation3
    34
    5

    Lost in Translation

    Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray

    Released2003

    Directed bySofia Coppola

    Lost in Translation is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Sofia...  more
  • Serenity4
    31
    8

    Serenity

    Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway

    Released2019

    Directed bySteven Knight

    Serenity is a 2019 American noir thriller-drama film directed by Steven Knight. The mysterious...  more
  • Sex, Lies, and Videotape5
    29
    7

    Sex, Lies, and Videotape

    Andie MacDowell, James Spader

    Released1989

    Directed bySteven Soderbergh

    This film is a 1989 American independent drama film that brought director Steven Soderbergh to...  more
  • Boogie Nights6
    27
    6

    Boogie Nights

    Julianne Moore, Mark Wahlberg

    Released1997

    Directed byPaul Thomas Anderson

  • Kids7
    32
    11

    Kids

    Rosario Dawson, Chloë Sevigny

    Released1995

    Directed byLarry Clark

    Kids is a 1995 American drama film written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark. It...  more
  • Léon: The Professional8
    32
    11

    Léon: The Professional

    Natalie Portman, Gary Oldman

    Released1994

    Directed byLuc Besson

    Léon: The Professional is a 1994 English-language French action thriller film written and...  more
  • Boyhood9
    35
    16

    Boyhood

    Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette

    Released2014

    Directed byRichard Linklater

    Boyhood is a 2014 American independent coming-of-age drama film, written and directed by...  more
  • Requiem for a Dream10
    40
    22

    Requiem for a Dream

    Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto

    Released2000

    Directed byDarren Aronofsky

    Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky...  more
  • Blue Valentine11
    26
    7

    Blue Valentine

    Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams

    Released2010

    Directed byDerek Cianfrance

    "Blue Valentine is the story of love lost and love found told in two parallel moments in time....  more
  • Whiplash12
    25
    6

    Whiplash

    J.K. Simmons, Melissa Benoist

    Released2014

    Directed byDamien Chazelle

    Whiplash is a 2014 American drama film directed by Damien Chazelle. A promising young drummer...  more
  • Before Sunrise13
    23
    7

    Before Sunrise

    Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy

    Released1995

    Directed byRichard Linklater

    Before Sunrise is a 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and...  more
  • Irréversible14
    20
    5

    Irréversible

    Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel

    Released2002

    Directed byGaspar Noé

    Irréversible is a 2002 French mystery thriller film written and directed by Gaspar Noé,...  more
  • The Spectacular Now15
    22
    7

    The Spectacular Now

    Shailene Woodley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

    Released2013

    Directed byJames Ponsoldt

    The Spectacular Now is a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by James Ponsoldt,...  more
  • El Mariachi16
    20
    7

    El Mariachi

    Carlos Gallardo, Juan García

    Released1992

    Directed byRobert Rodriguez

    El Mariachi is a 1992 American action film and the first installment in the saga that came to...  more
  • Manchester by the Sea17
    22
    11

    Manchester by the Sea

    Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams

    Released2016

    Directed byKenneth Lonergan

    Manchester by the Sea is a 2016 American drama film directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan....  more
  • Short Term 1218
    18
    7

    Short Term 12

    Brie Larson, Stephanie Beatriz

    Released2013

    Directed byDestin Daniel Cretton

    Short Term 12 is a 2013 American drama film written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. The...  more
  • Fruitvale Station19
    17
    7

    Fruitvale Station

    Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz

    Released2013

    Directed byRyan Coogler

    Fruitvale Station is a 2013 American biographical drama film directed by Ryan Coogler, based...  more
  • Amores perros20
    19
    10

    Amores perros

    Gael García Bernal, Adriana Barraza

    Released2000

    Directed byAlejandro González Iñárritu

    Amores perros is a 2000 Mexican drama thriller film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu...  more
  • Slacker21
    12
    2

    Slacker

    Richard Linklater, Teresa Taylor

    Released1991

    Directed byRichard Linklater

    Richard Linklater's debut feature is a comic kaleidoscopic portrait which presents a day in...  more
  • Clemency22
    5
    0

    Clemency

    Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff

    Released2019

    Directed byChinonye Chukwu

    Clemency is a 2019 American drama film directed by Chinonye Chukwu. A Death Row prison warden,...  more
  • Blue Is the Warmest Colour23
    19
    11

    Blue Is the Warmest Colour

    Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos

    Released2013

    Directed byAbdellatif Kechiche

    Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a 2013 French romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by...  more
  • Call Me by Your Name24
    10
    0

    Call Me by Your Name

    Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet

    Released2017

    Directed byLuca Guadagnino

    Call Me by Your Name is a 2017 Italian-American romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by...  more
  • Saint Frances25
    4
    0

    Saint Frances

    Kelly O'Sullivan, Charin Alvarez

    Released2020

    Directed byAlex Thompson

    Saint Frances is a 2020 American comedy drama film directed by Alex Thompson. A deadbeat nanny...  more