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The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Drama Movies

Updated April 2, 2019 726 votes 96 voters 2.9k views24 items

List RulesVote up the best guilty pleasure drama movies.

While critical acclaim often dictates movie viewing preferences, sometimes you aren't looking for an intellectual challenge when you settle in for a night in front of the TV. In such scenarios, guilty pleasure drama movies can help you turn your mind off. While you may be ashamed to admit you love these corny films, they're often exactly what you need despite their many, many flaws. 

Guilty pleasure dramas are often big hits despite lackluster reviews, and there's a good reason for that. Sure, there's a time and a place for Citizen Kane or Casablanca, but sometimes you'd rather engage with the likes of Road House or Dirty Dancing. If you're exhausted from a long week, sometimes you just want something fun and easyThese cheesy dramas may be full of bad acting and dumb dialogue, but they cater to base level emotions well enough to get some cathartic tears flowing with minimal effort. If you're in need of such an indulgence, peruse this list of some of the cheesiest films of all time to find the best movie for your viewing pleasure! 

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  • 1
    Dirty Dancing
    41
    10

    Dirty Dancing

    Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey

    Released1987

    Directed byEmile Ardolino

    Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic drama film. Written by Eleanor Bergstein and... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    St. Elmo's Fire
    30
    11

    St. Elmo's Fire

    Demi Moore, Rob Lowe

    Released1985

    Directed byJoel Schumacher

    St. Elmo's Fire is a 1985 American coming-of-age film directed by Joel Schumacher. The film,... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Sixteen Candles
    25
    8

    Sixteen Candles

    John Cusack, Molly Ringwald

    Released1984

    Directed byJohn Hughes

    Sixteen Candles is a 1984 American coming-of-age comedy film starring Molly Ringwald, Michael... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    The Bodyguard
    27
    13

    The Bodyguard

    Whitney Houston, Kevin Costner

    Released1992

    Directed byMick Jackson

    The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic thriller film directed by Mick Jackson, written by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    The Lucky One
    30
    17

    The Lucky One

    Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling

    Released2012

    Directed byScott Hicks

    The Lucky One is a 2012 romantic drama film directed by Scott Hicks and released April 2012.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Pay It Forward
    30
    17

    Pay It Forward

    Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt

    Released2000

    Directed byMimi Leder

    Pay It Forward is a 2000 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by Catherine... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Beaches
    22
    9

    Beaches

    Bette Midler, Mayim Bialik

    Released1988

    Directed byGarry Marshall

    Beaches, is a 1988 American comedy-drama film adapted by Mary Agnes Donoghue from the Iris... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Flashdance
    23
    11

    Flashdance

    Jennifer Beals, Lee Ving

    Released1983

    Directed byAdrian Lyne

    Flashdance is a 1983 American romantic drama film directed by Adrian Lyne. It was the first... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    The Pursuit of Happyness
    23
    13

    The Pursuit of Happyness

    Will Smith, Thandie Newton

    Released2006

    Directed byGabriele Muccino

    The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Footloose
    21
    12

    Footloose

    Sarah Jessica Parker, Kevin Bacon

    Released1984

    Directed byHerbert Ross

    Footloose is a 1984 American musical-drama directed by Herbert Ross. It tells the story of Ren... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    Cruel Intentions
    17
    9

    Cruel Intentions

    Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar

    Released1999

    Directed byRoger Kumble

    Cruel Intentions is a 1999 American drama film starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe,... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Riding in Cars with Boys
    12
    14

    Riding in Cars with Boys

    Drew Barrymore, Maggie Gyllenhaal

    Released2001

    Directed byPenny Marshall

    Riding in Cars with Boys is a 2001 film based on the autobiography of the same name by Beverly... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    For Keeps
    10
    12

    For Keeps

    Pauly Shore, Molly Ringwald

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    For Keeps is a 1988 American coming of age comedy drama film starring Molly Ringwald and... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    The Notebook
    24
    37

    The Notebook

    Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling

    Released2004

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

    The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    The Bucket List
    9
    15

    The Bucket List

    Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman

    Released2007

    Directed byRob Reiner

    The Bucket List is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner, produced by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    Sweet November
    7
    14

    Sweet November

    Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves

    Released2001

    Directed byPat O'Connor

    Sweet November is a 2001 romantic drama film starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Lost and Delirious
    9
    18

    Lost and Delirious

    Mischa Barton, Emily VanCamp

    Released2001

    Directed byLéa Pool

    Lost and Delirious is a 2001 Canadian drama film directed by Léa Pool and loosely based on the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Mona Lisa Smile
    7
    14

    Mona Lisa Smile

    Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst

    Released2003

    Directed byMike Newell

    Mona Lisa Smile is a 2003 drama film produced by Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures in... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    Flicka
    5
    11

    Flicka

    Maria Bello, Tim McGraw

    Released2006

    Directed byMichael Mayer

    Flicka is a 2006 film loosely based on the 1941 children's novel My Friend Flicka by Mary... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Forever Young
    6
    12

    Forever Young

    Mel Gibson, Jamie Lee Curtis

    Released1992

    Directed bySteve Miner

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  • 21
    Reign Over Me
    7
    16

    Reign Over Me

    Adam Sandler, Liv Tyler

    Released2007

    Directed byMike Binder

    In Reign Over Me, two former college roommates Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) and Alan Johnson... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    3
    11

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh

    Released2005

    Directed byRob Marshall

    Memoirs of a Geisha is a 2005 American epic film adaptation of the novel of the same name,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Georgia Rule
    4
    14

    Georgia Rule

    Lindsay Lohan, Jane Fonda

    Released2007

    Directed byGarry Marshall

    Georgia Rule is a 2007 American comedy-drama film directed by Garry Marshall and starring Jane... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Center Stage
    2
    14

    Center Stage

    Zoe Saldana, Amanda Schull

    Released2000

    Directed byNicholas Hytner

    Center Stage is a 2000 American teen drama film, directed by Nicholas Hytner, about a group of... more on Wikipedia

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