10 Best American Drama Films

Wednesday, July 20 by Mason Kaho

The list of the 10 best American drama films includes some of the greatest films ever made. With great acting, direction, and stories, these films have moved audiences for decades, sometimes even helping to change the public attitude’s toward certain events and perceptions. The movies remain will remain relevant and powerful with audiences for many years to come.

  1. “The Godfather.” This mob movie, one of the best American drama films, starred the great Marlon Brando at the height of his career as Mafioso Vito Corleone. It is said that after this movie’s gripping success, mob bosses modeled their own personalities and mannerisms after Corleone. It won for Oscars and has been preserved in the National Film Registry.
  2. “2001: A Space Odyssey.” This Stanley Kubrick masterpiece is certainly one of the best American drama films ever. At times a surrealist piece of artistic cinematography, the movie follows an outer-space mission that gets hijacked by the on-board computer. The film asks questions about human evolution, technology, and the future of science.
  3. “The Graduate.” Dustin Hoffman stars in this movie, one of the best American drama films, about a young man who reluctantly begins an affair with a friend of his parents. We’ll never forget the great line, “Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?"
  4. “Citizen Kane.” Considered by many to be the greatest film ever made, this Orson Welles classic is without a doubt one of the best American drama films ever made. It follows the life of Charles Foster Kane—a publishing magnate—in flashback, in an attempt to find out the meaning of his final word: Rosebud. (Hint – you ride it in the snow.)
  5. “A Clockwork Orange.” Kubrick again appears on this list, this time with a pseudo-futuristic story of the psychopathic Alex De Large, who eventually gets caught for his crimes. After agreeing to participate in an experimental procedure to shorten his sentence, Alex becomes “cured.”
  6. “Gone With the Wind.” Certainly one of the best American drama films, this antebellum epic was made in 1939 and remains very popular today. The movie follows the transformation of Scarlett O’Hara from spoiled brat to hardened survivor, with the debonair Rhett Butler always present with his large personality.
  7. “On the Waterfront.” Another Brando film, this movie focuses on a group of longshoremen near New York City and the influence of mob corruption. It won eight Oscars, including the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor trifecta.
  8. “Schindler’s List.” A gripping and sad movie from Steven Spielberg, this film gave viewers an ultra-realistic look at the Holocaust. The real-life Oskar Schindler is depicted in this movie, a man who saved over 1,000 Polish Jews by hiding them in his factories.
  9. “The African Queen.” This movie has the incomparable duo of Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. The Germans are marching through Africa and the mission run by Hepburn’s character is about to be overrun. The salty Bogart takes her aboard his small boat, and they make a run for it through the Dark Continent.
  10. “To Kill a Mockingbird.” This movie is based on one of the most popular books of the 20th century. Gregory Peck gives a stern role as the unflinching Atticus Finch, doing the unpopular thing by defending an innocent black man in court. But as much as it’s his movie, his kids, Scout and Jem, are the true protagonists.