The list of the 10 best drama movies that came out in 2009 has more war movies than most lists of this type. War is a fascinating film topic, and writers and directors really told some excellent combat stories in 2009. Some things that this list does not include are movies focused on fantasy, science fiction, horror, vampires and comedy at the expense of drama. 

  1. “The Hurt Locker.” A new sergeant takes over a bomb disposal unit with only about six weeks left to stay in combat in Iraq. The men may not last those few weeks, however, because their thrill-seeking leader seems determined to get them all killed. This movie is easily the best drama movie of 2009. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won six, including Best Picture.

  2. “Inglorious Basterds.” A young Jewish woman plots revenge on Nazis who killed her family by setting up a group of high-ranking officers to be killed by an American special operations unit operating behind enemy lines. This movie is Quentin Tarantino's biggest moneymaker to date.

  3. “An Education.” The parents of a bright 16-year-old girl want nothing more than for her to go to Oxford. She seems destined to fulfill their wishes until a debonair older man enters her life and turns out not to be what he seems. This low-budget art film, with its engrossing story, is so unexpectedly good that it qualifies as one of the best drama movies of 2009.

  4. “Brothers.” A marine welcomes his brother home from prison and asks him to take care of his family while he is deployed. The brother finds himself with a bigger burden than he expected when the marine goes missing in Afghanistan and is presumed dead. This exceptional film explores the psychological impact of war and qualifies as one of the best dramas of 2009.

  5. “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.” A journalist frames himself for murder in order to get the goods on a DA who fabricates evidence to obtain convictions. The assistant DA is romantically involved with the journalist and gets caught between him and her boss. This remake got almost no respect from critics, but a closer examination shows it to be one of the best drama movies of 2009.

  6. “Julie and Julia.” This movie tells two stories simultaneously. We see the famed Julia Child getting her start in the culinary arts, and we follow along with Julie in the present day as she tries to cook every recipe in Child's cook book. A terrific performance by Meryl Streep makes this movie one of the top dramas of 2009.

  7. “Public Enemies.” This movie recounts the last years of outlaw John Dillinger's life and Melvin Purvis and J. Edgar Hoover's efforts to catch him. This underrated film is actually an excellent drama.

  8. “Precious.” A poor, fat, illiterate, horribly abused teenage girl pregnant with her second child gets a last chance to make something of her life when she is sent to an alternative school. This emotionally powerful film is easily one of the best drama movies of 2009. In fact, this movie is what drama is all about.

  9. “Crazy Heart.” An aging minor country music star gets one last chance to fix his life if he can control his self-destructive bent. The plot and the storyline of this film don't make this one of the best drama movies of 2009, but the Academy Award winning performance of Jeff Bridges does.

  10. “The Messenger.” A soldier healing from wounds received in Iraq is assigned to a Casualty Notification Team headed by an alcoholic captain. Soon, the soldier falls for one of the widows. This is a well-acted drama that gains strength as it progresses.