Top 10 Drama Films Of The 2000s

Split image of Lord of War, Cast Away and Catch Me If You Can
Split image of Lord of War, Cast Away and Catch Me If You Can

With the growth of CGI and special effects capabilities, the new millennium saw a rise in superhero, action, and science fiction films. However, there were also plenty of drama flicks that demanded attention.

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Compared with dramas of past eras, those of the 2000s were far more impactful. Many of them became instant classics that pulled on audience heartstrings just as easily as they shocked and awed.

10) The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Will Smith as Chris Gardner and Jaden Smith as Christopher in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Columbia Pictures

After starring in several action films in his early career, Will Smith turned back to the drama that he first paid his dues in. The Pursuit of Happyness was a heartwarming story about a dad trying to succeed, despite the obstacles.

The film is actually based on a true story, but certain changes were made. The father in real life had an infant rather than an older child, but they changed it for the movie in order to accommodate the role for Will Smith’s real son to star.

9) Cast Away (2000)

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland in Cast Away (2000) 20th Century Fox

Cast Away was a bit of a joke upon its release. This mainly stemmed from the crazy premise of merely filming Tom Hanks on an island all by himself for an extended period of time.

However, the film also became a pop culture phenomenon. Many elements of the story were talked about for years, as was Tom Hanks’s performance, which was extraordinary, given the circumstances.

8) The Blind Side (2009)

Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher in The Blind Side (2009), Warner Bros. Pictures

The Blind Side is another film based on a true story about a kid from a troubled home and neighborhood that found a place on a football team in the rich side of town. Many criticized its pandering, but the performances were top notch.

Sandra Bullock starred as a relentless and protective mother who sought to give one kid the opportunity to succeed. It’s a touching story that’s made even more profound when the real life inspiration for the characters are revealed at the end.

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7) There Will Be Blood (2007)

Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007), Paramount Vantage

Daniel Day-Lewis has given some truly spectacular performances in his lifetime, but none have been as intense as his role in There Will Be Blood. The film is about a man’s twisted crusade to strike oil at the turn of the century.

The film was praised not just for its performances, but for all of the technical side of the filmmaking process, as well. It’s a tour de force in cinematography and direction that won numerous awards, and remains an intense movie going experience.

6) Blood Diamond (2006)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Danny Archer and Djimon Hounsou as Solomon Vandy in Blood Diamond (2006), Warner Bros. Pictures

Blood diamonds have been known for causing many problems around the world by financing terrorism and crimes against humanity. This film sought to highlight those atrocities in spectacular fashion.

Leonardo DiCaprio starred as a diamond hunter who helps a man escape his country with an extremely large uncut diamond. In the end, DiCaprio’s ruthless character redeems himself, which appears to be a happy ending until it’s revealed the people who wanted the diamond bought it just to hide it away.

5) Lord of War (2005)

Nicolas Cage as Yrui Orlov in Lord of War (2005), Lionsgate

Nicolas Cage has given some comedic and action-packed performances, but Lord of War shows his dramatic chops as he plays a tortured, yet driven arms dealer.

The film not only highlights one man’s heartbreaking journey to find success across the globe, but it also shines some light on the terrible global practice of gun running. Also, a great performance by Jared Leto helps cement this film as a must watch.

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4) Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch Me If You Can (2002), Amblin Entertainment

Besides making heartbreaking historical dramas and action-packed sci-fi films, sometimes Steven Spielberg just makes a fun movie. That’s what Catch Me If You Can is all about, as it has a lot of fun with its premise and characters.

Based on a true story, the movie is about a young con man played by Leonardo DiCaprio that seeks to live the ultimate life in the 1960s. Tom Hanks plays an agent on a mission to catch him, and the two have a great relationship at the end of the film.

3) Requiem For A Dream (2002)

Jennifer Connelly as Marion Silver in Requiem for a Dream (2000), Artisan Entertainment

Some of the most intense dramas succeed by bordering on the horrific. That’s exactly where Requiem for a Dream lies as it shows the terror and tragedy of drug abuse.

The film showcases several different characters who try to make the most out of their lives while grappling with their addictions. The cast gives a truly remarkable performance, and it’s hard to watch this film all the way through to the end.

2) City of God (2002)

Alexandre Rodrigues as Buscapé in City of God (2002), Miramax

Sometimes profound dramas might border along other genres. City of God does just that by highlighting the crime and poverty of Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro throughout the decades.

The story follows two friends as they are torn apart by drugs and organized crime. The film’s plot is extremely engaging, but besides excellent performances by the cast, it’s hard not to love the movie for how it depicts the growth of the city itself.

1) Training Day (2001)

Denzel Washington as Alonzo in Training Day (2001), Warner Bros. Pictures

Some of the best films are ones that take its audience on a journey. That’s exactly what Training Day is about, as it starts in the beginning of the morning, and follows a police detective recruit throughout his entire training day.

Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington give amazing performances as Washington’s corrupt character is slowly revealed and Hawke is forced to confront him. The film is raw, violent, and gritty, which is exactly what policing in Los Angeles can be like.

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