Best Drama Movies on HBO Max Right Now (March 2022)

When HBO Max first launched, most were excited about the streaming service’s library of HBO TV shows and major Warner Bros. blockbuster films. But if there’s one thing both HBO and Warner Bros. are known for, it’s making great dramas. So the selection of drama movies available on HBO Max – both from Warner Bros. and from other studios – is unsurprisingly dense and high in quality. They range from new releases to unforgettable 90s movies to bona fide classics, and they’re all guaranteed to hit that “drama” sweet spot when you’re looking for it.

But you may be daunted by all the options available, so we’ve used our expertise to pluck out the best drama movies on HBO Max for a really stellar list. Below, you’ll find a wide range of drama films from a wide range of directors, but they all have one thing in common: they’re great movies. So get your popcorn ready and check out our list of the best dramas on HBO Max below.


Editor’s Note: This article was last updated April 2022 to include Romeo + Juliet, Seven, and Defiance.

RELATED: The Best Action Movies on HBO Max Right Now

The Last Duel

Image via 20th Century Studios

Director/Writer: Ridley Scott

Writer: Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon

Cast: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck

The Last Duel is a gripping adaptation of Eric Jager’s book by the same name, which explores one of the last judicial duels fought in France. Based on true events, Ridley Scott’s second film of 2021 is set in medieval France where Jean de Carrouges’ (Matt Damon) wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of raping her, leading to a nail-biting duel to the death between de Carrouges and Le Gris. The Last Duel is ingenious in the way that it allows viewers to see the case laid out from each character’s point of view with both subtle and profound changes in line delivery, physicality, and context. It is presented in three chapters: “The Truth According to de Carrouges,” “The Truth According to Le Gris,” and finally, “The Truth.” The film makes it clear that Marguerite’s account is the most accurate point of view presented, though it doesn’t lessen how disturbing it is to witness Le Gris assault her twice.

As with most of Scott’s films, The Last Duel is a visual masterpiece, and he expertly crafts a captivating movie out of historical realities. Unfortunately, this sensitive topic would have benefited from a more feminine touch, beyond Nicole Holofcener’s involvement in writing the script. Medieval France, like many periods throughout history, was incredibly difficult for women and there were missed opportunities to more deeply explore how Marguerite was treated as an object without agency. – Maggie Lovitt

The Many Saints of Newark

Vera Farmiga and Jon Bernthal in The Many Saints of Newark
Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Alan Taylor

Writer: David Chase, Lawrence Konner

Cast: Alessandro Nivola, Michael Gandolfini, Leslie Odom Jr., Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Ray Liotta, Michela de Rossi

Prequels, sequels, and threequels are all the rage these days, and The Many Saints of Newark is no exception. Stacked to the gills with character actors, including the likes of Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta, and Jon Bernthal, among others, the film touches down in Newark, New Jersey, in 1967, and follows the upbringing of everyone’s favorite crime boss amidst the chaos of not only the Newark riots, but of changes in his own family — some more dangerous than others. Michael Gandolfini shines as a younger version of Tony Soprano, the role originated by his late, great father James Gandolfini, but it’s Alessandro Nivola who steals the show as Dickie Moltisanti, Tony’s ruthless and calculating uncle who helped mold him into the most iconic mob boss of all time. For fans of The Sopranos, the film is a welcome dive back into the seedy underbelly of what made the HBO series great, and even for non-fans, David Chase’s newest adventure into the hearts and minds of the famous criminal family — before they’d really made their mark — stands out as an impressive mob film for the ages. —Maggie Boccella

The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Image via Searchlight Pictures

Director: Michael Showalter

Writer: Abe Sylvia, Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio

Based on the documentary of the same name by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, The Eyes of Tammy Faye tells the inspiring true story of Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain), a larger-than-life televangelist who made it her mission to encourage kindness and acceptance all over the world. The biographical drama depicts Tammy’s ascension to stardom and exposes the intense scrutiny and criticism she endured for her appearance and eccentric personality over the course of her career. The Oscar-nominated Chastain, who won a SAG, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice award for her performance, perfectly embodies the welcoming woman from head to toe, paying homage to her lasting legacy in the process. — Emily Bernard

King Richard

King Richard

Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green

Writer: Zach Baylin

Cast: Will Smith, Aunjanue Ellis, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, Tony Goldwyn, Jon Bernthal

In a career highlight performance, Will Smith stars as the father of Venus and Serena Williams in this sports biopic that puts Smith in the shoes of the hard-working, success-oriented, family man. While there has been some criticism on the complimentary portrayal of a complicated man, there can be no doubt that King Richard tugs at the heartstrings in a stirring story about parenthood and what it takes to coach and raise not one, but two world-famous athletes. Newcomer Saniyya Sidney plays a nuanced young Venus Williams struggling under the pressures from her father and from the world. A success story that deserves all the praise it gets. — Therese Lacson



Director: Christopher Nolan

Writer: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Dunkirk is anything but a simple historic feature, and the reason for that is the meticulous editing of three different stories, each following its own timeline. First, on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, the English army tries to find a way to escape enemy siege and return to Britain; the events that take place there span a week. Then, on the coast of England, a man and his son try to reach the French coast to rescue soldiers; a plot that lasts a day. Finally, three pilots are tasked with protecting the English Channel from the sky, in an hour-long succession of events. By manipulating time to his will, Christopher Nolan creates one of the best war movies ever made, a feature that allows the audience to experience the agony of waiting for a death that seems certain, and the depth a few moments of adrenaline can give our lives. — Marco Vito Oddo

Romeo + Juliet

Romeo + Juliet

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Writers: Craig Pearce, Baz Luhrmann

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Diane Venora

In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, shit is getting craaaazyyyyy. William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, ubiquitous in its cultural influence, gets a fast-paced, shiny, unorthodox, and grandiosely immature update from Baz Luhrmann in 1996’s Romeo + Juliet. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the title roles (helping cement their “we will always have a crush on them” status), the film retains the stylized Shakespearean dialogue, but transplants it all into a modernized version of “90s gang warfare” that has more ballsy bravado than the weirdest community theater production of Shakespeare you’ve ever seen (they call the guns “daggers” and “swords”! It’s great!). Luhrmann’s stylistic tics flourish despite and because of the oppressively gritty milieu, both elevating and trapping DiCaprio and Danes’ inherently doomed but sweepingly passionate love affair – a formal conflict that underlines what’s so eternally appealing about Shakespeare’s original text breathlessly. If anyone makes a list of the best Shakespeare films and leaves this one off the list, they’re the pretentious one, not this film. – Gregory Lawrence


Image via New Line Cinema

Director: David Fincher

Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker

Cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley

Or Se7en, if you prefer. More than anything, you come to Seven for the yucks. The film, though it doesn’t actually show you much, is disgusting. It tells the story of a serial killer who murders his victims in accordance with the seven deadly sins. He does this with great aplomb and creativity. Maybe too much creativity. His efforts are hounded by an old school cop (Morgan Freeman) and a young hotshot (Brad Pitt), neither of whom really make much headway in catching the bad guy. The film is scary and grimy, looks gorgeous and has a great soundtrack, and if you don’t already know how it all ends, consider yourself lucky for the experience you still have ahead of you. – Evan Saathoff


Image via Paramount Pictures

Director: Edward Zwick

Writer: Clayton Frohman, Edward Zwickr

Cast: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos, Allan Corduner, Mark Feuerstein

Based on the book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans by Nechama Tec, this movie follows the true story of three Polish Jewish brothers, who saved and recruited Jews in Belarus during World War II. The plot revolves around the events of 1941, in Nazi-occupied Poland. When the parents of the Bielski family are killed, the four brothers manage to survive and flee to the nearby forest. What was once their childhood playground, turns into a battleground, where they vow to avenge their parent’s death. The Bielski brothers, Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell), and Aron (George Mackay), meet fellow survivors and join hands with them, forming a rebellion group with one goal: to wipe out as many Nazis as they can. — Remus Noronha

The Shawshank Redemption

Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption

Director/Writer: Frank Darabont

Cast: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, Clancy Brown, William Sadler

The Shawshank Redemption isn’t just one of the best films of the 90s – it’s one of the best films ever made. It’s like an R-rated Frank Capra film, improbably written by Stephen King. One reason it is so indelibly a 90s movie, despite primarily taking place in the 40s, is that it played in a near-constant loop on cable TV from approximately 1995 to right now. Seriously, turn on TNT and there’s about a 40% chance you’ll be watching The Shawshank Redemption. It’s a story about Andy Dufresene (Tim Robbins) a wrongfully-imprisoned man who spends several decades in Shawshank State Penitentiary, told from the point of view of Red (Morgan Freeman), an inmate he befriends. It’s a powerful drama about having hope in the darkest places, and, of course, about finding the redemption that most people deserve. — Tom Reimann

Magic Mike

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Reid Carolin

Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Matt Bomer, Olivia Munn, Joe Manganiello, and Matthew McConaughey

While the prospect of a male stripper movie based on the real life story of Channing Tatum sounds like a recipe for disaster, in the hands of a master filmmaker like Steven Soderbergh, it’s a work of art. Magic Mike is immensely entertaining offering up some truly dazzling set pieces, but it’s also incredibly funny and genuine poignant. While Soderbergh certainly has an eye on giving folks a good time, at heart Magic Mike is a film about chasing the American Dream. It’s surprisingly dark in places, and Tatum is actually pretty terrific in the lead role here, offering up some of the complexity that has turned him into a truly talented actor. And, of course, there’s Matthew McConaughey in the first puzzle piece of his McConaissance, giving an Oscar-worthy turn as the charismatic Dallas, owner of the film’s central male strip club. Don’t let the subject matter fool you: Magic Mike is a true film for cinephiles. — Adam Chitwood

Just Mercy

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Writers: Destin Daniel Cretton and Andrew Lanham

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Brie Larson, Rafe Spall, and Tim Blake Nelson

Just Mercy is essential viewing. Filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) adapts Bryan Stevenson’s non-fiction book of the same name and brings to life a story about the failings of the criminal justice system and the inhumanity of the death penalty in stark, unsettling reality. Michael B. Jordan plays Stevenson, an idealistic young Harvard law graduate who travels to Alabama in the hopes of fighting for poor people who can’t afford legal representation. While there, he attempts to help a man (Jamie Foxx) appeal his murder conviction – which was secured with minimal evidence. It’s an emotionally upsetting but necessary watch for folks on both sides of the death penalty debate, as Cretton forces viewers to confront the realities of such a sentence. – Adam Chitwood

No Country for Old Men


Directors/Writers: Joel and Ethan Coen

Cast: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Kelly Macdonald, and Tommy Lee Jones

In hindsight, No Country for Old Men winning Best Picture is one of the boldest moves the Academy has ever made. It was not the easy choice. Atonement and even There Will Be Blood would have been far more traditional picks for the Academy, but they went for it. They gave credit where it was due, and honored the Coen Brothers’ masterful Cormac McCarthy adaptation with four major Oscars. The film is severe and challenging, with one of the all-time great villain performances from Javier Bardem, playing a character who remains enigmatic throughout. It’s a tough movie, but that’s exactly what makes it so special. If you were lukewarm on first watch, give it another go. It takes a few viewings to really soak in the brilliance of what the Coens are doing here, and boy is it special. – Adam Chitwood

Michael Clayton

Image via Warner Bros.

Director/Writer: Tony Gilroy

Cast: George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sidney Pollack, and Michael O’Keefe

The 2007 drama Michael Clayton still holds up tremendously well. The story centers on an attorney (played by George Clooney) who’s trying to cope with a colleague’s apparent breakdown all while a major client that his law firm is representing is being sued in a class action case. It’s a potboiler thriller, but Tony Gilroy’s director elevates it above your standard John Grisham adaptation into something far more cinematic and introspective. – Adam Chitwood

Citizen Kane

Image via Warner Bros

Director: Orson Welles

Writers: Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz

Cast: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton, Dorothy Comingore, Everett Sloane, and Ray Collins

Yes, Citizen Kane is one of the greatest movies of all time. No, it is not boring. On the contrary, if you like investigative dramas and stories about damaged individuals, Orson Welles‘ acclaimed 1941 drama is a damn entertaining film. The story starts with the death of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Welles) and his cryptic last word, “Rosebud.” Even if you know what “Rosebud” is, the film loses none of its impact as Welles, by pioneering new cinematic techniques like Deep Focus, is able to weave a captivating and tragic narrative about a man who gains the world but loses his soul by being unable to buy the things he truly wants out of life. Packed with terrific performances and a timeless story, Citizen Kane is a classic that shouldn’t intimidate you from finally giving it a shot. – Matt Goldberg


Image via Toho

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Writer: Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto, and Hideo Oguni

Cast: Takashi Shimura and Miki Odagiri

While director Akira Kurosawa is associated with movies featuring samurai and ronin like Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Red Beard, and Rashomon, one of his most powerful features centered on a humble government bureaucrat. Kenji Watanabe (Takashi Shimura) is that bureaucrat, and when he discovers he has stomach cancer with less than a year to live, he goes on a search to give his life meaning by trying to build a playground. The film is a powerful meditation on what we want our legacies to mean, what it means to live your life to the fullest in service of others, and the ability to find the courage to make a difference. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking masterpiece from a filmmaker whose filmography is filled with masterpieces. – Matt Goldberg

The Departed

Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon in The Departed

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: William Nicholson

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, and James Badge Dale

Filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s 2006 crime drama The Departed is the film that finally won him the Best Director Oscar, but he was simply trying to have a good time. After serious epics like The Aviator and Gangs of New York, Scorsese admitted he opted to make a commercial film, choosing to remake the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs with an all-star cast. The result is a tremendously entertaining crime drama packed with stellar performances, and led by one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s best turns ever. The film not only won the Oscar for Best Director, but also Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. – Adam Chitwood

Blood Simple

Image via Circle Films

Writers/Directors: Joel and Ethan Coen

Cast: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, Samm-Art Williams, and M. Emmet Walsh

Few filmmakers make a debut as confident or stunning as Blood Simple, but the Coen Brothers has no problem making their voices heard with their first feature. Dan Hedaya plays a dive bar owner who suspects that his wife (Frances McDormand) is cheating on him with an employee (John Getz). His suspicions confirmed, he asks a P.I. (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill the lovers, but this plot soon spirals out of control and leads to unexpected bloodshed. The Coens made a masterpiece of neo noir and while they would go on to a series of classics like Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and No Country for Old Men, their first film still ranks among their best.


casablanca humphrey bogart ingrid bergman

Director: Michael Curtiz

Writers: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre

The 1942 winner for Best Picture, Casablanca has lost none of its impact over the decades. It really is a movie that has it all—action, adventure, intrigue, romance, patriotism, sacrifice—it’s more than just “Here’s looking at you, kid.” The story follows jaded nightclub owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) who just wants to be left alone until the love of his life, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), comes to him looking for help for her husband, a Czech Resistance leader. Don’t be daunted by the film’s prestige; you can still enjoy it for how damned entertaining and surprisingly funny it can be. Casablanca still hits with all the immediacy of its original release as it embraces universal themes about love and self-sacrifice. It’s a beautiful movie, and one worth revisiting. – Matt Goldberg

The Tale


Writer/Director: Jennifer Fox

Cast: Laura Dern, Isabelle Nélisse, Elizabeth Debicki, Jason Ritter, Frances Conroy, John Heard, Common, and Ellen Burstyn

Filmmaking doesn’t get more inventive or more harrowing than The Tale. Jennifer Fox set out to interrogate her own memories and look into sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of adults who she thought were her friends. It’s a vital movie of the #MeToo movement, examining how predators prey on their victims and how those victims turn their pain inward and distort what really happened to avoid facing that pain. Led by a searing, complex performance from Laura Dern, The Tale is an essential movie, brilliantly made with thought and ingenuity, and one of the best films of 2018. – Matt Goldberg



Director: Todd Phillips

Writer: Todd Phillips and Scott Silver

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Marc Maron, Brian Tyree Henry, Shea Whigham, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Leigh Gill, Josh Pais, Douglas Hodge, with Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne, and Dante Pereira-Olson as Bruce Wayne.

My stance has not changed since last fall — Joker is one of the best comic book movies ever made, if only because it’s not like a comic book movie at all. This is a 1980s character study presented under the guise of a comic book movie. If this movie is called Arthur instead of Joker, it still works perfectly. I don’t know if it would gross a billion dollars, but that’s how structurally sound this film is, in my eyes. It doesn’t require the additional context of Gotham City and Batman and all the fanboy baggage that those things carry with them. Joaquin Phoenix delivers one of the best performances of the decade as Arthur Fleck, the kind of guy who can’t catch a break or make his own. He’s a terrible comedian and a lousy clown to boot. Arthur just wants to be seen and acknowledged, and comes to believe that murder and mayhem are the means to that end. Fame isn’t enough when infamy lasts so much longer. Famous people come and go, but infamy lives forever.

Director Todd Phillips completely upends his entire reputation with this movie, which proves he’s so much more than the Hangover franchise. His take on Joker holds a terrifying lens up to society and doesn’t shy away from the ugliness of life, which is more fair for some than others. I love how Phillips depicts mental illness and the methodical way he deals with the violence in this film. This film was never meant to shock you, but it doesn’t give a shit if it does, and I respect that kind of punk rock attitude. Robert De Niro‘s casting lends Joker a meta element thanks to his turns in Martin Scorsese‘s similarly-themed Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, but whether this film benefits from those comparisons or not is up to you. Either way, it feels of a piece with those films, and I don’t think it’s too crazy to say that, either. This is as close to a comic book movie masterpiece as you’re gonna get, right up there with The Dark Knight, Logan and The Crow. Joker is an ugly movie about an ugly man, but if you haven’t looked out the window lately, it’s an ugly world out there, and as Arthur says, “You get what you fucking deserve.” – Jeff Sneider


The Best Movies on HBO Max Right Now

Read Next

About The Author

https://collider.com/best-drama-movies-on-hbo-max/ Best Drama Movies on HBO Max Right Now (March 2022)

Jake Nichol

24ssports is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@24ssports.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button