15 Great Dramas on Netflix This Summer

The Paperboy - Great Dramas on Netflix

Finding great dramas to watch on Netflix is easy. The service has thousands of popular titles that include new releases and beloved classics. Subscribers have 18 helpful sub-genres to browse through, which can make picking a drama a bit easier.

In addition to offering thousands of dramas to choose from, Netflix is also versatile when it comes to formats. The service gives subscribers the choice of viewing movies, and other programs such as TV shows and originals, on DVD or by streaming the video online.

Whether a viewer is an established Netflix customer, or is just trying out the service for the summer, subscribers can beat the scorching heat and keep their cool by staying indoors and streaming one of these 15 dramas.

Great Crime Dramas

If you can’t get enough of Court TV, then you might select a new or classic crime drama as one of the top 15 great dramas to watch this summer. Netflix has many options to choose from in this sub-genre, including the 2012 release, “The Paperboy,” or the classic 1957 courtroom drama “Witness for the Prosecution”.

“The Paperboy” features a star-studded cast, which includes Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and John Cusack. The plot is centered around a reporter and his brother who launch an investigation into the trial of a death-row inmate. Along the way, the brothers discover that the trial was marred by lies and betrayal, but their efforts to get to the truth are hampered by the brother’s growing attraction to the inmate’s female penpal.

Based on an Agatha Christie play and starring Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, and Tyrone Power, “Witness for the Prosecution” remains one of the most riveting and well-known courtroom dramas of all time. The plot centers around an aging lawyer who has just recovered from a heart attack, and who was previously known for taking “hopeless” cases. Against the advice and efforts of his nurse to get him to retire, he takes a case defending a war veteran accused of murdering a wealthy widow. All the facts surrounding the case seem to indicate that the accused is guilty, but the lawyer agrees to take the case despite his ill health and the accused’s wife agreeing to testify as a witness for the prosecution.

Political Dramas

If you can’t get enough of political life by watching the news, and you enjoy shows like Netflix’s Emmy nominated original series, “House of Cards,” then a great political drama for you might include movies like the 2011 release, “Margin Call.” This movie also stars Kevin Spacey, with a plot that centers around the 2008 investment banking fallout and subsequent government bailouts, as well as a management team at an investment firm trying to decide whether they will tip off their investors that a significant correction is coming, or run away with the profits.

The Whistleblower - Great Dramas on NetflixThe 2010 release, “The Whistleblower,” starring Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave, is a drama that takes a look at international politics. The plot centers around the efforts of an American who seeks to blow the lid off the activities of a group of UN peacekeepers, who have been covering up the operations of a sex ring in Bosnia during the war.

If one’s viewing tastes run to a more historical look at political intrigue, then one of the most well-known of the classic great dramas, “Cleopatra,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, may be more to your liking. The drama features lavish sets, and Egyptian and Roman political upheaval as onscreen sparks fly between Taylor and Burton in their roles as the lovers and political allies — Cleopatra and Marc Anthony.

Foreign and Indie Great Dramas

The Intouchables -- Great Dramas on NetflixBased on the real life story of a wealthy quadriplegic who hires an ex-convict and immigrant as his primary caregiver, “The Intouchables,” is one French foreign film you will not want to miss. While the film is available with English subtitles, the superb acting and dynamic between the two lead characters almost makes subtitles unnecessary to understand the film’s meaning.

The Artist is a movie that proves that words are often unnecessary to convey meaning. This film won five Oscars and is a modern day silent film. Released in 2011, the film’s plot involves the struggles of an aging star and up and coming starlet that must adjust to the radical changes occurring in the industry with the introduction of sound. The film is filled with nuance and the power of suggestion, as it tells its story in the crisp defining shades of black and white cinematography.

Dramas for When You Need a Good Cry

Netflix also has several new and classic dramas that are guaranteed to bring on the tears for those times when you might feel the need to have a good crying session. Popular 2009 release, “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” tells the story of a loyal hound who continues his daily ritual of meeting his master at the train station each day for 10 years after his owner’s death.

Little Red Wagon - Great Dramas on Netflix“Little Red Wagon” is a 2012 release that is based on the true story of a kindhearted eight-year-old’s journey to walk from his Florida home to the White House in an effort to help homeless children displaced by Hurricane Charley.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is a 2008 drama that tells the story of a young boy who unknowingly befriends another boy who is a prisoner in a German concentration camp during WWII.

Netflix also has the 2012 version of the tragic drama, “Anna Karenina” with Keira Knightly on DVD, but the 1948 classic version with Vivian Leigh is available for streaming. Both versions are guaranteed to bring on the tears, as you watch the tale unfold.

Teen Dramas

Netflix also has several great dramas for teens, whose lightheartedness is a refreshing change after a tearjerker drama. Great choices for teens include “LOL” and “The Fat Boy Chronicles.”