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4 Best Drama Films of All Time

Updated on February 2, 2017
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Are they really the best of all time?

What makes these movies best of all time? Good question. There are several factors that contribute to making a movie best of the best. Like, who directed the movie, who is the producer, how good is the script, what is the budget of the movie, what are the actors of the movie, how much a movie makes in a box office and most important of all what do people think about the movie. After considering these factors I have gathered the 4 best movies of all time.

Papillon (1973) Trailer

Papillon

This movie is the adaptation of an autobiography, Papillon, written by Henri Charrière. The movie follows the story of Henri Charrière and his friend Luis Dega.

Henri Charrière (Steve McQueen) was wrongly convicted in Paris in 1931 for murdering a pimp and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. On the way to French Guiana, along with many prisoners, to serve his life sentence he meets a prisoner Luis Dega (Dustin Hoffman). Luis Dega was convicted for forgery and embezzlement. He was convinced his wife will do everything she can to release him from prison.

French Guiana was an isolated island and there were absolutely no chance to escape. However, Papillon was determined to escape from that prison which he called the Devils Island. Eventually, his obsession to escape from prison led him to his first attempt to escape to the jungle. He failed and sentenced to solitary confinement. He spends two years in solitary confinement. During this horrible confinement, now his best friend, Luis Dega smuggles extra food for him. Papillon got caught and the warden had cut his ration off to half. Physically and spiritually Papillon was broken down. The warden believed this way Papillon will reveal the name of a person who smuggled extra food for him, but he never did. When Papillon released, Luis Dega had a great respect for his friend for not revealing his name to warden.

Unlike Luis Dega, Papillon was determined to escape and not to wait for fate to get him free from prison. His obsession with the idea to escape from prison grew more in his mind. He tried his luck one more time but this time he failed miserably. The authorities sentenced him to solitary confinement for five years.

After spending five years in a solitary confinement his determination was not weakened. Somehow he met his friend Luis Dega and tries to convince him to escape and this time, he believed, they will succeed. Their plan was to escape from sea and Dega agreed with this plan. Suddenly, when everything was ready and they were going to do unbelievable thing. Luis Dega declined to escape. Papillon did not try to convince Dega. He leaps from the cliff in sea and begun his tough journey. Papillon made it and lived his remaining years of life as a free man.

Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman played the characters so remarkable that for a moment you will believe they are Henri Charrière and Luis Dega. If you have not watched Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman's movies before then start with this one. The movie is so powerful in everything that it will occupy your mind from start till the end. Not for a moment, you can take your eyes off from the screen. It is just amazing, remarkable and outstanding.

Papillon's story tells us that even in the face of absolute difficulties and terrors you can achieve success.

My Left Foot (1989) Trailer

My Left Foot

The inspiration to made this movie came from the life story of a genius artist Christy Brown. He was Irish and born with cerebral palsy. He was born in a big family where among his siblings only he was disabled. When he was born the nurse came to his father and congratulated his new born baby but she informed him that there are some complications.

Being a disable is a disadvantage in this world. But, indeed, it was not the case for Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis). His parents and siblings were not happy with Christy's disease. However, one day he took a chalk with his left foot and his brother shouted to his mother and they were all surprised and happy. That was the day when Christy Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis) learned that he could be an artist. The only part of his body that worked was his left foot and he utilized it amazingly.

The awe-inspiring performance by Daniel Day-Lewis makes this film perfect. The passion and determination of Daniel Day-Lewis to absorb himself in this role is just unbelievable. This demanding and tough role could only be played by an actor of Day-Lewis caliber. To fulfill the demand of this character Day-Lewis spent eight weeks in a cerebral palsy clinic in Dublin to learn to speak and draw with his left foot as did Christy Brown.

Christy Brown (Day-Lewis) like every young boy wanted to have a partner. Once he wrote a letter to a girl and demonstrated his love for her. But the girl gently declined and said she cannot do it. It was frustrating for him not to be able to do things that others do very easily. However, he was courageous and his disability was not an obstacle for him to do what he wanted to do.

It was no surprise that Day-Lewis won an academy award for best actor in a leading role for this movie.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Trailer

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is not a conventional prison movie. Where the prisoner come across an inmate fellow and make an exceptional plan to escape from prison. Rather it is a riveting story of a gentleman who strives to procure his freedom from the minacious life of Shawshank prison.

This gentleman is a banker and he is wrongly sent down for life imprisonment. He was not provided sufficient time to prove his innocence and to controvert the charges. The judge approved his life imprisonment and when the honorable judge uttered that words his spirit and mind completely shattered. He was Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins). He was shocked and paralyzed with fear. Just some bitter words of Judge turned his life into a nightmare.

Just at the beginning of his life in prison, he befriended a contraband smuggler Ellis Redding (Morgan Freeman), who later manifest his friendship in helping Andy. Ellis Redding lived his good deal of time in this prison. Red was his short name and he proved to be an honest and true friend to Andy.

The prison life of Andy is narrated by Red (Morgan Freeman) and he brilliantly narrates the intrepid life of Andy in prison. From the sexual assault of Sisters (gang) to his period in prison library and to his final escape from a sewage pipe in the midst of raining night, Red describes remarkably his friend's struggles and his ultimate triumph.

The Shawshank Redemption is the artistic work of its director Frank Darabont but it would not reach its pinnacle without the outstanding performance of Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. Had it not been Freeman and Robbins the movie would be absolutely different and would not be able to obtain the approval and acceptance of film industry; and the appreciation and praise from around the world. There is a reason why the pair of Freeman and Robbins worked so well and I will tell you why. There is an interesting story behind this peer working together.

I don't know for what reason did Darabont asked Morgan Freeman if he is interested in playing Red's role in this movie. But one thing for sure that his decision was right. How? Well, when Morgan Freeman agreed tp play this role the director (Darabont) asked him who does he think would be a perfect fit for Andy Dufresne's role. He was given a list of actors to suggest the name. Following, he named Tim Robbins for Andy's role. Also, in an interview, Charlie Rose asked Morgan Freeman why did he think Robbins would be a good choice? He said Robbins is an actor who you really wants to work with.

In every movie, there is a message and in The Shawshank Redemption, the message was to never, ever give in.

The Pianist (2002) Trailer

The Pianist

This movie is the adaptation of a memoir of Władysław Szpilman. The pianist is a historical drama film that depicts the horrors of Holocaust and the horrible events that occurred to Szpilman. This movie takes you through the life of a great pianist. It shows you how he along other Jews lived under the brutal Nazi regime.

Roman Polanski created a masterpiece that will undoubtedly last for centuries. There are many historical drama films created by some of the great directors. But there is some uniqueness in this remarkable movie. Polanski showed the abominable conditions of Jews in that particular region extraordinarily. Perhaps nobody else could do a better job than Polanski in making this movie because Polanski himself lived under Nazi regime when he was a kid.

The breathtaking acting of Adrien Brody greatly contributes to making this film an astounding historical drama movie. By watching the movie you can tell his determination and how absorbed he was in the movie. In an interview on Charlie Rose, he said, "...and was immersing myself in the sadness. I gave up my apartment, car, and phone." There is a scene where Władysław Szpilman (Adrien Brody) was talking to a Nazi officer and the officer asks him where were you hiding and Szpilman (Adrien Brody) replied in the attic. In the same interview Charlie Rose asked Adrien Brody about that scene and he said, "...that scene Roman (director) loved that you could see the condensation coming out of my breath and there was a PA that came in with a space heater and Roman lost it and freaked out on them and said no one brings heater unless I say. He opened every window, he loved, and I was 130 pounds."

This mesmerizing movie with a towering performance of Adrien Brody is beyond praise. Perhaps that was the reason he won an academy award for this movie.

General Information About the Movies

Name
Awards
Fun Facts
Papillon
Nominated for Oscar, Original Dramatic Score and Golden Globe
The budget of the movie was $4 million and it escalates to $114 million.
My Left Foot
Two Academy Awards, Three Oscar Nominations, Received NIne Awards
The brother of Christy Brown was unhappy with the ending of movie. He believed his brothers life with his wife was not as colourful as shown in the movie.
The Shawshank Redemption
Seven Oscar Nominations, Two Golden Globe Nominations, Received Eighteen Awards
The movie is the adaptation of Stephen King's two short stories Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption.
The Pianist
Three Academy Awards, Seven Oscar Nominations, Two Golden Globe Nominations, Received Eighteen Awards
Adrien Brody lost 14 kg for this movie.

Tell me what you think

Among these movies which one do you think is the best and which one deserves more approval?

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© 2017 Haider

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    • Haider Mama profile image
      Author

      Haider 6 months ago from Melbourne

      Yes, they are all based on real life stories except The Shawshank Redemption.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 6 months ago from The Caribbean

      The Shawshank Redemption is the only one of these movies that I know and I have watched it several times. Good that each of your selection is based on real life. I intend to watch them. Thanks for the list.