Drama and comedy were among the first genres to be introduced in cinema. They are still popular today. Dramas are more entertaining than comedies because they tell interesting stories. But a drama that is good does more. It makes us feel different emotions. We feel happy when something positive happens, sad when something negative happens, and angry if a character that we love is hurt. We will be more engaged in the story if we experience these emotions. Dramas are capable of much more. Dramas are also a great way to make people think and learn.
The mystery genre is a popular one. This genre keeps us on edge as we wait to see what happens. Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window is a classic example. A photographer observes something suspicious from a neighbor's window, and then attempts to find out what happened. As in The Long Goodbye or Chinatown, a private investigator is often hired to assist a client in need. In the same vein, police detectives are frequently involved in investigating crimes. In The Heat of the Night is a good example of a police drama in which a detective faces racism as he investigates a murder. Another one is Mystic River, where a terrible crime occurs while the police are trying solve it.
Some are about important issues like police brutality and corruption. Some police dramas are important, addressing issues such as police brutality or corruption. Fruitvale Station (2013 drama) is based on true events of a young innocent man being beaten up and then murdered by rogue San Francisco Police officers. Academy Award-winning police drama L.A. Confidential is an adaptation of a fictional tale by James Ellroy that deals with police corruption. There are many political dramas that also deal with corruption. All The President's Men, a movie about American politics corruption and Leviathan, a 2014 drama about a crooked mayor in a Russian small town are two examples.
The gangster film is a popular genre which focuses more on criminals than police. Francis Ford Coppola's famed gangster series which starts with The Godfather features an Italian American crime family. Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas follows low-level Mafia gangsters. Films about criminals and gangsters are also known as crime dramas. Al Pacino played a violent cocaine dealer in 1983's Scarface. City of God is a realistic crime drama about teenage drug dealers living in a Brazilian Slum. Dramas such as Drugstore Cowboy or The Basketball Diaries warn us of the dangers of hard drugs. Some crime dramas, however, are not as serious. Quentin Tarantino from the United States has produced a number of highly acclaimed crime films, including Reservoir Dogs Pulp Fiction Kill Bill, that blend drama, humor and action.
Courtroom dramas and prison dramas are two other popular genres that relate to crime. The Verdict is a courtroom drama based on John Grisham novels. Prison dramas feature stories of prisoners and guards. Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman is one of the highest-rated films, as well as The Shawshank Redemption.
Also, movies about spying and espionage are very popular. The Conversation, Fair Game, A Most Wanted Man, A Most Wanted Man, Fair Game James Bond, for example, is a spy movie. But espionage films are often more realistic.
The majority of dramas are purely entertainment. However, dramas that tackle serious issues such as racism, sexual harassment, or violence can be educational and entertaining. Fritz Lang's Fury is a terrifying film that teaches us about the dangers mob violence. Dramas such as Wake in Fright and Straw Dogs also teach this lesson.
We are taught about domestic abuse in New Zealand's Once Were Warriors. Larry Clark's Bully from 2001 and Gus Van Sant's Elephant, a 2003 film in which bullied boys bring guns to school, are both dramas about violence and bullying in schools.
Dramas that are set in workplaces, such as The Salt of The Earth or Made in Dagenham depict workers who have been treated poorly prior to going on strike. North Country shows a woman battling sexual harassment in an Iron Mine. Dramas also have dealt with medical issues, such as mental health, AIDS and the abortion. Jack Nicholson's character is likeable in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest, but he has a fake mental illness. Philadelphia and Dallas Buyers Club tell us about AIDS. Mike Leigh's Vera Drake shows us the consequences of abortion being illegal.
Dramas do not always deal with such serious subjects. Many movies feature inspirational stories such as the sports drama Rocky by Sylvester Stallone about a fading boxer given one final chance to win the world championship. Billy Elliot, a British drama about a boy who dreams of becoming a dancer despite his father's opposition to the idea, is another inspiring movie. Lust for Life features Vincent van Gogh. And 'Round Midnight tells the story of a jazz musician who succeeds in Paris.
Romantic dramas, such as Before Sunrise and Samson and Delilah, can be inspiring. Other romantic dramas are more tragic. Brokeback Mountains, the story of two American cowboys that fall in love is among the most popular. The French film Blue Is the Brightest Colour is also a good choice. Another inspiring Brazilian drama, The Way He Looks, about two teenaged boys falling in romance, is the British movie Weekend.
The Intouchables is an inspirational drama that tells the story of a wealthy Frenchman who falls in love with a poor black boy. Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho (1991) and The Motorcycle Diaries (2004, following Che Guevara along with his best pal Mial in South America), are two road movies which also focus on friendship. Many coming-of age dramas also feature friendship, such as Stand By Me with a group of teenage boys or Thirteen featuring a girl who is constantly in trouble.
Family dramas are also very popular. Many family dramas focus on the conflicts and problems in dysfunctional family situations. Some highly rated examples are Robert Redford's Ordinary People or Mike Leigh's Secrets & Lies. Precious, the 2009 Academy Award winning film, also addresses many of these problems. Boyhood from 2014 is a more positive family drama. It follows the life of an African American boy for 12 years.
The Insider is a docudrama about Dr Jeffrey Wigand's assault by the tobacco industry. Another example would be Pride, which was a movie made about gay activists supporting Welsh coal miners on strike in 1984.
There are many highly acclaimed dramas that have several plotlines in different genres. Nashville, the Robert Altman classic, features plots relating to American politics as well romances. Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia and Paul Haggis' Crash are other complex dramas which mix genres this way.