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    Drama films connect deeply with audiences, evoking powerful emotions and human experiences, whether they’re tragedies or comedies, action films, gripping courtroom scenes or set in a different period. What makes a drama film really stand out, though? The music – it’s the secret ingredient that enhances your emotions and makes the movie even more captivating.

    We’ve selected 20 of the best drama movies, across a variety of genres, to show how their soundtracks took the storytelling to a whole new level, making it more immersive and memorable. From music which adds depth to the characters, or intensifies crucial moments, to setting the perfect mood throughout the film, these are the best of the best.

    Best Drama Movies

    • Babylon
    • All Quiet on the Western Front
    • Titanic
    • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
    • The English Patient
    • Top Gun: Maverick
    • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
    • Shaun of the Dead
    • Hidden Figures
    • Promising Young Woman
    • Joker
    • M3GAN
    • Hereditary
    • The Wicker Man
    • Under the Skin
    • A Star is Born
    • The Trial of the Chicago 7
    • A Few Good Men
    • Parasite
    • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Period Drama Movies


    Modern drama doesn’t come much bigger or bolder than Damien Chazelle’s epic, starring Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt. Under the wing of fading movie star Jack Conrad (Pitt), film assistant Manny Torres (Diego Calva) becomes swept up in Hollywood’s transition from silent to sound movies during the 1920s. And on the flipside, breakout star Nellie LaRoy (Robbie) grapples with fame’s downside.

    Massive, masterful set-pieces, film sets, a myriad of extras, vast parties: all of Golden Era Hollywood’s excess is here. And music plays a critical role – not just because of the bands playing at the film’s wild parties, but also through the music on the silent-movie sets, together with an underscore for the three-hour epic.

    Babylon is composer Justin Hurwitz’s fifth collaboration with director Damien Chazelle. The composer told Variety that, ‘the last thing in the world I wanted to do was write 1920s jazz. [Chazelle] was building this wild, unhinged, hedonistic world full of underground music, and I realised that we could do things that would really stretch the boundaries of what we think of as 1920s music.’

    Hurwitz was inspired by everything from rock ‘n’ roll riffs to house and EDM – all of which match the drama’s energy and reckless abandon. A 12-piece jazz band featured soloists from across the US and Europe, giving Babylon a unique sound, which was then overdubbed with layers of African and Latin percussion. In all, Hurwitz composed over two hours of original music for the movie – a mammoth task that took nearly three years’ work. The dramatic score was performed by a 98-piece LA orchestra.

    Watch this featurette for more on Babylon’s music:

    All Quiet on the Western Front

    All Quiet on the Western Front was the big winner at the 2023 Oscars, with nine nominations (it took home four, including Best International Film), and a record seven awards at the BAFTAs.

    It tells the gripping story of 17-year-old German soldier Paul, who joins the Western Front in World War I. His initial excitement is soon shattered by the grim reality of life in the trenches. It’s the first German-language screen adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war classic.

    The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw hailed it as, ‘a substantial, serious work, acted with urgency and focus and with battlefield scenes whose digital fabrications are expertly melded into the action. It never fails to do justice to its subject matter.’

    Score composer Volker Bertelmann told that he wanted to use instruments connected to the time period, so incorporated a refurbished harmonium passed down from his grandmother. Director Edward Berger also briefed Bertelmann to create ‘something destructive in the music, and he wanted to have some snares that were played by somebody who can’t play the snares.’

    He confessed that, ‘I’ve never recorded so many snares before, just to find the tone of it. In the end, it’s a combination of stacking up different snare sounds, but also using a gran cassa with a lot of rubbish on it, so when you hit it, all the rubbish flies up and it falls down and you hear this weird tail of the snare sound.’

    The composer revealed that the biggest challenge was, ‘to find music that is not pathetic and that is not heroic, in a way that actually helps the attitude of a film that is shot out of a German perspective.’

    His hard work paid off – the BAFTAs awarded him Best Original Score and he won the Oscar for Music (Original Score).

    Romance Drama Movies


    A young aristocrat falls desperately in love with a struggling artist while aboard the ill-fated Titanic on its maiden voyage. James Cameron’s romantic epic was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark, in 1997, and was the highest-grossing film of all time until the director’s next film, Avatar, surpassed it in 2010. It made global superstars out of its young leads, Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio, and gave people a sense of emotional connection to the disaster, over a century after it had taken place.

    The soundtrack was composed, orchestrated and conducted by James Horner, and not only won the Oscar for Best Original Soundtrack, but also shot to the top of the charts in nearly two dozen territories, selling over 30 million copies.

    Cameron initially wanted Enya to compose the music; when she declined, Horner composed the soundtrack with her style in mind, and brought in Norwegian soprano Sissel Kyrkjebø to perform the vocals.

    Plus, of course, there’s Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ – surely one of the best-known signature songs in movie history. (It won both the 1997 Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.)

    In a score filled with romance, emotion, mystery and action, Horner created themes for particular characters, events, locations and ideas throughout the film, including ‘Hymn to the Sea’, a sorrowful, melancholic theme which expresses the Titanic’s tragic end, with a menacing, descending three-note motif signifying the wreck. This contrasts with ‘Southampton’, an uplifting, heroic theme which underlines the spectacle of the Titanic. ‘Rose’ is the film’s sentimental theme, associated with the romance between Jack and Rose – first heard when Jack (di Caprio) sees Rose (Winslet) for the first time on deck.

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    French filmmaker Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a lesbian love story set on a remote shore in Brittany, in the eighteenth century. Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), is the sheltered but willful daughter of the house, betrothed to a wealthy Italian courtier whom she has no desire to marry. Marianne (Noémie Merlant), is the Parisian artist hired to paint Héloïse’s portrait, who becomes her lover.

    Sciamma described the film as ‘a manifesto about the female gaze’, and, as The New Yorker observed, ‘builds her story out of glances and stares, of women’s faces illuminated by candlelight or the harsh white sun on the beach, of mirrored surfaces that invite careful looking.’

    Music is used very sparingly; there’s no real score as such, just a few pieces of diegetic music, which makes the performance of a song by the women, when they’re gathered round a bonfire, even more haunting and mysterious. The piece, ‘La Jeune Fille en Feu’, was written for the film by electronic music producer Para One and Arthur Simonini. Their influence wasn’t period appropriate, but György Ligeti’s Requiem, famously used in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    The choir are singing in Latin; the central chant translates as ‘I cannot flee’, which speaks to both falling in love and Sciamma’s characters – it’s about transcending the people and things that hold you down.

    As pointed out, ‘the parsimonious use of music in the rest of the film makes the bonfire scene completely overwhelming for characters and audience alike, so intense that it is almost unbearable. The music is beautiful, it is transporting, it is rapturous.’

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Best Screenplay award, and was shortlisted for the Palme d’Or; Sciamma also took home the Queer Palm award for the festival’s best LGBTQ-related film – the first woman to receive it.

    The English Patient

    Based on the novel by Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient is an epic romantic World War II drama. In a field hospital in Italy, Hana (Juliette Binoche), a nurse from Canada, is caring for a pilot who was horribly burned in a plane wreck (Ralph Fiennes); he has no identification and cannot remember his name, so he’s known simply as ‘the English Patient’, thanks to his accent.

    When the hospital is forced to evacuate, Hana determines en route that the patient shouldn’t be moved far due to his fragile condition, so the two are left in a monastery to be picked up later. In time, Hana begins to piece together the patient’s story from the shards of his memories. The flashbacks reveal his true identity to the viewer, together with the love affair he was involved in before the war.

    The BFI ranked it the 55th Greatest British Film of the 20th Century and the American Film Industry placed it as the 56th-greatest love story of all time.

    The film won nine Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Anthony Minghella and composer Gabriel Yared took home the Oscar for Best Dramatic Score. The soundtrack plaits together disparate styles – a swirling combination of Hungarian folk tunes (the burned man is Hungarian count Laszlo de Almasy), baroque themes and romantic orchestration. There are also period tracks such as Fred Astaire and Ella Fitzgerald’s versions of ‘Cheek to Cheek’, Benny Goodman’s ‘Wang Wang Blues’ and Shepherd Hotel Jazz Orchestra’s rendition of ‘Where or When’. The tracks create the period flavour, whilst Marta Sebestyen’s haunting vocals add subtlety to the moving love story.

    Action Drama Movies

    Top Gun: Maverick

    After more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialised mission, Maverick meets Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of his late friend, Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka ‘Goose’. This big screen epic – complete with astonishing aerial sequences – culminates in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it…

    Much like the film itself, the music from Top Gun: Maverick succeeds in referencing the original film while still offering fans something fresh.

    The soundtrack combines songs from the 1986 soundtrack (‘Danger Zone’) with reworked originals (‘Top Gun Anthem’) and brand-new compositions (‘I Ain’t Worried’). It also marks Lady Gaga’s first foray into film scoring.

    In addition to writing the song’s epic love theme ‘Hold My Hand’, the Oscar-winning songwriter collaborated on instrumental pieces with composers Hans Zimmer, Harold Faltermeyer and Lorne Balfe.

    For the trailer, music composer Harold Faltermeyer brought in Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe and Lady Gaga to give the original Top Gun theme a 2022 makeover. Now featuring a full orchestra behind the wall of synths and guitar, it’s a spine-tingling update to one of film’s most iconic themes.

    Kenny Loggins’ adrenaline-fuelled ‘Danger Zone’ kicks off the opening sequence, which led to fans air-punching and whooping with a combination of nostalgia and excitement:

    And Lady Gaga replicated the success of ‘Take My Breath Away’ from Top Gun with her barnstorming ballad for the sequel, ‘Take My Hand’, which was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2023 Oscars.

    Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

    Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, there’s conflict with the underwater nation of Talokan and its leader, Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

    The Black Panther sequel’s soundtrack was once again composed by Ludwig Goransson, who’s been working with director Ryan Coogler for 15 years, and who won the Oscar for Best Original Score for the first Black Panther movie in 2019.

    The composer travelled to Mexico, Nigeria and London as he rose to the challenge of finding a new sound for the African kingdom of Wakanda and its grief-stricken people. Plus, he had to imagine the sound of Talokan, the undersea kingdom.

    As the latter’s origins lay in Mexico’s ancient Mayan civilisation, Goransson consulted musical archaeologists and collaborated with Mexican musicians, using ancient instruments from clay flutes to the ‘flute of truth’ – a whistle-like woodwind instrument.

    Goransson’s aim was ‘to create a complete, immersive sound and music experience for the viewer.’ He co-wrote and produced 13 of the 16 songs in the film, including Rihanna’s track, ‘Lift Me Up’.

    Instruments that were brought in for this score included the kora, a West African stringed instrument akin to a harp, plus the sabar and djembe – traditional African drums. And, as Shuri is so associated with technology, there’s a synth-based theme for her character to mix things up. This score is more driven by vocals than its predecessor; Goransson used 40-voice choirs in London and LA, and an LA choir specialising in Mesoamerican music. A community of Mayan rappers in the Yucatan even appear under the end titles.

    Comedy Drama Movies

    Shaun of the Dead

    Billed as a ‘rom-zom-com’, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead blends scares with satire. Shaun (Simon Pegg) is a 30-something loser living with his slobby best friend, Ed (Nick Frost) in London. Shaun’s girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) desperately wants Shaun to grow up and be a man, so when the capital is suddenly overrun with zombies, Shaun needs to rise to the occasion and protect both Liz and his mum.

    The film has masses of brilliant dramedy musical moments, from deciding which vinyl Shaun and Ed can bear to launch at the zombie girl in their garden to try to kill her (it’s a no to Prince’s Sign O’ the Times and Purple Rain, but the Batman soundtrack? ‘THROW IT!’), to Shaun and the now zombified Ed playing video games in a shed, accompanied by Queen’s You’re my Best Friend, at the end.

    Also on the soundtrack are The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’, ‘If You Leave Me Know’ by Chicago, and the highly appropriate ‘Panic’ by The Smiths. However, our favourite sequence has got to be the epic battle in the pub, with the gang taking well-timed swings with snooker cues, a fire extinguisher and darts at their now undead landlord, perfectly synced to Queen’s paean to having a good time, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.

    Simon Pegg breaks down the scene – and why they chose that particular track:

    Feminist Drama Movies

    Hidden Figures

    One of the best drama movies on Disney+ has to be Hidden Figures. After a slew of historical films depicting the heroic white men who’ve gone to space, from Apollo 13 to First Man and more, Hidden Figures, based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, brings the true and comparatively lesser-known stories of three Black women who played a pivotal role in the Space Race to the big screen.

    Taraji P. Henson portrays Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer is Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson, three mathematicians who worked at NASA in 1961 and were instrumental in astronaut John Glenn becoming the first American to orbit Earth. The female engineers, then called ‘human computers,’ rush to crunch numbers and solve equations to ensure safe launch and landing coordinates. But given that this was the early 60s, the film highlights how Black women at NASA faced workplace discrimination and segregation.

    Pharrell Williams acted as the soundtrack’s co-producer and also wrote for most of the songs in the film. These were inspired by 60s music, together with gospel and a classic Southern soul, Zydeco sound, and the album featured artists including Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keyes, Lalah Hathaway and Janelle Monae.

    Promising Young Woman

    Writer/Director Emerald Fennell won the Oscar for best original screenplay for Promising Young Woman in 2021, having combined an acting career (including playing Camilla Shand in The Crown) with writing, as head writer on TV series Killing Eve.

    Starring Carey Mulligan as Cassie – wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and living a secret double life by night – film magazine Little White Lies celebrated the revenge tragedy’s female-centric view: ‘Fennell’s pitch-black comedy is hard to stomach at times, but a piercing, vital addition to the growing canon of films that allow women to speak for themselves rather than through the gaze of men.’

    Fennell was listening to music as she was writing the script and worked with music supervisor Susan Jacobs (Big Little Lies, I Tonya) to put together the soundtrack, whose pop tunes belie the darkness of what’s happening on screen. Jacobs was working with a tiny music budget – most of which went on Fennell’s ‘must have’, Paris Hilton’s ‘Stars are Blind’. Charli XCX’s ‘Boys – DROELOE Remix’ was also in the script; for the rest, Jacobs joined forces with Capitol Records to use a number of their lesser-known artists, such as FLETCHER and Cyn. There’s also a cover of the Weather Girls’ ‘It’s Raining Men’ and Julie Newton’s ‘Angel of the Morning’, a Capitol catalogue deep cut.

    And a crucial part of the score, put together by composer Anthony Willis, is the instrumental cover of ‘Toxic’ – the slowed-down strings kick in when Cassie launches her revenge-scheme finale.

    Scary Drama Movies


    Todd Phillips’ dark origin story for Batman’s nemesis is a psychological thriller set in 1981, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, a failed clown and aspiring stand-up comic. His descent into mental illness and nihilism inspires a violent countercultural revolution against the wealthy in a decaying Gotham City.

    This drama has its roots in Martin Scorsese’s 70s films such as Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, with a tour-de-force performance by Phoenix and Lawrence Sher’s cinematography, which brings Gotham to life as a brutal, broken-hearted character in its own right. All in all, if you want a total reimagining of the comic book movie, this is the one.

    The film’s soundtrack, which won the Oscar for Best Original Score, was composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir, who was given free rein by Phillips. She was struck by Arthur’s ‘openhearted and childlike’ characteristics and so built the film’s sound around textures ‘that I felt resonated with the melancholia of his character’, underpinned by cello and string-based melodies.

    Plus there are some classic songs at key moments, including Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’, ‘White Room’ by Cream and Jimmy Durante’s ‘Smile’. The Hollywood Reporter praised, ‘the disquietingly melancholy mood of Hildur Gudnadóttir’s brooding orchestral score, which cranks up into thunderous drama as the chaos escalates’ and Syfy loved that it made, ‘such a refreshing change from the frequently derivative music heard in comic book movies.’ Bringing in a truly original take, music-wise, can lift a movie out of its usual genre – Joker’s is both haunting and terrifying.


    Written by horror movie specialist Akela Cooper (Malignant, The Nun 2), and directed by Gerard Johnstone (Housebound), M3GAN follows an eight-year-old girl, Cady (Violet McGraw), whose parents are killed in a terrible tragedy. Her aunt, Gemma (Allison Williams), designs a robot doll powered by artificial intelligence, the Model 3 Generative Android, to help care for her, and to help Cady with her feelings of loneliness.

    To properly develop, the doll needs to ‘pair’ and sync up with a human, learning their speech patterns, behavioural traits and emotional needs in order to get close to them. Which is where Cady comes in.

    But of course, as with other robot-centred stories such as I, Robot and Ex Machina, there’s a turning point where M3GAN decides that she doesn’t want to obey orders anymore. Increasingly protective of Cady, everything from a neighbour’s dog to a bully becomes a target for whatever M3GAN deems to be a threat to her…

    The original score was created by LA-based, English composer Anthony Willis, previously best known for his work on Promising Young Woman.

    The score has to tread a fine line between action, horror and humour; Willis combines lush orchestration with electronic sound design that’s intended to convey the story’s superior tech element. For this, he used a vibraphone that’s manipulated to blur the lines between synthetic and organic sounds, describing the results as ‘hypnotic tech-wonder’ blended with ‘industrial tech-horror’.

    Soloist Holly Sedillos adds ‘creepy, ethereal vocals’ to represent M3GAN discovering her world, and processing her environment. Jenna Davis, who voices M3GAN, also performs two songs on screen – ‘Tell Me Your Dreams’ which is a Disney-esque lullaby and ‘Titanium’, a cover of David Guetta and SIA’s hit.

    However, Willis also needed to establish a ‘sincere’ and ‘emotional’ foundation for Gemma and her niece Cady from the start. As he points out, ‘By the end of the movie, you’re either rooting for M3GAN — which is a little masochistic, but understandable, because she’s so cool — or you’re rooting for a resolution in Gemma and Cady’s relationship. So it was really important in that first act to establish some sincerity, sweetness, and sadness. The music in that first act also then becomes the thing that M3GAN herself picks up on and then ultimately embodies and develops.’

    And as for that meme-generating dance? You’ll want to practice your moves to classic disco track, ‘Walk the Night’ by The Skatt Bros for the full effect come next Hallowe’en.


    Starring Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, Hereditary follows a grieving family tormented by a demonic entity after the death of their secretive grandmother. This is a horror that’s rooted in family dynamics, trauma and grief, which, ‘gradually curdles into a full-bore nightmare.’ Rolling Stone called it the scariest movie of the year, saying it ‘for sure will keep you up nights. But first, you’ll scream your bloody head off.’

    Canadian musician Colin Stetson teamed up with director Ari Aster (Midsommar) to create the score for the haunting horror. Aster has said that he wrote the film with Stetson’s music in mind; Stetson said that he was actively trying to avoid horror music tropes, such as, ‘high strings, eerie percussion and heavy use of synths’.

    How do you reinvent horror soundtracks? Stetson revealed to CBC that, ‘I found new sounds through the instruments that I play, but also through unconventional processing of certain instruments. So one of the throughlines in the score is voice. There’s an enormous amount of voice used and sometimes you’ll actually hear it. It’ll sound like drone, but the majority of what you don’t think is voice — what people probably think is synths or strings — that is all just coming from an unconventional capturing of vocal parts that I did myself.’

    Menacing and beautiful in equal measures, ‘Reborn’, the movie’s closer, is one of the standout tracks, featuring discordant brass and tinkling bells:

    The Wicker Man

    If you’re a fan of Ari Aster’s Midsommar, then you need to watch The Wicker Man. This 70s classic is set on a remote Scottish island, Summerisle, where a girl has gone missing. Devout Christian Police Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), who is sent to investigate, is appalled to find that Summerisle’s inhabitants have ditched Christianity in favour of a form of Celtic paganism. Cinefantastique described it as, ‘the Citizen Kane of horror movies’ and its soundtrack forms a big part of its iconography.

    Composed by Paul Giovanni, it contains folk songs, traditional songs and Giovanni’s original compositions, based on Scottish, Irish and English tunes. The clash between these cheerful songs, reels and nursery rhymes (including ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’) and the eerie, ultimately horrific storyline, makes for the kind of discordance that creates a very lingering impression…

    Under the Skin

    Disguising itself as a human female, an extraterrestrial (Scarlett Johansson) drives around Scotland attempting to lure unsuspecting men into her van. Once there, she seduces and sends them into another dimension where they are nothing more than meat…

    Mica Levi told the Guardian that her score had parts which, ‘are intended to be quite difficult. If your lifeforce is being distilled by an alien, it’s not necessarily going to sound very nice. It’s supposed to be physical, alarming, hot.’ Well, quite.

    In terms of how she used the instruments, Levi revealed that, ‘we were looking at the natural sound of an instrument to try and find something identifiably human in it, then slowing things down or changing the pitch of it to make it feel uncomfortable. There was a lot of talk of perverting material. It does sound creepy, but we were going for sexy.’ Plus, she looked to everything from Iannis Xenakis and John Cage to ‘strip club music and euphoric dance’ for further inspiration.

    Critic Mark Kermode praised the brilliance of Levi’s score: ‘Mica Levi’s awe-inspiring work inhabits that strange musique concrète netherworld between score and sound effects. Working closely with sound designer Johnnie Burn, Levi creates percussive, scraping, buzzing accompaniments that nod toward the avant-garde strains of Penderecki and Ligeti (and arguably the film scores of Jonny Greenwood), while groaning fragments of what sound like an alien language recall the industrial soundscapes of Alan Splet. The overall effect is dazzling.’

    Sad Drama Movies

    A Star is Born

    This remake of the classic, tragic love story, stars Bradley Cooper, who also directed, as musician Jackson Maine, who discovers – and falls in love with – struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga).

    Ally has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer... until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons. In addition to playing Ally, Gaga performs original songs in the film, which she wrote with Cooper and a handful of artists, including Diane Warren, Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell and Mark Ronson. All the music is original and was recorded live.

    The soundtrack is pop and blues rock and was as big a hit as the film, topping the charts in more than 20 countries and nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning two. It also won Best Film Music at the BAFTAs, with Lady Gaga’s pop prowess lifting tracks from spectacular piano ballads to heart-rending duets. Crucially, the songs make sense both narratively and as stand-alones. Feeling in the mood for a wallow in doomed romance? A Star is Born is the one for you.

    Courtroom Drama Movies

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    One of the best drama movies on Netflix is writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s dramatisation of the true story of how seven anti-Vietnam protestors (plus Black Panthers founder Bobby Seale) were tried for conspiracy and inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

    Sorkin, best-known for iconic TV show The West Wing, takes on the fundamentals of American society: who gets to protest, and how? Can you reform broken systems? And should you ever compromise your principles?

    What was intended to be a peaceful protest turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organisers of the protest — including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale — were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history. The phenomenal cast includes everyone from Eddie Redmayne to Sacha Baron Cohen, Succession’s Jeremy Strong to Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Keaton.

    Daniel Pemberton wrote and composed the film score, which is built on four key sequences: the opening, the two riot sequences, and the conclusion.

    A Few Good Men

    ‘YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!’ If you’ve never seen this courtroom classic from 1993, you probably still know that explosive line.

    Idealistic Navy lawyer Daniel Kaffee is assigned to defend two Marines, accused of murder. It seems like a clear-cut case, but as Kaffee probes deeper, he uncovers murky goings-on at the soldiers’ army base.

    This timeless thriller, based on Aaron Sorkin’s play and directed by Rob Reiner, has an all-star cast including Tom Cruise, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, Cuba Gooding Jr, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson and has some truly classic scenes. Empire hailed it as, ‘that rarest of things: a top-level Hollywood court-room drama with the smarts to match its slick style.’

    Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is hired to defend two Marines accused of killing a fellow soldier on the base at Guantanamo Bay. His reluctant co-counsel, Joanne Galloway (Demi Moore), thinks there’s more to the case than meets the eye, and is concerned that Kaffee’s blasé approach will derail the defence. As they dig more deeply into the circumstances surrounding the marine’s death, they find themselves at loggerheads with Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson), the colonel in charge of the Guantanamo unit, a feared and respected career soldier with unorthodox methods of maintaining discipline.

    The score was written by Marc Shaiman, who has composed for films, TV and theatre, including Mary Poppins Returns, Sleepless in Seattle and Misery. A Few Good Men’s soundtrack is a combination of orchestral drama, contemporary electronica and light jazz, creating a diverse array of moods. The themes for Tom Cruise’s character, Kaffee, have moody strings and piano textures, hinting at his jaded, cynical approach. Plus, there are two classic military marches, ‘Semper Fidelis’ and ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’.

    Best International Drama Movies


    Parasite is definitely one of the best Korean drama movies, as borne out by its four Oscars - for Best Picture, Best Director (Bong Joon-ho), Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film – and an amazing 99% Rotten Tomatoes score. The Guardian described is as a ‘gasp-inducing masterpiece’ and a ‘searing satire of a family at war with the rich.’ It was the first South Korean film to receive Academy Award recognition, as well as the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture.

    In Seoul, South Korea, the Kim family are living in poverty, so when a teaching role in the household of a much wealthier family comes up, the Kims scheme their way into employment by posing as highly skilled workers. But not everything goes to plan…

    This drama defies easy pigeonholing – as Empire noted, it ‘can be considered both a mainstream crowd-pleaser and an arthouse masterpiece’ and is chock-full of shocking surprises. Is it a con-man caper? Or a thriller? A black comedy? Fundamentally, it’s about the haves and have-nots – and your sympathies will totally swing between the two throughout. Plus, it’s insanely entertaining, as all the best drama movies are.

    Composer Jung Jae-il’s soundtrack is similarly full of unexpected musical contrasts that evoke a constant sense of uncertainty. ‘Opening’ has a sense of hope that’s soon diminished by gloomy piano, but this is juxtaposed with exultant orchestral passages and spine-tingling violin glissandi. There are sinister sounds to hint at what lies beneath the characters’ appearances – and ‘The Hellgate’ descends into full horror-movie mode.

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Looking for drama movies on Netflix? Ang Lee’s cinematic masterpiece features a deft mix of amazing martial arts battles, beautiful scenery and tasteful drama, with a period setting. In 19th century Qing Dynasty China, a warrior (Chow Yun-Fat) gives his sword, Green Destiny, to his lover, warrior Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) to deliver to safe keeping. Its theft leads to the chase to find it – the search taking the characters to the House of Yu.

    Spectacular, balletic fight choreography; magical realism; high-flying and hard-kicking, but with emotional depth – if you loved Michelle Yeoh in the Oscar-winning Everything Everywhere All At Once, then you need to dive into this prime example of her earlier work.

    The score, by Taiwanese composer Tan Dun, meshes together western symphonic – performed by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra - and traditional Eastern sounds. Acclaimed cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma features and the whole soundtrack shimmers with beautiful themes and haunting textures. It all combines to perfectly convey the story’s mystical, exotic qualities. A track such as ‘Night Fight’ has Taiko drums to drive the fight sequence along, whereas ‘Through the Bamboo Forest’ showcases eerie electronic ‘scrapes’ to conjure its atmosphere.

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon not only won the Best Foreign Language Oscar, but also gave Tan Dun an Academy Award for his brilliant soundtrack.

    Music for Unforgettable Moments

    When you need music to set the scene, introduce the audience to your character and create some unforgettable moments, that’s where we come in. We’ve put together a brilliant Drama playlist, which is specially curated with a fantastic selection of music tailor-made for drama projects. You’ll find music that’s suitable for every type of drama movie, from heartwarming melodies to epic orchestral compositions and tracks to amp up the action.

    As we’ve shown, there’s an incredible synergy between drama movies and the music that brings them to life. If you’re looking for music for your future projects, then explore Audio Network to elevate the emotional impact. From our collections to wide-ranging, hand-picked playlists, our music covers every mood and genre. Want that big, Hollywood blockbuster sound? Top Gun: Maverick composer Lorne Balfe’s collection really delivers. – and we have new releases every fortnight, so there’s always something unique to discover.

    If you need evocative drama music for your projects, look no further than the Aspirations album by Nathalie Bonin. Featuring poignant violin pieces, variously supported by strings, harp, cello, and piano, this captivating musical collection is pensive, wistful, and melancholic—a perfect backdrop for your storytelling needs. Download Aspirations today to infuse your projects with the power of emotive music by exploring it here:

    Need Music for Your Project?

    At Audio Network we create original music, of the highest quality, for broadcastersbrandscreatorsagencies and music fans everywhere. Through clear and simple licensing, we can offer you a huge variety of the best quality music across every conceivable mood and genre. Find out how we can connect you with the perfect collaborator today by clicking the button below!