Benedict Cumberbatch’s Best Dramatic Movies, Ranked

The world of movies gives us genres left and right. You want to laugh and fall in love? rom-com. Parents in the room? Family friendly animation. Want to scream and maybe never sleep again? Horror is right there. However, there is one genre-umbrella that really hits us right in the feels — and it’s drama. A drama movie can mean loads of things, but if it’s going to do anything, it will make you feel something. Whether it be sadness, melancholy, or just the heavy weight of life reflected on screen, a good drama movie strips back the outlandish and presents something emotionally naked to an audience.

we all know Benedict Cumberbatch as the one and only Doctor Strange in the MCU. However, Cumberbatch is a well-seasoned actor with a variety of notable films, specifically drama films, that deserve recognition. A movie is nothing without the actors who play in it, and who better to count on than an actor like Cumberbatch to really deliver? Here is our ranking of Benedict Cumberbatch’s best drama films.


10 The Electrical Life of Louis Wain

The Electrical Life of Louis Wain is based on the actual and absolutely extraordinary life of Louis Wain, a British artist, and inventor. This 2021 drama-comedy stars Cumberbatch as the titular character. Wain, famously known for his unique artistic expression of cats and animals in his portraits, lived one hell of an eccentric existence, and Cumberbatch really captured his essence in this charming and deeply emotional film.

Related: Best Benedict Cumberbatch Movies, Ranked

9 The Mauritania

If you want a solid drama movie, The Mauritania should definitely be on your radar. This film is based on the true story of a man who was held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba for being a suspected 9/11 terrorist. The film stars Jodie Foster as Nancy Hollander, Tahar Rahim as Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Shailene Woodley as Teri Duncan, and Cumberbatch as Stuart Couch.

8 Brexit

Brexit is a historical drama film that had audiences confused, conflicted, and emotional. This British television film follows Dominic Cummings, played by Cumberbatch, and his attempts at leading a campaign to convince British voters to leave the EU. The film shines a heavy light on politics as well as the nature and influence of technology in society today.

7 Atonement

In 2007, the romance drama movie Atonement gripped our attention and our hearts. This wartime drama takes place during WWII and features some of the biggest names in the film industry such as Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan, James McAvoy, and, of course, Cumberbatch. Based on the stunning book by Ian McEwan, Atonement is not a movie to be overlooked in Cumberbatch’s drama filmography.

6 The Courier

Any good drama film utilizes elements reflected in real life. The Courier is a drama thriller movie from 2020 that is inspired and based on a true story. Cumberbatch stars in this film as Greville Wynne, a businessman who gets caught up in the prevention of nuclear war and the Cuban Missile Crisis. If you are interested in checking out The Courierit’s available on Amazon Prime.

5 hawking

Many people are familiar with the harrowing and inspirational story of Stephen Hawking, a theoretical physicist cosmologist who was diagnosed with ALS. Hawking’s tale of perseverance and witnessing his absolute genius was something that the world marveled at. Cumberbatch starred as Stephen Hawking in the 2004 drama hawking, depicting his early life at Cambridge University. Hawking passed in 2018 at the age of 76. hawking is not the only movie depiction of his life. You may recall the 2014 movie The Theory of Everythingwhich stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as a more recent project honoring Hawking’s astounding story.

Related: Benedict Cumberbatch is Surprised at Doctor Strange’s MCU Prominence

4 1917

The 2019 war drama movie 1917 follows two British soldiers, played by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman, who are tasked with having to cross into enemy territory in order to deliver a life-saving message. With stakes so high, this drama will have you constantly on edge. Cumberbatch plays Colonel Mackenzie, and the rest of the cast also delivers powerful performances that make 1917 a sight to see.

3 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave is a historical drama film that depicts a free African-American man named Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who gets sold into slavery. This gut-wrenching depiction of slavery in the 1800s came out in 2013 and the jaw-dropping performances by the entire cast made this one the best movies in recent history. Cumberbatch plays a slave-owner named Ford next to fantastic performances from Lupita Nyong’o, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah Paulson, and Michael Fassbender. 12 Years a Slave won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Nyong’o won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Patsey.

2 The Power of the Dog

2021, The Power of the Dog became one of the most talked-about and critically acclaimed movies of the year. This film incorporates elements of a classic western film, drama, and psychological thriller to take audiences to a different place. This story of a headstrong rancher explores deep and emotional themes surrounding identity, love, masculinity, and grief in ways that are perfectly depicted on screen by the cast. The Power of the Dog absolutely dominated the 2022 Academy Awards, racking up a whopping 12 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, and Cumberbatch’s performance for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

1 The Imitation Game

We have saved the best for last, of course. The Imitation Game is a war drama that came out in 2014. This film stars Cumberbatch as cryptanalyst Alan Turing, Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke, Matthew Goode as Hugh Alexander, and Mark Strong as Stewart Menzies. Turing is recruited by British intelligence to crack some Nazi codes and is deemed a hero after their success. However, the following years start to attack his reputation when it is revealed that he is gay, getting him imprisoned as a result. This drama film has to be one of Cumberbatch’s greatest performances to date and if you are interested in checking it out, it is available on Netflix.

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