Winners of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic

by kingwilson | created - 28 Apr 2011 | updated - 28 Apr 2011 | Public

In order from 1982 to 2011. I figured this would be a good way to seek out good-quality independent films.

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1. Circle of Power (1981)

R | 97 min | Drama, Thriller

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A group of husbands with their wives participate in a reunion where everybody will find his hidden secret. The methods used are terrible, but usually work. Just usually.

Director: Bobby Roth | Stars: Yvette Mimieux, Christopher Allport, Cindy Pickett, John Considine

Votes: 155

2. Blood Simple. (1984)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
81 Metascore

A rich but jealous man hires a private investigator to kill his cheating wife and her new man. But, when blood is involved, nothing is simple.

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh

Votes: 73,351 | Gross: $2.15M

3. Smooth Talk (1985)

PG-13 | 92 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A free-spirited 15-year-old girl flirts with a dangerous stranger in the Northern California suburbs and must prepare herself for the frightening and traumatic consequences.

Director: Joyce Chopra | Stars: Treat Williams, Laura Dern, Mary Kay Place, Margaret Welsh

Votes: 1,337 | Gross: $0.02M

4. American Playhouse (1981– )
Episode: Waiting for the Moon (1987)

PG | 88 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.5
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Sundance prizewinner. Fictionalized portrait of one of history's great literary couples: Stein & Toklas. Summer 1930s France, Alice tends to ailing Gertrude; they visit Fernande Olivier, ... See full summary »

Director: Jill Godmilow | Stars: Linda Hunt, Linda Bassett, Jacques Boudet, Andrew McCarthy

Votes: 145 | Gross: $0.75M

5. Heat and Sunlight (1987)

R | 98 min | Drama

5.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Over 16 hours, in February, 1987, a man confronts jealously and rage as a love affair falters. Photojournalist Mel Hurley returns home to San Francisco on the eve of his birthday, expecting... See full summary »

Director: Rob Nilsson | Stars: Rob Nilsson, Consuela Faust, Don Bajema, Ernie Fosselius

Votes: 110

6. True Love (I) (1989)

R | 104 min | Comedy, Romance

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Donna and Michael are getting married. But first, they have to plan the reception, get the tux, buy the rings, and cope with their own uncertainty about the decision. Michael fears ... See full summary »

Director: Nancy Savoca | Stars: Annabella Sciorra, Ron Eldard, Aida Turturro, Roger Rignack

Votes: 605 | Gross: $1.35M

7. Chameleon Street (1989)

R | 94 min | Comedy, Drama

7.1
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William Douglas Street is bored with his life. Working for his father is getting to him, his wife wants more money, and he's had enough. His solution is to re-invent himself. He becomes a ... See full summary »

Director: Wendell B. Harris Jr. | Stars: Wendell B. Harris Jr., Timothy Alvaro, Dave Barber, Marti Bowling

Votes: 390 | Gross: $0.24M

8. Poison (1991)

R | 85 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Three intercut stories about outsiders, sex and violence. In "Hero," Richie, at age 7, kills his father and flies away. After the event, a documentary in cheesy lurid colors asks what ... See full summary »

Director: Todd Haynes | Stars: Edith Meeks, Larry Maxwell, Susan Norman, Millie White

Votes: 2,777 | Gross: $0.61M

9. In the Soup (1992)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A neurotic nebbish lives in 2 worlds: the fantasy of winning his dream-girl via a hit movie, and the meager existence he scrapes out from very odd jobs, such as thesping in an arty ... See full summary »

Director: Alexandre Rockwell | Stars: Steve Buscemi, Seymour Cassel, Jennifer Beals, Pat Moya

Votes: 2,065 | Gross: $0.26M

10. Ruby in Paradise (1993)

R | 114 min | Drama, Romance

7.1
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Ruby, a young woman, arrives in a Florida resort town during the off season to make a fresh start. She gets work as a sales clerk in a souvineer shop run by Mildred Chambers. She dates, and... See full summary »

Director: Victor Nunez | Stars: Ashley Judd, Todd Field, Bentley Mitchum, Allison Dean

Votes: 2,147 | Gross: $1.00M

11. Public Access (1993)

R | 90 min | Drama, Thriller

5.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Brewster seems to be an almost too perfect example of idyllic small-town America, with everyone living in peace and harmony. So when newcomer Whiley Pritcher starts up his own local cable ... See full summary »

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Ron Marquette, Bert Williams, Leigh Hunt, John Renshaw

Votes: 766

12. What Happened Was... (1994)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

This darkly humorous film explores the personal psychic landscape of two lonely New Yorkers. Jackie and Michael are coworkers at a large law firm, who decide to meet at Jackie's for dinner ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Noonan | Stars: Tom Noonan, Karen Sillas

Votes: 1,058 | Gross: $0.33M

13. The Brothers McMullen (1995)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
73 Metascore

Three Irish Catholic brothers from Long Island struggle to deal with love, marriage, and infidelity.

Director: Edward Burns | Stars: Jack Mulcahy, Michael McGlone, Edward Burns, Shari Albert

Votes: 6,632 | Gross: $10.25M

14. The Young Poisoner's Handbook (1995)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama

7.1
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This film is based on a true story about a British teenager who allegedly poisoned family, friends, and co-workers. Graham is highly intelligent, but completely amoral. He becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Benjamin Ross | Stars: Hugh O'Conor, Antony Sher, Tobias Arnold, Ruth Sheen

Votes: 3,173 | Gross: $0.75M

15. Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

R | 88 min | Comedy, Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
83 Metascore

An unattractive seventh grader struggles to cope with inattentive parents, snobbish classmates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister, and her own insecurities in suburban New Jersey.

Director: Todd Solondz | Stars: Heather Matarazzo, Christina Brucato, Victoria Davis, Christina Vidal

Votes: 28,315 | Gross: $4.77M

16. Sunday (1997)

Unrated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

7.0
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This film concerns two mysterious characters who meet on a Sunday in Queens. Madeleine the most unsettling creature of that name since "Vertigo" is a middle-aged, moderately successful ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Nossiter | Stars: David Suchet, Lisa Harrow, Arnold Barkus, Jared Harris

Votes: 596 | Gross: $6.10M

17. Love Jones (1997)

R | 104 min | Drama, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Darius Lovehall is a young black poet in Chicago who starts dating Nina Moseley, a beautiful and talented photographer. While trying to figure out if they've got a "love thing" or are just ... See full summary »

Director: Theodore Witcher | Stars: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson

Votes: 3,133 | Gross: $12.51M

18. Slam (1998)

R | 100 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City. Unable to find a job, Ray copes with the despair and poverty of ... See full summary »

Director: Marc Levin | Stars: Saul Williams, Sonja Sohn, Bonz Malone, Lawrence Wilson

Votes: 2,073 | Gross: $0.98M

19. Three Seasons (1999)

PG-13 | 104 min | Drama

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An American in Ho Chi Minh City looks for a daughter he fathered during the war. He meets Woody, a child who's a street vendor, and when Woody's case of wares disappears, he thinks the ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Bui | Stars: Ngoc Hiep Nguyen, Ngoc Minh, Phat Trieu Hoang, Diem Kieu

Votes: 2,847 | Gross: $2.02M

20. The Believer (2001)

R | 98 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
75 Metascore

A young Jewish man develops a fiercely anti-Semitic philosophy. Based on the factual story of a K.K.K. member in the 1960s who was revealed to be Jewish by a New York Times reporter.

Director: Henry Bean | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Summer Phoenix, Peter Meadows, Garret Dillahunt

Votes: 32,738 | Gross: $0.41M

21. American Splendor (2003)

R | 101 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

7.5
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90 Metascore

An original mix of fiction and reality illuminates the life of comic book hero everyman Harvey Pekar.

Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini | Stars: Paul Giamatti, Shari Springer Berman, Harvey Pekar, Chris Ambrose

Votes: 43,803 | Gross: $6.00M

22. Primer (2004)

PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
68 Metascore

Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there's something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they've built, wrestle over their new invention.

Director: Shane Carruth | Stars: Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Casey Gooden, Anand Upadhyaya

Votes: 82,596 | Gross: $0.42M

23. Forty Shades of Blue (2005)

R | 108 min | Drama, Music, Romance

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
74 Metascore

A Russian woman living in Memphis with a much older rock-'n'-roll legend experiences a personal awakening when her husband's estranged son comes to visit.

Director: Ira Sachs | Stars: Dina Korzun, Rip Torn, Darren E. Burrows, Andrew Lawrence Henderson

Votes: 1,163

24. Quinceañera (2006)

R | 90 min | Drama

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
72 Metascore

As Magdalena's 15th birthday approaches, her simple, blissful life is complicated by the discovery that she's pregnant. Kicked out of her house, she finds a new family with her great-granduncle and gay cousin.

Directors: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland | Stars: Emily Rios, Jesse Garcia, Chalo González, Jesus Castanos

Votes: 3,800 | Gross: $1.69M

25. Sangre de mi sangre (2007)

TV-MA | 110 min | Drama, Thriller

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
56 Metascore

A Mexican boy smuggles himself to Brooklyn to meet his long-lost father - only to have his identity stolen upon arrival by an impostor who seeks to steal the fathers' fortune.

Director: Christopher Zalla | Stars: Jesús Ochoa, Armando Hernández, Jorge Adrián Espíndola, Paola Mendoza

Votes: 1,020 | Gross: $0.05M

Listed as Padre Nuestro on the Wikipedia article.

26. Frozen River (2008)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
82 Metascore

Takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling ... See full summary »

Director: Courtney Hunt | Stars: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Michael O'Keefe

Votes: 22,656 | Gross: $2.51M

27. Precious (II) (2009)

R | 110 min | Drama

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
79 Metascore

In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Director: Lee Daniels | Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey

Votes: 94,288 | Gross: $47.40M

28. Winter's Bone (2010)

R | 100 min | Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
90 Metascore

An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.

Director: Debra Granik | Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt, Isaiah Stone

Votes: 119,436 | Gross: $6.53M

29. Like Crazy (2011)

PG-13 | 86 min | Drama, Romance

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
68 Metascore

A British college student falls for an American student, only to be separated from him when she's banned from the U.S. after overstaying her visa.

Director: Drake Doremus | Stars: Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley

Votes: 52,076 | Gross: $3.41M