Established in 1984 as a channel centered on women’s interests, Lifetime has entertained audiences for nearly 40 years. In the decades it’s been on-air, Lifetime has gone through various rebrandings and ups and downs in viewership, yet it’s kept its place as one of the best-known cable channels and made a major impact in the streaming era. And today, some of the the best Lifetime movies are dramas dragged directly from the headlines.
The channel’s engaging movies have only gotten better with time, producing some of the most jaw-dropping thrillers on television and drawing some of the most talented actors and actresses in the industry. The movies are particularly notable for being centered on women, and have nuanced .
Here are a collection of our favorite Lifetime movies over the last couple of years (and where to stream them now) as well as new exciting new releases we can’t wait to watch!
1. Girl in the Basement (2021)
In this tragedy inspired by true events, 18-year-old Sara (Stefanie Scott) looks forward to the day she can finally escape her controlling father (Judd Nelson, worlds away from his iconic role as Bender in The Breakfast Club), but her plan goes south when he locks her away in the basement of their family home, where he imprisons and tortures her for years.
Girl in the Basement is available to stream now.
2. Death Saved My Life (2021)
Lifetime movies have never shied away from depicting the disturbing yet tragically common nature of abusive relationships. In Death Saved My Life, Jade (Meagan Good) appears to be living a perfect life, but behind closed doors, she suffers at the hands of her husband’s abuse. When she attempts to leave him and he hires someone to kill her, she fakes her own death, making for a darkly thrilling tale of vengeance.
Death Saved My Life is available to stream now.
3. He’s Not Worth Dying For (2022)
When two girls fall for the same guy, a jealous rivalry emerges between the two of them, perpetuated by their social media followers pitting them against one another until things take a sinister turn. This real-life adaptation shows how social media can take teen drama to previously unforeseen levels of chaos and violence.
He’s Not Worth Dying For is available to stream now.
4. How She Caught a Killer (2023)
Grey’s Anatomy alumna Sarah Drew stars as rookie detective Linda Murphy, who hears her boss talking about a serial killer in the area who seems to be targeting sex workers. She teams up with an FBI agent, Neil Carter (former NFL player Jamall Johnson), and goes undercover to help solve the murders. Drew also executive produced this tense drama.
How She Caught a Killer premiered on September 16, you can stream it now.
5. One Night Stand Murder (2023)
Alyssa (Casey Waller) wakes up in a home that’s not hers and discovers a dead body. With no memory of how she got there and no idea of who the dead person was, Alyssa tries to piece together what exactly happened the night before, with haunting results.
One Night Stand Murder premiered on September 17, you can stream it now.
6. Don’t Sell My Baby (2023)
High school senior, Nicolette (Devin Cecchetto), has bounced around from one foster home to another. When she ends up impregnated by the school quarterback, she quickly falls into despair until her sympathetic teacher takes her under her wing. However, Nicolette disappears after deciding against the idea of putting her baby up for adoption.
7. Stolen Baby: The Murder of Heidi Broussard (2023)
Many of the best Lifetime movies are based on true stories, and Stolen Baby: The Murder of Heidi Broussard is no exception. The harrowing story centers on longtime best friends Magen (Emily Osment) and Heidi (Anna Hopkins). Heidi becomes pregnant, and Magen fakes a pregnancy at the same time. Things take a turn for the worse when Heidi goes missing with her newborn daughter just weeks after giving birth, and Magen’s motives are called into question.
8. Amish Stud: The Eli Weaver Story (2023)
Barbara Weaver (Miranda MacDougall) is devoted to her family and faith, content in leading a traditional Amish life with no modern conveniences. Her husband Eli (Luke Macfarlane, well-known for his lovable roles in Hallmark movies), on the other hand, is harboring a dark secret, using the online alias “Amish Stud” to meet with women. When Barbara is found dead, Eli becomes a prime suspect. The movie is based on the disturbing 2016 true crime book A Killing in Amish Country: Sex, Betrayal and a Cold-Blooded Murder.
9. Buying Back My Daughter (2023)
Capturing every parent’s worst nightmare is a Lifetime signature. When 16 year-old Alicia (Faith Wright) sneaks out of her house to attend a party, a bout of teenage rebellion leads to a widespread search party as the teenager goes missing. A year goes by and the search turns up nothing, but her mother is led to the world of online escort ads where she finds Alicia listed for sale as a result of human trafficking.
10. Murdaugh Murders: The Movie (2023)
Murdaugh Murders: The Movie holds the distinction of being Lifetime’s 500th original movie, and the channel is pulling out all the stops, premiering it as a two-night event on October 14 and 15, and featuring famed actor Bill Pullman (known for movies like Independence Day and While You Were Sleeping) in the lead role. Pullman plays Alex Murdaugh, a respected South Carolina lawyer living a double life. On the surface, he’s a loving husband and father, but behind closed doors, he lives a drug-filled secret life that ultimately leads to murder. The haunting true story has been the subject of many documentaries, and the Lifetime movie is the first scripted version.
11. Bad Romance: The Vicky White Story (2023)
No, Bad Romance isn’t based on the hit Lady Gaga song! Rather it’s another adaptation of a wild but true story: The movie follows Vicky White (Wendi McLendon-Covey), a lonely corrections officer who falls for a prisoner, Casey (Rossif Sutherland), and plots to break him out of prison. Risking everything, they break free and the lovers go on the run, with an 11 day dash for freedom before being apprehended.
12. Would You Kill for Me? The Mary Bailey Story (2023)
This shocking story is based on a real-life scandal that took place in the ’80s, when a mother asked her daughter to shoot her abusive stepfather. Would You Kill for Me? The Mary Bailey Story uses three different perspectives to follow the volatile relationship between three generations of women — Ella (Melissa Joan Hart, who also executive produced, and is best-known for classic ’90s shows like Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch), her daughter Veronica (Olivia Scriven) and her granddaughter Mary (Presley Allard). The movie shows how the horrors of abuse impact a family at every level.
More than just the best Lifetime movies
In addition to their signature movies, Lifetime also has an impressive legacy in public affairs, bringing attention to women’s social issues with its 25-years-and-counting Stop Breast Cancer for Life initiative and Broader Focus, a project dedicated to supporting and hiring female directors, writers and producers.
Lifetime movies have been TV staples for years, and we can never get tired of watching them. The combination of true stories that put you on edge and powerhouse performances makes for a winning combination, and we look forward to seeing whatever intense dramas they bring to the screen next.
Looking for something a little lighter? Check out these great Hallmark stars:
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