The Nigerian Movie Industry, better known as Nollywood, is indeed waxing very strong at the moment, offering many possibilities for entertainment and relaxation not just to the people of Nigeria but also to foreigners all over the world.
The industry has grown very big, becoming the largest in Africa and the second largest by the number of Nigerian movies produced per year, just behind Bollywood (Indian movie industry). Nollywood indeed deserves credit for also providing a good and entertaining way to learn the Hausa language and also get insights into the Hausa culture.
Be it romance, comedy, horror, drama, soap operas, or action films – the Nigerian film industry has shown that it is equal to the task. In this article, we’ve decided to take a look at movies that could be considered as the very best of Nigerian movies.
You’ll agree with me that coming up with a ‘Best Nigerian Movies’ list can be very subjective as what Mr A might consider a very good movie might not be as good for Mr B. It can take a lot of hard work. However, we’ve tried our best to bring you what we consider and what we believe will be considered by many as the Best Nigerian Movies.
The criteria for our selection is not just the scripts, but it includes the quality of the movies, the production quality, performance, directing, sound, makeup and visual effects.
20 Best Nigerian Movies of All Time
1. Mr & Mrs
Kenneth Abah is the rich son of the petroleum minister, married to Susan Abah. Kenneth’s father got lucky and was made the petroleum minister which totally turned their lives around and made Kenneth so arrogant, he never fails to remind his wife of his status, he treats his wife as shabbily as if she’s his maid, talks to her anyhow and practically calls her family poor. And one day after a very harsh exchange of words, Kenneth decides that divorce is the answer to Susan’s problem since he feels she’s no longer happy being his wife.
Kenneth with his mother and Susan go to the Counsellor to get a confidential divorce which Susan embraced wholesomely to her husband’s surprise. His main aim was actually not to divorce her but to make her beg! But he got another thing coming.
Linda on the other played the part of a successful career woman who seemingly has a perfect husband and a perfect marriage. This part was so predictable; no man will take the rubbish Linda displayed, she leaves everything to the maid. She won’t cook for him, she won’t sleep with him till she’s ready, and everything is according to her schedule. She always tells the maid to take care of the home and her husband and indeed the maid took care of the husband in every way without fail!
2. The Figurine
This is the story of two friends and a girl who are all down on their luck, but their lives are completely changed when one of them discovers ‘Araromire’ a mysterious figurine in an abandoned shrine which, according to legend, bestows seven years of good luck. But no one told them about the next seven years of ill luck that quickly follows after the good years.
3. Last Flight to Abuja
If you only have a few minutes left to live, what would you do?
A set of travellers board the last Flamingo Airways flight scheduled to fly from Lagos to Abuja on a fateful Friday night. However, through a mixture of human error, technical failure, and sheer bad luck, the plane rapidly develops major difficulties which send it teetering on the brink of disaster.
As the pilots fight with the controls of the stricken plane, a series of flashbacks unravel the twists, turns and leaps of fate that put each passenger on the fateful flight.
Young lovers, an elderly couple, a corporate party, a sportsman on the threshold of greatness; all the passengers are caught up in the nightmare scenario and sense the final moments of their lives approach.
In an extremely culture-conscious Yoruba community, a wealthy female trader, Aramotu tries to use the congenial qualities of the Gelede Cult to get ideas on women’s rights and establish a government centered on the needs of the people.
She forms a clan that includes a singer which eventually breaks up her marriage with her kindhearted husband. This new relationship threatens to kill everything she has built and affected her relationship with other community leaders negatively.
Based on a Nigerian novel, this story takes place over two days and tells the story of a single mother and her young son, Kashimawo, who are desperately poor. Maami is a kind-hearted woman with a brave soul who tries to protect her son from the father he has never known and who carries a dark secret.
6. Mirror Boy
The Mirror Boy is a mystical journey through Africa, seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, Tijan. After a London street fight, in which a local boy is hurt, Tijan’s mother decides to take him back to their roots, to the Gambia. On their arrival in Banjul, Tijan encounters a strange apparition, a boy smiling at him in a mirror and vanishing.
Seeing the same boy in a crowded street market the next day sets in motion a chain of events, with Tijan finding himself lost. While Tijan’s panic-stricken mother struggles to find her son, Tijan is left alone in the company of the enigmatic Mirror Boy, seemingly only visible to him. After a bruising spiritual rite of passage, The Mirror Boy takes Tijan on a mystical journey, but not all is what it seems.
7. The Return of Jenifa
Funke Akindele returns with her crew to create more fun comedy. The Jenifa series is quite one to watch out for.
8. Phone Swap
Phone Swap is a romantic comedy, which tells the story of Akin, a corporate executive, and Mary, a warm-hearted fashion designer, who meet for the first time at a busy airport where they accidentally bump into each other and mistakenly swap their identical phones. This leads to a series of unintended and hilarious consequences. They receive one another’s text and his leads to a mix up in a travel destination. Consequently, Akin ends up travelling to where Mary is supposed to go and vice versa.
As a result of the phone swap, they agree to help carry out each other’s missions, armed with the information and data on each other’s phone. But it’s not as easy as they both think as new obstacles and complications arise at every turn as they both struggle to adapt to their alien environment and situation. Mary has to walk in Akins shoes and represent him in a company meeting while Akin has to represent Mary in her family meeting.
9. Two Brides and A Baby
Finding true love is a very difficult task but to find love and the man you want to spend the rest of your life with is more of a herculean task. Keche and Bankole’s walk down the aisle seems threatened by the happenings and resultant prejudice of the past come calling. Will their love supersede the turbulence of the past? Find out in this romantic flick “Two Brides And A Baby”.
10. Memories of My Heart
A young man intends to get married to a lady who helped him when he was very poor, as fate would have it, he got a job in an oil company where he started earning a lot of money. Things started to turn around when his girlfriend’s best friend started developing an interest in him. Will he abandon his first love?
11. Ghetto Dreamz
Ghetto Dreamz (The Dagrin Story) is based on the true-life story of the late popular and award-winning hip-hop rap artiste DAGRIN, whose untimely death in a ghastly motor accident at the age of 24 stunned and stirred the nation in 2010. The movie recreates Dagrin’s personal life, his struggles, challenges and ultimately tragic death at the point of success. The movie is also a social commentary on the challenges of young musicians in Nigeria and what they go through as they pursue their dreams of stardom.
12. Sinking Sands
Jimah and Pabi are a match made in heaven until a domestic accident turns their loving marriage into one of violence and abuse.
Pabi, the woman at the centre of the controversy must choose between love and life, companionship and independence. What will she choose? What will you choose?
13. Kiss and Tell
The film revolves around two Casanova friends and business partners; Iyke and Bernard, and a divorce lawyer, Delphine, who is a divorcee herself and doesn’t want to have anything to do with men again. Bernard strikes a bet with Iyke which involves Iyke having sex with Delphine in ten days or forfeit five percent of his shares to Bernard; if Iyke succeeds, he’d have five percent of Bernard’s shares. However, Bernard tells Tena (Nse Ikpe Etim), Delphine’s best friend about the bet in order to have an edge, thereby complicating things for Iyke.
14. Confusion Na Wa
A misplaced mobile phone is found by two opportunist wasters who after reading through a plethora of incriminating text messages decide to blackmail the owner. Little do they realize that their misdemeanor is to set in motion a chain of unfortunate events.
Bonus – Some of the Best Nigerian Movies Ever – Selected from Older Movies
15. Osuofia in London
Osuofia, a big-time villager, travels to London, England to receive his share of an inheritance left for him by a deceased relative. Cultural misunderstandings result in a comedy of errors.
16. Igodo – Definitely One of the Best Nigerian Movies
The tale in this movie takes place in a village where people are dying randomly. The Igwe calls a meeting of the elders and the witch doctor. One elder has a story to tell: The story of Amadioha. The secrets of the story hold the key to their misfortune.
A price to pay becomes a journey in a native land. On the go to save the land, heroes give up, brave one dies, Vengeance crowds…
Domitilla and her friends, Judith and Jenny are street hawkers living in the fast lane. Her chance encounter with a high profile politician changes her life and fortune as the politician adopts her as his mistress. However, her world crashes when the politician is found dead in his hotel room after a night of frolicking with her…All evidence points in Domitilla’s direction…
18. Mr Ibu
This is the original movie that began the Mr Ibu series and gave rise to other hilarious comedies like Mr Ibu in London and others.
19. Aki na Ukwa
Two young troublesome brothers cause disruption at home, terrorize the people in their village and wreak havoc at school.
20. Mr Ibu in London – A Nigerian Movie You Don’t Want to Miss
A poorly paid security man Mr. Ibu wants to impress an international girl who happens to have an American boyfriend. Because he feels so intimidated by the American boyfriend, he decides to travel to London by hiding inside a cargo container.
He then requested for his salary in advance as he goes to London. Finally, he is in London and homeless until an old friend comes to his aid. But as is the typical Mr. Ibu, he messes up throughout his stay and returns home with nothing.