20 Best African Movies Everyone Needs to Watch

The African movie industry is a rapidly growing one. Several world-class and high-quality films have been produced which not only portray African culture and tradition to the world. They also serve as a means of learning the history of major events such as colonization and the fight for independence by many African countries

Why many people might be skeptical about diving into African movies, this list of 20 best African movies will certainly cause you to fall in love with the African movie industry. And it isn’t all blood and suffering. A lot of these movies will make your day with their interesting plot and funny characters. Let’s dive straight into the review

Review of the Best African Movies of all Time

1. Abouna (2002)

Abouna is one of the best African movies

Chad has produced some top African movies, one of them, which is Abouna (meaning “our father”). This movie is about a family, two young boys to be precise, who wake up to discover that their dad had abandoned them. They plunge into misbehavior in a typical “coming of age fashion”. 

In the process of watching a movie, they begin to feel that their father is speaking to them through the movie and end up stealing the movie frames. When their mother fails to control their errant ways, she sends them off to a quranic school where they eventually become more level headed after the oldest boy falls in love. 

So if you are searching for one of the best movies about Africa without the emotional rollercoaster most African historical movies will put you through, this movie is a safe bet for you!

Movie Details

  • Cast: Ahidjo Mahamat Moussa, Hamza Moctar Aguid, 
  • Box Office: $15,476
  • Genre: Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Hong Kong International Film Festival2002Firebird Award – Special Mention
Kerala International Film Festival2002FIPRESCI Prize and Golden Crow Pheasant
Ouagadougou Panafrican Film and Television Festival2003Baobab Seed Award, Best Cinematography, INALCO Award and UNICEF Award for Childhood

2. Alter Ego (2017)

Alter Ego is one of the best African movies of all time

Alter Ego is one of the best African movies to hit the African movie industry. It is a very emotional and captivating movie about a lawyer hell-bent on ensuring that sex offenders are punished for their crimes. Her experience as a child made her more particular and vengeful towards child molesters. 

Unfortunately, the event also left her scarred and a sex addict such that whenever the urge for sex comes, she has absolutely no control over herself.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Wale Ojo, Esther Eyibio, Kunle Remi
  • Genre: Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Nollywood Travel Film Festival2017Best Actress Award

3. Ben and Ara (2015)

Ben & Ara is one of the best African movies

All over the world, there is always a time where Iove tries to bridge the chasm created by religion and ethnicity. Ben and Ara are one of the best African movies on this list of African movies because it addresses this issue. 

Ben is an agnostic who is also in an open relationship while Ara is a Cameroonian Muslim. They meet in a museum and Ara goes against her mother’s wishes by falling deeply in love with him, thus, challenging everything she has been taught as a Muslim. If you would like to see Ben & Ara, it is available at one odf the best deals on movie sites like this.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Joseph Baird, Constance Ejuma, Akuyoe Graham, Q’orianka Kilcher
  • Genre: Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Indie Film Festival2016Won the awards for the Best Picture and Best Actress 
African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)2016Best Diaspora film [Winner]

4. Adanggaman (2002)

Adanggaman is one of the best African movies of all time.

One aspect of the Atlantic slave trade that is not so talked about is the role played by traditional rulers. Adanggaman is a top African movie that tells in detail the two faced-ness of those in power. People who sold those they ought to protect or their kinsmen into slavery to Europeans. 

Adanggaman highlights the hypocrisy of those in power, and the horrendous role certain Africans played in the Atlantic slave trade. King Adanggaman repeatedly led wars against neighboring tribes, killed off the older men, and captured the younger men to be sold into a life of slavery to the Europeans. When Ossei’s village falls under the attack of this same king, his mother is captured and he goes on a mission to free her and his lady love. Eventually, he ends up as a slave in Europe. Adanggaman makes our list of best African movies because of its critical introspection into the African slave era.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Rasmane Ouedraogo, Albertine N’Guessan, Ziable Honoré Goore Bi, Bintou Bakayoko 
  • Box Office: $28,664
  • Genre: Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Amiens International Film Festival 2000Best Actor [Winner]
Marrakech International Film Festival 2001Special Jury Award [Winner]
Ouagadougou Panafrican Film and Television Festival 2001Best Actress [Winner]

5. Cairo Station (1958)

Cairo Station

Cario station is one of those movies you hear about or stumble across and instantly recognize it’s perfection. It made the 8th Berlin international film festival for a reason. 

This best African movie made our African movie list, not just because it depicts culture. Cario station tells a theme that is common to all. A story of love and obsession between a slightly lamed newspaper seller and a woman who treats him with kindness. Qinawi becomes obsessed with Hannuma, a cold drink seller at the train station. When she turns down his proposal, he plots to kill her after being inspired by an unsolved murder mystery in the papers.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Farid Shawqi, Hind Rostom, Youssef Chahine, Hassan el Baroudi
  • Box Office: 
  • Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Berlin International Film Festival1958Golden Berlin Bear [Nominee]

6. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980)

The Gods Must Be Crazy is unarguably one of the best African movies to watch

The Gods Must Be Crazy is a top-rated comedy movie about Africa. The San tribe discovers a coca-cola bottle that fell from the sky but was actually thrown out of an aircraft. Assuming the bottle to be a tool of the Gods, it creates contention and strife as the tribal people struggle between themselves to use this new tool.

Sensing the division among his people, Xi decides to dispose of this strange object at the end of the world. He embarks on a hilarious journey to what he thinks is the end of the world and even falls in love along the way. The God Must be Crazy is available at one of the lowest prices on this movie site.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Nixau, Marius Weyers, Sandra Prinsloo, Louw Verwey
  • Box Office: $200 million
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
César Awards, France1984César [Nominee]Best Foreign Film (Meilleur film étranger)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 1984LAFCA Award [Nominee]Best Foreign Film
Montréal World Film Festival1983Most Popular Film of the Festival [Winner]

7. The Cursed Ones (2015)

The Cursed Ones

The Cursed Ones is purely a product of African Cinema. It tells the story of how witchcraft and superstition have dominated rural and even some urban areas in West Africa

As one of the best African movies of all time, the movie is about a village which after suffering a series of misfortune, turns to accuse a young mute girl of witchcraft. Unfortunately, the village pastor spikes their paranoia by telling them that the only way their village will be saved is if she is put to death.

Turning the whole village, including her family against her; Asabi is left to face her fate with just a disenchanted reporter and a young school teacher. 

Movie Details

  • Cast: Oris Erhuero, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Ama K. Abebrese, Joseph Otsiman
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
African Movie Academy Awards 2016AMAA [Winner]Best Production Design
Atlanta Film Festival 2016Jury Award [Nominee]
Black Reel Awards 2017Black Reel [Nominee]Outstanding World Cinema Motion Picture

8. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Hotel Rwanda

In 1994, a terrible genocide happened in Rwanda. This African historical movie depicts the history and the effects of such an event on the daily life of Rwandan citizens. Particularly Paul Rusesabagina, manager of the Hôtel des Mille Collines who displayed great courage in helping thousands of refugees across both warring tribes to gain shelter in his hotel.

While the world looked the other way, tied by their own bureaucracy or indifference, the Hutu and Tutsi engaged in a terrible war. As a man from the Hutu tribe and married to a Tutsi woman he was right in the middle of the war but fought with all he had to protect not just his family, but also others who had nowhere to go.

Hotel Rwanda is one of those true-life movies that you will fall in love with but not without a few tears.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix 
  • Box Office: $33,882,243
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Academy Awards, USA 2005Oscar [Nominee]Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Globes, USA 2005Golden Globe [Nominee]Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
BAFTA Awards 2006BAFTA Film Award [Nominee]Best Screenplay 

9. The Last Fishing Boat (2012)

The Last Fishing Boat

Change is something some people find very difficult to accept while others flow with the tides. As one of the best African movies you have to see, the last fishing boat addresses this issue as his very means of livelihood is being threatened by the rapidly expanding tourist sector in Malawi. 

Things look even more hopeless for the once-successful fisherman when his son becomes a tourist guide and worse, his third wife cheats on him with a white tourist who offers her money for the night.

This movie is one of the best movies about Africa and is perfect to watch with family.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Hope Chisanu, Robert Kalua, Flora Suya, Robert Mcloughlin
  • Box Office: 
  • Genre: Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
9th Africa Movie Academy Awards2013Best Director – Shemu Joyah [Nominated]
Silicon Valley African Film Festival2013Best Narrative [Won]
9th Africa Movie Academy Awards2013Best Soundtrack [Won]

10. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Long Walk To Freedom

Long walk to freedom is a monument to South African Freedom fighter and activist, Nelson Mandela who later became the president of South Africa after 27 years in prison. 

Nelson Mandela became an icon who was very crucial in ending the South African apartheid and racial discrimination. This movie shows the details of his life as recorded in his autobiography. It is an African historical movie and among the top African movies ever produced. This movie is indeed one of the top-rated movies from Africa.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa
  • Box Office: $28 million
  • Genre: Drama, Historical 

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Academy Awards, USA 2014Oscar [Nominee]Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Golden Globes, USA 2014Golden Globe [Winner]Best Original Song – Motion Picture
Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing2014Music Score in a Feature Film [Nominated]

11. White Wedding (2009)

The White Wedding

The white wedding is a romantic comedy movie from South Africa and has made our list of best African movies of all time simply because of its wonderful plot, hilarious scenes, and of course, the romance.

Eliz, the groom in this African movie leaves Johannesburg for Durban to pick up his best friend so they can both drive to Cape town for the wedding. However, chaos ensues as they run into a young, female English doctor on the way and romance sparks off. 

Movie Details

  • Cast: Kenneth Nkosi, Rapulana Seiphemo, Zandile Msutwana, Jodie Whittaker
  • Box Office: $629,165
  • Genre: Romantic Comedy

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Macau International Movie Festival2009Golden Lotus Award [Nominee]Best Director
South African Film and Television Awards 2010SAFTA Golden Horn [Winner]Best Actor – Feature Film
SAFTA Golden Horn 2010[Nominee]Best Supporting Actress 

12. The Wedding Party (2016) 

The Wedding Party

Nollywood has become one of the world’s foremost brands in the movie industry. It became more cemented after the release of this romance-comedy movie, The Wedding Party. This recent African movie makes many movies list as one of the best African movies of all time.

It depicts the drama that ensues when a young gallery owner, Dunni is about to marry an IT entrepreneur, Dozie. As a marriage between two very different tribes in Nigeria with both families trying to have their culturally perfect wedding, a sexually tensed couple who decided to wait till their wedding night, an irresponsible best man and an ex-girlfriend on the loose. 

Movie Details

  • Cast: Adesua Etomi, Banky Wellington, Richard Mofe Damijo, Sola Sobowale
  • Box Office: ₦453,000,000
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
St. Louis International Film Festival 2016New Filmmakers Forum Award [Winner]

13. District 9 

District 9

Anyone who has watched this futuristic movie will ascertain that it truly is one of the best African movies in the sci-fi genre. When an alien ship filled with 1 million starved aliens hovers over Johannesburg, the government allocated a location for them called district 9.

As time progresses, tension sparks between the aliens living in horrible conditions and the locals. As a new biotechnology comes up, a human mutating into an alien, and scientists scrambling for alien abilities, this movie will take you on a thrilling roller coaster.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James, Vanessa Haywood
  • Box Office: 210.8 million USD
  • Genre: Sci-Fi

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Academy Awards, USA 2010Oscar [Nominee]Best Motion Picture of the Year
Golden Globes, USA 2010Golden Globe [Nominee]Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
BAFTA Awards 2010BAFTA Film Award [Nominee]Best Screenplay

14. Tsotsi (2005)

Tsotsi

Another South African movie, Tosti is a crime drama movie about a thug who steals a car and discovers a baby in the back seat. Left with no option but to care for the child, at least temporarily, this hardened thug begins to soften and find redemption. This top African movie is a picture of the suffering and crime-filled life that is a part of modern Africa. It is a gripping story that will give you a clearer understanding of the story African cinemas try to portray. 

Totsi is definitely one of the best African movies to rock the film industry worldwide.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Presley Chweneyagae, Mothusi Magano, Kenneth Nkosi, Zenzo Ngqobe
  • Box Office: $11.5 million
  • Genre: Thriller

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Academy Awards, USA 2006Oscar [Winner]Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
BAFTA Awards 2006BAFTA Film Award [Nominee]Best Film not in the English Language
Golden Globes, USA2006Golden Globe [Nominee]Best Foreign Language Film

15. Osuofia in London 

Osuofia in London

If you haven’t watched this movie on your quest to discover the best African movies, then you should stop your search here. Osuofia in London is a hilarious comedy-drama about a man from a village in Nigeria who received news of his brother’s demise. 

He ends up having to travel to London, thus leaving rural Africa for the first time. Osuofia displays a lot of antics in his hilarious journey to claim his inheritance, of which he assumes his late brother’s English fiancee is a part.

This movie will top your list of best African movies and give you an interesting glimpse into Nigerian/African culture as a whole.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Nkem Owoh, Mara Derwent, Charles Angiama, Cynthia Okereke
  • Box Office: 
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
Africa Movie Academy Award2005Best Soundtrack

16. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (2019)

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind is unarguably one of the best African movies

The boy who harnessed the wind is based on the true story of a boy who literally saved his Malawi village from famine. Thrown out of school because of his parents’ inability to pay the fees, William blackmails his teacher — who is secretly in a romantic relationship with William’s sister– to let him continue attending classes and have access to the school library.

In the process of reading, he learns how to build a windmill that can generate electricity to pump water into the village.

The boy who harnessed the wind is one of the best African movies and as such makes our African movie list.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Maxwell Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lily Banda
  • Box Office: 
  • Genre: Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
AwardsBlack Reel Awards2020Black Reel [Nominee]Outstanding International Film
British Independent Film Awards 2019British Independent Film Award [Nominee]Best Supporting Actor
Image Awards (NAACP)2020Image Award [Winner]Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture

17. Gorillas In The Mist (1988)

Gorillas in the Mist

History always reminds us of that one person who makes up his /her mind to create change when need be. This is the story of Occupational therapist Dian Fossey, who becomes inspired by an anthropologist and moves to Africa to study the rare mountain gorillas. Gorillas in the mist is a top African movie that tells her journey from congo to neighboring Rwanda. 

Driven by a passion to understand and save these exotic species from the poachers, Dian Fossey makes a lot of enemies, is eventually murdered. However, her legacy lives on.

Movie Details

  • Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Bryan Brown, Julie Harris, John Omirah Miluwi
  • Box Office: $61,149,479
  • Genre: Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
AwardsAcademy Awards, USA 1989Oscar [Nominee]Best Actress in a Leading Role
Golden Globes, USA1989[Winner]Best Original Score – Motion Picture
BAFTA Awards 1990BAFTA Film Award [Nominee]Best Cinematography

20. Queen of Katwe (2016)

Queen of Katwe is definitely one of the best African movies out there.

The Queen of katwe made waves in the film industry upon its release. It stands as one of the best African movies and makes it to this list of African movies because of its plot, the true nature of the story, and the wonderful acting by its characters. 

The Queen of later, Phiona is a young girl living in the slums of Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. She learns chess from Mr. Robert Katende and rapidly climbs the chess ladder, taking her community by surprise and eventually lifting her family from deep-seated poverty. 

Movie Details

  • Cast: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’I, Madina Nalwanga, Esteri Tebandeke
  • Box Office: 10.4 million USD
  • Genre: Sport, Drama

Award(s)

OrganizationYearAwards
African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) 2016AAFCA Award [Winner]
Alliance of Women Film Journalists 2017EDA Female Focus Award [Nominee]
Black Reel Awards 2017Black Reel [Nominee]Outstanding Actress, Motion Picture

FAQS

What Are The best African Movies of all time?

Some movies go beyond time and generation. Some of the best African movies of all time are Hotel Rwanda, District 9, etc

What Are The Best African Movies on Netflix?

Some of the best African movies on Netflix include Tsotsi, District 9, wedding party, etc

What are the Recent Movies About Africa?

Recent movies depicting the facts about African countries include Oloturé, Adam, Queen of Katwe, Wedding party e.t.c.

Which Movies Are About African History?

Several movies depict African history. Some of them are Sambizanga, Adanggaman, Hotel Rwanda, etc

Which country has the best movie industry in Africa

Nigeria’s Nollywood has topped the African movie industry by being the biggest and most popular in the continent. 

Bottom Line: Best African Movies; Recently Reviewed!

Whew! That was a fun ride.

If this is your first time delving into the African movie industry, or even if you are a veteran at this but just want some outside opinion on the best African movies to watch, this list will be of immense help to you.

Just in case you want a review of other great movies you can check out our best movies for couples, best kids Christmas movies, best romantic anime movies, best military movies and best Canadian movies post. You can also get the best movie deals at the lowest prices on this movie site, sounds good right? Then order away!

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