The African continent is home to the Nollywood, the third largest movie industry in the world, the South African and Kenyan cinemas and Gollywood. It is only fair that they will produce some of the best African movies of all time. Eat some popcorn as you peruse this list and hopefully check out a couple of them.
Best African Movies of All Time – Top 10 Must See
Directed by one of Africa’s best film director, Ousmane Sembène, one expects nothing but an engaging and provoking film and he delivered. In 2016, 177 critics around the world ranked Moolaadé (2004) among the 100 greatest films since 2000. The glowing critiques received by Moolade make it one of the best African movies of all time.
Filmed in Djerrisso, Burkina Faso, Moolaadé strongly opposes female genital mutation. Moolaadé depicts the theme through Collé, a village woman who opposes the practice of female genital mutilation. She uses Moolaadé, a magical protection, to protect her daughter and four other village girls despite the strong opposition she faced from the villagers.
Guelwaar is a 1993 French/Senegalese film written and directed by film director, Ousmane Sembène. At the 49th annual Venice International Film Festival in 1992, the film won film won The President of the Italian Senate’s Gold Medal.
Set in Senegal, the film brought suspense with the mysterious murder of a district leader. The mystery eventually began to unravel when the family of the district leader gathered at his funeral. With such an intriguing storyline, the film made the list of the best African movies of all time.
Sarafina! is a 1992 South African film directed by Darrel Roodt and starring the likes of Leleti Khumalo and Whoopi Goldberg. Shot in Soweto and Johannesburg, the film revolves around students who rioted in the Soweto Riots.
The students opposed the introduction of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in the schools. The character Sarafina inspires her peer to process motivated by the imprisonment of her very inspiring teacher and the shame she felt for her mother’s acceptance of her role as a domestic servant in a white household.
The Last King of Scotland
The Last King of Scotland (2006) is a British historical drama adapted from Gile Folden’s novel, Last King of Scotland. The film was a box office success and among its many awards was the 2007 BAFTA Award for Best British Film. The leading actor, Forest Whitaker, also received much acclaim for his performance in the film.
The Last King of Scotland tells the story a young medical doctor, Nicolas Garrigan, who travels to Uganda to work at a missionary clinic. A series of events lead him to meet General Idi Amin. When Amin becomes President, he calls for Garrigan to become his personal doctor. The Last King of Scotland portrays the many events that took place during President Idi Amin’s rule.
The Gods Must Be Crazy
If you have not heard about this movie then you must be crazy. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) is the most successful South African film and one of the African movies of all time. Written and directed by Jamie Uys, the movie earned $100 million worldwide and became the first in The Gods Must Be Crazy Series.
Xi and his San tribe of Ju’/Hoansi bushmen happen upon a Cola Cola glass bottle thrown out of an airplane. They believe that it is a gift from their gods. The bottle causes much strife and so the elders tasked Xi with the responsibility of discarding the bottle. Xi embarks on a pilgrimage. The events that take place have viewers clutching their stomachs as they howl in laughter.
Congolese crime thriller, Viva Riva!, brings a little blood and gore to the list of the best African movies of all time. Written and directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, the film was well received. It received 12 nominations and 6 awards at the 7th Africa Movie Academy Awards. Another of the awards received was the 2011 MTV Movie Awards for Best African Movie.
In the movie, Viva returns to his hometown Kinshasa with stolen fuel. Riva is, however, being relentlessly pursued by Cesar, an Angolan crime lord. Riva soon finds himself attracted to Nora but Nora is the girlfriend of a local gangster. There is much shooting and bloodshed as each criminal tries to achieve his gold.
The movie Sitanda is one the Best African movies of all time out of Nollywood. Directed by African Movie Academy Award winner Ali Nuhu, and written by Fidel Akpom, it is one of the Best Nigerian films and has an award to prove it. The film received 9 nominations and won 5 awards at the 2007 Africa Movie Academy Awards.
The movie Sitanda has two stories taking place at the same time. At the beginning, the husband blames the wife for all the misfortunes that he faces. Sitanda life story, filled with love, betrayal and a whole lot of emotions unfolds at the same time. At the end the two stories coalescence into a very emotionally gripping movie.
How to Steal 2 Million
Written & directed by Charlie Vundla, How to Steal 2 Million is a 2011 South African action filled movie. At the 2012 African Movie Academy Awards, the film received 11 nominations and won four awards including the awards for Best Picture and Best Director. It is today one of the best African movies of all time.
The film follows the story Jack who upon his release from his five years prison sentence finds his partner married to his girlfriend. Jack tries to put the past behind him, seeks a loan to begin anew but is denied. He agrees to rob his old partner’s father 2 million rands. The movie builds up and comes to a very climatic end.
From a Whisper
From a Whisper is a Kenyan drama film written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu. The film received 12 nominations and won 5 awards at the 2009 African Movie Academy Awards in 2009, including Best Picture and Best Director.
The film sheds light on victims and their families as they struggle to get back on course after the August 7, 1998, terrorist bombing in Kenya. Abu, an intelligence officer is an introvert. He chooses to help Tamani, a young rebellious artist, frantically searching for her mother. Discovering her dead stirs up memories of Fareed, Abu’s best friend who lost his life in the attack.
Things get a little scary with The Figurine. The Figurine: Araromire (2009) is a Nollywood supernatural suspense thriller film written by Kemi Adesoye, produced and directed by Kunle Afolayan who also starred in the movie. The film received ten nominations and won five awards at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards, including the awards for Best Picture and Heart of Africa.
Two friends find a mystical sculpture in an abandoned shrine in the forest while serving at a National Youth Service Corps camp. Unbeknown to them they had encountered the Araromire sculpture.
The goddess Araromire grants seven years of good fortune to anyone who encounters and the sculpture but then seven bad years follow. Things went well for the two friends everything went downhill when the seven years of bad luck came around