Nollywood is the Nigerian movie industry that chunks out more than 200 movies every month (averaging more than 6 movies every day). The industry has been ranked 3rd across the globe only after the United States Hollywood and India’s Bollywood. In the midst of all these movie releases, there are a few Nigerian movies that have left footprints in the sands of time. Fast going are the days when Nollywood movies had bad writing as well as bad cinematography. Now, Nigerian movies have drastically improved to the point that they can adequately compete and be put on par with the bigger guns like Hollywood and Bollywood.
Nollywood has always had both good stories as well as awfully written ones, but this is not peculiar to only Nigerian movies because other film industries in the world have had a fair share of the not so good.
Thanks to the advancement in (High-Tech Digital Media Camera), recent Nigerian movies that have equally great stories have been brought to life in ways that are sheer incredible. For this article, we will be focusing on some of the incredible and hard to forget movies that were made in the early days of Nollywood, a time of low budget movies shot with lesser technology. These movies are reminiscent of how and when Nollywood started and we will pay homage to some of the best ones that have remained well-recognized through the ages and have formed the pivot of the largest movie industry in Africa.
Below are the 10 best Nigerian movies of all times:
10. Domitila; (1996) produced by Zeb Ejiro, starring Anne Njemanze. Domitilla is a landmark film in the Nigerian home movie industry. It started the trends of the now-established trend of movies about ‘single girls’ and their (mis)adventures in big cities. Ann Njemanze became an instant movie star after acting the leading role. The main storyline was of how young girls get into the quest to survive. Sometimes, they’re fuelled by greed, some other times by need, peer pressure and in the end they become morally derailed.
9. Blood Money; (a 1997 Nigerian movie) Chico Ejiro movie that starred the likes of Zack Orji, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Francis Agu and Sam Dede. Directed and Written by Chico Ejiro. In the movie, a man lost his Bank job and was drawn into the world of rituals where the only way for him was by taking the life of an another.
8. Glamour Girls; (a 1994 Nigerian movie) produced by Kenneth Nnebue featuring Liz Benson, Eucharia Anunobi and Dolly Unachukwu.
7. Scores to Settle; (a 1998 Nollywood movie) Produced by Sunny Collins and directed by Chico Ejiro. Along with Rich Azu, Liz Benson, Teco Benson, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Patrick Doyle featured in this film. In the movie, Sade, rejected by her in-laws, hits the streets with her two sons after the death of her husband. This was the beginning of a long journey marred by insecurity, death and poverty.
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6. Igodo; A movie directed by Andy Amenechi, starring Pete Edochie, Norbert Young, Sam Dede, Charles Okafor,Obi Madubogwu, Chidi Mokeme, Prince James Uche, Ignis Ekwe, Joe Layode and produced by Ojiofor Ezeanyaeche.
5. Aki na Ukwa; (a 2003 nollywood movie) directed by Amayo Uzo Phillips starring Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze, Amaechi Muonagor and Oby Kechere.
4. Osuofia in London; (a 2003 Nigerian movie) written and directed by Kingsley Ogoro and stars other acts including Nkem Owoh, Francis Odega and Cynthia Okereke. Osuofia in London is a Nigerian comedy film which was among the highest selling Nollywood films.
3. Nneka The Pretty Serpent; Years after its release in 1992, Nneka the Pretty Serpent remains a reference point for Nollywood in the past. The home video helped launch the careers of the likes of Ndidi Obi, Eucharia Anunobi, Ngozi Ezeonu and Rita Nzelu amongst many others. Released during the VHS era, the emergence of this movie saw a shift from foreign movies to Home Videos. Directed by Zeb Ejiro and produced by Okechukwu Ogunjiofor.
Bonus: South African Movies
2. Most Wanted; (1996) Produced by Dozie Eriobu and directed by Tunji Bamishigbin. Featuring Regina Askia, Ibinabo Fiberisima and Ayo Adesanya along with Liz Benson, Antar Laniyan and Genevieve Nnaji. In the movie, a group of unemployed ladies decide to disguise as men to rob and the police was having a hard time tracking them down as they were on the lookout for male robbers. When one of the girl’s falls in love with the investigating police officer, the story changed. The policeman later finds out that his lover is a member of the ‘Most Wanted’ criminal gang.
1. Living in Bondage
This movie is one of the oldest to be acted but the popularity it commanded after it’s release opened up Nollywood to the world. In the movie, Andy Okeke (Kenneth Okonkwo) killed his wife and used her for rituals to become wealthy and most certainly, this came with repercussions, leading to his madness.
Going through these movies you realise just how good movies actually were back in the day and it makes you appreciate the work the cast and crew put into making such stellar movies. Though shot on a low budget with low-resolution digital cameras, the stories behind these Nigerian movies would make you overlook the dull picture quality and totally be immersed. For those who were born in the early 90s, it will be like taking a trip down memory lane to savour those feelings that were formed growing up and watching them. On the other hand, if you are much younger, born at a much later time, far from when these great movies were made, you most definitely would fall in love with them because they are so relatable. Enjoy!