African movie industry can be traced back to the early 1970s. Since then, hundreds if not thousands more African movies have been produced mainly in the West African region of Africa. Although these days, we are beginning to see so many African movies emerge from East African countries like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. This is because the world has evolved and with the advent of great technologies like the Internet, digital cameras, streaming video, and mobile devices and computers, movie makers are now showing a more vibrant Africa than the previous Francophone moviemakers did before them. This list showcases the movies that could be considered as Top African Movies of all time including war, classic and romantic movies. While we agree that the list is subjective, feel free to post in the comments section any movie that you feel should be on the list.
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Top African War Movies
Watu Wote (2016)
In Kenya, there has been a long existence of distrust and tension between different religious groups in the country, especially between Christian and Muslims. This is as a result of countless heartrending attacks by a terrorist group known as Al- Shabaab that has been waging war against the country’s government. However, in 2015, in a rather surprising event, both religions displayed solidarity and mutual support when Al-Shabaab attacked a Mandera bus in a bid to single out Christians and kill them. The event shows that living in harmony can prevail and those who survived the attack were called heroes of our generation with other awe-inspiring names. But one woman and her crew thought they needed to keep the great message that was passed alive by producing a movie called Watu Wote. “Watu Wote” captures this remarkable event that took place in a Mandera bus. The short film was directed by Katja Benrath and shot in Kenya. It stars Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Gerald Langiri, Charlie Karumi and more. The movie accomplished immerse success, gaining both local and international fame. Apart from winning the world’s heart, Watu Wote also won Katja an accolade being named the Best Narrative in the Short Narrative International Category – which is the first time a film produced in Kenya is winning a student Oscar award.
76 AKA Lions Of 76
Directed by Izu Ojukwu and loosely based on 1970 civil war, 76 recounts the story of a young officer who fell in love with an O-level student. Things get complicated, however, for the two lovers who came from different parts of Nigeria (Southern region and Central Nigeria) when the solder was always being posted out. The officer was later accused of playing an active role in a failed military coup and killing of General Murtala Mohammed. This got his pregnant wife in an emotional trouble. The movie stars Nigerian superstars including Ramsey Noah, Rita Dominic, Ibinabo Fiberesima and more. Released in 2016, 76 was set six years following the hideous civil war.
Misson 2016 is an action-crime-spy film by Africa that you shouldn’t miss. Released in 2017 and directed by Mukasa Kelly James and Micheal Kai, the Ugandan movie tells the story of a lottery winner Sudi who was tired of living a thuggish life in the street and had wanted to move on for good. However, his dreams were almost ruined when his former gang members wouldn’t just let him off. The show-stopping movie stars great actors like Shakira Kajjumba, Allan Watson Waswa and Micheal Kilza. You can watch movie here
Going back to 1975 in Mozambique, the women are out celebrating the end of colonial rule. A group of women plan to go out for a night on the town until revolutionary soldiers force their way into the hotel that they are at and round up all the “prostitutes”. They are taken deep into the forest where they are abused. Virgin Margarida gives a look at what these women went through right after the end of such a pivotal time. This movie was directed by Licinio Azevedo and runs about 87 minutes.
Nairobi Half Life
This movie is about a young aspiring actor (Mwas) from Kenya with big dreams to make it in the city of opportunity, Nairobi. After moving into the city, Mwas finds that there is much more to the city of opportunity than glitz and glamour that many made it out to be. He finds himself falling into the wrong crowd, in a gang and committing crimes while trying to make his big dreams come true. Nairobi Half Life was directed by David Tosh Gitonga and runs 96 minutes.
Top African Classic Movies
House Wife Material
This is a classic movie shot in 2017 that will warm your heart. The Nigerian movie tells the story of a marriageable beautiful woman who wasn’t worried about getting married because she felt different men fill different gaps. But as time passed, she learned that settling down with just one may be worth it.
A Date In Abuja
One of the few African movies to hint on the busy lives of some career women, a Date in Abuja tells the story of a tough-minded woman who works excessively hard. She is too busy with her career and doesn’t think dating should be part of her life. But her friends are bent on hooking her up with a man. In one scene, the workaholic is forced into going out with an arrogant man. After this event, she insists never to trust the men her friends recommend. But things are not always what they seem when she finally met another gent. The 2016 movie casts Genevive Nnaji, Desmond Elliot, Majid Micheal and more.
Last Flight to Abuja
Last Flight to Abuja is based on a true story. The last plane for Flamingo Airways on a Friday night in 2006 turns into a fight for life for each of the passengers. While 30,000 feet in the air the plane develops massive errors and difficulties, which forces the passengers to sense the final moments of their lives. Director Obi Emeloye is accompanied by starts such as Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, and Jim Iyke.
Confusion Na Wa
Confusion Na Wa is a social comedy-drama that follows the lives of a group of people as their paths cross over one another’s throughout one day in a diverse Nigerian city. The movie tracks a string of events that link an accidental killing to a murder of an innocent youth. Each of the four lives and stories presented give more and more insight into the happenings. Confusion Na Wa won best Nigerian film in 2013 at the African Movie Academy Awards.
Kwaku Ananse won the best short film at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2013. This movie follows Nyan Kronhwea as she attends her father’s funeral and turns to the spirit world in her search for her father. This short film uses a popular old fable and mythology as a background and plot.
Top African Romantic Films
Undivided Love is a romantic film about the uncertainties that come with falling in love. Directed by Nwankwo Nickodemus, Undivided Love shows the struggles of sustaining and maintaining true romance even in the face of bad circumstances. The movie casts Mike Ezuruonye, Nadia Buari, and Vivian Achor.
This is a Nigerian romantic comedy-drama with two parts. The movie is directed by Kemi Adetiba and is apparently based on the dramas and flamboyance that come with planning a wedding in Nigeria. It shows two lovers who vowed to stay clean from premarital intercourse and were anticipating to having a memorable first night together as a couple. However, during a wedding filled with real-life tension and excitement, nobody was sure if their hopes were ever going to come through.
Fortunately, before the making of the second part of the movie, the two lovers (Banky W and Adesua Etomi) who played the major roles of Dunni and Dozie later got married in real life after they fell in love onscreen. As a result, more and more people became aware of the movie shot in Dubai making it a greater success.
Ninah’s Dowry is directed by Victor Viyuoh and stars Mbufung Seikeh, Anurin Nwunembom and Norbert Kecha. Ninah has been in an abusive marriage for 7 years with 3 children. When news of her sick father comes to her, she runs away from her husband to speak to her father who put her in bondage. When the news reaches the husband of her pregnancy, he becomes to recovery the bondage he paid or will take back what is his, Ninah. This film runs about 95 minutes.
Last Fishing Boat
A fisherman struggles to stay successful because of the depletion of the fish in the lake. Not only is he faced with the decline of fish but the tourist industry threatens his long-lasting cultural values. His son, who he expected to follow in his steps, is a tourist guide who has been rumoured to sleep with male and female tourists for money. His wife is also tempted by the white tourists who are willing to pay her to sleep with them. The clash of values and modernization becomes a clashing theme within the movie.
Elelwani plans to spend the rest of her life with her boyfriend. Both are educated and have similar dreams of travelling abroad together after graduation. Elelwani travels back home to introduce her boyfriend to her parents, who refuse to accept her plans to marry him. Her father plans to have her marry a local king despite her love for her current boyfriend. The secrets are hidden by the royal family, to be unravelled throughout the movie.
Heroes and Zeros
“Heroes and Zeros” is centred on a true story that tells a story of the destructive pursuance of a woman by a wealthy director in the film industry. After the loss of a child, little to no work and a failing marriage the director throws himself into a movie, where he becomes obsessed with the lead actress.
The Contract tells the story of the ultimate businessman who doesn’t want to settle down, despite his mother’s words. In a twist of events, he feels a need to have a child, which turns his life upside down while finding a wife.