The Best 10 South African Movies Every Movie Lover Must Watch

The Best South African Movies

The South African Entertainment industry particularly the movie industries are practically the best in Africa and obviously among the best 10 worldwide.

In south Africa, movies are well planned and arranged before the production. The main target of most of the South African movie industries is not just to make money alone but more importantly to create legacy and relevance.

There are a countless movies that has been produced by different south African movie industries and practically all are educating, interesting and memorable.

Inn this article, we shall be listing the best 10 South African Movies that every movie lover worldwide will not afford to miss.

In our next article after this, we shall be discussing about South African  10 most horror movies and after that we shall be listen the 20 Naughtiest South African Movies. Stay tuned with us and be rest assured that you will be intrigued with our articles.


  1. INVICTUS: This is a South African sports movie portraying the life of Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon. The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie is all about the Challenges and difficulties faced encountered and faced by the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. This movie is greatly recommended for anyone who intends to go into politics to lead his people and for anyone who in anyway intends to occupy any leadership position and everyone else.



2. ZULU: You cannot talk about South African movies without mentioning Zulu. an interesting and educative movie indeed. Zulu as a movie made a substantial mark haven been nominated the 37th greatest movie of all time. In addition to this, the British rated Zulu the number 8 in their top 100 greatest war movies. Prominent actors in Zulu include Michael Caine, Jack Hawkings and Stanley Baker.

Top south African Movies


3. BLACK PANTHER:  Black Panther happens to be one of the  South African movies 2018 that became the highest grossing cinema of all times in South Africa, earning over R77,6 million. Black Panther is specifically  an American superhero movie based on Marvel Comics that was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

In the movie, T’Challa is crowned king of Wakanda following his father’s death, but he is challenged by Killmonger (Jordan) who plans to abandon the country’s isolationist policies and begin a global revolution.

Black Panther premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018, and was released theatrically in the United States on February 16. The film received praise from critics for its direction, screenplay, acting. Marvel Studios announced a Black Panther film as one of ten based on Marvel characters and distributed by Paramount Pictures.

The film received numerous awards and nominations, with seven nominations at the 91st Academy Awards including Best Picture, with wins for Best Costume Design, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design. Black Panther is the first superhero film to receive a Best Picture nomination, and the first MCU film to win an Academy Award.

You can not mention South African movies without mentioning Black Panther. It is a must watch for all.

Top South African Movies

Black Panther

4. CRY FREEDOM: This South African movie is based on Donald Woods book. The movie is about Wood’s life story in his attempt to uncover the truth about Steve Biko and his escape from South Africa. The movie was released in 1987. Starring in the movie are Denzel Washington and Kelvin Kline. The movie has received three Oscar nominations.

The film was primarily shot on location in Zimbabwe and in Kenya due to political turmoil in South Africa at the time of production. As a film showing mostly in limited cinematic release, it was nominated for multiple awards, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. It also won a number of awards including those from the Berlin International Film Festival and the British Academy Film Awards.

The film was at its widest release showing in 479 cinemas nationwide. It was generally met with positive critical reviews before its initial screening in cinemas.

South African authorities unexpectedly allowed the film to be screened in cinemas without cuts or restrictions, despite the publication of Biko’s writings being banned at the time of its release.

In a nutshel,  Cry Freedom is based on the true story of Steve Biko, the charismatic South African Black Consciousness Movement leader who attempts to bring awareness to the injustice of Apartheid, and Donald Woods, the liberal white editor of the Daily Dispatch newspaper who struggles to do the same after Biko is murdered.

It is a must watch for all and highly recommended for  all intending freedom fighters, human rights activists and fact finders.

Top South African movies

Cry freedom


This is a South African film that was made in 2009. Even though the movie is a co-production of different countries including New Zealand, South Africa and the United States, its entire cast, crew as well as directors are South Africans with the exception of Peter Jackson. The story in the film explores various themes like social segregation, humanity, and xenophobia and it begin in 1982, when an alien water vessel appears in Johannesburg, South Africa. The South African government then discovers a number of sick and malnourished insect-like creatures on the ship and decides to confine them to an internment camp dubbed District 9. District 9 is the title of the movie and was inspired by the occurrences in District Six, Cape Town during the apartheid periods. This film proved to be one of the best to be produced in the country owing to the gross revenue earned from the movie. Moreover, it received numerous accolades including 52 nominations, 4 Oscar Nominations and 14 wins overall.

The film was shot on location in Chiawelo, Soweto during a time of violent unrest in Alexandra (Gauteng) and other South African townships involving clashes between native South Africans and Africans born in other countries. The location that portrays District 9 in itself was in fact a real impoverished neighborhood from which people were being forcibly relocated to government-subsidised housing.[8] Several scenes were shot at the Ponte building.

The music for District 9 was scored by Canadian composer Clinton Shorter, who spent three weeks preparing for the film. Director Neill Blomkamp wanted a “raw and dark” score, but one that maintained its South African roots. District 9 grossed US$115.6 million from the United States and Canada, with a worldwide total of $210,819,611, against a production budget of US$30 million.

The movie is interesting and educative, thus highly recommended.

Top South African movies

District 9


Funny as the name of this movie may seem,. trust me, the movie is a must watch. very interesting and educating. The movie is produced in 2011 and directed by Charlie Vundla.

This movie had lots of potential, only some of which has been exploited. Unlike most other South African movies, this movie is not dealing with some huge, serious issue, does not deal with Mandela and is also not filled with toilet humor.

This movie has had 11 nominations and won 4 awards at the African movie academy awards 2012.

It is a must watch and highly recommended movie.

Top South African Movies

how to steal 2 million


This is another great movie in the South African movie list.  The movie is about South Africa’s historic meeting that took place in Kimberley, South Africa. The film revolves around the fate of a smuggler, fisherman, and a syndicate entrepreneur whose wits match over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Blood Diamond is a 2006 political war thriller film co-produced and directed by Edward Zwick, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, and Djimon Hounsou. The title refers to blood diamonds, which are diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance conflicts, and thereby profit warlords and diamond companies across the world.

The most interesting  thing about this film is that it is based on a true story of the diamonds mined war zones in Sierra Leone, Congo, and Angola and the finance conflicts between the profit capitalists and the diamond firms across the globe. The movie made a gross revenue of $171,407,179 and received 17 nominations and 5 Oscar Nominations.

Watch and experience the great works of the writer, director, actors and actresses of this great movie. Highly recommended for all.

Top South African Movies

Blood Diamond


Stander is a South African Movie released in 2003. The movie is about the life of Andre Stander, a police office who turned bank robber. it is a short movie of about 1hr 56 minutes. The movie starred  Thomas Jane, who initially turned down the role.

Briefly on the plot: Andre Stander is an officer with the South African Police, newly married with a reputation as the youngest captain on the force, he and his partner are assigned along with other officers to riot duty in the wake of the Soweto uprising. In the chaos of one of the riots in Tembisa, Stander shoots a young, unarmed protester, which deeply affects him and causes him to become disillusioned towards the apartheid system. One day on his lunch break Stander decides to spontaneously walk in and rob a bank. He thoroughly enjoys the rush and decides to embark on a spree of robberies, even responding to one in his official capacity as an officer. In the wake of these robberies, Cor Van Deventer, Stander’s partner, leads a team assigned to take down the new bank robber. Eventually being able to see through Stander’s disguises, Deventer’s team finally makes the arrest. Stander is stripped of his position and sentenced to 32 years in prison. For more details, endeavor to watch the Stander. 

Stander received mostly positive reviews from critics. Movie magazine Empire gave it four stars out of five saying “a star turn that shifts Jane up a notch or two and a career best performance”. Nev Pierce of the BBC gave it four stars as well. It is rated Fresh at 72% on the Rotten Tomatoes website

The film was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Achievement in Direction. If you have not watched Stander, quickly reach out for it and do your eyes and brain a favor.

Top South African Movies



It is a South African film that dates back to 1992 and features top actors like Leleti Khumalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Miriam Makeba, Tertius Meintjies and Miriam Makeba. The plot of the movie revolves around students opposing the implementation of the Afrikaans language as the official language of teaching at the school. Sarafina, the lead actress, inspires her schoolmates to rise up against the implementation after her teacher, Whoopi Goldberg as Mary Masombuka, is detained. Sarafina did exceptionally well and was screened to compete at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. List of top South African movies will be incomplete without Sarafina. Grab a copy and watch.

Brief Story line: As tentions of Apatheid spreads accross South Africa, many students revolts to massive stone throw, a demonstration that comes in a wake of the introduction of Afrikanas language as a means of teaching. This sparks riots among school age young people who have resolved to do what it takes for freedom to come tomorrow. In a township of Soweto, a group of students, led by a young beautiful and intelligent girl Sarafina, mastermind a plot to rise against the Apatheid regime by velmently rejecting the proposal to have Africanas as a medium of instruction and this angers the white people and results in a massive unrest of the students and those others supporting them. Mean while, Sarafina’s mother accepts a job of a housekeeper in a white woman and somehow it angers Sarafina. Following the unrest of students and therd possible torture and trial, Sarafina is realesed from prison, reunites with some of the coleagues and composes a “Freedom is Coming Tomorrow” song.

Sarafina is Proudly wriiten by Isaac Museka Lupupa.

Top South African movies



The last on our list but practically not the list is the movie tiled Tsotsi.

Tsotsi is a 2005 film written and directed by Gavin Hood and produced by Peter Fudakowski. It is an adaptation of the novel Tsotsi, by Athol Fugard and a South Africa/UK co-production. The soundtrack features Kwaito music performed by South African artist Zola as well as a score by Mark Kilian and Paul Hepker featuring the voice of South African protest singer and poet Vusi Mahlasela.

Set in an Alexandra slum, in Johannesburg, South Africa, the film tells the story of Tsotsi, a young street thug who steals a car only to discover a baby in the back seat.

The film won the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006. In 2009, it was unofficially remade in Tamil language as Yogi.

Tsotsi is a very interesting and educative movie and highly recommended.

Top South African Movies

This List is subject to constant update. stay with us and see more of the powerful and recommended South African movies.