Let’s face it – there’s no place like home. This is why many people, after striving hard to leave Nigeria for somewhere overseas, find themselves craving things like a home-cooked meal from the only home they’ve ever truly known. This is also why even though we appreciate the glitz and glamorous explosions from a Michael Bay movie or the deep, intuitive dialogues that come with a crime drama from Scorsese, the fiercest movie lover from this side wouldn’t mind a moment to catch up on clips from Nigerian classics like Aki and Pawpaw and would get excited if a movie star like Genevieve Nnaji announces she has a new movie coming. There’s truly no place like home.
Here are 15 quality movies from Nollywood you can check out on Netflix to stay even more connected to film art from the motherland.
1. Osuofia in London (2003)
Although this movie wasn’t the one to break Nkem Owoh into the limelight, it did give him the moniker that has lasted through his more active years in the industry even to this day.
Osuofia in London follows the eponymous Osuofia (Nkem Owoh) as he makes his way to London only to find his late brother’s English fiancée Samantha (Mara Derwent) is not quite sure about following the Nigerian tradition of becoming part of the ‘inheritance’ herself. Cultural misunderstandings result in a comedy of errors.
Starring: Nkem Owoh, Francis Odega, Mara Ashton, and others.
2. October 1 (2014)
This is a dark psychological thriller film written by Tunde Babalola and directed by Kunle Afolayan.
Set in 1960, October 1 follows Inspector Danladi Waziri (Sadiq Daba), a Nigerian police detective, dispatched to investigate the murders of women in a small community.
Starring: Sadiq Daba, Kunle Afolayan, Ademola Adedoyin, and others.
3. Fifty (2015)
Fifty captures a few pivotal days of four women at the pinnacle of their careers. Tola, Elizabeth, Maria, and Kate are four friends forced at midlife to take inventory of their personal lives while juggling career and family against the backdrops of the neighbourhoods of Lagos.
Fifty is chic, classy, and so much fun to watch.
An added bonus; Fifty has a sizzling sex scene that’s still being talked about till this day.
Starring: Ireti Doyle, Nse Ikpe Etim, Dakore Akande, Omoni Oboli, and others.
4. The Wedding Party (2016)
The Wedding Party’s arrival brought with it a new wave and a craving for rom-com. Ebony Life Film became the cynosure of all eyes and almost every other studio wanted a piece of the pie that hacked the rom-com genre for the present-day Nigerian audience.
As their big day arrives, a couple’s lavish wedding plans turn into a nightmare that includes exes, fighting parents and uninvited guests.
Starring: Banky W, Adesua Etomi, Ireti Doyle, Richard Mofe-Damijo, and others.
5. Ojukokoro (2016)
This is the first of a few movies on this list that is hardcore Nigerian.
Down on his luck, the manager of a money-laundering gas station comes up with a plan to steal from his greedy employers.
Starring: Bimbo Akintola, Charles Okafor, Danny Glover, Somkele Iyamah, and others.
6. Lionheart (2018)
This is Nigeria’s first Netflix Original film! Of course it deserves a place on this list for that and for being a well-made film.
When Adaeze’s father falls ill, she decides to take charge of their family business. However, with the arrival of her eccentric uncle, chaos ensues.
Starring: Genevieve Nnaji, Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu, Phyno, Kanayo O. Kanyo, and others.
7. The Delivery Boy (2018)
A teenage suicide bomber on the run and his newfound ally, a young prostitute, must rely on each other to survive the night while searching for answers to the terrible secrets that made them who they are.
The Delivery Boy blew the mind of a few lucky persons when it first premiered, it then blew the rest of the world’s minds when it arrived on Netflix later.
Starring: Jemima Osunde, Ibrahim Jammal, Charles Etubiebi, and others.
8. Sylvia (2018)
Horror flicks may not sit well with the average Nigerian, but there’s something about Sylvia that makes it appealing to watch. I can easily count three right now: Zainab Balogun’s stunning performance, the captivating cinematography, and the uniqueness of its story.
After a man decides to embrace adulthood and marry his girlfriend, his longtime imaginary friend tries to destroy his peaceful life.
Starring: Zainab Balogun, Chris Attoh, Ini Dima-Okojie, and others.
9. Kasala! (2018)
Kasala! is an immersive and fun watch. The camera angle is smart, the story is purely Nigerian, and the film-watching experience is one that cannot be traded easily.
A fast-talking teenager borrows his no-nonsense uncle’s car and goes on a joyride with his friends. Things turn sour when they crash the car and only have five hours to raise the required funds to fix the vehicle before his uncle gets back from work.
Starring: Abayomi Alvin, Chimezie Imo, Tomiwa Tegbe, and others.
10. Living in Bondage: Breaking Free (2019)
Need I say anything special to plug this movie?
After being mentored by an enigmatic tycoon, an ambitious young man struggles when his rise in power draws him into the occult.
Starring: Swanky JKA, Muna, Ramsey Noauh, Kenneth Okonkwo, and others.
11. Elevator Baby (2019)
This movie won fine-boy Timini Egbuson his first AMVCA? Why? You may ask. It’s because he gave a career-high performance in it, starring alongside Toyin Abraham.
A brash, wealthy young man finds himself trapped in a faulty elevator with an underprivileged woman as she goes into labour.
Starring: Timini Egbuson, Toyin Abraham, Shaffy Bello, and others.
12. 4th Republic (2019)
Whenever I now think of political thrillers from Nollywood, I think 4th Republic by Ishaya Bako. It’s that immersive.
The story follows Ikechukwu Obiano, a young idealistic deputy campaign manager for industrialist Mabel King, who is competing against incumbent Governor Idris Sani in her bid to become the first elected female governor in the country.
Starring: Kate Henshaw, Sani Mu, Enyinna Nwigwe, Linda Ejiofor, and others.
13. Oloture (2020)
Set in Nigeria, Oloture is the story of a naive young Nigerian journalist who goes undercover to expose the shady underworld of human trafficking.
Starring: Sharon Ooja, Omowumi Dada, Beverly Osu, Blossom Chukwujekwu, and others.
14. For Maria Ebun Pataki (2021)
For Maria… arrived on Netflix in January 2022 and blew the minds of Nigerians. A passion project for director Damilola Orimogunje, who, until now, only shot short films, For Maria… boldly declares there’s still hope for a Nollywood that puts the story first and at the forefront of the filmmaking process.
After a complicated delivery, a mother struggles with postpartum depression and begins to withdraw from her family and the world around her.
Starring: Meg Otanwa, Gabriel Afolayan, Tina Mba, and others.
15. King of Boys (2018) & KOB 2: The Return of the King (2021)
I saved one of the best for last. Nigeria’s very own The Godfather. The King itself. This movie and its series sequel need no introduction, its numbers speak for themselves. But for the uninitiated, read on…
Her insatiable appetite for power drives Eniola, a businesswoman and philanthropist, into politics. As she is drawn into a struggle for power her criminal baggage will prove a heavy burden.
Starring: Sola Sobowale, Adesua Etomi Wellington, Titi Kuti, and others.