Historical Films (also called Period Pieces or Period Dramas) are some of the most tasking movies to make. The very nature of their genre, the mind-blowing expense, vast world-building, and extreme attention to detail required to help transport viewers through time are some of the reasons filmmakers typically shy away from making such pieces. Some filmmakers, however, do consider themselves to be up-to-the-task, and thanks to their painstaking labor of love, Nollywood has experienced some very beautiful period pieces over the course of its history.
In no particular order, here is a list of 13 of the most memorable period pieces made in Nollywood to have graced our screens
The Amazing Grace (2006)
The film, occasionally narrated by Joke Silva, tells the reformation story of British slave trader John Newton (Nick Moran), sailing to what is now Nigeria to buy slaves. Later, increasingly shocked by the brutality of slavery, he gave up the trade and became an Anglican priest. Newton later wrote the redemptive hymn Amazing Grace and became an abolitionist.
Half of a Yellow Sun (2013)
Adapted from the internation bestseller of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this movie is a historical fiction that follows two sisters who are caught up in the outbreak of the Nigerian Civil War.
October 1 (2014)
Kunle Afolayan put blood and sweat into making this movie and, upon its release in 2014, it was truly the talk of town. Set in 1960, a Nigerian police detective is dispatched to investigate the murders of women in a small community.
Invasion 1897 (2014)
The 1897 invasion of the Benin Kingdom by the British Empire marked the climax in the exploitation of Africans by the West.
Director Izu Ojukwu often talks about the difficulties he faced shooting and releasing this movie to the public; thankfully, it was worth it in the end.
The pregnant wife of a young soldier accused of complicity in the abortive coup of 1976 helps him prove his innocence.
A young boy who discovers that he has to offset a debt owed by his late father. He goes through a myriad of trials and challenges that stand to break him or make him; aided by an unbreakable resolve to succeed, a sonorous voice, friends, and enemies.
Ayinla is a film that tells the story of Nigerian musician, Ayinla Omowura, who used Apala music to address issues of the contemporary society – commending and criticizing various governmental and individual acts.
Waylaid by life’s pressures in 1980s Lagos, Nigeria, Tolani becomes involved in drug smuggling with her streetwise friend and must face the fallout.
In 16th-century Zazzau, now Zaria, Nigeria, Amina must utilize her military skills and tactics to defend her family’s kingdom.
King of Thieves (Agesinkole) (2022)
An epic tale of Agesinkole, an all-powerful Bandit and his reign of terror in the prosperous Kingdom of Ajeromi. Concerned by his pillaging, the kingdom moves to destroy him, through the hunters, witches and priests, thus beginning this adventurous saga of revenge, bravery and glory.
Foreigner’s God (2022)
An English documentary photographer searching for a story falls for an accused witch living in subhuman conditions in colonial Nigeria.
Anikulapo (2022) (not-yet-released)
A young man’s quest for greener pastures in ancient Oyo kingdom.
How many movies on this list have you seen?