Coming up with a list of the best Nollywood films ever made is a thankless task and no list, no matter the merits can be agreed upon generally as Nollywood’s definitive. And no one should, for what is a film if not art? And what is art, if not subjective? But daunting tasks such as this do not scare us here at Nolly Silver Screen and so we took the pains (we’ll take the gains too) of attempting such a list. This one attempts to rank the films based on quality of production, commercial acceptance, staying power and pop culture appeal. We present THE LIST.
10. Living in Bondage (1992)
Kenneth Nnebue’s classic probably does not age as well as we may have liked but it is near impossible to compile a list of Nollywood greats without throwing it in somewhere. Why? Living in Bondage started the whole contemporary film culture and birthed a fresh generation of film stars that would go on to do great things on stage, television and film. The story of the luckless Andy who uses his virtuous wife for money making rituals remains as unforgettable as it has been defining.
9. Igodo: The land of the living dead (1999)
Everyone remembers where they were when they first saw Igodo, this all-star, menancing blockbuster that tested the horror threshold of Nigerian audiences. 7 brave men of different vocations are chosen to venture into a deadly forest to save a doomed community from the nefarious actions of their fore-bearers. In retrospect, Igodo’s cheap looking special effects are quite cringe inducing but none can deny that the film took the horror/thriller genre to new heights.
8. Oleku (1997)
From the master cinematographer Tunde Kelani comes this adaptation of the literary tome of the same title by Professor Akinwunmi Ishola. Oleku is essentially a love quadrangle set in the seventies and revolves around Ajani, a young man who finds himself caught up in the lives of 3 women as he attempts to find a life partner. Released in 2 parts, Oleku not only became a cinematic success, it sparked a fashion revolution as reintroduced the female style of wearing the Iro and Buba.
7. Ijele (1999)
Sam Dede, Eucharia Anunobi, Patience Ozokwor, Olu Jacobs and Genevieve Nnaji. Is this movie heaven or what? This film version which borrows but takes generous liberties from the legend of the masquerade Ijele is a compulsively watchable marvel of storytelling. In this account, Dede encompasses the role of the warrior who survives a gruesome birth and is placed on the path to greatness as he saves a community from extinction, finding love in the process.
Written by Wilfred Okiche.
Read the full article in the October 2014 edition of Nolly Silver Screen (Issue 09) here.
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