Nollywood at 20: 20 Nollywood movies we’ll never forget


By Olamide Jasanya

Sola Fosudo and Liz Benson in a scene from Glamour Girls 1
Sola Fosudo and Liz Benson in a scene from Glamour Girls 1

In the spirit of celebrating Nollywood’s 20th anniversary, here is a list of 20 movies we wont forget in a hurry.

Domitila, shot in 1996 and produced by Zeb Ejiro, issues like child trafficking and prostitution were treated with acting from Anne Njemanze. The movie became popular as it treated a different topic from what obtained in the market at that period. It was regarded as the first ‘street’ movie and soon became a replacement for the word, prostitute.


Glamour Girls produced by Kenneth Nnebue and released in 1994, this movie featured Liz BensonEucharia AnunobiDolly Unachukwu who played ‘controversial’ roles. Popular for some raunchy scenes it showed, the story explores the themes of sex, fame, power and the quest for money.

Liz Bnson in one of the scenes
Liz Benson in one of the scenes

Living In Bondage is a 1992 flick that paraded Rita NzeluKanayo KanayoFrancis Agu and others. Believed to be the first block buster movie, the 163 minutes movie was produced by entrepreneur, Ken Nnebue, directed by Chris Obi Rapu and in Igbo language. It tells the story of a man who sacrifices his wife for ‘money ritual’ and is later haunted by the wife’s ghost.

Kenneth Okonkwo in one of the scenes in the movie
Kenneth Okonkwo in one of the scenes in Living In Bondage

Score to Settle is a 1998 drama that paraded the likes of Rich Azu, Liz Benson, Teco BensonOmotola Jalade EkeindePatrick Doyle and a host of other stars. It lasts for 120 minutes telling the story of Sade who afterthe death of her husband, was rejected by her in-laws hence, she hits the streets to find a life. Produced by Sunny Collins and directed by Chico Ejiro.

scores to settle

Hostages was Tade Ogidan’s first movie after he resigned from NTA.  Shot in 1991 but released in 1996, the movie tells the story of the travails of poor young man and his interest in the daughter of a wealthy chief. Actors included Tope IdowuOfuafo OtomewoRichard Mofe DamijoBimbo Manuel, Lanre Balogun, Tunji Sotimirin and Zainab Buky Ajayi.

A scene in the CAamson's house
A scene in the Camsons’ house

Nneka The Pretty Serpent is responsible for the launch of the careers of Ngozi Ezeonu, Rita Nzelu and others. Directed by Zeb Ejiro and produced by Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, the movie revolved around Nneka (Obi), a mermaid in human form, who fancied married men. Her supernatural powers helped her to hypnotise and get them, not minding the obstacles she has to face.

The opening scene where Nneka's mother begs for her
The opening scene where Nneka’s mother begs for her

Most Wanted, released in 1996, tells the story of desperate ladies, Regina AskiaIbinabo Fiberisima and Ayo Adesanya who turned to armed robbery after much frustration. Produced by Dozie Eriobu and directed by Tunji Bamishigbin, this movie also parades stars like  Liz Benson, Antar Laniyan and will be remembered to have been the debut for Genevieve Nnaji who was only 19 then. She played a cameo, Television reporter. The movie got a lot of reviews for having a semblance with Hollywood’s Set it Off which was released same year.

Regina Askia in one of the scenes
Regina Askia in one of the scenes

Diamond Ring will be remembered for pushing the bar and investing in special effects and the scary sounds at the mortuary scene. Shot in 1998 by Tade Ogidan, the drama featured Shola Shobowale, Richard Mofe Damijo, Zainab Buki Ajayi and Teju Babyface.

 diamond ring

Owo Blow was directed by Tade Ogidan in 1995 and produced by Niyi Wuraola. It featured the likes of Racheal OnigaBimbo AkintolaTaiwo Hassan. Rated as one of the best indigenous movies, it swooped lots of awards including Best Cross over actor, Best New actor, Best Yoruba film and other awards.

Adewale Elesho and young Femi Adebayo in one of the scenes
Adewale Elesho and young Femi Adebayo in one of the scenes

Sakobi is undoubtedly one of the movies that did justice to the career of actor, Saint Obi. It was produced by Zeb Ejiro productions and tells the story of Francis who offers his daughter in exchange for wealth, unfortunately, the daughter is rejected and he is compelled to choose a short life span. The movie also stars Susan PatrickTony Umez and others.

Possessed Saint Obi in one of the scenes in the movie
Possessed Saint Obi in one of the scenes in the movie

Oleku is about Ajani, (Yemi Sodimu) a final year student of the University of Ibadan, whose desperation for a wife puts him in a state of dilemma with three women, Asake, Lola and Sade. The movie is an adaptation of Akinwunmi Ishola’s book, Oleku


Issakaba features acts like Sam Dede who played the leader of a group who seek to rid their city off thieves and dubious individuals. To achieve their mission, they employ some supernatural powers.

Sam Dede playing Ebube, leader of the Issakaba group
Sam Dede playing Ebube, leader of the Issakaba group

Violated was directed by Amaka Igwe and stars acts like Richard Mofe Damijo amongst others. The movie tells the story of a poor lady that falls in love with a rich man. Their love is however severed by the so many events of the past.

RMD in one of the scenes in the movie
RMD in one of the scenes in the movie

Sharon Stone in Abuja was released in 2003 and had Genevieve Nnaji playing the lead along with late Enebeli Elebuwa under directives from Adim Williams. The story of a desperate lady, Sharon, played by Nnaji, is what is portrayed in the movie. 

sharon stone in abuja

Osuofia in London is a 105 minute comedy flick detailing the experiences of a villager, Nkem Owoh as he travels to London to receive his share of an inheritance left for him by a deceased. Shot in 2003, it was written and directed by Kingsley Ogoro and stars other acts including Francis OdegaCynthia Okereke and others.

osuofia in london

Saworo ide was produced by Tunde Kelani and released in 1999. Meaning Brass Bells in English, the movie was met with great reviews for its subtle portrayal of the idiosyncrasies that characterised the military regime in the country. It stared acts likeLere Paimo, Kola OyewoBukky Wright and had sequels, Agogo Eewo.

saworo ide

Aki na Ukwa set the ball rolling for Osita Iheme and friend, Chinedu Ikedieze, both of who played the lead characters in the Amayo Uzo Phillips directed movie. The movie is about two young boys who ceaselessly torment their parents, teachers and the entire community. The likes of Amaechi MuonagorOby Kechere also starred in the 2003 released movie.

aki na ukwa

Ti Oluwa Nile is arguably the most popular of all the movies from Mainframe productions. The many intricacies involved in the sale of lands especially in the Yoruba setting is what is examined in the movie.

ti oluwa ni ile

Blood Money is a 1997 Chico Ejiro movie that starred the likes of Zack OrjiKanayo O. KanayoFrancis Agu and Sam Dede. It seeks to discourage man’s desperation for money especially when bloodshed is involved. Jobless Zack Orji is in the centre of the story.

Zach Orji in the opening scene in the movie
Zach Orji in the opening scene in the movie

Igodo was directed by Andy Amenechi and set in a fictitious community where Amadiohawas ravaging, causing them to die one after the other. Called Land of the Living Dead, the movie was popular for its tragic story line and the special effects employed.


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