If you’re looking to explore new cultures and gain a fresh perspective, Thai cinema is an excellent place to start. Thai movies have gained international recognition for their unique storylines, stunning visuals, and compelling performances.
From heartwarming romantic comedies to gripping thrillers, there is something for everyone in Thai cinema. In this blog post, we will be introducing you to 10 must-watch Thai movies. Each movie on this list showcases the best of Thai filmmaking and offers a glimpse into Thai culture. So sit back and get ready to be transported to Thailand through the magic of the big screen.
Ong-Bak is a must-watch action-packed movie that showcases the unique martial arts skills of the lead actor, Tony Jaa. The movie takes you on a journey through the streets of Bangkok as Jaa’s character, Ting, goes on a mission to retrieve a sacred Buddha statue that has been stolen from his village.
This movie not only features breathtakingly choreographed fight scenes but also showcases the culture and traditions of Thailand. The movie also features some of the most iconic landmarks of Bangkok, such as the Chatuchak Market and the Golden Mount.
Ong-Bak was a game-changer for the Thai film industry as it placed Thai movies on the international map, making them a must-watch for movie enthusiasts worldwide. The movie’s success led to the production of two sequels, both of which were equally successful.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)
Uncle Boonmee, Who Can Recall His Past Lives, is a unique and introspective film that explores the concept of reincarnation and mortality. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, this Thai movie won the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
The movie follows the story of Uncle Boonmee, a man who is suffering from kidney failure and is spending his last days with his family on a jungle farm. As his health deteriorates, he starts to recall his past lives, and his deceased wife and son visit him as ghosts.
The movie is a beautiful and poetic exploration of life, death, and the cycle of existence. It’s shot in a slow-paced and meditative manner that allows the audience to reflect on their own mortality and the meaning of life. The stunning visuals and the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack add to the overall experience of the movie.
This movie is not for everyone, as it requires a certain level of patience and openness to its unconventional structure and themes. But for those who appreciate art films and philosophical explorations, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is a must-watch Thai movie that will take you on a cinematic journey like no other.
Tropical Malady (2004)
Tropical Malady is yet another movie directed by the highly acclaimed Thai film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. It is a beautiful and mystical love story that explores the relationship between a soldier named Keng and a young man named Tong, who is working in the countryside. The first half of the movie depicts the romance between the two men, while the second half takes an unexpected twist and explores the mysterious and supernatural elements of the Thai jungle.
This movie is beautifully shot, with stunning cinematography that captures the lush and vibrant beauty of the Thai countryside. The soundtrack is haunting and ethereal, adding to the dreamlike quality of the movie. The acting is superb, with both actors delivering powerful and moving performances that will leave you breathless.
Tropical Malady is a movie that will take you on a journey through the heart of Thailand, exploring the country’s culture, landscape, and supernatural beliefs. It’s a movie that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, and it’s definitely a must-watch for anyone interested in Thai cinema or just looking for a beautiful and moving love story.
Bad Genius (2017)
Released in 2017, Bad Genius quickly became a hit in Thailand and beyond. The movie tells the story of a high school student named Lynn, who is extremely intelligent but comes from a modest background. To make money, she devises a plan to cheat on exams for students who can afford to pay her. However, things quickly spiral out of control as the stakes get higher, and Lynn finds herself in over her head.
Bad Genius is a thrilling heist movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The film not only shows the pressures that students face in the education system but also explores the themes of ethics, morality, and class. The performances are stellar, particularly from lead actress Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying who delivers a nuanced and powerful portrayal of Lynn.
What sets Bad Genius apart from other heist movies is its creativity and attention to detail. The cheating methods that Lynn and her friends devise are both ingenious and entertaining to watch. The film also has a strong visual style, with dynamic camera work and vibrant colours that capture the energy and excitement of the story.
Released in 2004, Shutter is a horror movie that quickly became one of the most popular Thai movies of all time. The movie is based on a young photographer named Tun and his girlfriend, Jane. After hitting a girl while driving home from a party, strange things start happening to Tun. The couple begins to see ghostly images in their photographs, which leads them to uncover a dark secret from their past.
What sets Shutter apart from other horror movies is its use of photography as a central element. The movie is well-paced, and the tension builds up gradually, making it a true masterpiece of Thai horror cinema. The movie was so successful that it was remade in Hollywood in 2008. However, the original Thai version remains a classic and is a must-watch for anyone interested in horror movies or Thai cinema.
The Protector (2005)
Released in 2005, The Protector (Tom-Yum-Goong) is an action-packed martial arts film that showcases the best of Thai cinema. Starring Tony Jaa, the movie follows the story of Kham, a young man from a small village in Thailand, who travels to Australia to retrieve his beloved elephant, which has been stolen and sent overseas.
What follows is a thrilling adventure filled with incredible fight scenes, impressive stunts, and breathtaking choreography, all set against the backdrop of beautiful locations in Thailand and Australia.
One of the highlights of the movie is the long-take fight scene, where Tony Jaa fights his way up a multi-story building, taking on countless enemies in one continuous shot. This sequence is a testament to the skill and dedication of the filmmakers and actors involved.
Overall, The Protector is a must-watch for action movie fans and lovers of Thai cinema alike. Its unique blend of martial arts, drama, and stunning visuals make it a true cinematic journey.
Last Life in the Universe (2003)
Last Life in the Universe is a mesmerizing drama film directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Starring Tadanobu Asano and Daran Boonyasak, the movie explores the intricacies of human relationships, love, and loneliness.
The story revolves around a Japanese man named Kenji, who works as a librarian in Bangkok. He gets into trouble with the Yakuza and ends up in Japan. One day, he meets a woman named Noi, who is the sister of a gangster. Noi’s sister is killed on the same day, and she has to hide with Kenji.
Last Life in the Universe is a beautifully shot movie that captures the essence of Bangkok and its vibrant culture. The film’s cinematography is breathtaking, and the performances by Tadanobu and Boonyasak are outstanding.
Bangkok Dangerous (1999)
Released in 1999, Bangkok Dangerous is a classic Thai movie that has made its mark in the world of cinema. Directed by the Pang brothers, the movie is a crime thriller that revolves around a hitman named Kong, who is deaf and mute. The story follows Kong, who is hired to carry out a series of assassinations in Bangkok, and his chance encounter with a local girl who is deaf and communicates by sign language.
This movie is a perfect blend of action, suspense, and drama, and the performances by the cast are truly exceptional. It was a commercial success and won several awards, including the Best Director award at the Bangkok International Film Festival.
The Legend of Suriyothai (2001)
The Legend of Suriyothai (2001) is a movie that is based on the life of the titular character Suriyothai, a noblewoman who lived in the 16th century in the Ayutthaya Kingdom, one of the most prosperous periods in the history of Thailand. This movie follows her journey as she navigates through the tumultuous times of power struggles and wars that were fought during her lifetime.
The movie is a visual treat that captures the beauty of Thailand’s landscapes, architecture, and costumes. The performances of the actors are also noteworthy, especially M.L. Piyapas Bhirombhakdi, who plays Suriyothai with grace and poise.
What sets this movie apart is the attention to detail and historical accuracy. The makers of the movie went to great lengths to recreate the 16th-century Ayutthaya Kingdom, from the costumes to the sets, and the result is a movie that not only entertains but also educates.
Love of Siam (2007)
Love of Siam is a beautiful and emotional movie that explores love, loss, and family relationships in a unique way. Directed by Chookiat Sakveerakul, this movie follows the story of two childhood friends, Mew and Tong, who were separated when Mew’s family moved away. Years later, they meet again, and their friendship is rekindled, but this time, there’s something more between them.
The movie beautifully portrays the struggles of the two characters as they try to come to terms with their feelings for each other while also dealing with their own personal issues. The performances by the actors are top-notch, especially by Mario Maurer and Witwisit Hiranyawongkul, who play Tong and Mew, respectively.
Apart from the central love story, Love of Siam also deals with themes of family, grief, and self-discovery. The movie’s soundtrack is also worth mentioning, with its beautiful and haunting melodies that perfectly capture the emotions of the characters.
We hope you enjoyed our article on the best Thai movies. Thailand has a rich film history, and we tried our best to highlight some of the best ones from Thai cinema. These movies are not only entertaining but also give us a glimpse into Thai culture and society.
We hope that you’ll take some time to watch them and appreciate the art of Thai cinema. So, grab some popcorn and get ready for a cinematic journey through Thailand. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us!