Best Malayalam Movies: 20 Top Rated Malayalam Movies of all Time According to IMDb

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The Malayalam film industry has been, without a doubt, the best in India when judging by the calibre of films made ever since the genre enjoyed a rebirth in the last ten years, with the inflow of new-age directors producing some ground-breaking work. If the 2000s were the worst decade for Malayalam films, the best decades were undeniably the 1970s and 1980s, when the New Wave and Middle Cinema rose to prominence. This ranking aims to include the top mainstream and independent movies from the past to the present.

List of Best Malayalam Movies

Movie name IMDb rating
Kireedam (1989)  8.9
Home/ #Home (2021) 8.8
Thaniyavartanam (1987) 8.8
A Northern Story of Valor (1989) 8.7
Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal (1986) 8.5
Amaram (1991) 8.4
Bharatham (1991) 8.4
Drishiyam (2013) 8.3
Vidheyan (1994) 8.3
The Great Indian Kitchen (2021) 8.2
Hridayam (2022) 8.1
Mukundan Unni Associates (2022) 8.0
Ponthan Mada (1994) 8.0
Munnariyippu (2014) 7.8
Iratta (2023) 7.8
Malikappuram (2022) 7.6
Rorschach (2022) 7.0
Padavettu (2022) 7.0
Nadan (2013) 6.7
Kappa (2022) 6.1

Kireedam (1989)

Some of Malayalam cinema’s most critically acclaimed and financially successful movies were penned by Sibi Malayil. “Kireedam” is another acting masterclass by Mohanlal, who received the National Film Award – Special Mention “for magnificently and in an original manner portraying a young man’s sorrow and pain.”

The movie follows the tale of a young man whose world is turned upside down when he steps in to settle a dispute and saves his father, a police officer, from a vicious neighbourhood outlaw. This Malayalam classic’ theme revolves around an unintentional outburst of fury and the subsequent chain of unintended consequences.

Cast: Mohanlal, Cochin Haneefa, Thilakan

Duration: 2 hours 20 mins

Director: Sibi Malayil

Producer: Dinesh Panicker, Krishnakumar

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar

Home/ #Home (2021)

HOME, the 2021 Malayalam-language film, revolves around the humble and simple man, Oliver Twist. He is technologically challenged. He struggles to be close to his two grown-up sons, who are drowning in technology and social media. He looks for a way to stay connected to them. The movie is highly recommended. It is available in multiple languages on the streaming service Amazon Prime Video. The film had a direct-to-OTT release on August 19, 2021.

Cast: Indrans, Sreenath Bhasi, Naslen K. Gafoor, Deepa Thomas, Johny Antony, Manju Pillai, Kainakary Thankaraj, Vijay Babu, Anoop Menon, Aju Varghese, and others

Duration: 2 hours 41 mins

Director:  Rojin Thomas

Producer: Vijay Babu

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video

Thaniyavartanam (1987)

In the intriguing story Thaniyavarthanam (All Together), a man from a family with a history of insanity is told. Every generation has had a male victim of mental illness, and now one of the two brothers is said to be under the curse. Everyone begins to believe the eldest brother is insane after a nightmare and a few other incidents, but he is not. The remainder of the narrative centers on his futile attempts to diminish their concerns.

Cast: Mammootty, Thilakan, Mukesh, Saritha, Philomina

Duration: 1 hour 59 mins

Director: Sibi Malayil

Producer: Nandakumar

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video – Eros Now add-on subscription

A Northern Story of Valor (1989)

A Northern Ballad of Valor, also known as Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, is a 1989 Indian Tamil epic historical movie that was directed by Hariharan and scripted by M. T. Vasudevan Nair. This movie is frequently regarded as a masterpiece of Malayalam cinema. It is based on a subplot of the North Malabar-based medieval poem Vadakkan Pattukal. The narrative retells the life of the fabled Chandu Chekavar, portraying him as an unfortunate, misunderstood, but ultimately honourable man as opposed to the treacherous figure who earned him the folkloric moniker Chathiyan Chandu (literally, “Chandu the Betrayer”).

Cast: Mammootty, Madhavi, Devan

Duration: 2 hours 48 mins

Director: T. Hariharan

Producer: P.V Gangadharan

Where to Watch: YouTube

Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal (1986)

On the basis of K. K. Sudhakaran’s 1986 novella Nammukku Gramangalil Chennu Rapparkkam, Padmarajan wrote and directed the 1986 Indian Malayalam romance drama titled Namukku Parkkan Munthirithoppukal, which translates to “Vineyards for us to dwell in.” The story revolves around a man who falls in love with his neighbour. He later finds out that her family life and situation are tough. The Bible book Song of Songs, which describes a young woman and her boyfriend having a beautiful conversation, is mentioned numerous times throughout the narrative.

Cast: Mohanlal, Shari, Thilakan

Duration: 2 hours 20 mins

Director: Padmarajan

Producer: Mani Mallyath

Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar

Amaram (1991)

Bharathan directed the 1991 Malayalam dramedy Amaram (Stern or Strict). Mammootty plays the main character in the movie. He is a fisherman. His only ambition is to provide his daughter with the best education possible so that she might become a doctor.

His hopes are dashed when his daughter finds love and marries a childhood acquaintance. The remainder of the movie demonstrates how the father deals with his anguish and his feeling of betrayal by his daughter.

Cast: Mammootty, Mathu, Chitra

Duration: 2 hours 30 mins

Director: Bharathan

Producer: Babu Thiruvalla

Where to Watch: YouTube

Bharatham (1991)

A story about two classical musician brothers: the younger brother upholds his shared obligations to their family, while the elder brother wastes his life and talent. A. K. Lohithadas wrote the 1991 Indian musical drama film Bharatham in the Malayalam language. In addition to background music by Johnson, the movie has unique songs written by Raveendran. According to Bharatha, Bharatham is a contemporary retelling of the Ramayana. The central theme revolves around how Gopinathan assumes responsibility for the household in his older brother’s absence while also concealing his sorrows.

Cast: Mohanlal, Urvashi, Nedumudi Venu

Duration: 2 hours 27 mins

Director: Sibi Malayil

Producer: Mohanlal

Where to Watch: Disney+Hotstar

Drishiyam (2013)

In a far-off village in Kerala, there lives Georgekutty (Mohanlal), proprietor of a cable TV network. While the procedures are going on, Georgekutty’s daughter Anju (Ansiba) takes a school trip. A few days later, Anju encounters a boy during a school outing. A video of her that he recorded while on the school trip is used as a form of blackmail against her. By chance, Rani (Meena) and Anju kill him during events. The murder victim is the son of IG Geeta Prabhakar; thus, when Georgekutty learns about the happenings upon returning home, a game of cat and mouse ensues. The remainder of the compelling film, Drishiyam, is about how the family handles the crisis arising during the murder inquiry.

Cast: Mohanlal, Meena, Asha Sarath, Ansiba Hassan

Duration: 2 hours 44 mins

Director: Jeetu Joseph

Producer: Antony Perumbavoor

Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar

Vidheyan (1994)

Vidheyan is the film version of Paul Zacharia’s Malayalam novel Bhaskara Pattelarum Ente Jeevithavum. The master-slave relationship is examined in a South Karnataka environment in Vidheyan. The violent, authoritarian landlord Bhaskara Pattelar rules over Thommy, a Christian migrant worker from Kerala. Thommy complies with all instructions from his master, including those to kill Pattelar’s benevolent wife, Saroja, or to render his wife intimately accessible to his master. Thommy follows Pattelar like a pet as he flees into a jungle as an outcome of his actions. Thommy, however, rejoices in his freedom when Pattelar is killed.

Cast: Mammootty, Tanvi Azmi, M.R Gopakumar

Duration: 1 hour 52 mins

Director: Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Producer: K. Ravindran Nair

Where to Watch: YouTube 

The Great Indian Kitchen (2021)

Like any Indian girl, the bride of ‘The Great Indian Kitchen‘ moves into her husband’s house, ready to adjust to their customs and make it her home. Initially, her husband and in-laws do love her and care for her. But problems arise when her kind mother-in-law has to be away for a while. She struggles to cope with the mountain of seemingly endless household chores, unfamiliar traditions, and differences in opinion. Nimisha Sajayan and Suraj Venjaramoodu play central characters in it. It garnered universal critical acclaim.

Cast: Nimisha Sajayan, Suraj Venjaramoodu, T. Suresh Babu, Ajitha V.M., Ramadevi, Kabani, Sidhartha Siva, Anupama V.P., M.V. Suresh Babu, Nishitha Kallingal, Gireesh Perincheeri, Aparna Sivakami, Suresh Achoos, Anagha Ashok 

Duration: 1 hour 40 minutes

Director: Jeo Baby

Producer: Dijo Augustine, Jomon Jacob, Vishnu Rajan, Sajin S Raj

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube 

Hridayam (2022)

Hridayam means heart. The Malayalam-language film was released theatrically on January 21, 2022. Made on a small budget of Rs. 5 crores, it earned Rs. 78.3 crores at the box office. It is a coming-of-age romantic drama film. From carefree college days to becoming a successful wedding photographer, this coming-of-age story showcases the colours of Arun Neelakandan’s exciting life. It is a Vineeth Sreenivasan film. Pranav Mohanlal plays the character of Arun Neelakandan.

Cast: Pranav Mohanlal, Kalyani Priyadarshan, Darshana Rajendran, Aswath Lal, Vijayaraghavan, Johny Antony, Aju Varghese, Arun Kurian, and others

Duration: 2 hours 52 minutes

Director: Vineeth Sreenivasan

Producer: Visakh Subramaniam

Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar

Mukundan Unni Associates (2022)

The 2022 Mukundan Unni Associates is a black comedy crime movie. According to reports, it is said to have structural similarities with the 2014 American film Nightcrawler. Upon its theatrical and digital release, Mukundan Unni Associates received positive reviews. The story revolves around the titular character, Adv. Mukundan Unni. Mukundan Unni is fired from the law firm for unethical conduct. The movie follows Mukundan Unni as he leaves no stone unturned to climb the ladder of success. But his never-ending greed comes at a cost.

Cast: Vineeth Sreenivasan, Aarsha Chandini Baiju, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Sudhi Koppa, Tanvi Ram, Jagadish, Manikandan Pattambi, Biju Sopanam, and others

Duration: 2 hours 8 minutes

Director: Abhinav Sunder Nayak

Producer: Ajith Joy

Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar

Ponthan Mada (1994)

V. Chandran wrote and directed the 1994 Malayalam-language Indian movie Ponthan Mada. The movie, which is set in British India in the 1940s, centres on the extraordinary, uncanny, and heartwarming friendship between Ponthan Mada, a member of the so-called low caste, played by Mammootty, and Sheema Thampuran, his colonial landowner, who was expelled from England to British India as a young man for his support of the Irish Republican Army. With Mada suspended from an areca palm tree, the two speak across class lines through Thampuran’s window. This is the only movie Naseeruddin Shah has ever made in Malayalam. It was a financial hit.

Cast: Mammootty, Naseeruddin Shah, Sreejaya

Duration: 1 hour 59 mins

Director: T.V Chandran

Producer: T. Ravindranath 

Where to Watch: YouTube

Munnariyippu (2014)

In his second film as a director, many National Award-winning filmmaker Venu tells the story of a young woman journalist who decides to write a biography of prisoner C. K. Raghavan (Mammootty), who claims he did not commit the crimes for which he is currently serving a sentence.

Munnariyippu‘ is a multifaceted movie that throws away some norms and deconstructs the story, making it an intriguing visual experiment. Mammootty’s excellent performance and restrained demeanour raise the calibre of the movie. He discards all traces of his rockstar status and meticulously absorbs Raghavan’s entire personality.

Cast: Mammootty, Aparna Gopinath

Duration: 1 hour 55 mins

Director: Venu

Producer: Ranjith

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video US

Iratta (2023)

Iratta, the police procedural film, was directed and written by Rohit M. G. Krishnan. It was released theatrically on February 3, 2023. The film opened to positive reviews. It is among the highly recommended Mollywood films currently. The term Iratta means twin. As the title suggests, the movie has two twin brothers, DySP Pramod, and ASI Vinod. Joju George plays the two characters. The film begins with ASI Vinod being found dead. Following his death, an investigation sparks a chilling hunt for the truth linked to DySP Pramod, his estranged twin, and their fraught and distressed past.

Cast: Joju George, Anjali, Arya Salim, Srinda, Sabu Mon, Manoj K. U., Abhiram Radhakrishnan, Dhanesh Anand, Sabumon Abdusamad, Meenakshi Dinesh, Shebin Benson, and others

Duration: 1 hour 50 mins

Director: Rohit M.G. Krishnan

Producer: Prassanth Kumar, Chandran, Joju George, Martin Prakkat, Sijo Vadakkan

Where to Watch: Netflix

Malikappuram (2022)

Unni Mukundan plays the protagonist role in the 2022 Indian film MalikappuramVishnu Sasi Shankar is the director of the film. The movie premiered in theatres on December 30, 2022. The movie revolves around Kallu, an 8-year-old girl from Panchalimedu town. She is very eager to visit the Sabarimala Ayappan Temple. Under the auspices of Aan Mega Media, Neeta Pinto and Priya Venu are in charge of producing the movie. Abhilash Pillai, who is well known for writing the scripts for Pathaam Valavu and Night Drive, wrote the story for the film. The cinematography is under the direction of Vishnu Narayanan. Shameer Mohammed is the editor, and Ranjin Raj is the music composer.

Cast: Unni Mukundan, Alphy Panjikaran, Deva Nanda

Duration: 2 hours 1 min

Director: Vishnu Sasi Shankar

Producer: Neeta Pinto, Priya Venu

Where to Watch: Disney+ Hotstar

Rorschach (2022)

In Rorschach, concerned about his wife’s abrupt absence, Luke calls the police and reports the occurrence. Since Sofia has vanished completely, the police believe that Luke’s wife was mauled by an animal and advise him to leave the scene.

Luke Anthony arrives at a village in search of his missing wife. However, his mysterious activities and actions draw the attention of the villagers. What is his actual motive? Watch the thriller and find out.

Cast: Mammootty, Grace Antony, Jagadish

Duration: 2 hours 30 mins

Director: Nissam Basheer

Producer: Mammootty

Where to Watch: Disney+Hotstar

Padavettu (2022)

Liju Krishna wrote and directed the political action thriller movie Padavettu, which translates to “Battle” in Malayalam. The story is set in Maloor, a village near Kannur. Agriculture is the primary source of income there. Ravi (Nivin Pauly), a sports biker and athlete, had a life-altering accident that makes him a reclusive person who spends time playing video games and lounging around in his home. That is, until a subsequent incident completely changes his life, prompting him to rebel against the political order. Can he win the villagers’ backing in his fight against the politician? The events in his life that transformed him into a revolutionary activist make Padavettu’s tale unique.

Cast: Nivin Pauly, Aditi Balan, Shammi Thilakan

Duration: 2 hours 25 mins

Director: Liju Krishna

Producer: Siddarth Anand Kumar

Where to Watch: Netflix

 Nadan (2013)

The 2013 Malayalam film, Nadan, directed by Kamal and written by S. Suresh Babu, is about an actor. Nadan centres on a well-known theatre company. The theatre troupe belongs to Devadas Sargavedi. In the past, it was owned by his father and grandfather. It describes the difficulties the owner faced and his struggle to survive. The story’s core revolves around the resurrection of this magnificent art form thanks to the persistent efforts of the gifted theatrical performers.

Cast: Jayaram, Remya Nambeesan, Chembil Ashokan

Duration: 2 hours 30 mins

Director: Kamal

Producer: Anil Kumar

Where to Watch:  Sun NXT

Kaapa (2022)

In Kaapa, Anand and Binu shift to Thiruvananthapuram from Bangalore for work purposes. Their joy is short-lived, though, when Anand discovers that Binu’s name is listed in the KAAPA, the Kerala Anti-social Activities Prevention Act, as a result of news reports that linked her name to crimes she was allegedly involved in. He looks to Kotta Madhu, the top criminal in the city, and his wife, Prameela, for assistance in clearing Binu’s name and proving her innocent. Anand unintentionally becomes involved in the neighbourhood gang fights while working to clear Binu’s name.

Cast: Prithviraj Sukumuran, Asif Ali, Anna Ben

Duration: 2 hours 16 mins

Director: Shaji Kailas

Producer: Jinu Abraham, Siddarth Anand Kumar

Where to Watch: Netflix

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