An image from the film  Aníkúlápó of a man hunching over inside a hut, wearing a green tunic, with sunlight pouring across his face.

An image from the film Aníkúlápó directed by Kunle Afolayan, which has become one of the most popular Yoruba films in recent years.

Photo courtesy of Netflix.

The Best Yoruba Movies on Streaming

Films in the Yoruba language have been entertaining movie-goers both inside Nigeria and abroad. We take a look at some of the best ones to watch and where you can see them.

Yoruba cinema has been an integral part of Nigeria's movie industry for decades, from the days of traveling troupes and playing companies. Over the years, this industry, genially referred to as Yorrywood, has produced a diverse range of films that entertain and educate audiences of fluent speakers and non-speakers alike. These films are known for their cultural richness, exciting storylines, and almost accurate depictions of the Nigerian experience.

With the advent of streaming platforms, it has become easier than ever to access and enjoy these films from the comfort of your home. While YouTube plays host to many of these titles, you can find some on newer platforms like Prime Video and Netflix.

Here are 7 of the best Yoruba films OkayAfrica has selected for you to stream today.

'Saworoide' (1999)

In Jogbo, a fictional town, the coronation of a king entails a ceremonial performance featuring the saworoide, a brass bell-talking drum. However, Lapite, a newly-crowned ruler, rejects this tradition as he aims to exploit his subjects' natural resources and intimidate them with his newfound power. Saworoide utilizes Yoruba storytelling in terms of powerful proverbs and cultural symbolism, and also offers commentary on the political and economic landscape of Nigeria.

It is considered to be one of the most politically charged movies in the industry, and features a talented cast, including Kola Oyewo, Bukky Wright, Lere Paimo, and Kunle Bamtefa.

Where to stream: YouTube

'Maami' (2011)

Tunde Kelani's Maami, released in 2011, stars Funke Akindele in the lead role. The film tells the story of a professional soccer player, Kashimawo (played by Wole Ojo). When he has to leave for a football tournament, he reflects on his challenging childhood, his mother's unwavering love, and his distant relationship with his father. Through the lens of his story, the film highlights the tenacity and resourcefulness of women as they fight against pervasive corruption and male dominance.

Where to stream: Prime Video

'​Aya Mi òwòn: Madam Dearest​' (2005)

Feeling the pressure from her family, Bukky decides to move on with her life after her husband gets sentenced to life in prison. Despite being childless for eight years, Bukky gives birth to a baby with another man but must keep it a secret when her husband, Biodun, is acquitted three years into his sentence.

The film, Madam Dearest, received acclaim for its suspenseful storyline and its authentic portrayal of real life. Directed by Tade Ogidan, the movie features talented actors such as Opeyemi Aiyeola, Sola Sobowale, Akin Lewis, and Gabriel Afolayan.

Where to stream: YouTube

'Aníkúlápó' (2022)

Aníkúlápó, a film by Kunle Afolayan, introduces Saro (portrayed by Kunle Remi), a man who constantly seeks better opportunities. When his unbridled ambition leads him into dangerous territory, he gets a chance to turn his life around. The film's remarkable cinematography and captivating storyline are expertly conveyed in the Yoruba language, providing an authentic dialogue experience.

Where to stream: Netflix

'Owo Blow' (1996)

Directed by Tade Ogidan, Owo Blow consists of three parts: The Genesis, The Revolt, and The Final Struggle. The film tells the story of a young man who is determined to make an honest living but gets pushed by desperation into an unfair reality.

Its release in 1995 marked the beginning of successful careers for industry veterans like Femi Adebayo, Bimbo Akintola, and the late Rachel Oniga. This film tackles crucial issues such as the miscarriage of justice, police brutality, corruption, and unemployment.

'Thunderbolt: Magun' (2001)

Thunderbolt: Magun, directed and produced by the prolific Tunde Kelani, was a film ideally suited for its era. Based on a book adapted for the screenplay, the story revolves around Ngozi, an Igbo woman, and Yinka, a Yoruba man, who meet and fall in love during their one-year compulsory service. After getting married, rumors destroy their trust and ultimately lead to "magun," a mysterious and deadly chastity control device that causes instant death to anyone who engages in sexual intercourse with its victim.

Thunderbolt: Magun delves into the clash between traditional beliefs and Western medicine and more importantly, provokes a dialogue on intra-tribal and general marital relationships.

Where to stream: YouTube

'King of Thieves' (2022)

King of Thieves is an exciting addition to the epic Nollywood catalog that has seen a recent surge in popularity. The film tells the story of the bloodthirsty Agesinkole, an all-powerful bandit, and his reign of terror on Ajeromi's kingdom. However, there is more to his madness than meets the eye. King of Thieves is a compelling story that is culturally aware, making it all the more engaging. Directed by Adebayo Tijani and Tope Adebayo Salami, the film features an all-star cast, including Femi Adebayo, Toyin Abraham, Odunlade Adekola, and Ibrahim Chatta.

Where to stream: Prime Video

Bonus titles: Ti Oluwa Ni Le, Ajoji Godogbo, Jenifa, which are also available on YouTube.