Best Indian movies celebrating 100 Years of Indian Cinema

by ganeshiyer3000 | created - 02 Dec 2011 | updated - 04 Jun 2015 | Public

It is not easy to pick only 100 films as India produces more films than what other countries do. It has many film industries in many languages like Kollywood, Bollywood, Malayalam ...the list goes on. I have picked many great Indian films i have some across. Films are based Cultural/Artistic Impact, critical acclaim, Films which shows Indian values,family sentiments , melodrama ( yes some elements are part of Indian cinema), also some great comedies, romantic drama/comedy, art house movies. Some film genre may be popular in Hollywood but when it is made for first time in India as a bold experimentation needs some credit.

Not rated yet as list is still under development. Need to add more movies. But you will find more 100 movies that are worth your time.

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1. Andha Naal (1954)

130 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

After an engineer is shot dead, several people around him relate different versions and the related incidents that may have led to the murder.

Director: Sundaram Balachander | Stars: Shivaji Ganesan, Pandharibai, Jawar N. Sitaraman, T.K. Balachandran

Votes: 200

Big misconception about it to be based on Rashoman but the film has nothing to with Rashoman apart from being police procedural. I always consider this one of the greatest movies for its style and technical aspects which no other Indian movies did at that time. The film was made without any song and dance as it was a bold move was an Indian cinema at that time.

2. Chandralekha (II) (1948)

193 min | Drama, History, Musical

The two brothers named Veerasimhan and Sasankan, who fight with each other over ruling their father's kingdom and for marrying the village dancer Chandralekha.

Director: S.S. Vasan | Stars: Rajkumari, M.K. Radha, Ranjan, Sundarabai

Votes: 35

Always been considered as one of the greatest Indian films. It was one those epic film with grand sets and huge budget which was rare in India at that time. Film is bit long (207-210min). that is how Indian films are at that time.

3. Iruvar (1997)

140 min | Biography, Drama

The real-life rivalry between M.G. Ramachandran and Karunanidhi is given the Mani Ratnam treatment.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Mohanlal, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Gautami

Votes: 3,304

4. Thalapathi (1991)

Not Rated | 157 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An orphan named Surya raised in a slum befriends a good crime boss named Devaraj and works for him. Their existence is threatened when a new honest district collector arrives.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Rajinikanth, Mammootty, Shobana, Arvind Swamy

Votes: 6,646

5. Nayakan (1987)

Not Rated | 145 min | Crime, Drama

A common man's struggles against a corrupt police force put him on the wrong side of the law. He becomes a don, who is loved and respected by many, but his growing power and influence exact a heavy toll.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Saranya Ponvannan, Delhi Ganesh, Janagaraj

Votes: 11,155

Yes this film is inspired from Godfather so does Star wars from Hiden fortress but it has its own uniqueness. So does this movie. When comparing it with Godfather Here it is about how a man survives in an alien city and has his own reason of justice and more of a savior to public which was not in GF case but it was hinted during vito's young days. Film also has some amazing scenes and dialogues which are original. While talking about Godfather, it was mostly driven by a problem and how they solve it like getting johnny his role, saving his father in hospital even a step ahead and murdering Police captain. It is always about who never wanted to be gangster but became one.

6. Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, War

A little girl is told by her parents that she is adopted. Determined to find her birth mother, she begs to be taken to Sri Lanka, where her mother works with a militant group of activists.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Madhavan, Simran, Keerthana Parthiepan, Nandita Das

Votes: 5,487

7. Roja (1992)

137 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

A woman from a village in Tamil Nadu marries a sophisticated city dweller and moves with him to Kashmir, where all is rosy - until he gets kidnapped by militants.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Arvind Swamy, Madhoo, Pankaj Kapur, Nassar

Votes: 8,914

8. Ayitha Ezhuthu (2004)

PG-13 | 160 min | Drama, Thriller

Three men and their accidental meeting on Napier Bridge will change their lives forever.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Suriya, Madhavan, Siddharth, Meera Jasmine

Votes: 2,533

9. Pudhu Pettai (2006)

Not Rated | 168 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A high school kid joins a gang and becomes a drug dealer, then a politician.

Director: K. Selvaraghavan | Stars: Dhanush, Sneha, Sonia Agarwal, Azhagam Perumal

Votes: 2,709

10. Paruthiveeran (2007)

Not Rated | 162 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A village tough finally succumbs to the unconditional love of his angelic cousin, but his romance faces insurmountable challenges, including family opposition and his own delinquent personality.

Director: Ameer Sultan | Stars: Karthi, Priyamani, Saravanan, Ponvannan

Votes: 2,215

11. Bombay (1995)

130 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

A Hindu man and a Muslim woman fall in love in a small village and move to Mumbai, where they have two children. However, growing religious tensions and erupting riots threaten to tear the family apart.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Arvind Swamy, Manisha Koirala, Tinnu Anand, Akash Khurana

Votes: 8,984

12. Aaranya Kaandam (2010)

153 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

A mob boss must deal with a disgruntled mistress and a vanishing bag of cocaine.

Director: Thiagarajan Kumararaja | Stars: Sampath Raj, Jackie Shroff, Ravi Krishna, Yasmin Ponnappa

Votes: 2,098

13. Indian (1996)

185 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A veteran freedom fighter enraged with the rising crime and corruption in the society murders all the wrong doers one by one using an ancient martial arts technique.

Director: S. Shankar | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Nedumudi Venu, Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar

Votes: 7,607

14. Thevar Magan (1992)

145 min | Drama

The urbane son of a village chieftain struggles between his personal aspirations and those of his family.

Director: Bharathan | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Shivaji Ganesan, Nassar, Revathy

Votes: 3,562

15. Anbe Sivam (2003)

Not Rated | 160 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

Two men, one young and arrogant, the other damaged - physically but not spiritually - by life, are thrown together by circumstances, and find that they are in some ways bound together by fate.

Director: Sundar C. | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Madhavan, Kiran Rathod, Nassar

Votes: 10,961

16. Pithamagan (2003)

PG | 139 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A boy raised in a cemetery grows up with no social skills, and leads a turbulent life readjusting once he moves out of the cemetery.

Director: Bala | Stars: Vikram, Suriya, Laila, Sangeetha

Votes: 3,686

17. Alai Payuthey (2000)

156 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

After a difficult romance in a class-divided society, the love birds find out marriage is not what they thought it would be.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Madhavan, Shalini, Swarnamalya, V. Natarajan

Votes: 3,573

18. Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000)

151 min | Drama, Romance

An Indian adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" focusing on two sisters of opposing temperaments.

Director: Rajiv Menon | Stars: Mammootty, Ajith Kumar, Tabu, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Votes: 2,077

19. Virumandi (2004)

175 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A temperamental farmer gets embroiled in a bloody clan feud in a southern Tamil Nadu village.

Director: Kamal Haasan | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Abhirami, Pasupathy, Napolean

Votes: 3,168

20. Sigappu Rojakkal (1978)

Not Rated | 129 min | Drama, Thriller

Kamal Haasan, the central character, is a man terribly soured by his unvaryingly devastating encounters with the opposite sex. He develops a pathological hatred for women and uses his charm... See full summary »

Director: Bharathiraja | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Bhagyaraj, Goundamani, Kanchana

Votes: 591

21. Hey Ram (2000)

Not Rated | 186 min | Crime, Drama, History

Saketh Ram's wife is raped and killed during direct action day riots in Calcutta. He is convinced that Mahatma Gandhi is responsible for all the problems happening in the country and sets out to kill him.

Director: Kamal Haasan | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji, Hema Malini

Votes: 9,243 | Gross: $0.27M

22. Mozhi (2007)

Not Rated | 152 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

A musician's love towards a stubborn deaf woman makes her eventually realize that there is more to her life than she previously thought.

Director: Radha Mohan | Stars: Prithviraj Sukumaran, Jyothika, Prakash Raj, Swarnamalya

Votes: 1,313

23. Autograph (2004)


Follow Senthil's life through vignettes of his past presented by the people he visits while distributing his marriage invitations. His love life is the aspect in prime focus -- while we are presented with nuggets of other development also.

Director: Cheran | Stars: Cheran, Sneha, Gopika, Kanika

Votes: 793

24. Theeviravaathi: The Terrorist (1998)

Unrated | 95 min | Drama

68 Metascore

A young female terrorist goes on a suicide assassination mission, but her resolve to complete it is put to the test.

Director: Santosh Sivan | Stars: Ayesha Dharker, K. Krishna, Sonu Sisupal, Vishwas

Votes: 1,820 | Gross: $0.14M

25. Kuruthipunal (1995)

Not Rated | 143 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

Two brave police officers infiltrate a terror group in order to bring it down.

Director: P.C. Sreeram | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Arjun, Nassar, Gautami

Votes: 2,789

26. Pushpak (1987)

125 min | Comedy, Romance

A silent movie about an unemployed young man.

Director: Sigitham Srinivasa Rao | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Amala Akkineni, Tinnu Anand, Narayana P.L.

Votes: 2,737

27. Kala Pani (1996)

178 min | Action, Drama, History

Govardhan, a doctor by profession, is wrongly accused of bombing a train and is jailed by the British in Cellular Jail, also known as Kala Pani, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He witnesses the sufferings of hundreds of Indian prisoners there.

Director: Priyadarshan | Stars: Mohanlal, Amrish Puri, Prabhu, Tabu

Votes: 2,564

28. Rat-Trap (1982)

121 min | Drama

The protagonist is trapped within himself and is unable to comprehend the changes taking place around him.

Director: Adoor Gopalakrishnan | Stars: Jalaja, Karamana Janardanan Nair, Rajam K. Nair, Sharada

Votes: 352

29. Apoorva Sagodharargal (1989)

157 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Two brothers separated at birth meet as adults and settle old scores with the killers of their father.

Director: Sigitham Srinivasa Rao | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Nagesh, Srividya, Gautami

Votes: 2,276

30. Kadalikka Neramillai (1964)

159 min | Comedy, Romance

Poor Ashok loves Nirmala, daughter of industrialist Vishwanathan who is determined to get his daughters married off to a rich groom. Ashok seeks his affluent friend Vasu's help, who disguises as Ashok's father.

Director: C.V. Sridhar | Stars: T.S. Balaiah, Kanchana, R. Muthuraman, Nagesh

Votes: 307

31. Kasethan Kadavulada (1972)

Not Rated | 135 min

Parvathi dominates her husband Sivaswamy, while having control on all his money. However, when Sivaswamy's son Ramu needs some money for his sister's husband, Parvathi refuses bluntly.

Director: Chitralaya Gopu | Stars: Lakshmi, Aachi Manorama, Venniradai Moorthy, R. Muthuraman

Votes: 99

32. Karnan (1964)

177 min | Action, Drama, War

Brave and loyal warrior-archer Karna joins the Kauravas to battle the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra.

Director: B. Ramakrishnaiah Panthulu | Stars: Shivaji Ganesan, Taraka Rama Rao Nandamuri, Ashokan, R. Muthuraman

Votes: 297

33. Mouna Ragam (1986)

146 min | Drama, Romance

Divya, a woman grieving over the death of her lover, is convinced into an arranged marriage with Chandra Kumar. Over a year the couple attempt to adjust to each other's presence and live with each other.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Karthik, Mohan, V.K. Ramasami, Revathy

Votes: 2,358

34. Kanchivaram (2008)

117 min | Drama

An aging man named Vengadam (Prakash Raj) is being released from jail in 1948. He is only being escorted for two days (the reason not revealed) back to his hometown of Kanchipuram. He is ... See full summary »

Director: Priyadarshan | Stars: Prakash Raj, Shreya Reddy, Shammu, Sreekumar

Votes: 450

35. Veyyil (2006)

136 min | Drama

Story of two brothers told from the perspective of older brother who recalls his childhood memories where he runs away from home and returns after 20 years. The rest of the film is all ... See full summary »

Director: Vasanthabalan | Stars: Pasupathy, Bharath Srinivasan, Bhavana, Priyanka Nair

Votes: 605

36. Kadhal Kottai (1996)

Drama, Romance

Kamali (Devayani) lives with her sister and brother-in-law in Ooty and is searching for a job. While in Madras, her purse is stolen and she fears she has lost her university certificates. ... See full summary »

Director: Ahathian | Stars: Ajith Kumar, Devayani, Sabitha Anand, Karan

Votes: 785

38. Apoorva Raagangal (1975)

Not Rated | 144 min | Romance

Drama and melodrama follow two relationships involving single parents.

Director: K. Balachander | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Jayasudha, Nagesh, Rajinikanth

Votes: 261

40. Azhagi (2002)

155 min | Drama, Romance

A married man's fidelity is tested when a childhood crush needs his help.

Director: Thangar Bachan | Stars: Parthiban, Nandita Das, Devayani, Sayaji Shinde

Votes: 235

41. Karuththamma (1995)

153 min | Drama, Romance

Set in rural villages in tamilnadu.The film looks at female infanticide and the hatred that surrounds the birth of a female child.infanticide was uncomplained in those days A father blames ... See full summary »

Director: Bharathiraja | Stars: Maheshwari, Rajshri Nair, Periyadhasan, Raja

Votes: 113

42. Vedam Puthithu (1987)

144 min | Drama

Rules are broken in the traditional village society where an upper- caste orphaned boy is brought up by the village Chieftain.

Director: Bharathiraja | Stars: Amala Akkineni, Charu Haasan, Janagaraj, Raja

Votes: 163

43. Varumayin Niram Sigappu (1980)

Not Rated | 138 min | Drama

Poetical forces play in the life of an unemployed yet well educated young man.He finds the depth and the beauty of his principles yet fate leaves him in destitution

Director: K. Balachander | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Sridevi, Dilip, S. Ve. Sekar

Votes: 699

44. Server Sundaram (1964)

165 min | Comedy, Drama

A poor server at a restaurant goes on to become a film actor so that he can afford to marry the woman he loves. However, when he comes to know that the woman he loves does not love him, and... See full summary »

Directors: R. Krishnan, S. Panju | Stars: R. Muthuraman, Nagesh, K.R. Vijaya

Votes: 184

45. Mullum Malarum (1978)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

A boorish villager butts heads with a newly appointed engineer from the city.

Director: J. Mahendran | Stars: Sarath Babu, Jayalakshmi, Rajinikanth, Shobha

Votes: 482

46. Uthiri Pookkal (1979)

143 min | Drama

A hedonist/sadist makes life hell for everyone around him.

Director: J. Mahendran | Stars: Ashwini, Sarath Babu, Sunder, Vijayan

Votes: 187

48. Pathinaru Vayathinile (1977)

Not Rated | 139 min | Action, Drama, Romance

The movie revolves around the struggle and vulnerability of 16-year old Mayil (Sridevi) when in love.

Director: Bharathiraja | Stars: Sridevi, Gandhimathi, Goundamani, Bhagyaraj

Votes: 747

49. Alaigal Ooivathilai (1981)

Not Rated | 139 min | Drama, Romance

A hindu born boy loves a christian born girl. Both families are opposing their love. And the hero threatened by girl's brother

Director: Bharathiraja | Stars: Karthik, Radha, Silk Smitha, Goundamani

Votes: 83

50. Muthal Mariyathai (1985)

Not Rated | 163 min | Drama

A friendship between a middle-aged upper-caste man in a village and a boatman's daughter raises eyebrows.

Director: Bharathiraja | Stars: Shivaji Ganesan, Radha, Ranjini, Sathyaraj

Votes: 293