Best Tamil movies - Top 100(150*) (1990-2018)

by Sal1991 | created - 25 Jan 2014 | updated - 31 Mar 2019 | Public

Irrespective of highest grossing hit/flop, heroism/one-man show, the list is primarily based on the strong story, acting, screenplay, milestones and respected as cult classics in different periods of time since 90's.

I have extended my list to 150 on popular demand for their favourite and deserving movies.

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1. 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, Revathi

Votes: 7,243

Thevarmagan - An unforgettable Tamil movie of all time and what a remarkable performances from those legends. Complete Rarity

2. 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: 12,302

It is purely a Mani Ratnam's product rather than two lead actors polished it. Got to watch it in Original DVD, still, the movie looks new and refreshing after the 20th number of times. Cleverly amalgamated in all departments. Especially cinematography and the intense of color usage showed in it is outstanding, The BGM is a masterpiece and the songs are equally dynamic. The Perfectly crafted Tamil movie ever.

3. 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: 23,186

Anbe sivam -Love is God. Still, I won't believe that Sundar.C did this movie as a director. Kamal Hassan was very natural to the character. Madhavan was good at his part. Dialogues were outstanding.

4. Iruvar (1997)

140 min | Biography, Drama

A struggling actor and a writer-politician become friends as young men and rise to great heights in cinema and politics respectively. But when both become contenders for the top political post in the state, a rift develops between them.

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

Votes: 6,224

Iruvar- An epic of two Tamil political iconic people. Brave attempt ever made in Tamil Cinema.

5. Kannathil Muthamittal (2002)

Not Rated | 136 min | Action, Drama, War

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

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

Votes: 8,608

Kannathil Muthamittal - Another masterpiece from Mani Ratnam

6. Visaaranai (2015)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Four labourers are tortured by the police to confess to a theft they have not committed.

Director: Vetrimaaran | Stars: Dinesh, Samuthirakani, Anandhi, Murugadass

Votes: 10,835

Visaaranai is a unique masterpiece. Now it is Underrated but wait for a decade to come

7. Virumandi (2004)

Not Rated | 175 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

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: 6,484

Tamil Rashomon from kamal kurosawa :)

8. Aaranya Kaandam (2010)

Not Rated | 126 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

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: 4,854

Kollywood's Pulp fiction and the first Neo-noir for Tamil - Aaranya Kandam

9. Kattradhu Thamizh (2007)

147 min | Drama, Mystery

A young post-graduate faces difficulties with finding employment, and struggles against social inequalities.

Director: Ram | Stars: Jiiva, Anjali, Karunas, Azhagam Perumal

Votes: 3,236

This is the ultimate raw movie never seen before in Tamil cinema. You can do 100 movies but none to this one. It is tough to think, write and deliver as a movie. But it was done by Debutante Ram

10. Kaakkaa Muttai (2014)

91 min | Comedy, Drama

Two slum kids yearn to taste a pizza after being enticed by the pizza shop that has opened near their locality. What happens when they manage to find the money to buy one?

Director: M. Manikandan | Stars: Ramesh Thilaganathan, J. Vignesh, Aishwarya Rajesh, Ramesh Thilak

Votes: 7,130

Probably the simplest movie which impacted powerful applause in various film festivals

11. 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: 13,024 | Gross: $0.27M

Fiction at its peak. But, yes, cliches included.

12. Guna (1991)

Not Rated | 167 min | Drama, Romance

A neurodivergent individual escapes the family he despises and the asylum he is kept in by creating fantasies.

Director: Santhana Bharathi | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Roshini, Rekha, Varalakshmi S.

Votes: 2,786

A Genuine lover, who thinks the world is mentally challenged.

13. Anjali (1990)

Not Rated | 150 min | Drama

After a few years, Chitra learns that her child, who was believed to be dead, is alive but is suffering from a mental illness. However, her family faces many challenges while looking after her child.

Director: Mani Ratnam | Stars: Shamili, Revathi, Raghuvaran, Tarun

Votes: 3,033

Looks like E.T. of Tamil Cinema. But, still a way ahead from the original, because of its content

14. 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: 12,990

Legendary debut for A.R.Rahman and nobody can convince Ooty as Kashmir like Santhosh Sivan

15. Jigarthanda (2014)

Not Rated | 171 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

An aspiring director targets a ruthless gangster because he wants to make a violent gangster film. His discreet attempts to research the gangster fail miserably. Finally when he gets caught snooping, things hit the fan.

Director: Karthik Subbaraj | Stars: Siddharth, Bobby Simha, Lakshmi Menon, Nassar

Votes: 12,048

This is the best wacky roller coaster film of this decade"

16. Aruvi (2016)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama

A gentle girl born and brought up amidst the ever growing eco-social-consumeristic environment finds it difficult to fit in the society. She decides to take it hard on the people. What she does is the rest of the story.

Director: Arun Prabhu Purushothaman | Stars: Aditi Balan, Padmashri Mohammad Ali, Pradeep Anthony, Arnold

Votes: 13,184

The recent sensation

17. Pithamagan (2003)

Not Rated | 139 min | Action, Drama

Chittan, a social outcast, has grown up in a cemetery. A drug dealer finds him a job in a cannabis farm. In prison, he meets a conman, Shakti. This friendship transforms him from his stony existence.

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

Votes: 6,890

The 'Cause and effect' for the graveyard man, who comes to live in society

18. Pudhu Pettai (2006)

Not Rated | 168 min | Action, Crime, Drama

After running away from his home, Kumar falls in with a gang and slowly rises through the ranks of the criminal underworld.

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

Votes: 6,667

A beautifully narrated gangster movie and Kokki Kumar is remarkable

19. Joker (2016)

Not Rated | 130 min | Comedy, Drama

Mannar Mannan, an ordinary villager, decides to call himself the president of the country and starts fighting against the injustices he comes across in his society. What's his agenda?

Directors: Raju Murugan, Raju Saravanan | Stars: Guru Somasundaram, Ramya Pandian, Gayathri, Mu Ramaswamy

Votes: 3,524

Brilliantly done with noble sense

20. Bombay (1995)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, 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, Nassar, Kitty

Votes: 12,791

Bold movie from Mani ratnam. This movie will never happen in today's political condition

21. Mahanadi (1994)

162 min | Crime, Drama

An innocent man is framed in a financial scam and imprisoned. After his release, he learns that his daughter was sold into prostitution and he struggles to free her.

Director: Santhana Bharathi | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Sukanya, Poornam Vishwanathan, Mahanadhi Shobana

Votes: 4,119

A message for the society and its done. It is regarded as one of the saddest film of Tamil cinema ever produced though it has a slightly positive end

22. Indian (1996)

Not Rated | 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, Sukanya, Manisha Koirala, Urmila Matondkar

Votes: 12,724

Indian Hero at the age of 75. A typical shankar movie with the interesting characterization and screenplay

23. Kuruthipunal (1995)

Not Rated | 143 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

Suave and scintillating, this fast-paced action thriller follows the adventures and investigations of a group of honest police officers, who go undercover to bring down a terror network.

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

Votes: 4,405

The best remake film in a contemporary style. For the first time ever in cinema, remake is better than original

24. Thavamai Thavamiruntu (2005)

180 min | Drama

The film sensitively portrays the struggles of a father whose main priority in life is the well being of his children, and who is determined to see his children grow up to become decent, successful persons.

Director: Cheran | Stars: Cheran, Raj Kiran, Padmapriya, Saranya Ponvannan

Votes: 536

The story of a father who struggle hard for his family for 30 years to make his 2 sons to be well socialzed in life and his meaningful life with his partner and grandchildren till his death.

25. 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: 3,694

A rural warrior and his love destroyed completely at the end- The best rural movie post 2000

26. Michael Madana Kama Rajan (1990)

Not Rated | 162 min | Comedy

A comedy of errors with identical quadruplets, separated at birth, coming together as adults.

Director: Singeetam Srinivasa Rao | Stars: Kamal Haasan, Urvashi, Rupini, Kushboo

Votes: 4,671

An undulated good comedy entertainer. The resembled cast with the funny, witty dialogues brings the nostalgia within us all time around

27. Autograph (2004)

168 min | Romance

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, Kaniha

Votes: 1,137

Senthil recalls all his beautiful past-present memories during his journey for distributing marriage card to his friends and well wishers

28. Mudhalvan (1999)

Not Rated | 169 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A man accepts a challenge to act as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for one day only, and makes such a success of it that soon he is embroiled in political intrigue.

Director: S. Shankar | Stars: Arjun Sarja, Manisha Koirala, Raghuvaran, Vadivelu

Votes: 7,818

A fascinating political fantasy film did commercially entertained

29. Vazhakku Enn 18/9 (2012)

Not Rated | 124 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A girl gets in trouble when her boyfriend films her private moments on his mobile phone without her knowledge.

Director: Balaji Sakthivel | Stars: Sri, Mithun Murali, Urmila Mahanta, Manisha Yadav

Votes: 2,302

A real time case which was perfectly elevated with an emotional end

30. Vikram Vedha (2017)

Not Rated | 147 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Vikram, a no-nonsense police officer, accompanied by Simon, his partner, is on the hunt to capture Vedha, a smuggler and a murderer. Vedha tries to change Vikram's life, which leads to a conflict.

Directors: Gayatri, Pushkar, Gowtham Selvaraj | Stars: Madhavan, Vijay Sethupathi, Shraddha Srinath, Kathir

Votes: 43,127

Very well scripted movie in recent times. The Whole cast was stunning in the film. "Alto respecto" to the director duo Pushkar and Gayathri!!

31. Alaipayuthey (2000)

Not Rated | 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: 6,618

Epic, refreshing love story of all time in Tamil. Period. I second this to Mouna Ragam - Alaipayuthey

32. Sethu (1999)

130 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A violent youngster and a shy Brahmin girl fall in love but tragedy intervenes when the youngster is brain-damaged following a fight.

Director: Bala | Stars: Vikram, Abitha, Sivakumar, Sriman

Votes: 2,714

Love is beautiful yet painful

33. Subramaniapuram (2008)

Not Rated | 145 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

Azhagar and his friend Paraman kill the person who humiliated Kanugu's brother and surrenders themselves to the police. However, they soon learn that Kanugu has betrayed them.

Director: M. Sasikumar | Stars: Jai, M. Sasikumar, Swathi Reddy, 'Ganja' Karuppu

Votes: 2,026

An eyeopener for the industry at the time of its release

34. Soodhu Kavvum (2013)

Not Rated | 135 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller

Das, with his team, kidnap Arumai, son of a politician, who has been planning his own kidnapping to extract money from his father. Problems arise, when an insane cop is brought to handle the case.

Director: Nalan Kumarasamy | Stars: Vijay Sethupathi, Sanchita Shetty, Radha Ravi, M.S. Bhaskar

Votes: 10,512

Hilarious black comedy entertainer ever seen in Tamil cinema

35. Aadukalam (2011)

Not Rated | 160 min | Action, Drama, Sport

In a village in South India, rearing roosters, maintaining them and using them for fights are a way of life and a matter of honor and lifeline to many people.

Director: Vetrimaaran | Stars: Dhanush, Taapsee Pannu, Jayabalan, Kishore Kumar G.

Votes: 6,429

Pride of tamil cinema and its culture. This made a new record for tamil industry in national awards

36. Pizza (II) (2012)

Not Rated | 127 min | Horror, Thriller

A pizza delivery boy lands in a mysterious circumstance and it works a dramatic change in his life.

Director: Karthik Subbaraj | Stars: Vijay Sethupathi, Ramya Nambeeshan, Aadukalam Naren, Karunakaran

Votes: 8,010

This film is the strong reply for 'The Sixth Sense'

37. Anniyan (2005)

Not Rated | 181 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

Ramanujam, who suffers from multiple personality disorder, works as a lawyer by day and a vigilante at night. He uses tips from the 'Garuda Purana' as his tools to expose various antisocial elements.

Director: S. Shankar | Stars: Vikram, Sada, Prakash Raj, Vivek

Votes: 18,640

The Unforgettable characters played by Vikram and the powerful Sujatha's dialogues of this decade

38. The Wolf and the Goat (2013)

Not Rated | 141 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

A kid saves a dangerous dying fugitive and triggers off a chase between the hunter and the hunted and soon, the definitions blur.

Director: Mysskin | Stars: Mysskin, Sri, Adithya Menon, Bharath

Votes: 2,768

Myskkin is wonderful even without the songs and big cast

39. Baasha (1995)

Not Rated | 145 min | Action, Crime, Drama

An auto driver, Manikam, desperately tries to hide his dark underworld side to keep his promise to his father.

Director: Suresh Krishna | Stars: Rajinikanth, Nagma, Raghuvaran, Vijay Kumar

Votes: 10,504

Tailor made film for Rajinikanth. His fans are fingertipped with each and every frame of this film

40. Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom (2012)

155 min | Comedy, Drama

A young man forgets a few years of his life, even as he is about to get married.

Director: Balaji Tharaneetharan | Stars: Vijay Sethupathi, Gayathrie, Bagavathi Perumal, Rajkumar

Votes: 5,957

Never seen, Never heard comedy entertainer

41. Ayitha Ezhuthu (2004)

Not Rated | 160 min | Action, 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: 4,673

A misunderstood political satire for future generation

42. Vishwaroopam (2013)

Not Rated | 148 min | Action, Thriller

When a classical dancer's suspecting wife sets an investigator behind him, a series of violent events are triggered, revealing his real identity and connection to a darker world.

Director: Kamal Haasan | Stars: Pooja Kumar, Miles Anderson, Kamal Haasan, Rahul Bose

Votes: 40,275

Technically well made entertainer. Waiting for part 2.

43. Paradesi (2013)

126 min | Drama, History

Before independence during the 1940's depicts the lives of poor carefree villagers who are lured to work in Tea plantation farms and how they are forced to live rest of their lives as slaves with no traces of hope and freedom.

Director: Bala | Stars: Atharvaa Murali, Vedhika, Dhansika, Jerry

Votes: 1,975

Paradesi - Only Bala can think a film like this

44. Theeran Adhigaram Ondru (2017)

Not Rated | 157 min | Action, Crime, Thriller