50 Tamil Movies to watch before you Die

A list of 50 hand picked movies in Tamil, which you should not miss. A few pointers before reading about all these movies.

  • I am not doing any kind of rating here. I am not an expert to do so. I am just making a list of wonderful movies in Tamil Cinema, which I believe are master pieces
  • I am trying to go back and forth the years in order to make the posts different from each other..its a deliberate attempt to make the posts more interesting
  • I am not writing about the movies just by researching Internet. I have seen all the movies at least once (most of them more than once) and so the movies are definitely hand picked

Click the individual links to read individual posts about the movies…

1. Andha Naal (1950)

2. Chandralekha (1950)

3. Ratha Kaneer (1954)

4. Madras to Pondicherry (1966)

5. Parasakthi (1952)

6. Sabapathy (1941)

7. Server Sundaram (1964)

8. Digambara Samiyar (1950)

9. Thiruvilayadal (1965)

10. Anbe Vaa (1966)

11. Kappalotiya Thamizhan (1961)

12. Enga Veetu Pillai (1965)

13. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq (1971)

14. Sila Nerangalil Sila Manidhargal (1976)

15. Naan Avan Illai (1974)

16. Thillana Mohanambal (1968)

17. 16 Vayadhinile(1977)

18. Sigappu Rojakkal(1978)

19. Mullum Malarum (1978)

20. Udhiripookal(1979)PESUM-PADAM-200x285

21. Oru Thalai Raagam (1980)

22. Indru Poi Naalai Vaa (1981)

23. Oomai Vizhigal

24. Pesum Padam (1987)

25. Pasi (1979) 

26. Moondram Pirai (1982)

27. Thaneer Thanneer (1981)

28. Mundhanai Mudichu (1983)

29. Aan Paavam (1986)


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  1. chitra


    ur blog is too good..

    50 tamil movies to watch b4 u die -i find only 19 movies could u share the remaining set –

    • Sylvian

      Dear Chitra, it’s a series blog, I write the blog after watching the movie once more, research on some interesting trivia and analysing the movie. COntinue to visit , you will find the entire list coming up in sometime

  2. sabharish

    Gud list mate… waiting for Johnny!!! and few KB’s masterpiece…
    Keep up the work!

    • Sylvian

      Thanks for the comment buddy.. The next one will be up this week :)

  3. Dear Sylvian,

    I have just come across this when i was browsing some other pages. Wonderful I should say. Man, it takes a lot of effort and penchant for writing to bring this kind of blogs. I wanted to do for a long time but i dont make myself any time to do that. But, seeing yours, I am very impressed and motivated. Wonderfully analyzed, well picked movies, i still need to check the remaining, but, neverthless, great effort. Informative. keep blogging. Siva, Dubai

  4. RamyaRamesh

    completely loves your list, i totally agree with your views. i am surprised that u took note of “UDHIRIPOOKAL”, everytime i listen to “azhakiya kanne” , i feel sad that it has never taken centrestage. also, i expected to see K.BALACHANDER ‘S “aval oru thodarkathai” for sujatha s powerful female centric role, “moondru mudichi”, ” oru nadigai nadagam parkiral” for lakshmi and jayakanthan , “bama vijayam” an all time classic humour, ……… i ll just keep adding, wonderful to see a movie buff, waiting to see your list:)

    • Sylvian

      Hey Ramya

      Thanks for the comment. Udhiripookal according to me is a classic and if it was sent to the oscars it would have won laurels for us. It should have been venerated, glorified and kept in the pinnacle of Indian Cinema Hall of fame. Period.

      I dabbled on all your KB movies. In fact I almost wrote Aval oru Thodarkadhai but I can’t keep on adding KB movies to the list. I have to list films till 2010 and I haven’t set my foot on the golden era of Tamil Cinema :) Wait for other movies, you will not complain. Nice to meet another movie buff like me.

  5. ganesan

    Fabulous research

  6. Well done Sylvian -many people around the world want to do this but you have done it – kudos – I for one keep making lists but did not share – you have done a marvellous job starting with 1950 is good other wise you will end up with a lot more – and the idea of short-listing hard – ask any HR person who is doing interviews – they will know….golden age of tamil films – you mean you have not covered those – are you referring to the 70’s and 80’s ??…waiting to get to see the full 50 and then have a huge film festival….

  7. I have watched just a measly ten. Should catch up. Thanks for the list.

    Joy always,

    • Sylvian

      Some of them are quite rare to get it on a DVD.. :) Try watching all the movies. It will be interesting

  8. Motor Sundaram Pillai and Uyarndha Manidhan were two classic understated performances by the great man.

  9. Anouch

    Hi, just found out about your blog, and this serie is priceless for people like me, non Indian South Indian Cinemas lovers ^^ Quite difficult to find old movies with subs , but I’ve already seen a few classics (at least 5 from your list). Keep up the good work! Cheers from France.

    • Sylvian

      Hey Anouch, Thanks for your reply. This is the reason why I started this series and I am happy that it had reached the right people. Keep watching and your comment has made my day :)

  10. Venkatesh

    Will your list have Nayagan &Thevar magan – master pieces of Kamal??

    • Ranga Badri

      No, she iwon’t have the two movies you pointed out. Nayagan is a copy of Godfather — any ding-dong could have made that movie. Thevar Magan is one way to make sure no one competes with Kamal by simply killing off Sivaji Ganesan in the movie and letting Kamal take up the role of village chief — this role is simply a stand-in for the mantle of ruling Tamil cinema acting (and womanizing), so Thevar Magan won’t be listed.

      Let’s be original please, with no hidden agendas or political messages being transmitted through cinema.

      • Ramakrishnan

        Hi Ranga Badri, I wont agree you. I hope you have not yet watched The Godfather. I have seen both The Godfather and Nayagan. They may be seemed to be on a same boat, but they are always distinct and unique among themselves. Nayagan is always and a evergreen classic. When it comes to Thevar Magan, it is a perfect script and a wonderful film, Tamil Cinema has ever produced. So in Tamil Cinema’s crown of wonderful films, Nayagan and Thevar Magan are always astonishing and evergreen feathers.

  11. Srinivas

    sad tat i cldnt find masterpieces like sindhu bhairavi and a few other great creations of KB included :( lukn forward fr de updated list :) bt yeh i shd say tat its a grt collection and the movie silla nerangalil sila manidhatrgal is my favorite as well :)

  12. Nice article on Tamil Cinema when you only hear of Hollywood and Bollywood bragging about themselves. Looking forward for more article on tamil cinema.


    Hi Sylvian
    I used to do list our the best movies i have seen so far…….and most of them are in your list…i thnik ur list may also contain Aval appadithan, Salangai Oli, Jhonny, Raja Paarvai, Mahanadhi, Punnagai Mannan, Anbe sivam, Nizhalgal, 6-60 varai…et..al….I have watched each of these movies…8-10 times in the last 10 years…

  14. sharon

    what about velli vizha by Balachander with Gemini?

  15. hi buddy,
    It’s a wonderful list…I have watched and enjoyed most of the movies for your list…Your post is really awesome….

  16. Gowtham R

    very good research. waiting for the list to be completed.

  17. Priya Mehra

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUO42O22z8g This is one of the best Movie to Watch !!

  18. Prasanna

    Buddy…. can you please add your list. Waiting for remaining 28 movies. Awaiting trivia and couple of things you say about the movie. I watch these movies again for that. so Please add.

  19. Sai Raghu


    Great blog.TCI’s(Tamil cinema Illetarates) must read this.

  20. Priya

    hai bro i felt very happy to see the wonderful collection n u c when i want to think about my good old days i will see Mullum Malarum and Uthiri pookkal and after seeing i will cry still i dont know why? it takes me to my youth and it will create some sort of chemical reaction in my body and mind if anybody is having the same sort of feeling let me know that please

    • Sylvian

      Of course, Priya, that’s why I am reliving the nostalgia by writing this list. I think everyone goes to that world when they revisit these movies

  21. elavarasan

    awaiting for next updation.

  22. Govindasamy Parthiban

    Dear Sir,

    Love your writing and appreciate your movie choices. I hope with your vast knowledge, you will be able to help me. I want to see the old tamil murder/mystery movie – one by one some one gets killed and in the final scene it is revealed that the murderer hid his identity by being in a wheel chair all the time. It is classic movie that i want to show my two daughters and i hope you can help me.

    Thank you for your time and love the honest reviews – i just hope you will consider Mouna Ragam in your list one of the days

    • writeraishwaryan

      Film name is Nadu iravil by S. Balachandar

  23. Vijay

    one of d finest list i ever read….good job…

  24. I kept swiping my fingers tirelessly on my iPad – searching for lucky No. 24. Until I read your comment. They come in batches. Fine. Yours truly will wait, patiently, fingers crossed that some present day movies will be listed too. The Tamil movie industry is evolving magnificently. So many great movies in hand. For me, Alaipayuthey still is Número Uno. Looking forward to read the rest of the list. Take care. God bless. :-)

  25. mellow

    Hi, How about kathalikka neramillai, kalatta kalyanam,nenjam marapathillai, parthal pasi theerum, nallavanukku nallavan, padikkatha methai, karnan, agni satchi, antha 7 natkal, varumayin niram sigappu, sirai, bhuvana oru kelvi kuri,thaneer thaneer,navarathri, iru kodugal list is endless…..

  26. siva

    were is other movies

  27. I am sure Nayakan does not deserve to miss a place in the list (even if you don’t rank it among YOUR BEST!)

  28. siva1612

    FOA.. Kudos on the list. The concept is simply amazing.. I cannot believe that this has been around since 2009 and i found it only this week. The level of research and the trivia are simply superb… Have never encountered anything as such till date in my 9 years of browsing the web…
    Secondly, I’m not going to request any movie addition, as i can see that this is ur list and as it is my firm belief that the movies a person likes is a window into their psyche, I really enjoyed getting to know yours. Also, this is first reply to any blog post so far.
    Further, 2009-2014 … 5 years have gone and the list is not even half finished!!??!!.. I can understand that immense research is there behind each post, but i don’t think i can follow this blog for 5 more years for further updates!!.. Anyway that’s up to u!!
    The comments, in particular from Mrs.Raji, who actually saw the old movies in the theaters are wonderful..

    Keep up the series and kudos once again..

  29. Ajay

    Awesome post..truly all the movies are great in their own ways..mostly watched all the movies posted..When will the other movies in series will be posted..

  30. Very nice Post. If you are interested in Tamil Cinema and want to catchup on the news please visit our site. http://www.vuin.net

  31. Nice list. I came to know DIgambara Samiyaar from here only. Thanks for that. Please have a look at Kalai Arasi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalai_Arasi). I felt great about our directors and science fiction after seeing this movie.

  32. Ramesh

    Getting goosebumps by merely looking at the list!

  33. mani

    Heyyo have u seen this film called miss malini?! If you can get it please let me know.

  34. Ascetic

    Waiting to see further additions to this list

  35. siva1612

    Hi, One Question. Why have u written a piece on Oomai Vizhigal, but is not listed here?

    • Sylvian
      Twitter: sylvianism

      Hey Siva,

      Thanks for pointing out the mistake. I missed it but I have added the link now. Happy to see someone looking it so carefully. You made my day :)

      • siva1612

        Happy to have been of some help.. I guess this shows the eagerness with which we are waiting for the entire series… Seriously, I was so much interested in this series, I searched the entire blog with a fine tooth comb for more… And it paid off tooo…
        2 posts in 2 months.. Hope i could see all 50 by the end of the tear … At least!!

        Kudos again..

  36. writeraishwaryan

    Good work. I am also starting such a list for writing a book. Will u help me, if I trouble u anytime. Writeraishwaryan@gmail.com

  37. Murali

    I love your list. Just wondering where would Lava Kusa fall in this line? It is a wonderful tamil devotional movie with great acting skills from Anjali Devi as Seetha and others….

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