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Malaysian Movies: 16 Absolute All-Time Favorites

September 20, 2022

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Whether it's a comedy, romance, crime, horror, or drama about life - whatever your taste, some stories, and scenes rise above others, and you will remember them for a lifetime. Here is a recommended list of all-time favorite Malaysian movies to do just that!

Often people like watching movies with friends or family. In the past, I would return home and watch a movie with my sister. Actual events are always movies that people can relate to, making the film genuine. These movies turn out to win many awards for portraying a life story on screen

Malaysia & Movies

Movies started in Malaysia in 1933 with a famous tale of two lovers, a woman, and a man - Leila Majnun. It is based on a Persian story and was adapted into many movies and cultures in other countries. Few more films were released until the Japanese invasion hit Malaysia.

The Malaysian film industry had to take the back seat for a while. Malaysian history tells us that the Japanese occupation was very interested in Malaysia even before the war, in their plantations, small businesses, agriculture, mining, etc. Malaysian movies and cinema was no exception.

There are about 150 cinemas in Malaysia, and they produce about 60 films annually. There are a lot of serial and drama lovers, which results in local producers creating over 300 serials per year! The characters are so inspired by life that there is a huge demand for dramas.

Typical Malaysian Movies

You can find several of these Malaysian movies streaming on Netflix. There is also a Malaysian version of English, Indian and Chinese films on the top charts worldwide. Kuala Lumpur is the hub in Malaysia for cinema, and many movies can be enjoyed in these cinemas that were made in the common interest of the public.

Typical Malaysian movies have a storyline based on a historical event, legend, or daily life drama. Malaysian-Chinese and Malaysian-Tamil movies seem to be doing very well, and they are well designed for Malaysian society.

All-Time Favorite Malaysian Movies

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Here is a compiled list of Malaysian movies:

  • The Journey: It is a comedy film made in 2014. The language is Malaysian-Chinese. The storyline is about a father who permits his daughter to marry an English man. The twist comes with this condition: the father and would-be son-in-law have to travel around the world to deliver wedding invitations!
  • Bohan: It is a thriller movie from 2012 that won several awards, including best director, story, and screenplay. The story is about a puppeteer out of work and revolves around the family's hometown in rural Malaysia, Bohan. Several issues between older and younger brother unfolds. It sheds light on the lives of the people living in that region.
  • Petaling Street Warriors: It is an action-packed film with comedy. Released in 2011, this Malaysian-Chinese movie is a natural entertainer.
  • Vedigundu Pasangge: This is a Malaysian-Tamil film from 2018 with a good dose of comedy drama. The story is about a young man, Theva, who finds himself in weird situations with a shrewd boss. He discovers how to escape in unusual ways.
  • Jarum Halus: Many of Shakespeare's work is adapted into films. This is no exception. This Malaysian drama film made in 2008 is the remake of Othello and is filled with conspiracy and deceit.
  • Flower in the Pocket: It is one of those touching Malaysian movies - about two boys living without love or supervision from their dad. After his wife died, he decided to commit himself only to his work. The children decide to adopt a stray puppy, and things begin to change.
  • The Red Kebaya: This is about a guy taking pictures of abandoned houses. His work takes him to an island in Penang. He begins photographing a place that takes him back 50 years. He then discovers a friend, the Red Kebaya.
  • Paskal: This is an exciting movie made about the Malaysian royal navy. The lead actors are an elite unit with a mission to rescue and claim back a stolen tanker by Somalian pirates.
  • Puteri Gunung Ledang: Puteri gunung ledang means "The Princess of Mount Ledang". The movie is about forbidden love between a Malaccan Sultan and a princess who lives on top of Gunung Ledang. It is a fantasy film based on Malaysian legends. Many Malaysian movies are based on legends and folklores.
  • Sepet: The word Sepet can be translated to "slit eyes" in Chinese. It is a romantic movie for teens in which a Chinese boy falls in love with a Malay girl.
  • The Big Durian: This is the perfect combo of a documentary and a fiction movie. It was released in 2003. It is an exciting movie depicting modern Malaysia and many political, religious, and social issues. The film is based in Kuala Lumpur, where riots and panic unleash the city into chaos.
  • Hang Tuah: Hang Tuah is the name of a warrior and legendary admiral of Malacca that lived in the 15th century. He was one of the greatest rulers of the Malay people. This film was made in 1956 and was the first Malay color movie.
  • Layar Lara: This is a comedy about a young actress. The girl is quite spoiled but later understands friends and true friendship. This Malaysian movie is a classic.
  • Maindhan: This is an action comedy Malaysian Tamil film. It is about a guy who has a complicated romance. He later meets a boy from a shelter and finds many things about him that are similar to his past love. 
  • Zombi Kampung Pisang: This can be translated to Banana Village's Zombies. It is a Malaysian comedy horror movie. The director himself is originally from Kampung Pisang. Mysterious incidents occur in the village; villagers encounter zombies and have a pretty comical reaction.
  • Hantu Kak Limah: The translation of the title is the ghost of Kak Limah that was discovered in Kampung Pisang. It is also a comedy horror film. In fact, it's part of a sequel of comedy horrors that was a massive success among Malaysian movies.

Learn Malay With Ling

Learn Malay with Ling
Learn Malay With Ling

Malaysian movies are certainly a fantastic way to learn the Malay language. If you search, you can find many resources and ways to learn Malay. But Malaysian movies would be my biggest suggestion. It gives an insight into the culture and people, and pronunciations and tones are heard, demonstrated, and understood; it is fun with learning.

Another site to check out for language learning is Ling. If you want to start a journey to Malaysia, embark on learning the language - even if it's basics, with Ling. It has many lessons to choose from and requires no money. You will be able to learn on the go and at your own pace! It will help as a travel buddy for language learning in any part of the world.

Try out this gamified app to learn Malay today! It will be game-changing in your language learning.

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