Top Malaysian Movies: 12 Amazing Stories Streaming + Vocab

When talking about international cinema, what springs to mind are the Japanese samurai epics of Akira Kurosawa, the new French wave of Jean-Luc Godard, and the baroque fantasies of Federico Fellini, but what about Malaysian movies? If you are fed up with streaming the same old Hollywood flicks repeatedly, why not spice things up and check out some classic and modern Malay movies? So, without further ado, here are the best Malay movies that you absolutely must watch.

Whether you’re just beginning to learn Malay or are a seasoned film buff who relishes immersing yourself in a foreign culture by watching movies, you’ll find plenty of resources at your fingertips in Malaysian cinema. Furthermore, Malaysia is the perfect place to make your debut as a young filmmaker.

The Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival in the Sky is one of Malaysia’s most well-known events. It aims to promote mutually beneficial ties between aspiring and established filmmakers worldwide via the medium of film. See? As you pursue your passions, you can also improve your command of Malay.

Then, how about we take a look back at the origins of filmmaking in Malaysia?

The Golden Age Of Malaysian Cinema

Leila Majnun, a film based on a traditional Persian story of tragic love, marked the beginning of the Malaysian film industry in 1933. The production was directed by B.S. Rajhans and staged by the Singaporean Motilal Chemical Company of Bombay, with a cast drawn from a local opera club. Of course, the decades of the 1950s and 1960s are commonly referred to as Malaysia’s “Golden Era” of cinema. Over 300 Malay-language features were released during this time, giving rise to a thriving industry and unique local movie culture.

There must be lists of the most popular Malaysian films in Malaysian history. But before diving into those lists, let’s review some film-related Malay words in the table below.

Malay Vocabulary Related To Movies

watching Malaysian Movies

If you’re learning Malay and want to talk about movies, here are some words you’ll find helpful.

English WordMalay Word
ActressPelakon wanita
ScreenwriterPenulis skrin
ScreenplayLakon layar
SoundtrackLagu suara

Top Malaysian Movies Streaming Online

Top Malaysian Movies

 It’s time to check out some fantastic Malaysian films available online.

#1 Paskal

Paskal is the elite unit special operations force of The Royal Malaysian Navy or the Pasukan Khas Laut. The movie is based on the true story of Lieutenant Commander Arman Anwar of Paskal and his team’s effort to rescue the crew of the tanker MV Bunga Laurel from Somali pirates in 2011. It’s an action-packed film set in Malaysia that was released in 2018 and was directed by Adrian Teh. The movie has heart-stopping action, incredible special effects, and a great cast, including Tiger Chen, Jasmine Suraya Chin, and Hairul Azreen.

#2 Sergeant Hassan

The historical event of the Japanese invasion of Malaya during World War II inspires the plot. A young guy shows great courage and bravery by enlisting in the Royal Malay Regimen to oppose the Japanese occupation of Malaya.

#3 The Assistant

The Assistant, an action-adventure film from Malaysia, is now available on Netflix. It’s the dramatic story of a guy who loses his whole family while doing time in prison. Zafik, burdened by the loss of his wife and kid and the years he spent in prison, sets out on an aggressive, violent journey to track down their murderers and his revenge upon them once he is finally out. Surprisingly, he has an unexpected buddy who helps him out along the way.

#4 Roh

Independent Malay language folk horror film directed by Emir Ezwan. The Malay-language horror film Roh (meaning “soul” in English) is one of a new breed of locally produced, folklore-inspired horror movies that are making a splash in Southeast Asia. In this story, a mysterious girl makes a terrifying prediction after paying a visit to a single mother and her two young children.

#5 Frontliner

Four heroes—two police officers, a doctor, and a school principal—are at the heart of this film by director Razif Rashid. The audience should come away from the film having a better understanding of the difficulties these folks face during the pandemic’s peak.

#6 Ola Bola

Ola Bola is a heartwarming sports drama about a Malaysian football team in the 1980s. The story follows the team members as they strive to overcome personal struggles and disagreements against the backdrop of economic hardship in 1980s Malaysian society.

The movie is based on a historical event and is a tribute to the multicultural players who brought pride to their country. The film is a must-watch for sports enthusiasts and anyone who loves a zero-to-hero underdog story. Ola Bola was written and directed by Keng Guan Chiu (the director behind the 2014 smash hit and highest-grossing Malay film in Malaysian history, The Journey) and stars J. C. Chee, Luqman Hafidz, and Saran Kumar.

#7 Hang Tuah

This Malay movie tells the story of legendary 15th-century admiral Hang Tuah and his rise and fall under the Malacca Sultanate. This tale of friendship, love, betrayal, and the search for justice was the first in the Malaysian film industry to be shot in Eastmancolor. It was nominated for the prestigious Golden Bear gong at the Berlin Film Festival. Helmed by Indian director Phani Majumdar, this is a must-watch for anyone who enjoys a few songs and a touch of Bollywood magic.

#8 Munafik

If you’re in the mood for a good horror movie, then Munafik (Eng: Hypocrite) is a perfect choice. The film follows a traditional religious, medical practitioner named Adam, who has lost his faith. Unable to come to terms with his wife’s death in a car accident, Adam loses confidence in himself and his work.

He meets and agrees to treat the depressed Maria, who ends up getting possessed by an evil spirit, and things start to get weird. Munafik is a chilling and suspenseful movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you enjoy Munafik, then Munafik 2 is currently one of the Malaysian movies streaming online now.

#9 Hantu Kak Limah

Hantu Kak Limah is a hilarious horror-comedy that follows a group of friends who accidentally bring back the ghost of their deceased neighbor who comes back to haunt them. The film is a fun-filled romp that will have you laughing and screaming in equal measure. Written and directed by Mamat Khalid and starring Awie, Delimawati, and Zul Ariffin, if you enjoy this movie, be sure to seek out the other Malay films in the series.

#10 Sepet

Sepet is a classic Malaysian romantic drama about a Chinese-Malay girl who falls in love with a Malay boy. The film tackles issues of race, identity, romance, and forbidden love in Malaysia and is a must-watch for anyone interested in the country’s culture and history. Directed by Yasmin Ahmed and starring Choo Seong Ng, Sharifah Amani, and Linus Chung.

#11 Polis Evo

An action-packed buddy cop movie that follows two police officers as they try to take down Malaysia’s most notorious drug lord. Khai is a hardened city cop who has to team up to fight back with a happy-go-lucky small-town policeman Sani. The film has some incredible action sequences and moments of heart-warming humor. Sani and Khai overcome their differences to go head-to-head with the cartel. If you’re looking for a movie that will get your heart racing, then Polis Evo is the one for you. Directed by Ghaz Abu Bakar and starring Shaheizy Sam, Zizan Razak, and Nora Danish.

#11 Adiwiraku

An inspiring movie that tells the story of a teacher who helps her students to achieve academic success despite facing many challenges. The film is based on the true events in a rural school. Cheryl Ann Fernando is an English teacher dealing with a motley crew of students. To inspire them, she enters her kids into a choral speaking competition. Adiwiraku is a must-watch for anyone who believes in the power of education and hard work and how it can help overcome seemingly impossible obstacles in life. Directed by Eric Ong and starring Sangeeta Krishnasamy, Xavier Fong, and Ahmed Adnin Zidane Muslim.

#12 Jagat

Jagat is a coming-of-age/crime drama about a young boy, Appoy, who grew up in a rough neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur in the early 1990s. Appoy is torn between his father’s wishes for him to excel at school and his uncle’s world of crime. The film tackles issues of poverty, crime, and family relationships in Malaysia at a time when Malaysian Indians were being forced to move out of their homes in the countryside and into crowded cities. Jagat is a powerful, semi-autobiographical film directed by Shanjhey Kumar Perumal and starring Harvind Raj, Jibrail Rajhula, and Kuben Mahadevan.

In Summary

Movies are entertaining and open your eyes to learn more about the culture. Like watching Malaysian films, you’ll see Malaysian society, tradition, expression, cultural differences, politics, etc. But, more than that, watching Malay movies will help your listening skills and help you gain more vocabulary to use in the future. So, start watching Malay movies from now on and try to adapt some phrases in daily conversation!

Learn Malay with Ling

Learn Malay With Ling Now!

It is common knowledge that watching Malay films can help you learn the language, but it might not be enough. Therefore, you need alternative ways to boost your proficiency, and we can tell you what the option is.

If you’re interested in Malay and want to expand your linguistic horizons simultaneously, Ling is the app for you! We provide lessons in over 60 languages and a wealth of resources to help you succeed in your studies. So learn Malay whenever and whatever suits you best. You may also enjoy several entertaining features, like mini-games, puzzles, and an intelligent chatbot, to help you enhance your listening skills and adapt to native accents, making it a far superior option to reading textbooks.

Most Malay learners chose Ling to help them succeed, so why not join them? Download the Ling app from Google Play Store and Apple App Store now, and prepare to be fluent in Malay soon!

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