As the new Nollywood thrives and gains global recognition, we must remember to revere the efforts of the old Nollywood to bring us to this current dispensation. From legendary acts like Patience Ozokwor (Mama G), Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki and Paw Paw), Ini Edo, and Rita Dominic to Ramsey Nuoah, Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD), Nkem Owo, and many more, these individuals were instrumental in creating the biggest movie industry in Africa and the second-biggest movie industry in the world.
These pioneers of Nigerian cinema have created movies that are still widely recognised today and inspire creators like Yung Nollywood and the re-emerging old Nollywood style commonly known as ‘Y2K fashion’.
In recognition of their amazing work and the spirit of embracing nostalgia through fashion and culture, we’ve drafted an exciting list of our top 5 Nollywood films, which you can find on YouTube.
The Diamond Ring
Tade Ogidan’s famous Nollywood film “The Diamond Ring” (1998) centres on Keji, a young woman portrayed by Liz Benson, who is betrothed to a wealthy man played by Richard Mofe-Damijo. Keji’s life takes a drastic turn when she runs across a previous lover, Femi, played by Teju Babyface. Femi, now a changed man, returns a lost diamond ring to Keji, triggering a chain of events that forces Keji to confront her past and make life-altering decisions. The plot revolves around love, redemption, and the consequences of one’s choices.
Osuofia in London
This funny fish-out-of-water story satirises cultural differences and offers lighthearted commentary regarding the clash between rural and urban lifestyles. “Osuofia in London” (2003) stars Nkem Owoh as the central character, Osuofia. Osuofia, a rustic and amusing villager, journeys to London to recover his deceased brother’s property. The film hilariously illustrates Osuofia’s culture shock and misfortunes as he navigates the challenges of living in a strange country.
Glamour Girls 1994
Kenneth Nnebue’s play “Glamour Girls” (1994) delves into the opulent lifestyles of Nigerian society’s elite throughout the 1990s. The plot centres on three friends, Ngozi, Caro, and Peggy, who become immersed in the glittering world of the wealthy and powerful. The movie delves into themes of wealth, influence, and the consequences of living a glamorous yet ethically questionable lifestyle. “Glamour Girls” achieved huge success and stands as one of the great films that helped Nollywood gain prominence. The film was recently remade with Nollywood star actors like Nse Ikpe Etim, Toke Makinwa, Temisan Emmanuel, and many more.
“Domitilla” (1996), directed by Zeb Ejiro, examines societal issues through the life of the main character, Domitilla, portrayed by Anne Njemanze. Facing tough circumstances, Domitilla becomes involved in prostitution. The film explores survival, redemption, and the search for a better life by analysing women’s problems and challenges in that line of work. “Domitilla” addresses social concerns notably and stands as one of the most influential films in Nollywood’s early years.
“Old School” (2004) This film delves into the importance of friendship and the power of dreams using slapstick humour and witty dialogue. It tells the story of three old friends who reminisce about their school days and decide to relive their youth by opening a new school. However, a group of mischievous students soon foils their plans.