Popular Tamil films
(in reverse chronological order)
claim is made that these are the best Tamil films
, though many of fans' all-time favorites will be found on this list. However, the non-Indian
explorer of Tamil
cinema industry will learn a fair bit about Tamil film history and conventions by watching these films. The list is biased towards recent films, but this may be an advantage for some users of the list, as the recent films are more likely to be found in video rental stores. Submissions of notable older films are invited.
When box office data is available, the list gives the top-grossing films of the year, or decade. There are also lists of the critically-acclaimed films, as determined by combining lists from the film review sites (Galatta, Behindwoods and Sify) linked below.
The capsule reviews are written in the usual brief television-film-schedule style. More complete reviews, lists of stars and director, &c., can be found by clicking on links to films that have their own pages.
Top-grossing films of 2008
- Dasavathaaram: One of the long awaited film featuring Kamal Haasan in ten different roles. The movie plot is based on the idea of Chaos theory or the butterfly effect which says that minute variations in the wings of a butterfly may alter the path of a cyclone. Film experts have to accept that this theory best suits a story which handles ten vital roles, the Dasavatara. Also, starring Asin Thottumkal, Mallika Sherawat and P. Vasu. The Producer of the movie declared that the movie has garnered over 100 Crore Rupees in from initial ten days run at the box office.
- Anjathey:: One of the best movies of tamil cinema ever. Anjathey directed by Mysskin is a very good thriller with wonderfull plot.It was a huge hit and was well spoken for its screenplay.
- Yaaradi Nee Mohini: The Dhanush - Nayanthara starrer was a remake of a successfull telugu movie and it was a huge hit in box office and was well received by all kind of audiences.
- Santhosh Subramaniam: Remake of Telugu blockbuster Bommarillu, starring Jayam Ravi, Genelia D'Souza and Prakash Raj in the lead roles. The movie's based on the relationship between a good father and a good son.
- Jayamkondaan: One of the well balanced movies with all kind of feelings from humour,romance,emotions,etc. given with right proportions.It stars Vinay, Bhavana, Lekha Washington and Vivek.It became a super hit movie of 2008.
- Saroja:It has become a super hit and the chennai 600028 team has come once again with a brilliant effort.It is one of the best thrillers given with good humourous screenplay.
Critically acclaimed films of 2008
- Subramaniapuram: The story is about friendship, love and betrayal of both. It deals with the exploitation of unemployed youth by politicians.The film is set in a retro style in the 80s. This film can be categorised as an action flick in Tamil Cinema. When we watch the film we get the real feel of 80's.
Top-grossing films of 2007
- Sivaji: The Boss: Entertainment targeted film starring Rajinikanth, Shriya Saran, and directed by S. Shankar. Became the biggest blockbuster in the history of South Indian cinema as well as becoming the first regional Indian film to reach the Top 10 at the UK Box-office. This movie is said to have grossed over RS.100 crores worldwide
- Billa: Biggest Hit of 2007 after Sivaji. It was a great year for young superstars Ajith and Vijay, but Ajith took the glory at the end when Azhagiya Thamizh Magan ended up to be a below average grosser at the box office.
- Pokkiri: It is a remake of the superhit telugu movie Pokiri and one of Vijay's biggest hits in his young career. This movie starred Ilayathalabathy Vijay , Asin, Vadivelu,Prakash Raj nd Others. This was 1 of the top movies of 2007.
- Polladhavan: A action-romance film starring Dhanush, Divya Spandana and Daniel Balaji in lead roles. The film was a remake of a Academy Award winning Italian film Bicycle Thieves. The film was big success, and ran for 120 days at the box office.
Critically acclaimed films of 2007
- Chennai 600028: A film upon the local gully cricket team, The Sharks. The film, despite being full of debutants, also made it big at the box-office. It starred Shiva, Aravind Akash, Nithin Sathya, Premji Amaran, Jai and Christine Zedek among others.
- Mozhi: A story about two bachelors and their love lifes, one a dancer, the other a mute. Starring Prithviraj, Jyothika, Prakash Raj and Swarnamalya.
- Paruthi Veeran: A story about a village lad (Karthi Sivakumar) and his love's tragic battle against their families. Directed by Ameer Sultan. Also starring Priyamani.
Top-grossing films of 2006
- Varalaru - History of Godfather: This is a Tamil language film directed by K. S. Ravikumar. It stars Ajith Kumar in a noted triple role, Asin Thottumkal, Kanika Subramaniam, Ramesh Khanna and Suman Shetty. The movie tells the tale of a father, a classical dancer by profession is questioned about his masculinity by his childhood sweetheart. He rapes her in anger resulting in the birth of a pair of twins. The story revolves on the actions of the twins reactions for their parents. The film's score and soundtrack is by, A. R. Rahman. The film became the biggest blockbuster of the year collecting Rs.56 crores. The film was released on October 20, 2006.
- Vettaiyaadu Vilaiyaadu: This is a high budget and a stylish urban action thriller. The movie explored concepts that are unknown to the Tamil audience like homosexuality and took Tamil Cinema to greater heights. Stars Kamal Haasan, Jyothika, Kamalinee Mukherjee, Prakash Raj and directed by Gautham Menon. It has music by Harris Jeyaraj The songs are all chartbusters. The film was mostly shot in New York and is about a Gutsy Police Officer who is on the trail of a rampant serial killer. Appreciated by one and all this movie has taken the Tamil cine industry to hitherto unknown levels. The film's total gross is estimated at Rs.50 crores.
- Something Something ... Unnakum Ennakum: This is a Tamil film directed by M. Raja. It stars Jayam Ravi and Trisha Krishnan in the lead roles and Richa Pallod, Prabhu and Bhagyaraj in supporting roles. The movie is the remake of the Telugu blockbuster, Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana. The film's score and soundtrack was composed by Devi Sri Prasad, who also scored the music in the original version of the film. The film has been released in July 28, 2006.The film's reportedly collected Rs.10 crores.
- Imsai Arasan 23am Pulikesi: This is a big-budget Tamil film directed by newcomer Chimbudeven. The film stars veteran comedian Vadivelu, Tejashree and Monica in the lead roles with Manorama and Nagesh in critical roles. The film's score and soundtrack are composed by Sabesh-Murali. It is a laugh riot and been labelled a hysterical historical. This is a movie directed by Chimbudeven and produced by S Pictures.
- Thimiru: This is the hat trick blockbuster for Vishal after Chellamae and Sandakozhi. Directed by newcomer Tharun Gopi and also stars Reema Sen, Shreya Reddy, Manoj K. Jayan and Vadivelu. The film is breaking box office records and is turning out to be a high grossing blockbuster. This is about a lady don's love.
Critically Acclaimed Films
- Veyyil, a film about the life of a down-and-out man and his relationship with his family from which he was long-separated. It stars Pasupathy and Bharath.
- E a critically acclaimed film on the subject of nuclear bio-wars. Jeeva, Nayantara, Pasupathy, Karunas and Ashish Vidyarthi star.
- Chithiram Pesuthadi: Chithiram Pesuthadi, a film made with basically no huge stars, i.e. Narain and Bhavana turned out to be a smash hit at the box office due to its unique plot, presentation and the highly successful song, Vazha Meenu.
- Em Mahan: Though embarking on an average start releasing along the much hyped Sillunu Oru Kaadhal, debutant director Thirumurugan's family entertainer turned out to be a success at the box office. The film starred Bharath and Gopika in lead roles
- Pattiyal: This stylish thriller directed by Vishnuvardhan, starring Arya, Bharath, Pooja and Padmapriya was about the lives of two gangsters, Kosi and Selva. Yuvan Shankar Raja's music for the film proved popular upon release.
Top-grossing films of 2005
- Chandramukhi: Stars Rajnikanth, Nayanthara, Jyothika, Malavika, Vineeth, Sonu Sood and Prabhu,run over 800 days directed by P.Vasu.The movie tells the tale of a spirit who is desperate to take revenge on her killer. The film enjoyed 100 days run in Andhra Pradesh and was featured in IIFA. It is a remake of the Malayalam blockbuster, Manichitrathazhu.
- Anniyan: This is a big budget film that saved the career of disgraced director Shankar after his flick Boys. Starring Vikram, Sadha and Prakash Raj among others, it deals with the disease of Multiple Personality Disorder. The film was a bigger hit in Tollywood than in Kollywood. It played for 150 days in metros.It is the biggest blockbuster in Vikram's career.
- Ghajini: Inspired by the English language film, Memento, the film tells the tale of a formerly rich Mobile company owner, played by Surya, who is seeking out on a mission for revenge after the death of his girlfriend, Asin. The film was a bigger hit when dubbed in Tollywood than in Kollywood. It played for 150 days in metros.It is the biggest blockbuster in Surya's career.
- Sivakasi: The second masala based entertainer Vijay-Perarasu combo. It also stars Asin Thottumkal in the female lead. It ran more than 150 days.
- Thirupaachi: This is a racy entertainer. It was the first film by Perarasu (director). This movie ran for more than 175 days and created many records. This movie stars Vijay and Trisha.
Critically acclaimed films
Top-grossing films of 2004
- Ghilli: A remake of the Tollywood super hit Okkadu, director Dharani brought Vijay and Trisha together for this fast-paced family audience entertainer. The film ran for more than 225 days in theatres.The film collected a distributors' share of Rs 15 crores.This vijay`s greatest hit It is the biggest blockbuster in Vijay's career.
- Aayitha Ezhuthu: A action film starring Surya Sivakumar, R. Madhavan and Siddharth Narayan in the lead roles. This movie talks about how three different man's life is being changed from an unfaithful incident. Directed by Mani Ratnam.
- Vasool Raja MBBS: The remake of popular Hindi film Munnabhai MBBS directed by Saran. It stars Kamal Haasan, Sneha, Prabhu, Malavika, Nagesh and Prakash Raj. It ran for about 100 days.
- New: The blockbuster SJ Suryah movie who directed it and also the hero. It also stars Simran, Kiran Rathod and Devayani. A.R.Rahman songs became huge hits and the film had the greatest opening in many years. But the film though commercially successful was banned by The Chennai High Court after a year of its release and after it had met with huge commercial success. The film is about a 8 year old boy on drinking a scientist's medicine becomes a young man but with the same mental capacity. The film is loosely based on the English movie Big.
- Perazhagan: The super hit movie starring Surya and Jyothika. It is a remake of Malayalm hit Kunjikkoon starring Dileep. It ran for 100 days. The performances of Surya and Jyothika were excellent and well appreciated.
For a bird's eye view of the top films in 2004, see and
Top-grossing films of 2003
- Saamy: This movie played for 200 days. Vikram and Trisha are a married couple who fall in love when Vikram moves branch from Chennai to Tirunelveli. Vikram plays a cop for the first time.The film did a business of Rs.30 crores at the box office.
- Dhool: Another Vikram movie that ran over 200 days, Vikram, a villager, who comes to chennai for his village affairs meets local rowdies and gets in a situation to destroy them. Also stars Jyothika and Reema Sen.Made on a budget of Rs.7 crores,the film has done a business of Rs.20-30 crores.
- Thiruda Thirudi: A comedic love story starring Dhanush and Chaya Singh in main roles. It was one of the surprise hits of 2003. It was directed by a debutant Subramaniam Siva. The soundtrack was a bigger success, including the hit song 'Manmadharasa'.
- Kaaka Kaaka: A hard-core all out action film with Surya, Jeevan and Jyothika. The movie follows the story of a cop who hunts down a gangleader who is trying to wipe out the police force in Tamil Nadu.
- Jayam: Action film about the victories of love. Starring debutants Jayam Ravi and Sadha.
- Thirumalai: An action film starring Vijay and Jyothika in lead roles. The film was a huge turning point in Vijay's career. It was directed by Ramanaa.
For an analysis of top films of 2003, see
Critically acclaimed films
- Pithamagan: A story from Bala after the successes of Sethu and Nanda which starred Vikram and Surya in respectively. Both actors came together with Laila, Simran and Sangeetha for a grizzly tale in which Vikram plays a speechless undertaker. This performance fetched Vikram the National Award.
- Anbe Sivam: An emotional comedy starring 'Universal Hero' Kamal Haasan, Madhavan and Kiran Rathod. Kamal plays a crippled who Madhavan suspects of being a terrorist and eventually they become blood buddies.
- Kadhal Kondain: This movie features Dhanush and Sonia Agarwal in the lead casts. It was a superhit and ran for 175 days. It's about a psychothic young man's love. It was directed by Dhanush's brother Selvaraghavan.
- Iyarkai: The film which won the Best Regional Film Award and the National Award from the President is about triangle love set against the backdrop of coastal harbour stars Seema Biswas, Kutti Radhika, Shaam and Arun Kumar in a guest role.
Top-grossing films of 2002
- Villain: A comedy and action film starring Ajithkumar in two different roles, one as a bus conductor and another as a handicap. The film ran over 125 days. Also starred Meena and Kiran Rathod.
- Run: The biggest blockbuster of Madhavan ran for 100 days. Directed by Lingwusamy and stars Madhavan, Meera Jasmine, Atul Kulkarni and Vivek. It is about the victory of love set against the backdrop of Chennai city. This is a good Action oriented family entertainer. It is one of the biggest blockbuster in Madhavan's career.
- Gemini: A masala movie with Vikram rescuing people from the don, Seena. Played for 100 days. Also starred Kiran Rathod.
- Panchathanthiram: Yet another Kamal Haasan - K.S.Ravikumar movie, also starring Simran, is based on comedy and it was a success in box office because of its screenplay and dialogues.
- Ramana: is a action film starring Vijayakanth, and Simran in the lead roles. This is one of the biggest blockbuster in Vijayakanth's career. It's a film that talks about bribes and corruption told in a excellent way.
Critically acclaimed films
For a round-up of top movies in 2002, see
For a round-up of top movies in 2001, see
- 1990 - Michael Madhana Kamarajan played for 175 days; Keladi Kanmani 206 days, Panakkaran 100 days, Vaigasi Poranthachu 150 days, Anjali 175 days
- 1991 - Nanbargal 141 days, Aathu Un Koyililey and Gopura Vasaliley played for 150 days each; Idhayam, Thalapathi and En Rasavin Manasiley 175 days each, Dharmadurai 186 days, Captain Prabhakaran 205 days; Chinna Thambi 229 days
- 1992 - Sundara Kaandam and Singaravelan played for 100 days each, Roja 190 days; Thevar Magan 200 days, Annamalai, Mannan, Vaanamey Ellai and Chembaruthi 175 days each
- 1993 - Gentleman 100 days, Amaravathi 111 days; Aranmanai Killi 100 days, Ejamaan and Kizhakku Cheemayile played for 175 days each, Uzhaippali and valli 100 days each, Mahanadhi 163 days
- 1994 - Kadhalan 200 days, Karuththamma 182 days; Pavithra 100 days, Veera and Indhu 150 days each; Jai Hind 177 days, Amaidhi Padai, Magalir Mattum and Naataamai 175 days each,
- 1995 - Bombay 175 days, Badsha played for 182 days, Aasai 210 days, Muthu 185 days, Kurudhipunal 100 days.
- 1996 - Poove Unakkaga 210 days, Kalloori Vaasal and Maanbumigu Maanavan 147 days each, Love Birds 185 days; Amman Koyil Vaasaliley, Kadhal Desam, Kaalam Maari Pochu, Sundharapurushan, Mr. Romeo, Parambarai, Vaanmathi, Indian, and Avvai Shanmugi played for 175 days each; Ullathai Alli Thaa 175 days; Kadhal Kottai 240 days
- 1997 - Ullasam 119 days, VIP 100 days, Kadhalukku Mariyadhai 225 days, Sooriya Vamsam and Bharathi Kannamma played for 175 days each; Ettu Patti Rasa, Nerukku Ner 100 days, Ratchagan 150 days; Minsara Kanavu and Love Today 175 days each, Arunachalam and Kaalamellam Kadhal Vaazhga 100 days, Iruvar 200 days
- 1998 - Jeans 200 days, Kadhal Mannan 156 days, Aval Varuvala 182 days, Unnidathil Ennai Koduthen played for 200 days, Kannethirey Thondrinal and Ninaithen Vandhai 150 days each, Priyamudan 100 days, Natpukkaga 175 days
- 1999 - Unnai Thedi and Mudhalvan played for 100 days each, Thulladha Manamum Thullum 175 days; Sethu 200 days,Amarkalam 182 days, Jodi 175 days; Vaali 270 days, Padayappa 200 days (Grossed Rs.26 crores);
- 1980 - Avan Aval Adhu played for 154 days; Billa 175 days; Nenjathai Killadhey 364 days; Oru Thalai Raagam 365 days
- 1981 - Kudumbam Oru Kadhambam played for 127 days; Andha 7 Naatkal, Meendum Kokila, Mouna Geedhangal and Rayil Payanangalil 175 days each; Alaigal Oyvadhillai 180 days; Kilinjalgal 210 days
- 1982 - Thooral Ninnu Pochu played for 114 days; Vaalibamey Vaa 131 days; Darling! Darling! Darling! and Pokkiri Raja 148 days each; Moondru Mugam 150 days; Theerpugal Thiruthappadalam 175 days; Sagalakala Vallavan 176 days; Vaazhvey Maayam 200 days; Kozhi Koovudhu 202 days; Gopurangal Saayvadhillai 205 days; Moondram Pirai 329 days; Payanangal Mudivadhillai'' 526 days
- 1983 - Oru Pullanguzhal Aduppoodhugiradhu played for 112 days; Paayum Puli 133 days; Needhibadhi 141 days; Uyirullavarai Usha and Sandhippu 175 days each; Mundhaanai Mudichu 201 days; Thoongadhey Thambi Thoongadhey 263 days; Manvaasanai 286 days: Malaiyoor Mambattiyaan 345 days;
- 1984 - Nallavanukku Nallavan played for 152 days; Vidhi 175 days
- 1985 - Kaaki Sattai played for 126 days; Pournami Alaigal 130 days; Udhaya Geedham 153 days; Padikkadhavan and Poovey Poochoodavaa 175 days each; Mudhal Mariyadhai 177 days; Aan Paavam 210 days; Thendraley Ennai Thodu 240 days; Sindhu Bairavi 284 days
- 1986 - Punnagai Mannan played for 106 days; Saadhanai 125 days; Amman Koyil Kizhakkaley, Maidhili Ennai Kadhali, Mouna Raagam and Samsaram Adhu Minsaram 175 days each,Mr.Bharath and Maaveeran 100 days each
- 1987 - Vanna Kanavugal played for 104 days; Thirumadhi Oru Vegumadhi 125 days; Sankar Guru 127 days; Velaikaaran 131 days; Nayagan, Manidhan and Ninaivey Oru Sangeedham 175 days each
- 1988 - Idhu Namma Aalu and Guru Sishyan played for 175 days each; Agni Natchathiram 200 days; Sendhoora Poovey 205 days; En Thangai Kalyani 210 days
- 1989 - Paandi Naatu Thangam played for 162 days; Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal, Rajadhi Raja and Raja Sinna Roja 175 days each; Pudhiya Paadhai 197 days; Aboorva Sagodharargal 200 days (Rs.10 crores); Karagattakaaran 366 days, Maappillai 175 days
- 1970 - Maattukkaara Velan played for 175 days
- 1971 - Rickshawkaaran played for 140 days and Aadhi Baraasakthi 175 days
- 1972 - Pattikada Pattanama played for 189 days; Idhaya Veenai, Needhi and Dheivam 217 days each and Vasantha Maaligai 287 days
- 1973 - Arangetram, Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban, Sooriyagandhi, Baaratha Vilas, Petha Manam Pithu and Raja Raja Chozhan played for 217 days each
- 1974 - Aval Oru Thodarkadhai played for 140 days, Urimai Kural 175 days and Thanga Padhakkam 182 days
- 1976 - Bathrakaali played for 175 days and Annakkili 196 days
- 1977 - Theebam played for 135 days, 16 Vayadhinile 175 days and Aattukara Alamelu 212 days
- 1978 - Ilamai Oonjaladugiradhu, Sigappu Rojakkal, Thyagam and Priya played for 175 days each and Kizhakkey Pogum Rayil 364 days
- 1979 - Pasi played for 112 days; Annai Or Aalayam 126 days; Kalyanaraman 140 days; Niram Maaradha Pookkal 154 days; Udhiri Pookkal 175 days; Thirisoolam and Azhiyadha Kolangal 200 days each; and Kanniparuvathiley 224 days
- 1960 - Irumbu Thirai played for 175 days
- 1961 - Paasamalar and Paavamannippu played for 175 days each
- 1964 - Kadhalikka Neramillai played for 175 days
- 1965 - Enga Veettu Pillai played for 175 days and Thiruvilaiyaadal 182 days
- 1966 - Anbe Vaa played for 147 days
- 1967 - Naan played for 175 days
- 1969 - Adimai Pen played for 175 days
- 1954 - Antha Naal - A murder mystery with a narrative structure that mirrors Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. It is considered the first Tamil film without songs, and it stars Sivaji Ganesan.
- 1959 - Baagappirivinai played for 217 days
- 1944 - Haridas played for 768 days
- 1931 - Kalidas was the first full-length motion picture