Thai cinema has a rich and diverse history, with a wide range of genres and styles represented in its films. From action-packed martial arts epics to emotionally charged dramas, Thai cinema has something to offer for everyone.

Thai movies have gained international recognition in recent years, with several films winning awards and critical acclaim at film festivals around the world. The unique blend of Thai culture, history, and contemporary issues has made Thai cinema a fascinating and vibrant part of the global film community.

Best Thai Movies

We’ll explore some of the best Thai movies of all time, highlighting their themes, styles, and cultural significance. Whether you are a fan of Thai cinema or are just starting to explore this rich and diverse film tradition, this series will give you a deeper appreciation for the art and craft of Thai filmmaking.

1. Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003)

“Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior” is a 2003 Thai martial arts film directed by Prachya Pinkaew, and starring Tony Jaa in his breakout role as a young Muay Thai fighter named Ting. The film follows Ting as he embarks on a quest to recover the stolen head of the Buddha statue from a criminal gang.

The film is known for its intense and highly choreographed fight scenes, which showcase the traditional Thai martial art of Muay Thai. It also features a gritty and realistic portrayal of life in modern-day Thailand, with a focus on the country’s poverty, corruption, and criminal underworld.


“Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior” was a critical and commercial success, both in Thailand and internationally. It launched Tony Jaa to international stardom and helped to popularize Muay Thai and Thai cinema around the world. The film has since become a cult classic and a landmark of Thai action cinema.

Ong-Bak - The Thai Warrior
  • Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Pumwaree Yodkamol (Actors)
  • Prachya Pinkaew (Director) - Panna Rittikrai (Writer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

2. Tropical Malady (2004)

Tropical Malady is a 2004 Thai art-house film directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The film is divided into two distinct parts, the first part is a slow-burning romance between two young men, while the second part is a more surreal and symbolic exploration of the Thai jungle and its mythical creatures.

The film explores themes of desire, identity, and spirituality, and it blurs the boundaries between reality and fantasy, human and animal, and past and present. It offers a unique and poetic vision of the world that is both deeply personal and universally resonant.

Tropical Malady is notable for its breathtaking cinematography, its innovative storytelling, and its masterful use of sound and music.

It is a haunting and beautiful film that invites the viewer to experience the world in a new and profound way, and it stands as a testament to the artistic vision of one of the most important filmmakers working today.

Tropical Malady
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Banlop Lomnoi, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Sirivech Jareonchon (Actors)
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

3. Shutter (2004)

“Shutter” is a horror film from Thailand directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom, and released in 2004. The movie stars Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, and Achita Sikamana in lead roles.

The story of the film follows a young photographer named Tun and his girlfriend, Jane, who hit a girl with their car while driving back from a party. They flee the scene, but soon begin to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences that seem to be related to the accident.



As the couple investigates, they uncover a dark secret and an eerie connection between the girl they hit and Tun’s past.

“Shutter” is a chilling and suspenseful film that explores themes of guilt, karma, and revenge. The movie is characterized by its eerie atmosphere, its creepy visuals, and its shocking twists and turns.

It has won critical acclaim and is considered one of the best horror movies from Thailand. The film has been remade in several countries, including the US, India, and Bangladesh, but the original remains a classic in the horror genre.

  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, Unnop Chanpaibool (Actors)
  • Bangjong Pisanthanakun (Director) - Banjong Pisanthanakun (Writer) - Yodphet Sudsawad (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

4. Chocolate (2008)

“Chocolate” is a 2008 Thai martial arts film directed by Prachya Pinkaew. The film tells the story of Zen, a young girl with autism who learns martial arts by watching the movies of her mother, who used to be a stuntwoman. Zen uses her martial arts skills to collect money owed to her mother by various people, including a gangster.

The film is known for its inventive and thrilling action sequences, which blend traditional martial arts techniques with acrobatics and parkour. The film’s lead actress, JeeJa Yanin, trained for years to perform the film’s complex fight scenes, which showcase her impressive athleticism and martial arts skills.


In addition to its exciting action, “Chocolate” is also notable for its sensitive portrayal of a character with autism. Zen’s condition is depicted with empathy and understanding, and her struggles to connect with others and navigate a world that can be overwhelming are portrayed with sensitivity and nuance.

“Chocolate” was a critical and commercial success both in Thailand and internationally, and helped to establish Prachya Pinkaew and JeeJa Yanin as major figures in the world of martial arts cinema. The film is considered a modern classic of Thai cinema, and is highly recommended for fans of action and martial arts films.

5. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” is a 2010 Thai art house film directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The film tells the story of Uncle Boonmee, a middle-aged man suffering from kidney failure, who retreats to his countryside estate to spend his remaining days in peace.

As he awaits death, Uncle Boonmee is visited by the ghosts of his deceased wife and son, as well as by various incarnations of himself from his past lives. Through these encounters, Uncle Boonmee reflects on his life and comes to terms with his mortality.

The film blends elements of Thai folklore and Buddhist philosophy with a surreal and dreamlike narrative style. It is known for its slow pacing, long takes, and atmospheric cinematography, which create a meditative and contemplative mood.

“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, where it won the Palme d’Or, the festival’s highest honor. The film received critical acclaim for its innovative storytelling and visual style, and is considered a masterpiece of Thai cinema.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Thanapat Saisaymar, Janjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee (Actors)
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Thai (Publication Language)

6. Bangkok Traffic Love Story (2009)

Bangkok Traffic Love Story is a 2009 romantic comedy film from Thailand directed by Adisorn Tresirikasem. The film tells the story of Mei, a 30-year-old woman who is unlucky in love and struggling to find her place in the world.

She works as a traffic controller in Bangkok, a job that she dislikes, but which allows her to observe the chaotic and often comical traffic of the city.

One day, Mei meets Loong, a handsome and charming traffic police officer, and they begin a tentative romance. However, Mei’s lack of confidence and self-esteem, as well as her fear of being hurt, threaten to derail their relationship before it can even start.


Bangkok Traffic Love Story is a heartwarming and funny film that captures the spirit of modern-day Bangkok and its colorful and lively streets. The film explores themes of love, self-discovery, and the challenges of navigating modern life, particularly for women in a male-dominated society.

The performances by the lead actors, particularly by the charming and relatable actress, Cris Horwang, are excellent, and the film’s light touch and feel-good message make it a great choice for a fun and uplifting movie night.

Bangkok Love Story
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Chatcha Rujinanon, Waradip Srimalai, Chaiwat Tongsang (Actors)
  • Poj Arnon (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7. The Teacher’s Diary (2014)

“The Teacher’s Diary” is a romantic comedy-drama film from Thailand directed by Nithiwat Tharathorn and released in 2014. The movie stars Sukrit Wisetkaew and Chermarn Boonyasak in lead roles.

The story of the film follows a young teacher named Song, who is assigned to a remote rural school in Thailand. While teaching there, he discovers a diary left behind by the previous teacher, Ann.


As he reads through the diary, Song learns about Ann’s life and her feelings for a man named Ploy. As he becomes more engrossed in the diary, Song begins to develop feelings for Ann himself.

“The Teacher’s Diary” is a heartwarming and bittersweet film that explores themes of love, loss, and self-discovery. The movie is characterized by its beautiful cinematography, its charming performances, and its poignant storytelling.

It has won critical acclaim and is considered one of the best romantic comedies from Thailand. The film’s success has also inspired a TV series adaptation in Thailand, further cementing its popularity and cultural impact.

8. The Medium (2021)

“The Medium” is a 2021 Thai horror film directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun. The film follows a young girl named Nim, who is a rural shaman’s apprentice. After her mentor falls ill, Nim takes over his duties and must confront a malevolent spirit that is terrorizing a small village.

The film is notable for its unique blend of horror and spirituality, drawing on Thai folklore and traditions of shamanism. The film’s eerie atmosphere and striking visual style create a sense of unease and tension, and the suspense builds to a chilling climax.

In addition to its effective horror elements, “The Medium” also explores themes of grief, trauma, and the complexities of family relationships.


The film’s main character, Nim, is a complex and nuanced portrayal of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world, and her journey is both compelling and emotionally resonant.

“The Medium” has been praised by critics for its inventive and fresh take on the horror genre, as well as its nuanced and empathetic characters.

The film has also been noted for its stunning cinematography and use of traditional Thai music and culture. Overall, “The Medium” is a must-watch for fans of horror and international cinema alike.

9. Phobia 2 (2009)

“Phobia 2” is a 2009 Thai horror anthology film directed by five different Thai directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Paween Purikitpanya, Songyos Sugmakanan, Parkpoom Wongpoom, and Visute Poolvoralaks. The film consists of five separate stories, each with its own director, cast, and plot.

The first story, directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun, follows a group of teenagers who are stranded in the woods after their car breaks down and are forced to spend the night in a haunted house.

The second story, directed by Paween Purikitpanya, is about a young woman who becomes trapped in an elevator with a ghost. The third story, directed by Songyos Sugmakanan, follows a young man who accidentally hits a pregnant woman with his car and is haunted by her vengeful ghost.


The fourth story, directed by Parkpoom Wongpoom, is about a boy who is terrified of ghosts and must confront his fears when he is left alone in his family’s haunted apartment.

The fifth and final story, directed by Visute Poolvoralaks, follows a group of passengers on a bus who become stranded in the middle of nowhere and are stalked by a supernatural creature.

“Phobia 2” was a commercial success in Thailand and received positive reviews from critics. The film is known for its innovative storytelling, atmospheric cinematography, and effective use of suspense and jump scares.

It is considered one of the best horror films to come out of Thailand and has influenced the country’s horror genre in the years since its release.

PHOBIA 2 (4BIA 2) - Thai 2009 Horror Thriller movid DVD (Region 3) Parkpoom Wongpoom, Paween Purikitpanya,
  • subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
  • Parkpoom Wongpoom (Director)
  • English, Chinese (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

10. Bad Genius (2017)

Bad Genius is a 2017 thriller film from Thailand directed by Nattawut Poonpiriya. The film tells the story of Lynn, a high school student who is incredibly intelligent but struggles to afford the tuition fees for her prestigious school.

Lynn is recruited by her classmate, Bank, to participate in an elaborate cheating scheme, which involves using Morse code to cheat on exams and making large sums of money in the process.

As Lynn’s success and wealth grow, she becomes increasingly obsessed with her new lifestyle, leading her to take greater risks and face greater consequences. The film explores themes of ambition, ethics, and the corrupting influence of money and power.

Bad Genius is a tense and thrilling film that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. The film’s clever plot and fast-paced direction make it an excellent choice for fans of heist films and thrillers.

The performances by the lead actors, particularly Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying as Lynn, are excellent, and the film’s commentary on the education system and social inequality adds depth and relevance to the story.

11. Behind The Painting (2001)

“Behind the Painting” is a drama film from Thailand directed by Cherd Songsri and released in 2001. The movie stars Ananda Everingham, Suwinit Panjamawat, and Kullasatree Siripongpreeda in lead roles.

The story of the film follows a young man named Nop, who returns to his family’s rural estate after spending several years studying abroad. There, he discovers a mysterious painting of a beautiful woman hidden behind a family portrait.

As he delves deeper into the painting’s history, Nop uncovers a dark family secret that has been hidden for generations.

“Behind the Painting” is a thought-provoking and emotionally intense film that explores themes of family, tradition, and the consequences of past actions. The movie is characterized by its lush cinematography, its powerful performances, and its haunting atmosphere.

It has won critical acclaim and is considered one of the best dramas from Thailand. The film’s success has also helped to raise awareness of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and the importance of preserving it for future generations.

Behind the Painting: And Other Stories by Siburapha (2001-05-01)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Silkworm Books (Publisher)

12. Bang Rajan (2000)

“Bang Rajan” is a 2000 Thai historical action film directed by Tanit Jitnukul. The film tells the story of the legendary Battle of Bang Rajan, which took place in 1765 between the Siamese villagers of Bang Rajan and the Burmese army.

The film depicts the villagers’ heroic struggle to defend their homeland against overwhelming odds, and the sacrifices they make for their families and their way of life. The film’s action sequences are intense and visceral, with a realistic and gritty style that highlights the brutality of war.

At the same time, “Bang Rajan” also explores themes of nationalism, honor, and sacrifice, and the complex relationships between the villagers and the Thai government. The film’s characters are multi-dimensional and human, with flaws and strengths that make them relatable and engaging.

“Bang Rajan” is notable for its historical accuracy and attention to detail, with sets and costumes that recreate the time period with authenticity and realism. The film has been praised for its strong performances, epic scope, and its portrayal of the Siamese people as proud and resilient in the face of adversity.

Overall, “Bang Rajan” is a thrilling and emotionally resonant film that celebrates the strength and determination of the human spirit in the face of war and oppression. It is a must-watch for fans of historical epics and action films.

Bang Rajan
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Jaran Ngamdee, Winai Kraibutr, Theerayut Pratyabamrung (Actors)
  • Tanit Jitnukul (Director) - Buinthin Thuaykaew (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

3 Characteristics of Thai Movies

Emotionally expressive: Thai movies are known for their strong emotional content, and often feature characters who are highly expressive and display a range of emotions. This is reflected in the country’s cinematic tradition of melodrama, which is characterized by heightened emotions and dramatic plotlines.

Humor: Thai movies often feature humor, which ranges from slapstick to witty banter. The country has a rich tradition of comedy, and Thai filmmakers frequently incorporate humorous elements into their movies, even when dealing with serious subject matter.

Mythology and spirituality: Thai movies often incorporate elements of the country’s rich mythology and spiritual traditions. This can take the form of references to Buddhist beliefs, traditional Thai folklore, or superstitions and ghosts that are part of the local culture. Thai movies also often explore themes of karma and reincarnation, reflecting the country’s spiritual beliefs.

3 Reasons To Watch Thai Movies

Unique storytelling: Thai movies often showcase unique storytelling and cinematic techniques that are different from those of other countries. From thrilling heist movies to heartwarming dramas, Thai cinema has something for everyone.

Cultural immersion: Watching Thai movies can be a great way to immerse yourself in Thai culture and gain a better understanding of the country and its people. Thai movies often feature local customs, traditions, and landscapes, providing a glimpse into the country’s unique way of life.

Award-winning films: Thai movies have received critical acclaim and recognition at international film festivals, including Cannes and Toronto. Some of the most notable films include “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2010, and “Bad Genius,” which was selected as Thailand’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards. Watching these award-winning films can be a great way to explore Thai cinema and appreciate the artistry and talent of Thai filmmakers.

Best Thai Movies – Wrap Up

Thai cinema has a rich and diverse history, with many critically acclaimed films that have gained recognition both nationally and internationally. Here are some of the best Thai movies:

“Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” (2010) – directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, this Palme d’Or-winning film explores themes of memory, reincarnation, and the afterlife.

“Tropical Malady” (2004) – also directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, this film is a unique love story that blends folklore and reality in a surrealist narrative.

“Syndromes and a Century” (2006) – directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, this film is an experimental meditation on memory, identity, and the passage of time.

“The Teacher’s Diary” (2014) – a heartwarming romantic comedy-drama film directed by Nithiwat Tharathorn that explores themes of love, loss, and self-discovery.

“Suriyothai” (2001) – directed by Chatrichalerm Yukol, this historical epic is a tribute to Queen Suriyothai, a legendary figure in Thai history who gave her life to protect her husband, the king.

These films are just a few examples of the outstanding cinema that Thailand has to offer. With its unique cultural heritage and artistic vision, Thai cinema continues to captivate audiences around the world.