Nigerian cinema is a thriving business in the 21st century. The industry has grown more than tenfold in the two decades since Nigeria’s independence. In 2012, the country produced almost 1,200 films and had a total box office revenue of $167 million.

It’s an exciting time to be an aspiring filmmaker in Nigeria today.

This is partly because of the proliferation of new and accessible technology tools with which filmmakers can practice, experiment, and share their work.

But it’s also because of the country’s rich cultural heritage — both its traditional oral storytelling traditions and its contemporary film production sector.

But let’s take a trip back in time and examine what is commonly referred to as the Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema.

Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema

What Is The Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema?

The Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, was a period when the cinema industry grew rapidly. The film industry was initially dominated by foreign movies, mostly from the United States, India and Europe.

Nigerian cinema, often referred to as “Nollywood”, is the second-largest film industry in the world by volume.

Movies like Orun Mooru helped establish the industry as one of Africa’s largest movie industries.



What Is The Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema?

The Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, was a period when the cinema industry grew rapidly. The film industry was initially dominated by foreign movies, mostly from the United States, India and Europe.

Nigerian cinema, often referred to as “Nollywood”, is the second-largest film industry in the world by volume.

Movies like Orun Mooru helped establish the industry as one of Africa’s largest movie industries.

What Is The Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema?

The Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema is a phrase used by film critics to describe the classic period of Nigerian filmmaking between 1967 and 1975.

Unlike other African countries, Nigeria never had a colonial history, and therefore never had classical cinema flowing from its own traditions.

This means that the golden age of Nigerian cinema was the first generation of filmmakers that learned to work within the limitations of their own country’s resources. They produced many works of high moral and artistic value.

When it comes to the history of Nigerian cinema, the story is more complex than one might think.

In reality, it is more like two distinct stories: a longer narrative of the heyday of the Nollywood golden age, and a shorter story of how Nigeria’s new wave got its start.

The term “Nollywood” was coined in the mid-1990s by filmmakers who felt that they were running out of stories.


The most popular movies at the time were all American knockoffs or rehashes of older films, and they wanted to create something new that would define their home country’s cinema industry.

Perhaps this is why the term “Nollywood” sounds so much like “Hollywood.” Like Hollywood, Nollywood has made some truly great films — many of which are still being shown today — but it also has made terrible films, some of which have become infamous (like “Alien Harvest” and “Captain Heaven”).

It all started with a small group of filmmakers who began making movies in the early 1970s.

They were young men who had grown up in poverty and discovered that they could make money selling their work to local TV stations or making movies for themselves.

Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema Post-Independence Otimism

The period  covers most of the career of Nigerian cinematic legend, Hubert Ogunde.

There are claims that it ended with the assassination of Nollywood actor, Moses Olaiya Ogunremi in 1982.The term Golden Age was actually a reference to Nollywood’s predecessor, which started with a wave of Western-style cinema from the 1950s.

This new style of filmmaking eventually led to a wave of “Indigenous” films starting with Yaba (1957), Sheba Comes Home (1958) and Peperoni Joe (1959). These films were produced mainly by private companies, suddenly making money in a business formerly reserved for foreign firms.

In 1962, there were over 100 film companies operating in Lagos alone, as well as several others across Nigeria.The Golden Age ended when the Nigerian government enacted harsh censorship laws (the Film Act of 1971), while simultaneously enforcing monopolies on producing films by only allowing one major studio to exist at any given time through their state-run company – National Film Corporation (NFC).

Then came the 1976 military coup.

Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema Explosive Utterances

Last Friday marked the beginning of the 2017 edition of Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).This year’s celebration of African cinema, that is taking place from April 6 to April 15, will be graced by over 200 films from 60 countries across the world.

One such country is Nigeria, which is celebrating a Golden Age in its film industry. Nigerian movies are known for their ability to tell stories and entertain.


It is also known for its subtlety in tackling issues that have been taboo in the society for long. A lot of Nigerian movies have won awards at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), which started in 2004 and has become one of the biggest events on the continent’s movie calendar.

It was founded by late Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, who wanted to create an avenue where people can celebrate African cinema and its actors.To date, AMAA has given out over 300 awards to actors and actresses who have excelled in their various fields of expertise.

The award categories include: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Picture and Best Cinematography among others.  The 2016 ceremony held on June 3 at Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos State.

Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema Staggering Professionalism

Several Nigerian filmmakers and movie makers who have been churning out remarkable movies in recent times, are set to converge in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital for the celebration of a new cultural renaissance at the Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema Post-Independence Optimism.This is an unprecedented celebration of the uniqueness and resilience of Nigeria’s film industry which was initiated by the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF).

The event is intended not only to showcase the creativity of Nigerian filmmakers to a global audience but also to celebrate their efforts in making a lasting contribution to world cinema and in showcasing Africa as a viable location for film production. It is also designed to encourage social cohesion and promote peace, solidarity, human rights and democracy through film.

However, despite its recent successes, some feel that its best years remain ahead of it.


The Rise Of Nollywood Movies

As of 2013, Nigeria has the largest film industry in Africa, producing an average of 150 movies a week, with over 300 million Naira spent on movie production weekly. In 2011 alone, Nigerian cinema was growing at a rate of 30%, and is projected to continue growing at a rate of 15% per annum.

In 2000, there were only five film production companies in the country; by 2009 there were over 200. Nollywood is not just cinema: it has become a huge industry in its own right.

The Nigerian film industry is better known as Nollywood (a combination of Nigeria and Hollywood), and produces more than 700 full-length films every year.The industry’s rapid growth over the last ten years is due to several factors: improved access to video cameras and recording equipment, as well as use of personal computers for video editing; new markets opened up via video cassette sales; increased access to broadband internet; and effective distribution systems for getting films from producers to viewers across Nigeria and beyond.

Despite being the second largest producer in volume, Nollywood accounts for only 3% of Nigeria’s GNP (2006). To put this figure into context, Nigerian music exports account for 6% of the country’s GNP.

The main consumers are those in.

History Of The Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema

The Golden Age of Nigerian cinema refers to the period between the 1950s and 1970s when a number of indigenous movies produced in Nigeria were released. Some of these movies are still considered classics today.

These Nigerian movies have been credited with providing entertainment and cultural enlightenment during this period. The production of these movies was a result of the push by some Nigerians for independence from the British colonialists.

While the early years saw the production of mainly documentary films, the 1950s saw a gradual switch to fictional works. This was during a period when Nigeria’s interest in self-government was reaching its peak.

With true independence not yet at hand, many Nigerians chose to dramatize their situation through film. These movies were made by amateur filmmakers who were sometimes more concerned with making political statements than entertaining their audience.

The 1960s saw the emergence of an industry that was focused on producing comedies and musicals whose main aim was to entertain rather than educate or agitate.The first full-length feature film that was produced at this time was called Ejigo No Dey Carry Last Scene (1962).

It told the story of two feuding farmers whose conflict was resolved by a group dance performance at a wedding ceremony near a riverbank. The most successful movie house in.

Essential Filmmakers Of The Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema

Since the 1960s, Nigeria has been the home of a thriving cinema industry that has produced some of the most innovative and dynamic filmmaking in Africa.In fact, many of the filmmakers who have defined African cinema over the past five decades — from Ousmane Sembène to Haile Gerima and Jihan El-Tahri — have come from Nigeria.

Others have received their training there as well. But, it is not only individual artists who have made their mark on Nigerian cinema but also a sustained moment of creative ferment that can be captured under the name of “Nigerian New Wave.”

The most famous filmmaker associated with this generation is, undoubtedly, Ola Balogun (b. 1936);self-taught filmmaker. 

Essential Films Of The Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema

According to the New York Times, the cinema in Nigeria had its “greatest flowering” during this time.The regal era of Nollywood is most commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Age’.

This was a period between the late 1990s and early 2000s. It is regarded as being Nigeria’s film renaissance and was characterized by increased production values, improved acting and an expanded audience base.

Nigerian cinema spans a 60-year history and has been punctuated by political instability, civil war, and the growth of Christianity in the country during its formative years.The first movie house in Nigeria opened in 1913 but quickly closed because of poor ticket sales.

In 1929, The Colonial Film Unit began making documentary films about life in Nigeria. In 1959, Nigeria’s first feature-length film was made.

It was called Village Headmaster. It was written by Zulu Sofola and directed by Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen with help from American students at Stanford University.


It screened for two weeks only but got rave reviews from critics including the Daily Times. 

Importance Of The Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema

You are probably wondering what is the importance of the Golden Age of Nigerian Cinema? Well, before we get to that,  let us start with an interesting fact;Nigeria has the largest movie industry in Africa and the 7th largest in terms of revenue worldwide. 

Nigeria’s movie industry is said to be worth $1.5 billion dollars annually, which is quite a large sum.

Even though this sounds like a lot of money, it has come to a point where Nigerian actors have become poor and some of them are even begging for money on social media because they are broke. The Nigerian movie industry has become a joke.

Tinseltown is an epitome of what the Nigerian movie industry used to be and still can be. It was the most advanced studio in Nigeria and produced some of the best movies that are loved by many Nigerians till date.

However, its glory days are over and it has become a business failure. Due to this, I want to talk about the importance of the Golden Age of Nigerian cinema because we as Nigerians must strive to revive this once great industry again so that our movie stars  are not struggling to make ends meet because they no longer have jobs in Tinseltown anymore.

The End Of The Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema

Just like the era of American cinema that produced films such as The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, Chinatown and Citizen Kane in the 1970s and 1980s, Nigerian cinema is also in its golden age.

But, it is gradually coming to an end too. Founded on a desire for self-expression and the fundamental need for a collective consciousness that could unify the people within a newly independent nation, Nigeria’s cinema has had a long and storied history since it first came into being .

Nigerian-produced films have received international recognition and even won awards at prestigious film festivals like Cannes. For example, Zulu won an award at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1964. Notable actors of Nollywood include Genevieve Nnaji, Ramsey Nouah, Olu Jacobs, Yul Edochie and Ini Ikpe-Etim among others.

However, despite such impressive accolades and successes over the decades, Nigerian cinema has been on the decline since the 1990s.The industry was first hit by the influx of foreign movies into local cinemas which undermined demand for local productions.

Then, popular culture changed from movies to television shows which further affected revenue streams for film producers. And finally “piracy” of movies became commonplace.


 Golden Age Of Nigerian Cinema – Wrapping Up

The golden a

A period of economic boom in the 1970s and 1980s created an environment conducive to the development of film. The sudden influx of oil wealth into Nigeria created an elite class with money to spend on entertainment and leisure activities.

In addition, Nigeria’s political climate became more stable with the ascension of Murtala Mohammed as military ruler in 1975 after a successful coup d’état against General Yakubu Gowon’s regime. Under his leadership, several political reforms were implemented which included freeing all political prisoners arrested by the Gowon regime and repealing repressive laws that had been imposed by General Gowon’s administration.

These political reforms created an atmosphere conducive for fostering democratic ideals; specifically freedom of expression. Nigeria’s economic boom also made it possible for filmmakers to make more higher budget films because Nigerians had more disposable income to spend on entertainment.

The combination of these factors led to a dramatic growth in the Nigerian film industry. Nigerian filmmakers during this period were able to tell stories that contained elements which would have been.