Most Nollywood films were initially released in cinemas before their availability on streaming platforms to be viewed by those who must have missed them when they screened and to be seen again by those who saw them during their theatrical run.
As the films transition from the big screen to digital platforms, Nollywood audiences in the diaspora also have the chance to experience them on Prime Video and Netflix. Below are 2023 Nollywood cinema-released movies currently available to stream.
2023 Nollywood Movies on Prime Video
The Trade, directed by Jadesola Osiberu, is a gripping story loosely inspired by the real-life exploits of a notorious kidnapper in the Southern part of Nigeria. Blossom Chukwujekwu delivers a terrific performance as Eric, the brain and strength of the kidnapping ring who demands millions of dollars in ransom from the families of his victims. The film delves into the intense world of crime and power dynamics as it follows the captivating narrative of Eric’s enigmatic personality as the police try to capture him. Director Osiberu skillfully weaves a tale that explores the complexities of the criminal underworld, making The Trade a thought-provoking experience.
Love in a Pandemic
Love in a Pandemic, directed by Akay Ilozobhie, unfolds a unique romantic tale during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bolanle, played by Nancy Isime, accidentally dials the wrong digit of her boyfriend’s number, connecting her with a stranger, Alex (Deyemi Okanlawon). As their phone conversations evolve into a blossoming friendship, the film explores the challenges and uncertainties of love in a time of global crisis. Written by Amaka Chioka and Abosi Ogba, the movie navigates the delicate balance between fantasy and reality, questioning the durability of connections formed in the midst of uncertainty.
To Freedom is a somber psychological thriller that unfolds the haunting tale of Tobi (Daniel Etim-Effiong) and Shola (Osas Ighodaro). Tobi’s world shatters when Shola mysteriously vanishes during a routine trip to the mall. Despite societal pressure to accept her presumed demise after a year-long search, Tobi clings to the belief that his wife is alive, haunted by cryptic signs only perceived by him. As his mental health deteriorates, the film takes an unexpected turn, delivering a twist that transforms the narrative. To Freedom is directed by Biodun Stephen.
In the romantic comedy Big Love, director Biodun Stephen reunites the Breaded Life leads, Bimbo Ademoye and Timini Egbuson. Big Love revolves around Adina, portrayed by Bimbo Ademoye, a single mother facing the challenge of embracing a new romantic relationship. Opposite her is Timini Egbuson who plays Adil, the affluent lover trying to win her heart, after reconnecting at a graduate training camp. The cast also includes Jaiye Kuti, Shaffy Bello, Lateef Adedimeji, Kalu Ikeagwu, and Teniola Aladese.
Mikolo, Niyi Akinmolayan’s children’s adventure fantasy film, unfolds a captivating story as two youngsters, Funke (Pamilerin Ayodeji) and Habib (Mofiyinfoluwa Asenuga), explore their grandmother’s (Ayo Mogaji) hometown in Ondo during a holiday and stumble upon the enchanting Irumole forest. Brimming with magical beings, their journey introduces them to a mystical creature named Mikolo. Drawing inspiration from Stephen Spielberg’s 1982 Sci-Fi E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, the film presents the kids aiding Mikolo in returning to its home. Akinmolayan, the writer and director for this Anthill Studio film, brings this vibrant tale to life, featuring Daniel Etim Effiong, Femi Adebayo, Yvonne Jegede, and Yemi Elesho.
A Weekend To Forget
In this suspenseful tale, seven long-lost friends gather for a weekend retreat, only to face unexpected challenges as ancient conflicts and lingering problems resurface. Directed by Damola Ademola, the film stars Elozonam Ogbolu as Ferdy, a returnee with ambitious business plans; Daniel Etim Effiong as Shima, a sought-after realtor accompanied by his wife Layo (Ini Dima-Okojie); Tito (Stan Nze), the face of Nollywood with a promising career; and his fiancée/manager, Ndali (Erica Nlewedim). Neo Akpofure portrays Bem, an aspiring high roller, whose past alongside the presence of his girlfriend Lisa (Uche Montana) adds to the intrigue. Secrets and unresolved traumas intertwine among the seven, reaching a boiling point when one of them meets a mysterious demise. A Weekend To Forget is produced by Chinaza Onuzo and Zulu Oyibo, in collaboration between Inkblot Productions and FilmOne Studios.
The Cameroon-selected movie for the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th (2024) Academy Awards, Half Heaven, is set in the dangerous and unforgiving neighbourhood of Mboko, where pastor Luma (Steve Fonkam) goes to preach the gospel of salvation of Christ but encounters a lot of challenges which he overcomes with the help of a prostitute. Written by Proxy Buh (credited as Buh Melvin) and directed by Enah Johnscott, the movie explores the power of faith, human connection, and the transformative journey of self-discovery. Although not a Nollywood film, Half Heaven (as a special mention) stars our own Chidi Mokeme.
Orisa is a Yoruba language film directed and produced by Odunlade Adekola. In a similar fashion to King of Thieves, Adekola and Femi Adebayo reprise familiar roles where we have seen them before in this tale of royalty to redemption. Orisa also stars Muyiwa Ademola, Shaffy Bello, Dele Odule and Binta Ayo Mogaji.
2023 Nollywood Movies on Netflix
This movie follows Adire (Kehinde Bankole), a sex worker turned entrepreneur who moves to a small town in Oyo to launch her own lingerie business. As she attracts men at a local bar with her seductive dressing style, she also draws the ire of a self-righteous preacher’s wife played by Funlola Aofiyebi. Directed by Adeoluwa Owu (The Griot and the co-director of Funke Akindele’s hit movie A Tribe Called Judah), Adire is FilmOne’s debut original, the first in their line-up for in-house originals. The film isn’t just about the conflict of morality, it’s a light-hearted drama about women’s rights and empowerment in a conservative and patriarchal society.
Merry Men 3: Nemesis
This third installment of the comedic action franchise helmed by Moses Inwang, features an ensemble cast including Ayo Makun, Ramsey Nouah, Sam Dede, Segun Arinze, Ireti Doyle, Chidi Mokeme, Nadia Buhari, Jide Kosoko, Ufuoma McDermott, Iyabo Ojo, Francis Onwochei, Regina Daniels, and Caroline Hutchings. The plot revolves around Dafe (Chidi Mokeme), seeking revenge on Ayo (Ramsey Nouah) for an incident in Russia that nearly cost him his life. Dafe also directs his anger toward corrupt politicians, attributing their dishonesty to his mother’s demise.
Kesari: The King
Kesari (Ibrahim ‘Itele D Icon’ Yekini) is an indefatigable robber who wields mystical power over the police force. The crime drama film is co-directed by Tope Adebayo and Ibrahim ‘Itele D Icon’ Yekini and co-produced by Itele d’Icon Film Production and FilmOne Production. Although partly in Yoruba language, it is not an epic title like King of Thieves by Femi Adebayo or Orisa by Odunlade Adekola, which have proven to have a favourable acceptance within the audience at the Nigerian box office. Kesari, which premiered in cinema across the country on the 25th of August, 2023, boasts a stellar cast of Ibrahim Yekini, Odunlade Adekola, Femi Adebayo, Yvonne Jegede, Kelvin Ikeduba, Adebowale Adebayo, Boma Akpore, Femi Branch, Bolaji Ogunmola, Deyemi Okanlawon, and Adebayo Salami. After an initial January 28 announcement which has been cancelled, Kesari is now expected to be released on Netflix later this year.
As more 2023 Nollywood films arrive on streaming services, the list will be updated.
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