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Best South African Movies Now on Showmax

As a film critic, Stephen 'Spling' Aspeling has literally watched thousands of films over the years. Being South African, the local film industry has been a strong point of interest to gauge how our stories fare against the likes of Bollywood, Nollywood and the ultimate movie destination, Hollywood.

Best South African Movies Now on Showmax

Not being one to create a special rating category for local movies, the seasoned reviewer has held South African films to a high account. As such, Spling hasn't dished out many 8/10 reviews... a rating he considers good enough to compete for accolades such as Best International Feature or better at prestigious ceremonies like the Academy Awards. Being the biggest local streaming platform, the provider has made it their business to represent a wide array of local films - this list represents the best movies now streaming on Showmax.

Toorbos (Dream Forest)

Strong performances, great casting, lyrical imagery, emotive themes, immersive sound, grounded language, and masterful storytelling enhances the drama, Toorbos. Rene Van Rooyen has created a masterpiece by engulfing the audience in classic narratives, deftly handling the socioeconomic and political backdrop, and enticing viewers on a gratifying emotional journey. Toorbos showcases van Rooyen's depth of talent, resourcefulness, and genuine imagination. The rich insights, immersive quality, and consistent control of craft in this dark horse picture make it an all-arounder and a must-see.

Dis ek, Anna (It's Me, Anna)

Dis ek, Anna is sharp, dramatic, forceful, controversial, and timely. Sara Blecher directs a substantial, well-balanced, and well-acted drama that will unsettle, emote, and educate. It's a masterfully produced and spectacular must-see crime drama thriller that captures pieces of life and weaves them together to create disturbing, fascinating, and world-class entertainment with meaning.

Meerkat Maantuig (Meerkat Moonship)

Meerkat Maantuig is one of South Africa's best films to date, intelligent, poignant, enchanting, and masterfully structured. It's remarkable to see what you can do when you have a relatively limited budget and can captivate audiences via the power of story with a cast of charming characters and performances. This film could easily be turned into anime, as it takes place in a world similar to that of Studio Ghibli and has many of the same amazing traits.


There's an aura of authenticity as we're plunged in the tough and disciplined boot camp world of Moffie. The production is world-class, beautifully photographed... delicate and nuanced enough to create a lyrical, albeit raw and harrowing experience. While visually appealing and well-acted, the film appears focused on creating an immersive experience that offers a poetry to the storytelling.

Kanarie (Canary)

Kanarie is a unique, intriguing, controversial, and moving coming-of-age, fish-out-of-water, and coming-out tale. Dexterous shot composition, sharp performances, good casting, timely subjects, daring directing, and effective resource management all contribute to the creation of a picture that's both uniquely South African and universal in character. This film is bold and polemical in terms of its sexual politics within the framework of the Church and Afrikaans male identity, and it is bound to elicit mixed opinions.


Sink is a slick, stark and poignant social drama, fueled by strong performances and encased in elegant visuals and production design. The film masterfully concocts incisive international calibre drama with finesse. While it takes a while to get going, the ending is shockingly visceral, and Sink's haunting kitchen sink realism follows through when everything comes crashing down.

Liewe Kersfeesvader (Dear Father Christmas)

Liewe Kersfeesvader is a smart, well-balanced and charming dark comedy drama. Taking on a tricky story from the vantage point of a teenager, this film manages to keep things on the boil thanks to sharp performances and vivid storytelling.

Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie (Johnny Isn't Dead)

Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie is an artful, gloomy, stylish, and refreshing coming-of-age reunion story that brims with energetic performances, entices through youthful recklessness, and immerses with imaginative photography. Through free-flowing speech, Johnny Is Nie Dood Nie captures the Zeitgeist and uncertainty of South Africa in the 1980s, and drives home with an angst-riddled, unsettling, and self-reflective intensity.

Vir Die Voëls (For the Birds)

Vir Die Voëls may have rose-coloured spectacles and a selective memory, but this romantic comedy drama will boost your spirits. The cast chemistry is fantastic, the production design is immersive, the nostalgic music will transport viewers back in time, the story's zeal is contagious, the performances are charming and heartfelt, the cinematography is effortless, the screenwriting is deft, the themes are universal, and the direction is sensitive yet sensible.

Ellen: Die Ellen Pakkies Storie (Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story)

Ellen: Die Ellen Pakkies Storie is an engaging and well-directed character study. Honest, natural, and unpretentious, Ellen gives one a natural sense of the culture, community and neighbourhood. The production design and surroundings are so authentic that the barrier between fact and illusion is blurred, giving the backdrop a hard-hitting documentary realism.

Hard to Get

Hard to Get is perhaps South Africa's best action film ever, fueled by a sensual and dangerous intensity on the back of world-class production values. This is a high-quality action romance movie, a must-see film that will pique the interest of aspiring South African filmmakers. Hard to Get demonstrates what's possible, uses the genre in novel ways, and will help to change the face of South African cinema.

Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond is a dramatic, thrilling, blood-soaked film about African diamond smuggling that serves as a suspenseful action drama and social commentary. Fine cinematography and commanding Oscar-nominated performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou rescue Blood Diamond from the sludge and mire of mediocrity.

Nommer 37 (Number 37)

Nommer 37, set in a fictional Cape Flats neighborhood, is an artful, pulsing, and tightly-wound thriller that makes full use of its gangland setting. It's visceral, inspired, and impassioned with a reimagined cinematic take on Hitchcock's classic, a complex environment, and tense atmosphere infused with spirit, street smarts, and fire.

Die Seemeeu (The Seagull)

Die Seemeeu, based on Anton Chekhov's classic Russian play, is a full-throttle cinematic experience, harnessing outstanding performances from a stellar local cast and utilizing towering themes of ego, fidelity, and artistic excellence. Die Seemeeu is a daring and sweeping adaptation of the stage drama that makes a worthy and powerful leap to the big screen.

Other fine South African films now showing on Showmax: Knuckle City, Noem My Skollie, Inxeba (The Wound), Wonderlus and Die Windpomp. Browse Spling's Top 50 list.