In the 90s, the movie scene in Nigeria would witness a bloom.
With the decline of Nigerian cinema in the late 80s, independent producers took it upon themselves to shoot low budget movies and sell them to the consumers in VHS cassettes via marketers. These movies were known as home videos.
The 90s was dominated by home videos. Cheaply produced and shot within a couple of weeks, this movie scene (later to be christened Nollywood in 2002) flooded the country, then the West African sub-region, Africa and the diaspora.
The home video industry would eventually peter out due to the Nollywood ban of 2004. Today, the movie is at a crossroads with one eye on big cinematic releases and another eye still on the past of home videos.
No matter what the future has in store, we cannot forget the years when Nollywood home videos reigned supreme, years of dedication and hard work and also low technical skills.
Below is a list of unforgettable Nollywood home videos in no ranking order;
1) Rattle Snake* (Directed by Amaka Igwe/1995)
Storyline- Ahanna Okolo is a young man who goes into a life of crime due to unfortunate events in his childhood. It also features themes of gang rivalry and intense passion.
Actors– Francis Duru, Nkem Owoh, Anne Njemanze, Ebele Uzochukwu, Bob Manuel, Okey Igwe, Julius Agwu, Ernest Obi, Ejike Metusaleh, Uche Odoputa, Okey Okoronkwo, Tony One week, Stella Damasus, Genevieve Nnaji and Chris Okotie.
2) Sakobi* (Directed by Zeb Ejiro/1998)
Storyline- This is a classic Nollywood spiritual thriller that tells the story of Francis who sacrificed his daughter for wealth. This move would cost him and his wife dearly with the addition of a seductress/snake girl by the name of Sakobi in their lives.
Actors– Saint Obi, Susan Patrick, Tony Umez, Edith Ujay, Sunday Omobolanle, Zik Okafor and others.
3) Keeping Faith (Directed by Steve Gukas/2002)
Storyline- A romantic movie that highlights the role of jazz (black magic) plays in keeping a man. It tells the story of Nadine who does her possible best in keeping her man Princewill.
Actors– Genevieve Nnaji, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, Fred Amata, Ego Boyo, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi and others.
4) Glamour Girls* (Directed by Chika Onukwufor/1994)
Storyline- This is a Nollywood classic that touched on the themes of sex and money. Producer Kenneth Nnebue [NEK Films] decided to touch on these themes, neglecting the prevailing themes of the time. Not only did this movie touch on sex and money, it boldly focused on sexuality, giving it a notorious reputation. It made the careers of Eucharia Anunobi and Zack Orji.
Actors– Eucharia Anunobi, Zack Orji, Liz Benson, Dolly Unachukwu, Gloria Alozie and others.
5) Forever* (Directed by Amaka Igwe/1997)
Storyline- It is one of the biggest tear-jerkers in Nollywood history. Forever is about the love of a mother. A young boy is separated from his mum and goes to live with his father and step mum.
Years of neglect and no love turns the son into a drug addict despite his amazing musical talent. His mother’s love helps bring him back from the point of destruction. It is one of the most dramatic stories ever told on film.
Actors– Justus Esiri, Hilda Dokubo, John Nwaobi, Ohi Alegbe, Jaiye Aboderin (late) and others.
6) Amadas (Directed by Andy Amenechi/1998)
Storyline- It’s a riveting story of three armed robbers who are particularly known for causing mayhem. During one of their bank operations, one of the armed robbers shoots his brother after he recognized him in the bank. This leads to a whole of self-destruction and eternal damnation.
Actors– Enebeli Elebuwa, Saint Obi, Bimbo Akintola, Adaora Okoh, Peter Bruno, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey among others.
7) Violated* (Directed by Amaka Igwe/1996)
Storyline – A man by the name of Tega who comes from an affluent background falls in love with Peggy who comes from a much simple background. Their romantic story is hit with complications from the past.
Actors– Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ego Boyo, Kunle Bamtefa, Joke Silva, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi and others.
8) Silent Night* (Directed by Chico Ejiro/1996)
Storyline- A young rich kid by the name of Stanley decides to join a feared armed robbery gang led by Black Arrow. In a touching robbery scene, Black Arrow was ordered to shoot his own brother.
Actors– Ramsey Nouah Jr, Segun Arinze, Alex Usifo, Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw and others.
9) Chain Reaction (Directed by Ndubuisi Okoh/1999)
Storyline- A gripping tale of a tyrannical woman who rules over an extended family with an iron fist. Her evil ways come to a crashing end as karma hits close to home.
Actors- Liz Benson, Pete Edochie, Ernest Asuzu, Onyeka Onwenu and Rita Edochie.
10) Hostages (Directed by Tade Ogidan/1997)
Storyline- The storyline might be cliché (the son of a poor man falls in love with the daughter of a rich man) but the action, suspense and stunts in this move make it a must-see flick.
Actors – Tope Idowu, Ofuafo Otomewo, Richard Mofe Damijo, Bimbo Manuel, Lanre Slogan, Tunji Sotimirin and Buky Ajayi.
11) Saworoide (Directed by Tunde Kelani/1999)
Storyline- In the town of Jogbo, things are not the same when a king breaks the tradition and decides to enrich himself and neglect his people. Decades later he would be overthrown by a soldier. Unknown to them, the true heir to the crown is on his way back to Jogbo with the sacred drum that will reset all past mistakes.
Actors– Ayantunji Amoo, Kunle Bamtefa, Kayode Olaiya, Yemi Shodimu, Kola Oyewo, Lere Paimo, Bukky Wright, Khabirat Kafidipe, Kunle Afolayan and others.
12) Sango (Directed by Obafemi Lasode/1997)
Storyline- This is the movie adaption of the Yoruba story of the life and times of Sango, the fourth Alaafin of Oyo who ruled in the 15th century. The movie chronicles the rise of the quick-tempered god of thunder and his tragic end.
Actors– Wale Adebayo, Bunmi Sanya, Wale Ogunyemi, Jimi Sholanke, Antar Laniyan and others.
13 Suicide Mission- (Directed by Fred Amata/1998)
Storyline- The storyline is as predictable as it gets. A seductress Monique comes in between Austin and his wife Winnie. She uses spiritual means to control Austin. While the storyline is passable, this movie is memorable because we get to see RMD locked in a bottle thanks to some cheap special effects.
Actors- Richard Mofe- Damijo, Regina Askia, Ameze Imarhiagbe, Obot Etuk, Patrick Doyle, Peter Bunor Jr. among others.
14) Most Wanted (Directed by Tunji Bamishigbin/1998)
Storyline – A copy and caste Nollywood version of the Hollywood crime action film starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise. The straight jack off did not deter Most Wanted from becoming a hit as the all-female leading cast was too strong.
Actors – Regina Askia, Ibinabo Fiberisima, Ayo Adesanya, Liz Benson, Genevieve Nnaji and Antar Laniyan.
15) Domitilla (Directed by Zeb Ejiro/1996)
Storyline – It’s the story of young and single women who are lured into the big, bright city lights and turn into prostitution to survive and for greed.
Actors– Sandra Achums, Enebeli Elebuwa, Maureen Ihua, Charles Okafor, Ada Ameh, Kate Henshaw, Basorge Tariah Jr, and Anne Njemanze.
16) Blood Money (Directed by Chico Ejiro/1997)
Storyline – In this riveting tale, a man loses his bank job. Desperate to get back on his feet, he enters the world of rituals and blood money.
Actors– Zack Orji, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Francis Agu and Sam Dede.
17) Diamond Ring* (Directed by Tade Ogidan/1998)
Storyline – A spoilt brat by the name of Chidi is sent to a University quite early by his parents. When he is on campus he joins a gang who later rob a mortuary. Unknown to Chidi and his gang members, the booty from the heist would have grave consequences.
Actors – Liz Benson, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Bimbo Akintola, Bukky Ajayi, Tunji Bamishigbin, Sola Sobowale, Teju Gbade-Oyelakin and more.
18) Igodo (Directed by Andy Amaechi/1999)
Storyline- Tagged as the best epic movie of the home video era, Igodo is the story of seven brave warriors who were sent on a dangerous journey to an enchanted land at would save their village from a deadly curse.
Actors– Sam Dede, Amaechi Muonagor, Charles Okafor, Prince James Uche, Pete Edochie, Norbert Young among others.
19) Nneka The Pretty Serpent (Directed by Zeb Ejiro/1992)
Storyline- Probably the movie that started the depiction of evil seductresses in Nollywood movies, this classic flick tells the story of the enchanting female demon Nneka who seduces men for their money and souls. Her next victim is Tony who she almost totally wrecks.
Actors– Ndidi Obi, Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, Rita Nzelu, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Eucharia Anunobi, Ngozi Ezeonu, Sam Loco, late James Iroha, Claude Eke and Nelly Uchendu
20) Living In Bondage* (Directed by Chris Obi Rapu/1992-1993)
Storyline – Andy is frustrated about how his life has turned out despite his wife’s assurance and support. Desperate to be rich, Andy listens to his best friend Paul who lures him to join a satanic cult. Andy sacrifices his wife to Lucifer in exchange for wealth but despite all the money in the world, his life crumbles.
Actors– Kenneth Okonkwo, Nnenna Nwabueze, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Francis Agu, Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, and others.
21) Died Wretched* (Directed by Kenneth Nnebue/1997)
Storyline – Perhaps the longest movie title in Nollywood history ‘Died Wretched, Burned in N2.5m casket’. This tragic story is about how a millionaire Chris neglects his uncle Lucas who trained him who is now poor and homeless. Unfortunately, his uncle dies in penury and his cousin ironically buries him in a N2.5m casket.
Actors– Tony Umez, Eucharia Anunobi, Rachel Oniga, Tom Njemaze and others.
22) Oracle – (Directed by Andy Amenechi/1998)
Storyline- Three greedy friends go back to their village and steal an artifact in the shrine with the help of two elders. This unleashes a demonic spirit who is hell-bent on murdering all the culprits. Oracle is notorious for its strong horror elements.
Actors– Pete Edochie, Prince James Uche, Enebeli Elebuwa, Charles Okafor and Saint Obi.
23) Conspiracy* (Directed by Ndubuisi Okoh/1999)
Storyline – Conspiracy” tells the story of a mad woman, Grace, who gives birth to twins, James and John. The twins would be taken from her and live with a childless couple. They grew up to become doctors. Decades later, they will find their mother and look for a cure to her madness.
Actors– Onyeka Onwenu, Charles Okafor, Larry Koldsweat and Nkem Owoh.
24) Karishika (Directed by Ifeanyi Ikpoenyi/1996)
Storyline – It’s the end time and Lucifer sends the lust demon known as Karishika a.k.a Queen of Darkness to steal the souls of men with sex. The storyline might be borderline predictable but the special effects make Karishika one of the scariest Nollywood movies of all time.
Actors– Bob Manuel Udokwu, Becky Okorie, Sandra Achums, Obi Mmadubugo, Amaechi Muonagor, Sunny Mc-Don, Adaora Ukoh, Ifeanyi Ikpoenyi, Andy Chukwu, Steve Eboh among others
25) Out of Bounds (Directed by Tade Ogidan/1997)
Storyline – Pastor Voke is the target of two women who are hell-bent on sleeping with him. The Pastor steps out of his marriage and finds himself in a web of lies and deceit which ruins him.
Actors– Richard Mofe Damijo, Bimbo Akintola, Rachael Oniga, Steve Rhodes, among others
26) True Confession (Directed by Kenneth Nnebue/1995)
Storyline – A woman by the name of Mabel schemes her way through her life which has consequences on her son’s life years later.
Actors- Zack Orji, Liz Benson, Sola Fosudo, Jennifer Ossai among others.
27) Scores To Settle (Directed by Chico Ejiro/1998)
Storyline – This is the story of Sade, who was rejected by her in-laws. Sade hits the streets with her two sons after the death of her husband, embarking on a long journey of suffering as she faces insecurity, poverty and hunger.
Actors– Richard Mofe Damijo, Liz Benson and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde.
28) Mortal Inheritance (Directed by Andy Amenechi/1996)
Storyline – A sad love story that centres around Kemi a young lady with sickle cell anaemia who defies the odds. She falls in love with Chike has who unfortunately has the AS genotype. Kemi ends the relationship because of this.
Actors– Fred Amata, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Kunle Bamtefa
29) Yogo Pam Pam (Directed by Kingsley Ogoro/1998)
Storyline – The sequel to Pam Pam draws more laughs as two friends Loco and Mambo Mambo come up with schemes along with their female accomplice to raise money to get US visas. Their half-baked schemes always land them in hilarious situations.
Actors – Nkem Owoh, Okey Bakasi and others
30) Owo Blow* (Directed by Tade Ogidan/1997)
Storyline – It highlights the erosion of the middle class in Nigeria in the 90s and an upright man’s struggle to fight corruption.
Actors – Prince Leke Ajao, Bimbo Akintola, Adewale Elesho, Lanre Hassan, Sam Loco Efe, Binta Ayo Mogaji, Kayode Odumosu, Rachael Oniga, Adebayo Salami and others
* – represents movies with sequels with one story line running through them.