12 Famous Thai Movies You Must Watch

Original blog post: https://ling-app.com/th/famous-thai-movies/

Did you know that by watching Thailand movies, you can pick up the language that much faster?! When learning a new language, it’s recommended that you immerse yourself in it.

So, while you could watch Thai movies with subtitles on in your native language, it’s better to use the context in the film and active listening skills to learn faster.

We’ve included a list of the best Thai movies over the years to help you find your favorite, so you can watch them repeatedly to study Thai.

The hope is that eventually, you’ll be quoting the movie as you watch it. Check out Netflix Thailand to see which films are available to watch there.

You should also head over to other articles by Ling (the best app to learn Thai, by the way!) and learn all about famous Thai actors and Thai actresses.

Over the past decade, Thai cinema has reached global recognition with many awards, including an Oscar and international film festival awards.

Tips On How To Use Movies To Learn Thai

Movies are a fantastic way to learn languages! Here’s how you can use Thai movies to learn Thai and help you with your fluency:

1 Watch With Subtitles Off

Listening and watching are the keys to your success. Listen to the pronunciation, watch the actor's body language and you’ll pick on the accent and body movements in Thai culture.

2 Watch Thai Movies With Subtitles in Thai

This will help you to learn to read Thai.

3 Watch a Thai Film With Subtitles in Your Native Language

This will help you to understand and translate your native tongue into Thai.

4 Pause The Film And Repeat What They Say

Repetition is the key to learning a language! Repeat phrases and sayings to learn the pronunciation and meaning behind popular terms and phrases.

5 Speak Along With The Film

After watching the same scene or film multiple times, you may have a favorite scene. Replay that scene and talk along with it!

6 Watch The Same Film on Repeat

Watching the same movie over and over with the above techniques will ensure you really learn many aspects of Thai. So which film should you choose to implement these techniques?

Here are some of the most famous Thai films that you must watch!

Famous And Fun Thai Movies To Practice Thai

Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior

Genre: Martial Arts, Thriller, Action

Released: 2003

With Muay Thai being Thailand’s national sport, Ong Bak is a great way to learn about the fighting culture in Thailand, especially Muay Thai.

Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, also known as ‘The Art of Eight Limbs,’ was the first film to show what Muay Thai fights looked like. The fights had been misrepresented for decades in movies such as The Quest starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

It is one of the top Thai movies with great success overseas, especially in the United States, where it was renamed ‘Ong-Back: The Thai Warrior.’

Tony Jaa rose to fame in his lead role and starred in two sequels, which unfortunately weren’t as successful as the first.

Tropical Malady

Genre: Drama, Romance

Released: 2004

‘Tropical Malady’ made waves at the Cannes Film Festival when it won The Jury Prize in 2004. It’s become known as one of the best Thai films of all time because it also won the Special Jury Award for Directing at the 2005 Indianapolis International Film Festival and the Critics Award at the São Paulo International Film Festival.

Shutter

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Released: 2004

‘Shutter’ is a famous Thai horror movie, and apparently, it is so scary you won’t want to watch it alone. It scared audiences internationally and gained awards at several small international film festivals.

In 2005, ‘Shutter’ was even nominated for the best film category at the Bangkok International Film Festival.

The movie follows a Thai couple following a tragic hit and run, where their wrongdoing haunts the couple.

Chocolate

Genre: Action, Drama

Released: 2008

‘Chocolate’ is a follow-up film by Prachya Pinkaew, who directed ‘Ong Bak,’ released to rave reviews. The film chronicles the female journey of learning Muay Thai and involves the movie ‘Ong Bak.’

The main female character decides to learn Muay Thai to protect herself by repeatedly watching ‘Ong Bak.’

She learns the martial art following her mother’s death as she goes to collect a debt owed to her family.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Released: 2010

‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives’ is one of Thailand’s most recognized best films. You likely heard all about it in 2010–2011 when it went on to win an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film.

Not only that, but the film also won the Palme d’Or in 2010 at the Cannes Films Festival and won Best Film at the 5th Annual Asian Film Awards in the same year.

The movie is based on a true story about an abbot named Bonmee who claimed that all his past lives were relived through his meditation practices.

Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who also directed ‘Tropical Malady,’ this dramatic film cemented his lore in Thai cinema.

Bangkok Traffic Love Story

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Released: 2009

‘Bangkok Traffic Love Story’ is a coming-of-age story about finding love as a young adult. It resonated with young Thais as it portrays what it’s like to form a relationship as an adult.

The plot follows a female lead who falls into a depression after all of her friends find love and get married. She ends up on a destructive path, eventually finding love.

The Teacher’s Diary

Genre: Romance, Drama

Released: 2014

A romance develops between teachers in a rural area of Thailand. A teacher, banished from teaching due to her tattoo, leaves behind a diary full of her daily struggles after her life becomes difficult when it’s found she has a tattoo. Asked to remove it to keep her job, she refuses.

A year later, a male teacher, desperate for work, replaces her and finds her notebook. He becomes intrigued and writes her notes of encouragement. After his contract ends, she returns and reads his comments, and a relationship blossoms through words.

The Teacher’s Diary was directed by Nithiwat Tharathorn and was selected as an entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards.

The Medium

Genre: Horror

Released: 2021

This film quickly became a cult classic with horror officiants touting it as one of the great horror films. It’s a found footage film that pays homage to the original of its genre, The Blair Witch Project, which gives it realistic creepy feelings throughout.

The premise is that a boy in northern Thailand gets possessed by what the family believes to be a goddess. However, the spirit turns out to be malevolent and horrible things ensue.

A Thai-South Korean film, The Medium was nominated for numerous awards.

Phobia 2

Genre: Horror

Released: 2009

This film is a rare case in the cinema when the sequel is better than the original! ‘Phobia 2’ was released only a year after the original, ‘Phobia.’

Both films are anthology series that take you through 5 different experiences. And the sequel is known as the scariest Thai horror movie ever made!

If you watch it, you’ll also learn a lot of important facts about Thai superstitions and religion.

Bad Genius

Genre: Crime, Drama

Released: 2017

‘Bad Genius’ is easily one of the best Thai movies released recently. The plot revolves around a highly intelligent, straight A student, Lin.

She ends up helping her close friend cheat on a test to get into a good university in Thailand and decides to start a business to make extra money as her family is poor.

Things go wrong when she’s offered a million baht to help students cheat on the national exam. ‘Bad Genius’ takes exam cheating to a new level with lots of suspense and character building.

Behind The Painting

Genre: Romance, Drama

Released: 2001

Behind the Painting is one of the most beloved Thai films ever made. It is a classic love story that takes place in the 1980s, involving quite an age gap that highlights that love has no age.

Based on a Thai novel of the same name, the film and the book will have you in tears as you explore a different dimension of love. It also allows you to learn and listen to some old Thai language that isn’t much used today.

Bang Rajan

Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama

Released: 2000

You must watch ‘Bang Rajan’ to learn about the famous historical war between Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar.)

It’s a legendary Thailand film with action-packed scenes that chronicle the efforts of a small village to stave off an invasion of Burmese forces in the 1767 conflict.

The film was a success and was screened at international film festivals worldwide.

Other Ways To Learn Thai

Movies are a fantastic and entertaining way to learn about a new culture and learn a new language. But you can’t exactly watch a movie in a few minutes. Rather you need at least 1.5 hours a day to watch and practice.

That’s where a language app such as Ling comes in to help fill in the gaps! Movies are great for teaching slang and native conversational skills, but what about learning the basic vocabulary and cultural language norms too?!

Ling was the first language app to offer Thai and continues to provide the most comprehensive Thai language package through our app. It’s easily accessible, really affordable, and allows you to practice Thai (or any of the 60 other languages Ling offers).

Check Ling out now!

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