12 Best Telugu Movies That You Should Definitely Watch

How do we judge if a movie falls under the category of the ‘best Telugu movies’ or not? Is it by the number of awards it won or the money it made? Should popular appeal win over critical appeal? Should we be keeping in focus what impact the movie has on society regardless of its success? Well, when it comes to movies, usually all of the aforementioned factors come into the picture. While there are movies like Arjun Reddy that celebrate toxic masculinity that might be uncomfortable for some to watch but still the film is a commercial success. At the same time, there are movies like Bahubali that are critically, commercially, as well as morally sound. But who sets these standards anyway? Tollywood is filled with dichotomies. Let’s have a look at some of the best Telugu movies based on all of the factors mentioned above and more.

Also read: 20 Best South Indian Movies Every Movie Buff Should Watch

1. Eega

Not the only S.S. Rajamouli film on this list, Eega is definitely one of the best Telugu movies. This movie is a tragedy, but a tragedy had never been this entertaining. A woman’s lover is murdered by the villain. He reincarnates in the form of a housefly and uses all his/its might to save the woman from the villain. As silly as the previous two lines sound, the plot turns out to be damn interesting, clever, and engaging.

2. Bahubali (1 & 2)

Just one word to describe this S.S. Rajamouli wonder- grand. A man name Shiva, unaware of his legacy, stumbles upon his past. What follows is pure grandeur- suspense, action, romance, this movie has it all. And that cliffhanger at the end of the first movie! Bahubali is a movie of epic dimensions. Be it the story, or the performances, or the awe-inducing sequences, this movie is a full package.

3. Swathi Muthyam

National Award-winning movie, Swathi Muthyam was Indian’s official entry for the Oscars in 1986. Shivayya, an autistic man, saves a widow with a 5-year-old kid from the tortures of the latter’s sister-in-law, by getting married to her. The story follows their struggles, their growth as a couple (and as individuals), and ends on a positive note.

4. Mithunam

This love story has elements common to most other cliched love stories, but it’s the well-thought-out plot and the performances that give this movie its unique flavour. This movie has only two characters Appadasu and Lakshmi, a couple that is young in heart. With their children living abroad, they only have each other for company. The movie carefully examines the dynamics of the relationship between a couple that has spent decades together. It is based on a Telugu novel of the same name.

5. Swamy Ra Ra

This is a dark comedy where the dark sometimes overflows. But that’s the beauty of this film. Three petty thieves steal a Ganesh idol worth millions and find themselves in trouble as villainous parties chase them in order to grab the idol. It is a fast-paced movie with a good amount of twists and turns. Overall, an entertaining watch.


6. Ala Modalaindi 

This is the movie that introduced Nithya Menen to us. This romantic comedy is a fresh take at love, a concept that had been exhausted by this industry. Gautham fails to stop his ex-girlfriend from getting married. He ends up falling for a woman, named Nithya, who is already engaged. When he finally draws up enough courage to confess his feelings in front of Nithya, the latter’s fiance shows up! Hilarity ensues!

7. Kanche

Kanche is a period drama set in the 1940s amidst the Second World War. It follows the rivalry between 2 men, Hari and Eeshwar. Eeshwar disapproves of the relationship between his sister Sita and Hari due to differences in caste and social status. Things change when the two men have to fight together in the war.

8. Arjun Reddy

This movie portrays extreme toxicity, recklessness, and misogyny. It is essentially a story of destructive love. But still, it is one of the most celebrated Telugu movies. This does have something to do with Vijay Devrakonda’s charm and the overall commercial success of the movie. People loved it, beyond the language barrier.

9. Prasthanam

In this political thriller, every character is flawed yet every character is so well defined that one cannot help but understand the character’s point of view. The story is engaging and filled with twists and turns.

10. Manamantha

This 2016 anthology film follows the lives of 4 individuals as they pursue their respective ambitions. The four individuals turn out to be the members of one family, which helps put together the little similarities that the audience encounters during the movie. This movie has the power to change views and perspectives, hence, a must-watch.

11. Savitri

This biographical film is a beautiful presentation of the life of Savitri, one of the greatest actors of Tollywood. Basically a tragedy, it shows the rise to fame of Savitri in her professional life and her downfall in her personal life due to depression and alcoholism.

12. C/o Kancharapalem

One of the most beautiful anthology films ever made, C/o Kancharapalem is a treat to watch. In a small town named Kancharapalem, 4 love stories blossom amidst societal barriers and prejudices. But the weight of the serious theme doesn’t hamper the simplicity of this film. Undoubtedly one of the best Telugu movies ever made.

With this, we have come to an end of the list of some of the best Telugu movies, and also this mildly diplomatic article. The last few years have witnessed a beautiful change in the way Telugu movies are produced. This fresh change has set up new hopes for the future. Which of these movies is your favourite? Do let us know in the comments section.

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