20 Best South Indian Movies by IMDb Ratings | 2023

The South Indian film industry is unparalleled in terms of diversity, musical and lyrical excellence and unique portrayals of roles. All South Indian states with their own film industries have produced multitudes of hit movies that have received critical acclaim from all over. Whether it is mellow or hard-hitting movies that you’re looking for, the South Indian film industry has it. For your next movie session, check out this list of the 20 best South Indian movies by IMDb ratings for a preview of fan-favourite classics.

1. 777 Charlie

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

Follow the life of Dharma, played by renowned actor Rakshit Shetty, who lives a cynical and lonely life that consists of nothing more than a monotonous routine. Life as he knows it changes when Charlie, a puppy, trots into his life and makes him see things differently.

2. Soorarai Pottru

IMDb Rating: 8.7/10

When Maara, a villager, sets out to make flying an affordable affair for everyone despite their economic status, he is met with opposition from various quarters. He must resist backing down against powerful and affluent people in positions of power. The film, which is one of the best South Indian movies by IMDb ratings, is based on the real-life story of Capt. G.R. Gopinath.

3. Peranbu

IMDb Rating: 8.7/10

Peranbu, a Tamil-language film sees Mammootty portray the role of Amudhavan. When his wife suddenly leaves him and their daughter, Amudhavan must now take care of his daughter with cerebral palsy alone. They must both face the ostracization of their community, amongst other trials.

4. Kaithi

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Dilli is an ex-convict who has recently been released from prison, awaiting a meeting with his 10-year-old daughter. However, as fate would have it, he faces a tumultuous journey as he must help an Inspector save the police avoid dangerous gangs in order to meet his daughter. Karthi plays the lead role in the film.

5. Kumbalangi Nights

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

With many accolades to its name, this Malayalam film has come to be known as a classic. It portrays the life of four brothers, who are often at odds with each other. The film deals with romance, familial conflict and trauma along with more serious themes like mental health.

6. 96

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

The story of Ram, a travel photographer and his childhood love Jaanu as they meet after 22 years at their school reunion. The film portrays young love in a nostalgic manner that has touched many hearts, especially with the moving background scores composed by Govind Vasantha.

7. Visaaranai

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Directed by Vetrimaaran, this film narrates the harrowing story of four labourers who are forcefully embroiled in a case and made to confess to a crime they did not commit. What happens when they are pushed far deeper into this case than they had ever imagined? The film is based on the book Lock Up by M. Chandrakumar, who narrated his own real-life experiences in the book.

8. Pudhupettai

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Circumstances force Kumar to run away from home in order to save himself. Alone and without any means to live, he befriends Mani and joins a gang. The film follows Kumar’s journey as he rises through the ranks and establishes himself as a notorious gangster, feared by all.

9. Vada Chennai

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Another top-rated movie by Vetrimaaran, this Dhanush starrer follows the story of a carrom player who unfortunately gets mixed in and involved in a fight between two dangerous groups out to kill each other.

10. Asuran

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

The third film by Vetrimaaran on this list, Asuran is a film set in the 70s and portrays caste-based violence in its many forms. When Sivasaami is forced to defend his son against murder, their story unravels and its many intricacies are uncovered.

11. Drishyam 2

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

This Malayalam crime-thriller film, directed by Jeethu Joseph, is a sequel to the film Drishyam. When a case that Georgekutty and his family were prime suspects in is reopened for investigation, panic and worry ensue. How will Georgekutty save his family this time around?

12. Kantara

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Kantara was easily one of the most talked about movies of 2022, garnering a huge fan following for the story-telling and its unique style. Directed, written and starring Rishab Shetty in the lead role, the movie also includes the traditions of Bhootha Kola and Kambala.

13. K.G.F: Chapter 2

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

The second installation to the franchise, K.G.F: Chapter 2 is the highest-grossing Kannada film. The story follows Rocky who is a feared figure in the Kolar Gold Fields where violence is common. Despite being respected by his allies, the government considers him a danger to the law and stability. Rocky faces opposition from various sources in order to maintain his position of power.

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14. Raatchasan

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

The Tamil thriller film follows the story of a sub-inspector, with a passion for film-making, who finds himself hunting down a dangerous serial killer who brutally murders school girls in particular.

15. Drishyam

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Georgekutty and his happy-go-lucky family suddenly find themselves in the midst of a murder investigation, after they cause an accidental death. How Georgekutty protects his family from getting caught by the police makes the film a classic.

16. Bangalore Days

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

Aju, Divya and Kuttan are cousins who had always dreamed of going to Bangalore together once they grew up. The movie showcases all their lives, individually and together, while also capturing the essence of Bangalore through their dramatic lives.

17. Premam

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

A film that has the reputation of being a cult classic, it is a combination of drama, comedy and romance that was released in 2015. Starring Nivin Pauly as George, who navigates his love life from adolescence to adulthood through romance, heartbreak and loss.

18. Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

The Telugu film was released in 2019 and is a comedy thriller. A detective from Nellore, typically investigating petty crimes, finds himself in the midst of trouble when he investigates an unidentified dead body that was found near a railway station.

19. Maheshinte Prathikaaram

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

After a physical altercation that ends in his defeat, Mahesh, who is both a studio photographer and owner, seeks revenge. This experience prompts him to reflect on his life and gain some new insights.

20. Lucia

IMDb Rating: 8.3/10

An usher who has difficulty sleeping is deceived into purchasing a drug named Lucia that causes his wishes to materialize in his dreams, causing him to have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is not.

Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to this vibrant cinema, exploring the top-rated films on IMDb is a great way to discover the best of South Indian cinema.  How many of the 20 best South Indian movies by IMDb ratings have you already watched?

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