From Hollywood to Bollywood: 5 Hindi Movies You Must See Before You Die

Bollywood is a traditional Indian movie. illustration on black background

We’ve all been told of certain films that you must see before you die: Casablanca, Fight Club, Good Will Hunting, etc. These are all classic Hollywood films that are well known across the globe.

But there are films made in other places that are equally as important in terms of culture and entertainment. Bollywood, also known as Hindi cinema, has produced some of the most important and popular films in the world, even ones that rival Hollywood releases.

In this list, we’re going to go over the top 5 Bollywood movies you have to see. While this is by no means a comprehensive list (Bollywood produces over 1,600 films every year), but it’s a good list to get you started!

1. Lagaan

If you’re a fan of sports movies like The Rookie or A League of Their Own, you should start your Bollywood education with the 2001 film Lagaan. Categorized as a sports and historical drama film set in the late 1800s, you’ll follow the main character Bhuvan as he attempts to save his province from taxes imposed on them by the British.

British officers tell Bhuvan they’ll negate the high taxes on him and his fellow villagers if they can beat the British in a game of cricket. The movie follows Bhuvan and the villagers as they train and get ready for a match that will change their lives forever.

2. Guide

Bollywood is well known for dramatic romance movies, which is exactly what the 1965 film Guide is. This was a hit for both critics and audiences, winning several awards and flooding the box office.

Far from a happy romance film, this follows Rosie and Raju as they experience love, loss, and tragedy. Have we piqued your interest? Watch it for free on the Khatrimaza website.

3. Mughal-e-Azam

Let’s give you another romance option, shall we? The 1960 film Mughal-e-Azam follows the intense love between Salim (a Mughal prince) and the beautiful court dancer Anarkali.

Their love isn’t approved of by Salim’s father, which leads to literal and figurative war. This film broke box office records, is the highest grossing Bollywood film ever made, and is widely considered the greatest Bollywood film of all time.

4. Sholay

This 1975 film embodies another classic genre in Bollywood cinema: westerns. It might seem odd for Hindi cinema to tackle classic Hollywood westerns, but Sholay shows that they do it very well.

Equal parts action and adventure, this movie follows two former thieves as they try to track down a man wanted by the authorities for a huge bounty. It’s a combination of violent, entertaining, and a buddy-buddy film that was so successful that it’s known as the most successful Bollywood movie ever.

5. Amar Akbar Anthony

We’ll round out this list by giving you another popular Bollywood genre: the musical. Dance, fashion, and music are all huge parts of the Bollywood scene, and they all come together in the dramedy musical from 1977. 

Top 5 Bollywood Movies: Which Will You Watch First?

Of the thousands out there, these are our top 5 Bollywood movies. Think we missed an even better one? Let us know!

You can also check out more info on movies and entertainment here.