21 Best Kannada Movies of All Time; List of Top Kannada Films

List of Top All Time Best Kannada Movies

Kannada Film Industry, which is based in the southern state of Karnataka, has a rich history and has given its audience some of the great movies. It has produced some of the great actors, directors and technicians.

Here is our list of top all-time best Kannada movies. Each movie in this list has its own distinctive flavour, character, quality and feel. This list is a compilation some of the best must watch Kannada movies. There are many good movies in Kannada and not naming those movies in this list does not make them any less good.

Here is our list of top all time best, must watch Kannada movies


Shh! (1993)

Shh Kannada Movie Poster
Shh! is a 1993 horror suspense movie directed by Upendra. Shh! is lead actor Kumar Govind's debut film as hero and is also the producer of this film. Shh! redefined horror films in Kannada from white saree clad woman singing songs in the middle of the night to more scary and gory ghosts. Shh!'s story revolves around a film crew shooting a horror film 'Shh' at the supposedly haunted Onti Mane Estate. Even though Shh! contains some unwanted scenes to boost off its lead actor's skills (Eg:The fight scene with Kung-Fu Karnan with 'Echo' sound effects, Romantic scenes with lead actress.) it manages to hold its viewers with its screenplay and story. The suspense element is well maintained throughout the movie with twists and turns. Shh! is the second film directed by Upendra after the hit comedy film 'Tarle Nan Maga'. Shh! was a big hit when it was released back in 1993 and gave Upendra a firm boost as a director with back to back hits.


Kendasampige (2015)

Kendasampige Kannada Movie Poster
Kendasampige is a crime thriller directed by Duniya Soori. Vicky Varun and Manvitha Kamath play the lead roles. Kendasampige is a well-crafted movie which focuses on story and narration. Kendasampige will keep you hooked to the screen throughout the film.


Aa Dinagalu (2007)

Aa Dinagalu Kannada Movie Poster
Aa Dinagalu is 2007 crime drama film directed by debut director KM Chaitanya. Aa Dinagalu is the debut film of lead actor Chetan. Aa Dinagalu is inspired by some real life incidents in Bangalore underworld and is based on a novel Daadaagiriya Dinagalu by Agni Shridhar. KM Chaitanya tells us an interesting story in an engaging way and the fact that is inspired by real life events makes it more engrossing. Good performances by Sharath Lohitashwa and Ashish Vidyarthi takes the movie a notch up. Even though Aa Dinagalu is a movie on underworld, there is very less blood and gore and it concentrates more on character-forming, dialogues and effective screenplay; makes this one the best films made on underworld.


Ranadheera (1988)

Ranadheera Kannada Movie Poster
Ranadheera is an action drama starring V. Ravichandran and Kushboo as lead actors. Directed by V. Ravichandran himself,  Ranadheera is a remake of Hindi film 'Hero' directed by Subhash Ghai. Like the original, Ranadheera went on to become a blockbuster. With subtle changes to the original script, Ravichandran gives us an entertaining action drama which holds its viewers till the very end. This high octane love story has excellent music and background score composed by maestro Hamsalekha. Ravichandran gives Randheera a longer, grand, dynamic and better shot climax than 'Hero'.


Om (1995)

Om Kannada Movie Poster
The third directorial venture of Upendra, 'OM' is a crime drama starring Shiva Rajkumar and Prema in lead roles. Om went on to become the biggest hit of Kannada Film Industry. 'Om' is a milestone cinema in Sandalwood that changed the look and feel of rowdyism movies in Kannada. Story of movie 'Om' is an ordinary one. It's a story of an innocent man turning into a rowdy, and his love story. But it's the way that this story is told is what makes 'Om' extraordinary. The sepia look of 'Om' helps it a lot along with the remarkable background music and songs. 'Om' was remade as 'Omkaram' in Telugu directed by Upendra himself. 'Om' was unofficially remade in Hindi as 'Arjun Pandit' starring Sunny Deol and Juhi Chawla. Serious crime drama was reduced to an unfunny comedy movie and 'Arjun Pandit' rightly bombed at the boxoffice.


Ulidavaru Kandante (2014)

Ulidavaru Kandante Kannada Movie Poster
Ulidavaru Kandante is a crime drama directed by Rakshit Shetty, starring Rakshit Shetty in the lead role. Ulidavaru Kandante tells us a story of a crime, through five connected stories, with each story narrated from the perspective of five different characters. Ulidavaru Kandante keeps it very realistic and there is attention to detail in every frame. Language and culture of coastal Karnataka is blended beautifully. Sublime narration of the story along with good acting and exemplary cinematography makes Ulidavaru Kandante an excellent movie. If you like watching movies with detailed narration and which focuses on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with realistic emotional struggles, you will love Ulidavaru Kandante.


Lucia (2013)

 Kannada Movie Poster
Lucia is a crowd funded Kannada movie directed by Pawan Kumar. Lucia stars Neenasam Sathish & Shruthi Hariharan in the lead roles. Lucia is about an insomniac taking 'Lucia Pills' to get sleep. He starts dreaming in sleep, and gradually he is unable to separate dreams from reality. Lucia was critically acclaimed upon its release and went on to become a sleeper hit. Even though Lucia is crowd funded, the quality of this film is top notch. Lucia never makes you feel that you are watching a low budget movie. Lucia shows that you can make good cinema even with a limited budget. Acting, cinematography, story, direction are remarkable making Lucia an interesting watch. Lucia was remade into Tamil as Ennakul Oruvan starring Siddharth.


Undoo Hoda Kondoo Hoda (1992)

Undoo Hoda Kondoo Hoda is a 1992 comedy drama directed by Nagathihalli Chandrashekhar, starring Anant Nag & Tara in lead roles. Anant Nag plays a con man who cheats villagers posing as a "Cow Inspector" appointed by the government. Anant Nag scams the gullible villagers into spending thier money, promising them foreign cows. He escapes from the village before anyone could know that they have been scammed. But this time, daughter of the village head falls in love with him and things start to take a downward spiral. Undoo Hoda Kondoo Hoda is hilarious at the beginning. Dialogues are filled with humor and conversations between the characters are funny. The movie shows how easily innocent villagers can be persuaded and duped; and their anger when you get caught cheating them. Undoo Hoga Kondoo Hoda is an engaging movie and a great watch. Recommended.


Panchamaveda (1990)

Panchamaveda is a 1990 drama film starring Ramesh Aravind and Sudharani in lead roles and directed by PH Vishwanath. Panchamaveda is a story of Anand who goes to his native village to meet a girl(Rukmini) and her parents. Anand's father wants him to marry the girl, but Anand is reluctant. The movie starts pleasantly with a happy mood and good humour. Anand and Rukmini eventually fall in love with each other. The movie till now was a sweet innocent love story with happy ending written all over it. But the story takes a serious turn after a twist in the tale. Things start to fall apart ensuing a vicious cycle heading towards tragedy. Panchamaveda ends leaving a strong lasting impression on our minds. Panchamaveda won Best Actress, Best Dialogue and Best Editing awards at the Karnataka State Film Awards of 1990.


Guru Shishyaru (1981)

Guru Shishyaru Kannada Movie Poster
Guru Shishyaru is a 1981 comedy drama starring Vishnuvardhan and Dwarkish in lead roles, directed by HR Bhargava. The film is a remake of 1966 Telugu movie named 'Paramanandayya Sishyula Katha'. Guru Shishyaru is a laugh riot and totally hilarious, even though it's a remake. The film is well-made and has a free flowing narration with a good story. If you like comedy films, then this movie should be on your watchlist.


Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu (2016)

Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu Kannada Movie Poster
Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu is a 2016 drama film starring Rakshit Shetty and Anant Nag in lead roles, directed by Hemant Rao. Story of Godhi Banna Sadharana Mykattu is about Shiva (Rakshit Shetty) who starts searching for his father Venkob Rao (Anant Nag), who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, when he goes missing. GBSM is a well-knitted emotional film, that won hearts and praise from both people and critics.


Bandhana (1984)

Bandhana Kannada Movie Poster
Film 'Bandhana' was released in 1984 and it starred Vishnuvardhan and Suhasini in lead roles. Bandhana was produced and directed by Rajendra Singh Babu. Bandhana is a love story of a doctor falling in love with his colleague, but is unable to express his love for her. She then marries her childhood friend, which leaves him heartbroken and depressed. Bandhana was applauded for its story, presentation and melodious songs and was a huge hit. Both the lead actors won awards for their powerful acting performances.


Cyanide (2006)

Cyanide Kannada Movie Poster
Cyanide is 2006 thriller directed by AMR Ramesh. Story of film 'Cyanide' is set in Bangalore and is based on the real life story of  assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the aftermath. The film won praise for its realistic intense gripping narration, and the fact that it was based on real life events made it even more effective.


Gandhada Gudi (1973)

Gandhada Gudi Kannada Movie Poster
Gandhada Gudi is 1973 movie starring two legendary Kannada actors Rajkumar and Vishnuvardhan.Gandhada Gudi is directed by Vijay. The film went on to become a huge hit in Karnataka. The film is set in a reserve forest and the lead character played by Rajkumar is a forest officer. The film was highly appreciated for its new kind of story and execution in Kannada film industry.


Naagarahaavu (1972)

Naagarahaavu is a 1972 legendary Kannada film that established late Kannada actors Vishnuvardhan and Ambareesh. The film is directed by renowed director late Puttana Kanagal. The movie was a massive hit when released. The film has seen multiple re-releases and was colourized in 2018 and released again. Naagarahaavu was remade in Hindi as Zehreela Insan in 1974, starring Rishi Kapoor.


Babruvahana (1977)

Babruvahana Kannada Movie Poster
Babruvahana is 1977 mythological Kannada drama film with legendary actor late Dr. Rajkumar playing the lead role. Rajkumar plays dual role in the film. One of Arjuna, and another of Arjuna's son Babruvana. The film is directed by Hunsur Krishnamurthy. Babruvana is famous for its poetic dialogues. Specially 'Yaaru ariyaru ninna bhujabalada parakrama' dialogues during the fight sequence between Arjuna and Babruvahana. Interesting story and an engaging screenplay makes 'Babruvahana' an entertaining watch.


Kasturi Nivasa (1971)

Kasturi Nivasa Kannada Movie Poster
Kasturi Nivasa is an intense emotional drama that released in 1971. The lead role in Kasturi Nivasa is played by actor Rajkumar. The original black & white version of the film was colourised and was -re-released in 2014 all across Karnataka.


Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu (1974)

Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu Kannada Movie Poster
Kannada blockbuster film 'Bhootayyana Maga Ayyu' (Bhootayya's Son Ayyu) released in 1974. The stars Vishnuvardhan and Lokesh in the lead roles. The film is about the rivalry between a son of a zamindar named Ayyu and a young man of the same village named Gulla. Ayyu, after his father Bhhotayya's death, tries to assert dominance in the village like his father did, but this leads to strong resistance from Gulla and the villagers.


Minchina Ota (1980)

Minchina Ota is a heist thriller directed by the Legendary actor late Shankar Nag. He also plays the lead role in the movie along with his brother Anant Nag. Minchina Ota is the first film directed by Shankar Nag, and is also written and produced by him. Minchina Ota released in 1980, and is a story of small time vehicle thieves coming together for a bank robbery. The movie is a captivating watch from the start till the end.


Satya Harishchandra (1965)

Satya Harishchandra Kannada Movie Poster
Satya Harishchandra is a 1965 mythological film starring Rajkumar as Raja Harishchandra.Satya Harishchandra is a story of King Harishchandra from Indian mythology. The film is directed by Hunsur Krishnamurthy. Satya Harishchandra was colourised and re-released in 2008 across Karnataka.


Maanasa Sarovara (1982)

Maanasa Sarovara is a psycho-thriller directed by Puttana Kanagal. The film released in 1982 and stars Srinath and Padmavasanthi in the lead roles. Maanasa Sarovara is a story of a psychiatrist falling in love with his young female patient.

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