Top 10 Best Turkish Movies to Watch This Year

Is your habit of learning about culture through the small screen? 

Then our list of top 10 best Turkish movies is here to fill your craving!

As you already knew, Turkey’s location on a map is quite unique. It is a large peninsula that connects Europe and Asia, and the largest city, Istanbul, is spread across both continents. This location has played a significant role in shaping the country’s diverse culture and history. Hence, this country has always been a nation at the crossroads of modernism and tradition, presenting an intriguing mix of contrasts.

Modernists and traditionalists can find something to suit your interests, from books and music to movies and more. The Turkish film industry, in particular, has gained global recognition for its modern and diverse themes despite the country’s inwardly conservative nature in recent years. And the huge fan following of Turkish movies and Turkish actresses testify to that. 

Here, we have compiled a list of some of the best Turkish movies you can watch on weekends for a unique ride into a new experience. Let’s dive in!

1. Winter Sleep - Kis Uykusu (IMDB Rating 8.1)

If you have read short stories by Anton Chekov, you will find solace in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s work, one of the prominent Turkish directors known to the world of cinema. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s work is like watching an Anton Chekov short story put on a slow burner whose characters and plot will consume you by the time it ends. His slow-burning plots make his movies one of the best Turkish films of recent times.

Aydın, a retired actor, runs a hotel in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. He lives with his younger wife, Nihal, and his recently divorced sister Necla. Although most of the film takes place within the confines of the hotel, its story goes beyond the walls and touches on themes like morality, guilt, and the divide between social classes. Aydin is in conflict with everything around him and tries to find solace outside in the harsh winter. However, when he is outside, he yearns for the warmth of his inner self. 

Haluk Bilginer, who plays Aydin, is one of the famous Turkish actors accompanied by one of the famous Turkish actresses, Melisa Sözen. Undoubtedly, Winter Sleep is one of the best Turkish films that you must watch. There are many other famous Turkish movies by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, such as Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, The Wild Pear Tree, Three Monkeys. And one of the new Turkish movies, About Dry Grasses – newly released.

Watch Winter Sleep on Amazon and Apple TV.

2. Miracle In Cell No 7 - Yedinci Kogustaki Mucize (IMDB Rating 8.2)

Miracle In A Cell No 7 is a remake by the same name movie from South Korea but with a Turkish treat as it delves into the themes of separation, love, and grief, making it one of the best Turkish movies on Netflix. 

The film revolves around a duo; a father and a daughter. Memo, who is a mentally-ill man, is framed for murder and is sentenced to death. He is also separated from his daughter Ova. As mistreatments are quite a norm in prison, Memo doesn’t give up being kind, and his cellmates eventually start to adore him. The story takes a turn when cellmates start looking for ways to get Memo out of prison with the help of his daughter Ova. 

It is one of the best Turkish movies on Netflix if you are looking for Turkish movies to watch on Netflix. When released in 2019, the film was a commercial success as it has one of the famous Turkish actors Aras Bulut Iynemli as the father role.

Watch Miracle In Cell No 7 on Netflix or Plex.


3. Bad Cat - Kötü Kedi Serafettin (IMDB Rating 7)


Istanbul is super famous for stray cats or street cats, as, during the Ottoman times, rats in Istanbul were like a plague. There was no way to get rid of them until Ottomans devised a plan to bring cats to counter rats. The rat problem was resolved, and cats have ruled the city since then. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to see a cat playing a lead role in one of the best Turkish animated movies, Bad Cat.

Shero, a stray cat, and his animal friends are on the loose on the streets of Istanbul, searching for food, alcohol and causing trouble to females. However, when Shero talks to people on the street, their kindness and welcome behaviors lead him to introspect his behavior and choices. Indeed, Bad Cat is one of the best Turkish animated movies for animated movie lovers.

Watch Bad Cat on Mubi.

4. My Father and My Son - Babam ve Oglum (IMDB Rating 8.2)

Modern Turkish history is no stranger to military coups, and many movies have been made on the subject. My Father and My Son is one such Turkish movie exploring how military coups affect society and families. It is one of those Turkish films which introduced Turkish cinema to the world, as it was both a commercial success and a critically acclaimed movie. 

Sadik is a university student who becomes a left-wing journalist in the 70s against his father’s wishes. Everything turns upside down when a ruthless military coup takes place in 1980. During the coup, his wife dies while giving birth to their only child, Deniz. Also, being a left-wing journalist, he faces torture and trials and spends time in jail. 

Many years are lost when he returns to his village with his son, Deniz, to mend relations with his family. As one of the best Turkish movies to watch, as it has an ensemble cast of famous Turkish actors. Also, if you want an easy watch, a Turkish movie with English subtitles.

Stream My Father My Son on Youtube.

5. Only You - Sadece Sen (IMDB Rating 7.3)

It’s time for one of the best Turkish romantic movies to add more flavor to the list. Only You is about the emotional struggles one has to go through and how love has healing powers. This movie is perfect if you are looking for a light and romantic Turkish movie.

The story has a main character Ali, played by one of the famous Turkish actors, İbrahim Çelikkol, and a visually impaired woman named Hazal, played by one of the famous Turkish actresses, Belçim Bilgin. When Ali meets Hazal, she is going through a rough patch of her life. Although Hazel isn’t interested in Ali, his kindness and sincerity are enough to win Hazal’s heart.

The story takes a turn when Ali’s troubled past haunts him, making it difficult for him to sustain the relationship. How the relationship moves forward makes one believe that love has healing power. Only You is one of the few Turkish movies with English subtitles that you can stream on Youtube.

Stream Only You on Youtube.

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6. Mustang (IMDB Rating 7.6)

As discussed in the introduction, Turkey is divided between modernism and conservatism, which play out openly in Mustang. In Mustang, parents and relatives are conservatives, whereas their daughters are not-so-conservative as they want a way out from old traditions. The director Deniz Gamze Ergüven perfectly balances modern-day Turkey. For this very reason, the movie received critical acclaim and was nominated for César Awards for Best First Feature Film, making it one of the best Turkish movies to have come out in recent years.

Mustang is set in a Turkish village and follows the lives of five young sisters—Lale, Nur, Ece, Selma, and Sonay. One day, when girls play on the beach with some boys, the conservative guardians and community deem their actions immoral. They place restrictions on girls, and they are made to conform to traditional gender roles. However, the sisters resist the limitations and find small moments of freedom and rebellion. The director’s bold take on modern Turkey makes Mustang one of the best Turkish movies to watch. 

Watch Mustang on Mubi, Amazon or Netflix.

7. Hunting Season - Av Mevsimi (IMDB Rating 7.4)

If you want to watch a Turkish crime movie with plenty of drama, Hunting Season should be on your Turkish movies to-watch list. The movie was released in 2010, written and directed by Yavuz Turgul. He is a famous Turkish director known for making Turkish crime movies like The Bandit or Muhsin Bey. Watch Hunting Season or The Bandit if you are looking for a weekend thriller!

The Hunting Season has three cops, Ferman, Ydris, and Hasan, who are investigating the murder of a young woman. Among the suspects is a woman’s conservative family, who might have killed her for honor, her drug-dealing boyfriend, and aged billionaire Battal, with a young woman who also has a side love affair. Who’s the murderer? That’s for you to find out, as the plot has many twists and turns. Also, if you are looking for Turkish movies with English subtitles, you can stream this movie for free on Youtube.

Stream Hunting Season on Youtube.

8. Alone (IMDB Rating 6.8)

Alone is one of the best Turkish movies set in urban Istanbul, where interests like work, love, and choices align and clash. Cemal Hünal and Melis Birkan play the leading role in this Turkish drama movie. If you are looking for a Turkish movie with English subtitles, you can stream this one on Youtube as well.

Alper is a chef at his restaurant who spends money on one-night stands. One day, the situation changes completely when he comes across Ada, who has a shop where she designs costumes for kids. Alper starts liking her, and as the story develops, both fall in love. However, Alper tries to fit Ada into his life, whereas Ada has her ideas of love and work. Alone perfectly portrays the urban love in Istanbul, where even choices can lead to isolation and more drama in life.

Stream Alone on YouTube.

9. Uzak - Distant (IMDB Rating 7.5)

Uzak, or Distant in English, is another Turkish drama film directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. We have alreadly knew Winter Sleep by this famous filmmaker, and this movie is also one of his finest movies. Uzak, when released, was a commercial success and received critical acclaim internationally. It is one of the best Turkish movies that perfectly captures loneliness and disconnect when financial and love life takes a toll.

The film tells the story of Mahmut, a middle-aged photographer living in Istanbul, and his cousin Yusuf, who comes to stay with him from the village looking for a job. Mahmut leads a solitary life, unhappy with his married and professional life. On the other hand, Yusuf is a young man from a rural area who sees life differently. As the two cousins spend time together, their contrasting personalities and lifestyles lead to unhappy disagreements. What comes next? It depends on your curiosity.

Watch Uzak on Mubi.

10. Destiny - Kader (IMDB Rating 7.8)

Destiny is a Turkish drama movie directed by Zeki Demirkubuz, also known for the movie Innocence. It has two famous Turkish actors, Ufuk Bayraktar and Vildan Atasever, in the lead role. Destiny is one of the best Turkish movies if you like to watch movies on unrequited love that comes with crime and drama.

The plot revolves around Bekir, a young man running his father’s business. One day when Ugur visits his shop, he becomes infatuated with her. However, she is in love with Zagor, a violent criminal. As the story unfolds, Zagor kills the ‘protector’ of the Ugur’s family and runs away with Ugur. After two subsequent murders, he gets caught, and Ugur asks for Zagor’s help. Despite being married with a child, she becomes a singer, and Bekir is still after her. This movie is perfect for those who invest in an already tense love triangle.

Watch Destiny on Amazon or Apple TV.

Beyond Diriliş: Ertuğrul and Kuruluş: Osman

It is no doubt that Turkish cinema is being watched now more than ever. 

There are many movies and TV series like Diriliş: Ertuğrul and Kurulus: Osman, which look at history with nostalgia and are loved by Turkish people. Not only do Turkish people love such shows, but Muslim countries who hold Turkey and Ottoman Caliphate in high esteem also passionately follow such shows. One of the reasons which has introduced Turkish cinema to the global audience.

Interestingly, streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime have also invested in and produced many Turkish movies, introducing the vibrant Turkish cinema to the world. If you use Netflix, many Turkish movies on Netflix are available to stream. However, many movies are not produced by Netflix or Amazon Prime and deserve a separate list. Our list includes such Turkish movies that are unique and dynamic in the subject, and you can watch some of them on YouTube if you are also looking for Turkish movies with English subtitles.


Best Turkish Movies

In case you want to dive more into Turkish cinema

  • Ayla: The Daughter of War: Based on a true story, this heartwarming film follows the bond between a Turkish soldier during the Korean War and a young orphan girl he takes in. Filled with emotional depth and historical context, Ayla offers a touching portrayal of compassion and family in the midst of conflict.
  • Yahsi Bati – Dive into the hilarious world of Yahsi Bati, a small Anatolian town where chaos ensues when Western culture crashes into traditional ways of life. This laugh-out-loud comedy requires some understanding of Turkish culture for the full comedic effect, but offers a witty commentary on cultural clashes and societal changes.
  • G.O.R.A. – Get ready for a “wacky” adventure in G.O.R.A., where a humble shoe salesman accidentally travels to a bizarre planet inhabited by strange creatures and eccentric characters. This cult classic blends slapstick humor with fantastical elements, but cultural references might require some background knowledge for deeper understanding.
  • Losers’ Club – Get ready for a wacky adventure in G.O.R.A., where a humble shoe salesman accidentally travels to a bizarre planet inhabited by strange creatures and eccentric characters. This cult classic blends slapstick humor with fantastical elements, but cultural references might require some background knowledge for deeper understanding.

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