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THAI CINEMA FAQ

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How many Thai movies have you seen?

ThaiWorldView movie database contains 1246 records.



ThaiWorldView movie database is divided in following genres:



Why Thai cinema is different from other cinemas?

Thai cinema has a complex and interesting history. Click on our Thai cinema history summary View.

Thai culture, Thai history, Thai litterature, Thai society precepts and Thai Buddhist beliefs are always present in Thai movies, making them a refreshing alternative to occidental movies. Unfortunately mainly Thai actions movies and Thai horror movies are well-known outside Thailand.

We want to stimulate interests among Thai people and foreigners in regarding Thai movies as national treasures. Thai movies form a new and ongoing cultural force of Thai life, starting more than a century ago.



Who is your favorite actor?

Sorapong Chatree (1949) - สรพงษ์ ชาตรี

Sorapong Chatree
Sorapong Chatree
Sorapong came from a working-class background. He played roles of struggling poor people or country migrants lucking it out in Bangkok. He has played in more than 500 movies.

Click on our Sorapong Chatree's partial filmography (183 movies) : View

Sorapong Chatree, like many Thai older actors, are less used in Thai movies but still used in Thai TV series. In foreign cinema such as French movies, older actors such Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondon can still have the first role in a movie. Thai society like young faces in Thai movies and TV series. It is a pity that such great actor as Sorapong Chatree is not used anymore at his right value. The Thai cinema industry spoiled the market by having young actors play the role of senior characters.



Which other Thai actors are famous?

130 Thai actors are represented in ThaiWorldView movies database.



Who is your favorite actress?

Jintara Sookkapat (1965) - จินตรา สุขพัฒน์

Jintara Sookkapat
Jintara Sookkapat
To those growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, she is still Thailand's sweetheart. She is the heroine of the popular "Boonchu" romantic teen comedy film series and the reason to watch prime-time Thai TV serie.

Click on our Jintara Sookkapat's partial filmography (33 movies) : View

In the 1960s-1980s, there was a booming movie business and a hysteria for screen actors (Mitr Chaibancha, Sombat Methanee, Sorapong Chatree, Petchara Chaowarat, Aranya Namwong, Jarunee Sooksawad, Jintara Sookkapat...). Today, simply switching on a TV has made soaps ("LAKORN TORATAT" - ละครโทรทัศน์) more accessible than movies. Since the 1980s Thai soap operas have been very popular by being broadcasted at prime time. By the late 1980s, Thai soap operas programs came to rival Thai films in popularity.



Which other Thai actresses are famous?

128 Thai actresses are represented in ThaiWorldView movies database.



Who is your favorite director?

ChatriChalerm Yukol (1942) - ชาตรีเฉลิม ยุคล

ChatriChalerm Yukol
ChatriChalerm Yukol
Prince Chatri Chalerm or ChatriChalerm Yukol is best known for portraying social problems and misery of the poor and the downtrodden people on the lower rungs of society.

Click on our ChatriChalerm Yukol's partial filmography (23 movies) : View

ChatriChalerm Yukol was supposed to write a Citizen III movie. The Citizen is actually part of a trilogy, i.e. The Citizen, Freedom of the Citizen and Citizen Go Home. He has made two. He never made the third one.



Which other Thai directors are famous?

39 Thai directors are represented in ThaiWorldView movies database.



What means your rating?



What are your top 12 favorite Thai movies?



Why are you interested in Thai cinema?

I am interested in anything related to Thai culture and Thai society. So I love studying movies, TV series, books, photographs, newspaper articles, history, research papers regarding Thailand.



When did you start to be interested in Thai cinema?

Starting in 1998, I watched Thai TV series to improve my Thai language knowledge. The Thai first movie that I watched was "Nang Nak" in 1999. Then I started to buy Thai VCD movies everytime I went to Thailand two or three times a year.



What is your favorite film genre?

I like Social problem films (หนังสาธรสังคม or หนังสาธรปัญหาสังคม) stories as they point to injustice in Thai society. This genre is not popular among audiences because the stories do not support the law of karma. The villains are not punished. The social problem films in Thailand boomed from the 1970s through the mid 1980s. After the events of 14 October 1973 Thai people enjoyed a form of democracy that was provided with increased freedom. As a consequence, Thai people became more openly interested in politics and social problems.

Some social problem movies deal about farmers' difficult life and their migration to Bangkok. Some social problem movies deal about conflicts between poor people, government officials (policemen, soldiers, bureaucrats) and businessmen. The plots of these films usually involve the conflicts between classes such as poor people and their oppressors. Many social problem movies present the problems of poor people such as prostitutes, peasants, and slum-dwellers.

Some Thai social movies may not be at international standard levels from a picture or soundtrack point of view but their moral message given is meaningful to Thai society. Nowadays Thai audiences are not all that hungry for well-made productions with a social or moral message. They prefer simply and easy-to-digest entertainment. Social movies are no longer popular and began to disappear from the local film market in 1990s.



Why most of the movies in ThaiWorldView.com website are old movies?

Despite the popular notion that old films are outdated, irrelevant or just plain boring, there is a wealth of historical and cultural detail to be found in old film footage, without which our understanding of Thai national heritage would be so much weaker.



What are the main characteristics of Thai 1960s movies?

The below characteristics are based on a limited selection of 157 movies so it will be updated from to time when more 1960s movies are added to our movies database. Around 605 movies were shot during 1960s decade.

In 1960s decades the popular profile of a film star was a dark-skinned, muscular hero, weightlifting type such as Mitr Chaibancha or Sombat Methanee. Normally, movie stars wouldn't lower their rank to appear on TV. Nowadays movie stars try to build a fan base with TV shows. Movies have little interest in stories that feature seniors in the lead. Many actors who were famous two, three decades ago found themselves unemployed and in certain cases ended up living their last corners of life in poverty.

Thai moviemakers generally preferred the 16mm format with no sound. Some live dubbing was required at each screening. The dubbers were the stars and each province had its own famous film dubbers.

Mainstream movies at that time tended to drag the audience away from reality. Many typical 1960s movies always included same cast of characters, i.e. a leading actor (พระเอก) coming from rich background, a leading actress (นางเอก) coming from a poor background, villains (ตัวกง) wishing to hurt the leading actress, funny comedians supporting the leading actor (ตัวตลก), bad girls (นางอิจฉา) trying to take away the leading actor from the leading actress. Such movies mixed action, love, comedy and drama.

Top favorite Thai movies for decade 1960s are:



What are the main characteristics of Thai 1970s movies?

The below characteristics are based on a limited selection of 266 movies so it will be updated from to time when more 1970s movies are added to our movies database. Around 999 movies were shot during 1970s decade.

The three years democratic window between 1973 and 1976 saw a tremendous upsurge in creative expression in film. Issues that have not been able to be represented publicly under military rule became the focus of considerable public attention.

Thai movies after 1973 can be divided into two groups, those focusing on sex and violence and those with a strong political bias. Freedom was taken to the extreme. There was many movies where crude language was used and which put the stress on sex. The issue of bisexuality surfaced in film for the first time. It has never been talked before. Male nudity and men being represented as sexual objects of female desire also hit the news in the mid 1970s. First Thai films about male prostitution appear.

The decade of the 1970s is also a decade of change and development in the cinema, particularly in the emergence of a socially critical cinema (topics related to corruption, underground power, unfair local administrative bodies). Films were dealing with contemporary issues in a realistic manner which is a sharp contrast to the content of 1960s movies.

Some movies presented an ideology strongly anti-communist such as action movies where the villains were always the red communists.

Top favorite Thai movies for decade 1970s are:



What are the main characteristics of Thai 1980s movies?

The below characteristics are based on a limited selection of 323 movies so it will be updated from to time when more 1980s movies are added to our movies database. Around 1233 movies were shot during 1980s decade.

Politics gradually disappeared from Thai films in the 1980s.

Very commercially successful in the 1980s were gangsters films modeled on Hong Kong genre including a vast amount of gunplay and general quarrels. Actions movies where the leading actor was confronting a local mafia were also very popular.

Movies were so numerous so they often displayed at the end "See you in movie xxx" (พบกันใหม่) to incite fans to come to see their favorite stars in the next movie.

Top favorite Thai movies for decade 1980s are:



What are the main characteristics of Thai 1990s movies?

The below characteristics are based on a limited selection of 152 movies so it will be updated from to time when more 1990s movies are added to our movies database. Around 607 movies were shot during 1990s decade.

Teen films with plots and themes centered on the classroom were very successful in 1990s decade.

Many Thai B grade movies were shot in 1990s decade.

In the 1990s, the number of Thai films being produced decreased dramatically. During this time Thai film genres such as Action movie, Drama movies, Social movies were no longer popular and began to disappear from the local film market. They were mainly replaced by American movies.

The style of films from the new directors (Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Nonzee Nimitbut...) in late 1990s was different from the previous decade. They presented films that were influenced by advertising and music video clips. There were more focus on urban life and people enjoying consumerism. The number of films that presented the story of urban life and middle class increased. On the other hand, the number of films for provincial people (Action movies and Ghost movies) declined.

Top favorite Thai movies for decade 1990s are:



What are the main characteristics of Thai 2000s movies?

The below characteristics are based on a limited selection of 229 movies so it will be updated from to time when more 2000s movies are added to our movies database. Around 378 movies were shot during 2000s decade.

In decade 2000s there are no more political films despite the liveliest politics, for example, and hardly films that represent regional issues and interests. Thai films, unlike 30 years ago, have become strictly middle-class, Bangkok-centric affairs. Social problem films that raise society issues such as farmers' difficult life, corruption, injustice, migration, the problems of poor people such as prostitutes, peasants and slum-dwellers are no more popular in year 2000s. Hopefully they are still a few Documentary or so-called docudrama Movies.

Horror movies have become the icons of contemporary Thai films.

Top favorite Thai movies for decade 2000s are:



What are the main characteristics of Thai 2010s movies?



Which Thai companies are selling old Thai movies?

Some old Thai movies are difficult to find. Nowadays DVD have replaced VCD. Following the lesser interest in old Thai movies, some companies only adapt popular old movies to DVD format. Some major companies still distribute old movies, i.e. Lepso Studio, Premium, Solar Marketing, Rose, APS, Happy Time Marketing Co, Mongkol, Pantamit, Tiga.

Solar Marketing
Solar Marketing
"Solar Marketing" focused on movies more than twenty years old so having Sombat Methanee or Sorapong Chatree as the main actor. "Solar Marketing", which had an important movies catalog, has disappeared. It is possible to find some old stock in some online Thai store websites.
Rose
Rose
Rose is focusing on movies older than twenty and thirty years old. คาดเชือก is still a popular movie as it was the first film from Bandit Ritthakol.
Pantamit
Pantamit
"Pantamit" (พันธมิตร) collection includes many movies with Mitr Chaibancha.

Their collection is named "Movie in my heart" (คิดถึงหนังไทย) and includes 100 titles. It is also called XxX (Triple X). Their old movies are often higher quality as they are involved in cinema business since a long time. They are even the owner of famous movies such as "อัศวินดาบกายสิทธิ์". For some movies they restored the image or put a new soundtrack and dialogues. So their movies are often sold more expensive than the other brands. Pantamit focus on movies 30-40 years old. Unfortunately Pantamit company with their "Movie in my heart" collection went bankrupt as they could't sell enough old movies to survive. Many Beta VHS tapes were still in stock in "Pantamit" but were not released due the insufficient interest of Thai movies fans.

APS
APS
"APS" focuses on movies more than fifteen years old. Their stock of movies feature many action movies from Panna Rittikrai (พันนา ฤทธิไกร).
Premium
Premium
"Premium Digital" focus on movies more than twenty years old.
Lepso Studio
Lepso
"Lepso studio" (เลปโส้) focus on movies 25 or 40 years old.

Lepso Studio's movies collection always display "40 years Thai historical movies" (40ปีหนังไทยประวัติศาสตร์) or "25 years historical Thai movies" (25ปีหนังไทยประวัติศาสตร์). Very often, the cover given with the VCD is wrong and belongs to another movie. Even worst, the cover can be a fake cover photoshopped from other movies. Many movies from Lepso Studio are Grade B action movies from 1990s.

Mongkol
Mongkol
Mongkol has stopped as they were losing money.
Happy Time Marketing Co
Happy Time Marketing Co
"Happy Time Marketing Co" seems to have taken over part of "Solar Marketing" titles so it is still possible to find some old interesting Thai movies in VCD format.
Happy Home Entertainment
Happy Home Entertainment
"Happy Home Entertainment" has just released in 2012 two batches of old Thai movies newly remastered in DVD format.

Happy Home Entertainment stock includes movies never released before in VCD/DVD format, i.e. เตือนใจ, เมืองในหมอก, แหกนรกเวียดนาม. Each movie is around 69 to 89 Baht. Thai movies fans shall purchase them so that Happy Home can release more batches in the future. Unfortunately in year 2013, Happy Home Entertainment movies were sold 3 DVDs for 100 Baht so certainly indicating it was not a successful business despite releasing 50 great old movies.

Tiga
Tiga
"Tiga" mainly distributes Chaiyo Production movies including famous movies from director Sompote Sangduenchai. Those movies are at least 30 years old.

Vcd are less than 100 baht except for Pantamit movies, which are often sold more than 120 baht. Other brands are far below 100 baht despite higher sticker price displayed on their cover.



Why Lepso Studio VCD releases are sometimes controversial?

Lepso Studio company has a big Thai movie catalogue. It is well known for its wrong and misleading VCD covers to oversell or resell the same old movies. Click on this link View to discover Thai movies posters from Lepso Studio.



Which old Thai movies are you still looking for?

Around 4000 Thai movies have been produced since 1927. Around 2000 are stored at the Thai Film Archives. Many 16mm colour movies are lost. There was never an original negative to hold on to, let alone archive. The camera original and any additional exhibition prints were circulated to cinemas around the country. The prints were screened and rescreened until they became scratched beyond repair.

There is still some hope or dream that some movies can be found overseas. Thai producers developed their film in Hong Kong in 1970s so some films negatives might still be there. Recently some lost movies in Thailand were found in Sweden such as กระสือสาว (1973 - Ghost of Guts Eater) where they have been released in VHS or betamax format decades ago.

I am still struggling to find below old Thai movies. Click on this link View to know some old Thai movies I am looking for.



Where can I download Thai movies for free?

Thai VCD are cheap. So please help to support the Thai cinema industry by buying genuine copies.



Can I download Thai movies for free from your website?

No you cannot download any movies here.



Do you sell Thai VCD or DVD?

No but you can buy movies from online Thai store website such as :

ethaicd



Where can I buy old movies in Bangkok?

Many shops are selling recent Thai movies. Old Thai movies are more difficult to find.

Uncle Chai
Uncle Chai
One interesting shop is owned by Uncle Chai (ลุงชัย). Pictures are shown in Ninja Dixon's blog. He collects old movies and old pictures. His personal collection includes more than 1000 movies and 400 posters. He started his collection more than 25 years ago. To share his passion, he decided to open a shop selling old movies in year 2002. The business is quite irregular as many people just come to have a chat about old movies. Uncle Chai is satisfied to bring happiness to those people coming from every age and every job from society. Some people like old Thai movies as it reminds them about their childhood and about things that cannot be seen anymore.

Around 1978-1979, old Thai movies could be rent as video. Then no more old movies video on the market until year 2000-2001 when company Pantamit released Thai movies in vcd format. To put old movies in video format companies need to buy original film and pay copyright. It takes time to negotiate for those copyrights as often the original owner may be dead. The cost is not so high, around 10000 to 15000 baht per movie. Many movies have disappeared as the film was not kept. Cinemas throw them away.

Uncle Chai is involved in cinema since he is 17-18 years old. He was drawing posters for cinema and also photographer in a few movies. Uncle Chai's full name is เจตน์ วัฒนพฤกษ์. His shop is located at ย่าน 5 แยกปากเกร็ด (Pakkret intersection).

As uncle Chai was getting older, he had stopped selling movies. The shop is now destroyed and the area is under redevelopment. Nobody around the area knows his whereabouts. He was quite old and is hopefully enjoying his retirement. He was a rare expert about Mitr Chaibancha.



Why image quality from Thai old movies is sometimes not so good?

Many old movies are originated from films to betamax, VHS and then to VCD and DVD. In many cases, the original film is no longer available, so it is impossible to restore the movie in a better condition. On top of this, Thai people's interest in old movies is pretty limited so no companies anymore dare to release restored old movies as they are worried to lose movie. During year 2014, Five Star Movie company restored many movies from their catalogue. But those movies are only available for download or viewing through itunes but not under DVD format.

Many old movies were degraded by getting a VHS or VCD release. Their format was changed from 16:9 to 4:3 so part of the original picture is cut. Old movies were often longer than 2h30mn (A 16mm film is using between 4 to 5 reels. Each reel is around 40mn long). Many old movies released in VCD format were cut as a VCD can contain 2h30mn maximum.



Why Thai posters are so famous?

Old Thai movie poster
Old Thai movie poster
Old Thai movie posters are very colorful and look like paintings. In the past, huge painted billboards advertising Thai movies were done to boost promotion. Some Thai posters would intensify things beyond what actually happened in the movie.


Which Thai movie has the highest number of remakes?

The movie "Mae Nak" (แม่นาค) has been shot over 20 times over 50 years. It is about a love beyond death from a woman towards her husband. In year 2013 the movie "Pee Mak Phra Khanong" has become the highest-grossing film in Thai history.



Which Thai romance movie still remains as one of the most popular?

The movie "Mon Rak Luuk Thung" (มนต์รักลูกทุ่ง) has been shot 3 times for cinema and 3 times for television serie. It is about love stories between poor farmers and young women coming from a richer family.



What is written at the end of Thai movies?

When a Thai movie is finished, a sentence "สวัสดี" is displayed. It is similar to "The End".



Which Thai movies got award outside Thailand?

Here is a partial list.



What are the top highest-grossing Thai movies of all times?

The top three movies were productions bankrolled by the government, who mounted nationwide promotional campaigns based on historical nationalism that resulted in their phenomenal revenues. Source: "The future of Thai cinema" by Sanchai Chotiroseranee.



How is Thai cinema censorship in Thailand?

Before the October 14 1973 uprising, the state and political right perceived a communist threat from the outside so was censoring films from abroad with any perceived leftist content. After the October 6 1976 massacre, the threat was internal and many social realist films were consequently banned such as ทองปาน (1976).

Shakespeare Must Die
Shakespeare Must Die
Thai movie "Shakespeare Must Die" (เชคสเปียร์ต้องตาย) was banned in 2012 as it could cause disunity among Thai society due to politically charged content.

Censorship undermines creativity. After many complaints and protests, the new Film Act was approved in 2008 to replace the one that had been used since 1930! In year 2009 a new ratings system was introduced. The system stipulates seven ratings: General, 13-plus, 15-plus, 18-plus, 20-plus, a ban and the "P" rating for films deserving to be promoted by the state.

Insects in the Backyard
Insects in the Backyard
Thai movie "Insects in the Backyard" (อินเซค อิน เดอะ แบ็กยาร์ด) was banned in 2010 as it contains scenes that said to immoral and pornographic. It is about a transgender father struggling to raise two children.

Often on DVD and VCD movies, there are warning captions regarding depictions of certain dubious behaviours of Buddhist monks, alcohol and smoking bad effects.

Arbat
Arbat
Thai movie "Arbat" (อาบัติ) was banned in 2015. Thai Censorship Board objected to the movie not being respectful to Thai Buddhism (novice drinking alcohol, novices fighting, novice showing disrespect to the Buddha image, novice touching the face of a girl). Finally after cutting three minutes, the movie was unbanned and released under new name "Arpatti" (อาปัติ).

Films that contain scenes of Buddhist monks running away from ghosts and falling into a toilet are not censored because that is not considered actually as bad publicity for Buddhism. Thai movie "Syndromes and a Century" / แสงศตวรรษ was banned in year 2006. Thai Censorship Board objected to depictions of monks and doctors in this movie.

My Teacher Eats Biscuits
My Teacher Eats Biscuits
Thai movie "My Teacher Eats Biscuits" (คนกราบหมา) was banned in 1997. It was deemed as not respectful to Thai Buddhism.

The censorship system leads to standstill in the movie industry. Anyone who produces outside their frame will be ordered to readjust.



Any book you recommend about Thai cinema?

Yes, you can check my list about Thai Cinema Books.



Any website you recommend about Thai cinema?



What are the last Thai movies you have seen?

You can check our "what is new?" page about Thai Cinema.



How many Thai movies are shot each year?

Year Number
1955 68 Our partial filmography of 4 movies
1956 62 Our partial filmography of 0 movies
1957 60 Our partial filmography of 2 movies
1958 46 Our partial filmography of 6 movies
1959 36 Our partial filmography of 9 movies
1960 42 Our partial filmography of 4 movies
1961 48 Our partial filmography of 8 movies
1962 56 Our partial filmography of 9 movies
1963 44 Our partial filmography of 5 movies
1964 46 Our partial filmography of 7 movies
1965 68 Our partial filmography of 18 movies
1966 71 Our partial filmography of 24 movies
1967 68 Our partial filmography of 20 movies
1968 79 Our partial filmography of 31 movies
1969 83 Our Partial filmography of 31 movies
1970 73 Our partial filmography of 31 movies
1971 74 Our partial filmography of 18 movies
1972 71 Our partial filmography of 20 movies
1973 81 Our partial filmography of 15 movies
1974 83 Our partial filmography of 18 movies
1975 91 Our partial filmography of 22 movies
1976 130 Our partial filmography of 33 movies
1977 115 Our partial filmography of 34 movies
1978 161 Our partial filmography of 39 movies
1979 120 Our partial filmography of 36 movies
1980 125 Our partial filmography of 34 movies
1981 138 Our partial filmography of 24 movies
1982 117 Our partial filmography of 29 movies
1983 109 Our partial filmography of 34 movies
1984 147 Our partial filmography of 36 movies
1985 148 Our partial filmography of 41 movies
1986 101 Our partial filmography of 34 movies
1987 121 Our partial filmography of 41 movies
1988 118 Our partial filmography of 23 movies
1989 109 Our partial filmography of 27 movies
1990 101 Our partial filmography of 38 movies
1991 104 Our partial filmography of 25 movies
1992 93 Our partial filmography of 21 movies
1993 75 Our partial filmography of 8 movies
1994 64 Our partial filmography of 10 movies
1995 56 Our partial filmography of 14 movies
1996 48 Our partial filmography of 11 movies
1997 42 Our partial filmography of 13 movies
1998 14 Our partial filmography of 5 movies
1999 10 Our partial filmography of 5 movies
2000 9 Our partial filmography of 9 movies
2001 14 Our partial filmography of 14 movies
2002 25 Our partial filmography of 16 movies
2003 47 Our partial filmography of 32 movies
2004 46 Our partial filmography of 33 movies
2005 38 Our partial filmography of 22 movies
2006 49 Our partial filmography of 23 movies
2007 48 Our partial filmography of 26 movies
2008 51 Our partial filmography of 22 movies
2009 51 Our partial filmography of 32 movies
2010 62 Our partial filmography of 35 movies
2011 52 Our partial filmography of 17 movies
2012 64 Our partial filmography of 10 movies
2013 44 Our partial filmography of 6 movies
2014 70 Our partial filmography of 11 movies
2015 63 Our partial filmography of 7 movies
2016 50 Our partial filmography of 4 movies


Is there a Thai museum about cinema?

There is a National Film Archive and Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์ภาพยนตร์ไทย) in Nakhon Pathom.

There is another small Thai cinema Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์บ้านอาจารย์เจริญ สาดา) in Khon Kaen province, บ้านหนองบัวดีหมี. Many items are linked to actor and director Panna Rittikrai.

There is also a "THAI I-SAN FILM ARCHIVE" under consideration at Khon Kaen University in Thailand Northeastern region.

There is also a "MITR CHAIBANCHA" museum in Phitsanulok, Thailand Northern region. It is a private museum featuring many old items. The owner is Mr Bancha (คุณบัญชา วาจาสุวรรณ). He can be contacted at 0810363406.



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