7 Film Genres Popular in the Middle East

By | Aug 27, 2018

After the recent shutdowns all over the globe, the film industry is slowly getting back. Films from the Middle East are getting popular among customers and many of them have already been shortlisted for prestigious festival awards. Today you can find many releases featuring different themes, allowing people to enjoy incredible stories.

Film Industry Vs Livestream Websites

Many people would say that the film industry is not in trend anymore. While you can still find many movies in local cinemas, Livestream websites such as Netflix, Mubi, and Amazon are getting more attention from film enthusiasts. With the possibility to watch top movies from your home, there is no reason to travel to the cinema for some entertainment.  At the same time, the film industry is facing restrictions on the available budget. Now you can see more and more reductions and postponements of leading film festivals, which is another reason to worry.

Finding the Top Movies

There are a lot of popular movies across the Middle East. While some of them feature action from the war period, others are completely new with striking features and a beautiful atmosphere.  When it comes to the most popular movies, they are full of mysticism, unknown things, and complexities. If you didn’t have an opportunity to watch some of them, we have prepared a list of the top seven films to watch and enjoy your time.

Top Middle East Movies

Films from the Middle East are growing popular among customers.

Types of Movies to Watch

Films are available in various shapes and sizes. While there are many new films to check out, there are also some blockbusters that deserve your attention. Here are more details:

Horror Movies

These movies are always exciting as you are anticipating what could happen next. One of the typical examples is A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. The release introduces the story of the girl who walks home at night through the scary town “Bad City”. She is followed by a vampire who roams around the streets and spreads the fear. It is available on Netflix and the perfect choice for viewers who enjoy something unusual and scary.

Drama Movies

This is another interesting genre in the Middle East and you can find many films in the same style. One of the most interesting is Bar Bahar, written and directed by Maysaloun Hamoud. It follows the lives of Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv. They try to smooth the conflict between Palestinians and the Western culture where they wish to belong. The aim of the movie is to represent the experiences of the female population who are outsiders. Another movie from the same genre is Circumstance, written by Maryam Keshavarz. It features the story of Iranian girls who fall in love and their fight against the system for the sake of their love. Both movies are available on YouTube.

Casino Movies

People across the Middle East are also enthusiastic about gambling. That’s why you can find many of them watching top Middle Eastern casino movies such as The Gambler or Casino Royale. The first one features the story of the professor who starts with gambling without thinking about consequences. Slowly, he becomes addicted and his life goes upside down. Casino Royale introduces the story of the 007 who is playing a game of poker against a villain Le Chiffre. His goal is to defeat the villain and prevent him from taking millions.


This is another popular genre across the Middle East. The typical example for this category is Theeb movie, written and directed by Naji Abu Nowar. The main action of the film occurs during World War I, and Theeb features a story of the Bedouin boy who follows a British officer to a secret destination. As part of the preparations for this movie, Nowar and his squad spent months in the desert together with Bedouin tribes to familiarize themselves with their culture. That’s how they created an Oscar-nominated movie.


Crime and Mafia and always popular genres no matter of destination. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia is a perfect example of the genre. It is written by Ercan Kesal, Ebru Ceylan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and the main action occurs in the middle of the night when criminal groups meet and start their conflict.


This genre is also a favorite across the Middle East. The perfect movie from the same category is Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim. The film features the story of self-discovery and friendship. The main roles are played by Ali, Ibrahim, and a goat — the possible reincarnation of Ali’s girlfriend. Here you will find the questions about death, life, and post-death life or death before life.


The perfect release from this genre is The Time That Remains, written by Elia Suleiman. It features the creation of Israel starting 1948 to the current day. The writer and director of the movie presents his father’s memories during the Israeli occupation.

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