The Best Muay Thai Movies Of All-Time

Movies are a great form of entertainment. It has the ability to make us laugh, cry, and pump our fists out of excitement. Movies represent a great platform to tell stories that are moving and carry powerful messages.

One thing more, movies are a great form of escape. You can forget your present troubles just by watching a good film.

For at about two hours, you’re able to escape the realities of life and revel in the world of make-believe. Or maybe a world where you’re a martial arts badass? More specifically, a Muay Thai warrior with jaw-dropping moves!


Best Muay Thai Movies

We’ve done the work for you and compiled our own list of the top 12 Muay Thai movies of all-time, in no particular order. 

Many of the films actually feature Muay Boran-style (original Thai martial art form) moves but you will see classic Muay Thai elbows and knee strikes.

Just sit back, relax, get some snacks, and be ready for a Muay Thai movie marathon!

1. Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003)

Ong Bak - The Thai Warrior
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao (Actors)
  • Prachya Pinkaew (Director) - Suphachai Sittiaumponpan (Writer) - Prachya Pinkaew (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 7.2/10

Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior is Tony Jaa’s breakout film and was responsible for launching him to international superstardom. This was also considered by many as a breakout action flick for Thai martial arts and one of the best martial arts movies of this generation.

Fans were stunned by Jaa’s fantastic combination of Muay Thai-based fighting style and breathtaking stunt work. His awesome athleticism earned raved reviews and drew comparisons to genre icons Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. 

The story is about an orphan who goes out on a quest to recover a stolen head of a statue of Buddha from their village. He traced the thief to Bangkok who also happened to be from the same village. A simple story of a quest that’s elevated by Tony Jaa’s unparalleled performance makes this a true Muay Thai classic.

Ong Bak spawned two more sequels with less box-office and critical success than the original.


2. Kickboxer (1989)

Kickboxer
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Chan, Rochelle Ashana (Actors)
  • David Worth (Director)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 6.5/10

Kickboxer is one of the first starring roles of martial arts superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme. It’s one of the movies that made Van Damme a household name in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

The story is pretty much about revenge. Van Damme plays the role of Kurt Sloane, an American who moved to Thailand in order to learn Muay Thai and avenge his kickboxer brother who was defeated and paralyzed in a fight.

Kickboxer’s presentation of Muay Thai is a bad misrepresentation of the actual sport but lends the movie an element of campy fun. The film also holds a special place for many people as an early exposure to the sport of Muay Thai.

Looking at it today, the movie feels dated and it is not as authentic as the other movies in this list. However, Kickboxer is still entertaining and action-packed nonetheless. Definitely a must-watch or “must-rewatch” for all Muay Thai fans.  


3. A Prayer Before Dawn (2018)

A Prayer Before Dawn
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Joe Cole, Nicolas Shake, Vithaya Pansringarm (Actors)
  • Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire (Director)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

If you’re looking for a flick that delves into the dark and gritty underside of Muay Thai, then A Payer Before is that movie.

Based on a true-to-life story, this film is the story of Billy Moore, a British boxer who found himself participating in Muay Thai fights while incarcerated in two of Thailand’s most infamous jails. 

Moore was imprisoned for drugs, but it didn’t end even when he was already inside the prison. And not only did he have to deal with drugs inside the prison, he was also forced to confront the gang wars that were part of daily life there.

He is offered a way out though, by participating in Muay Thai fights. He grabs the chance and his determination is displayed in the brutal battles he fought.

The film is also notable since it was filmed inside an authentic Thai prison. They even used real inmates who basically played themselves as part of the film’s cast. It’s a powerful story of courage and redemption.

NOTE: You can also read my full movie review of A Prayer Before Dawn here.


4. Tom-Yum-Goong (2005)

Protector
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Tony Jaa, Phetthai Wongkhamlao, Bongkod Kongmalai (Actors)
  • Prachya Pinkaew (Director) - Napalee (Writer) - Somsak Techaratanaprasert (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

Tony Jaa earns his second entry on the list with Tom-Yum-Gong, released as The Protector in the United States.

On display once again is Jaa’s awesome combination of Muay Boran-style acrobatics, athleticism, and martial arts ability. He plays the role of Kham, who goes on a rescue mission to Australia when his 2 beloved elephants were stolen by an international syndicate.

Along the way, Jaa would again treat the viewers to spectacular action sequences that cemented his place among the greatest action stars in Asia and the world.


5. Yamada: The Samurai of Ayothaya (2010)

Muay Thai Warrior (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sorapong Chatree, Thanawat Thirayaowapapong, Nopporn Watin (Actors)
  • Thanatat Kongthong (Director)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

IMDB Rating: 6/10

History meets Muay Thai action in the next entry in our list. The story is set in the kingdom of Ayothaya during the time of King Naresuan, where a mercenary samurai named Yamada is ambushed and wounded by Japanese ninjas. 

Yamada was rescued and healed by Siamese warriors who happened to be servants of the King of Ayothaya. He learns their fighting art, Muay Boran, and becomes loyal to the kingdom.

The main character of the film was based on an actual person, Yamada Nagamasa. He was a Japanese adventurer in the early 17th century who amassed significant influence in the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Later on, he became a governor in one of the provinces there.

Look out for Muay Thai legends Buakaw Banchamek, Saenchai, Yodsanklai Fairtex and Anuwat Kaewsamrit who had cameo roles in the film.


6. The Legend of Muay Thai: 9 Satra (2018)

muay thai movies

IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

The next entry in our list is an interesting one unlike any other on the list. It is a sophisticated 3D animated film that combines action and fantasy with Thai culture and features Muay Thai prominently.

The film’s story revolves around a boy named Ott, who trains in Muay Thai (again, it’s actually Muay Boran) to rescue his village, Ramthep Nakorn from demon-like giants known as Yakshas. There is a prophecy that says that the Yakshas will be defeated by a warrior with Muay Thai skills and a special weapon that’s known as the Satravuth.

Ott’s journey to Muay Thai mastery is the hope upon which Ramthep Nakorn’s survival depends and leads him to a confrontation versus the Yakshas. 

Legend of Muay Thai: 9 Satra was named Film of the Year at the 2019 Nine Entertain Awards.


7. The Quest (1996)

The Quest
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme, Roger Moore, James Remar (Actors)
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme (Director) - Steven Klein (Writer) - Moshe Diamant (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 5.6/10

The Quest is another movie that stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and also happens to be his directorial debut.

It’s set in 1925, where a martial arts tournament is held in Tibet’s “Lost City”. The tournament attracts the top martial artists from all over the world, hoping to win the ultimate prize, which is a statue that’s made from solid gold and known as the “Golden Dragon”.

The action-packed film features fighters of different martial arts style in a “Street Fighter” face-off. Van Damme’s character trains in Muay Thai and defeats every opponent on the way to winning the tournament for the United States. 

The Quest is a very underrated Van Damme flick and imo one of his better ones. The movie is also notable for featuring Roger Moore, famous for playing the role of James Bond in several hit movies.

Don’t be influenced by the movie’s rating. This is essential watching for all Muay Thai and martial arts fans.


8. A Fighter’s Blues (20002)

muay thai movies

IMDB Rating: 6.3/10

Hong Kong movie star, Andy Lau stars as Mong Fu in “A Fighter’s Blues” (Chinese: 阿虎). The story is about a former Muay Thai fighter (Mong Fu) who spent 13 years in jail for killing a former opponent in the dressing room.

After he’s released from prison, he tries to look for his girlfriend, Pim only to find out she already died and that they had a daughter, who’s in an orphanage near Pattaya.

He goes to the orphanage and meets his daughter and makes an attempt at redemption by challenging the current champion. A Fighter’s Blues is filmed largely in Thailand and features a cameo by Muay Thai icon Samart Payakaroon as Chat Chai.

The Muay Thai fighting scenes are few but the backdrop is authentic and plot is decent. 


9. Beautiful Boxer (2003)

Beautiful Boxer
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Asanee Suwan, Sorapong Chatree, Orn-Anong Panyawong (Actors)
  • Ekachai Uekrongtham (Director) - Ekachai Uekrongtham (Writer) - Ekachai Uekrongtham (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 7.1/10

Beautiful Boxer is a biographical sports film that is based on the life of Parinya Charoenphol (Nong Toom), a Muay Thai fighter who is also a kathoey or transwoman. 

Nong Toom was also a model and an actress and was portrayed in the movie by Thai kickboxing champion, Asanee Suwan. Asanee himself trained out of the legendary Sor Ploenchit gym and then subsequently Sitmonchai gym as a fighter.

Born in northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, the film showcases the struggles that Nong Toom had to go through as a young man who has to deal with poverty and his internal struggle with his gender.

He becomes a Muay Thai fighter and used that as a way out of poverty as well as to finance his dream of undergoing sex-change surgery. The movie was able to send a strong message about how every person should remain true to themselves while also passionately pursuing their dreams.

The ring action is stylized with Muay Boran moves to make it more appealing to movie-goers, so just enjoy the movie for the story.

Beautiful Boxer won a number of awards including Best Feature Film at the Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Asanee won the Best Actor award at the Thailand National Film Association Awards for his moving portrayal of Nong Toom.


10. Thong Dee Fun Khao (2017)

Broken Sword Hero
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Buakaw Banchamek, Sornsin Maneewan, Phutharit Prombandal (Actors)
  • Bin Bunluerit (Director)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 5.5/10

Thong Dee Fun Khao (Thai: ทองดีฟันขาว), also known as “Legend of The Broken Sword Hero”, is another historical movie set in Thailand’s Ayutthaya period where Muay Thai figures prominently.

It tells the story of General Thong Dee, who used to be a hot-headed and irresponsible youth. However, he will be able to mend his ways to become a legendary Muay Thai warrior who also happened to be a loyal soldier of King Taksin the Great.

The film explores the exploits of Thong Dee against the Burmese army after Ayutthaya fell in 1767. Playing the role of Thong Dee is Muay Thai Superstar Buakaw Banchamek, which lends a high level of authenticity to the Muay Thai moves in the movie.

Buakaw received a Best Actor Award at the Golden Kinnaree Awards for his role as Thong Dee.


11. Duel of Fists (1971)

Duel Of Fists
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • David Chiang, Ti Lung, Ching Li (Actors)
  • Chang Cheh (Director) - Ni Kuang (Writer) - Runme Shaw (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

IMDB Rating: 6.1/10

Duel of Fists is the oldest film on the list, and quite possibly the first-ever movie to feature Muay Thai so prominently. 

The 1971 action flick is one of the many martial arts-themed movies released by Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers Studio. 

Duel of Fists tells the story of two step-brothers who reunite in Bangkok. They face off against thugs and goons leading up to a final showdown with the main villain.

Film veteran, Ti Lung stars as a Muay Thai fighter who competes regularly at the famed Lumpinee stadium.

Filmed on location in Thailand, the movie features authentic scenes of Songkran celebrations in the 70s as well as glimpses of old Bangkok. 

The action choreography is nothing to shout about. It’s slow but typical of martial arts movies of the time.  Overall, Duel of Fists is a vintage classic and must-watch for all hardcore Muay Thai enthusiasts.


12. Chok Dee: The Kickboxer (2005)

Chok Dee: The Kickboxer
  • Dida Diafat, Bernard Giraudeau, Florence Faivre (Actors)
  • Xavier Durringer (Director) - Christophe Mordellet (Writer) - Christian Gerber (Producer)
  • English, Chinese (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

IMDB Rating: 6.2/10

The list is definitely not complete without 2005’s French Muay Thai movie, Chok Dee: The Kickboxer.

It’s your standard martial arts tale with the lead character traveling to Thailand to learn Muay Thai from a “master”. He meets hot girl and then eventually go on to become a champion. It’s a little like JCVD’s Kickboxer.

The film stars real-life Muay Thai world champion, Dida Diafat but the plot is largely fictionalized. 

You don’t get the wild action choreography in movies like Ong Bak but Diafat’s background ensures that the Muay Thai fight scenes are accurately depicted. (The French-Algerian fighter holds two wins over the Dutch Muay Thai legend, Ramon Dekkers.)

Chok Dee is highly recommended for all fans of Thai culture and especially Muay Thai. Also look out for a cameo role featuring golden age legend, Sangtiennoi Sor Rungroj.  


Such an impressive array of Muay Thai films that will leave viewers breathless, excited and raring for more.

All of these movies are also guaranteed to get you into Muay Thai or at least get your juices flowing and make you shadow box in front of the screen!

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