Best New Zealand Movies

This page is updated regularly. Subscribe, so you don't miss new recommendations. The list of "Best New Zealand Movies" contains films with the following parameters. Style: visually appealing, stylized, serious, intense, weird and scenic. Plot: storytelling, dialogue, mentor, death, catastrophe, beautiful scenery, vengeance, redemption, violence and destiny. Genre: Drama, Adventure and Action. Country: New Zealand, USA and Australia.
Best New Zealand Movies
Best New Zealand Movies
TOP Movies: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), Evil Dead (2013), Pete's Dragon (2016), Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016), What We Do in the Shadows (2014), Jojo Rabbit (2019), King Kong (2005), Happy Feet (2006), Boy (2010), Braindead (1992), Once Were Warriors (1994), The Dark Horse (2014), Housebound (2014), The Power of the Dog (2021), What Dreams May Come (1998), District 9 (2009), Deathgasm (2015), The Last Samurai (2003), The Piano (1993), Slow West (2015).

List of Best Movies

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Country: New Zealand, USA
Duration: 201 min.
Story: Aragorn is revealed as the heir to the ancient kings as he, Gandalf and the other members of the broken fellowship struggle to save Gondor from Sauron's forces. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam bring the ring closer to the heart of Mordor, the dark ...
Style: epic, captivating, exciting, breathtaking, heroic ...
Audience: teens, family outing
Plot: good versus evil, warrior, imaginary kingdom, adventure, friendship, battles, elf, creature, magical, wizards, sorcerer, heroic mission ...
Time: prehistory, prehistoric times
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Country: New Zealand, USA
Duration: 178 min.
Story: Young hobbit Frodo Baggins, after inheriting a mysterious ring from his uncle Bilbo, must leave his home in order to keep it from falling into the hands of its evil creator. Along the way, a fellowship is formed to protect the ringbearer and make ...
Style: exciting, epic, atmospheric, stylized, scenic ...
Audience: teens, family outing, boys' night
Plot: good versus evil, fantasy world, adventure, imaginary kingdom, sword and sorcery, journey, friendship, wizards, heroic mission, elf, mythology, save the world ...
Time: prehistory, prehistoric times
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Country: USA
Duration: 140 min.
Story: Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the ...
Style: psychotronic, suspense, intense, compassionate, futuristic ...
Plot: gorilla, post apocalypse, virus, future war, monkey, militant, animal attack, slavery, survival, vengeance, tragedy, anthropomorphism ...
Time: contemporary, near future
Is relevant ?
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Country: New Zealand, USA
Duration: 179 min.
Story: Frodo and Sam are trekking to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power while Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn search for the orc-captured Merry and Pippin. All along, nefarious wizard Saruman awaits the Fellowship members at the Orthanc Tower in Isengard.
Style: epic, exciting, dark fantasy, captivating, atmospheric ...
Audience: teens, family outing
Plot: fantasy world, adventure, imaginary kingdom, good versus evil, warrior, elf, magical, wizards, save the world, friendship, creature, monster ...
Time: prehistory, prehistoric times
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
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 6.4
 168K
Evil Dead (2013)
Genre: Horror
Country: USA
Duration: 91 min.
Story: Evil Dead, the fourth installment of the Evil Dead franchise, serving as both a reboot and as a loose continuation of the series, features Mia, a young woman struggling with sobriety, heads to a remote cabin with a group of friends where the ...
Style: scary, suspenseful, rough, bloody, atmospheric ...
Audience: boys' night, teens
Plot: zombie, supernatural, survival, demon, friendship, rain, brutality, forest, isolation, curses spells and rituals, rape, violence ...
Time: 80s, 21st century, contemporary, 2010s
Place: usa
Is relevant ?
 6.7
 58K
Pete's Dragon (2016)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy
Country: USA
Duration: 102 min.
Story: For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace, who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than ...
Style: psychotronic, emotional, compassionate, touching, fairy tale ...
Audience: kids
Plot: dragon, orphan, feral child, boy, children, escape, family life, fire breathing dragon, forest, sawmill, deforestation, invisibility ...
Time: contemporary, 80s
Is relevant ?
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Country: New Zealand, USA
Duration: 161 min.
Story: The Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring. They all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug.
Style: epic, heroic, exciting, breathtaking, dark fantasy ...
Audience: teens, family outing
Plot: warrior, imaginary kingdom, magical, fantasy world, good versus evil, elf, adventurer, creature, sword and sorcery, wizards, dragon, adventure ...
Time: 2010s
Is relevant ?
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 101 min.
Story: Ricky is a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together to survive.
Style: scenic, humorous, touching, colourful, funny ...
Plot: nature, hunting, wilderness, countryside, childhood, adoption, coming of age, boy, escape, forest, juvenile delinquent, social worker ...
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
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What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 86 min.
Story: Vampire housemates try to cope with the complexities of modern life and show a newly turned hipster some of the perks of being undead.
Style: absurd, gothic, humorous, not serious, witty ...
Audience: teens
Plot: dark humor, goth, vampire, friendship, werewolf, immortality, buddies, social misfits, supernatural, roommate, beast, zombie ...
Time: contemporary, 21st century, year 1997, year 1978, year 1912
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Country: New Zealand, USA
Duration: 144 min.
Story: Immediately after the events of The Desolation of Smaug, Bilbo and the dwarves try to defend Erebor's mountain of treasure from others who claim it: the men of the ruined Laketown and the elves of Mirkwood. Meanwhile an army of Orcs led by Azog ...
Style: epic, exciting, captivating, serious, suspenseful ...
Audience: teens, family outing
Plot: battles, imaginary kingdom, elf, good versus evil, adventurer, knight, sword and sorcery, wizards and magicians, wizards, epic battle, heroes, dragon ...
Time: 2010s
Is relevant ?
 7.9
 367K
Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Country: New Zealand, Czech Republic, USA
Duration: 108 min.
Story: A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo must ...
Style: psychological, tense, disturbing
Plot: nazi germany, nazism, nazi, satire, hitler, boy, hitler youth, jew persecution, world war two, first love, german, orphan ...
Time: 1940s, year 1945, year 1944
Place: germany, central europe
Is relevant ?
 7.2
 416K
King Kong (2005)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance
Country: USA, New Zealand, Germany
Duration: 187 min.
Story: In 1933 New York, an overly ambitious movie producer coerces his cast and hired ship crew to travel to mysterious Skull Island, where they encounter Kong, a giant ape who is immediately smitten with the leading lady.
Style: sentimental, exciting, scenic, suspenseful, serious ...
Audience: family outing, date night, boys' night, teens
Plot: monster, jungle, giant animal, beast, human animal relationship, expedition, adventure, dangerous animal, dinosaur, gorilla, rescue, escape ...
Time: 1930s, 20th century, year 1933
Place: new york, usa, empire state building manhattan new york city, manhattan new york city
Is relevant ?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
Country: New Zealand, USA
Duration: 169 min.
Story: Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit enjoying his quiet life, is swept into an epic quest by Gandalf the Grey and thirteen dwarves who seek to reclaim their mountain home from Smaug, the dragon.
Style: epic, breathtaking, captivating, dark fantasy, scenic ...
Audience: family outing, teens
Plot: imaginary kingdom, fantasy world, adventure, creature, elf, wizards, adventurer, magical, dragon, wizards and magicians, warrior, obsessive quest ...
Time: 2010s, prehistoric times, prehistory
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
 6.4
 182K
Happy Feet (2006)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Music, Musical, Romance
Country: USA, Australia
Duration: 108 min.
Story: Into the world of the Emperor Penguins, who find their soul mates through song, a penguin is born who cannot sing. But he can tap dance something fierce!
Style: exciting, feel good, touching, humorous, sweet ...
Audience: family outing, kids, pre-teens, preschoolers
Plot: adventure, snow, penguins, fish, family, talking animals, social misfits, looking for love, exile, journey, goofy hero, against the rules ...
Time: contemporary
Place: antarctica
Is relevant ?
 7.5
 26K
Boy (2010)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 87 min.
Story: It's 1984, and Michael Jackson is king - even in Waihau Bay, New Zealand. Here we meet Boy, an 11-year-old who lives on a farm with his gran, a goat, and his younger brother, Rocky (who thinks he has magic powers). Shortly after Gran leaves for ...
Style: touching, humorous, emotional, unusual plot structure, visually appealing ...
Plot: coming of age, family relations, daydreamer, absent father, parents and children, mischievous children, small town, hidden truth, siblings relations, robbery, loser, unsupportive parent ...
Time: 80s, 20th century, year 1984, future
Place: new zealand, tokyo
Is relevant ?
 7.5
 96K
Braindead (1992)
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 104 min.
Story: When a Sumatran rat-monkey bites Lionel Cosgrove's mother, she's transformed into a zombie and begins killing (and transforming) the entire town while Lionel races to keep things under control.
Style: splatter, humorous, surreal, macabre, scary ...
Audience: teens
Plot: zombie, back from the dead, cannibalism, dark humor, reanimation, monster, deadly creature, supernatural, brutality, eaten alive, graphic violence, party ...
Time: 50s, 20th century, year 1957, 90s
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
Once Were Warriors (1994)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 102 min.
Story: A drama about a Maori family lving in Auckland, New Zealand. Lee Tamahori tells the story of Beth Heke’s strong will to keep her family together during times of unemployment and abuse from her violent and alcoholic husband.
Style: rough, emotional, realistic, tense, serious ...
Plot: alcohol abuse, domestic violence, suicide, rape, unemployment, dysfunctional family, funeral, family relations, tattoo, ghetto, ethnic, rebellious youth ...
Time: 90s, 20th century
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
The Dark Horse (2014)
Genre: Biography, Drama
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 124 min.
Story: One-time Maori speed-chess champ, Genesis Potini, lives with a bi-polar disorder and must overcome prejudice and violence in the battle to save his struggling chess club, his family and ultimately, himself.
Style: realistic, captivating, serious, emotional
Plot: chess, mental illness, contests and competitions, dedicated educator, hopes, mentally unstable, power relations, compassion, father son relationship, friendship, teaching, hallucination ...
Time: 20th century
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
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Housebound (2014)
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Mystery
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 107 min.
Story: When Kylie Bucknell is sentenced to home detention, she's forced to come to terms with her unsociable behaviour, her blabbering mother and a hostile spirit who seems less than happy about the new living arrangement.
Style: scary, twists and turns, suspenseful, humorous, suspense ...
Audience: teens
Plot: haunted house, house arrest, parents and children, supernatural, mystery, family relations, bloody violence, dark humor, female protagonist, woman in danger, small town, mental illness ...
Time: contemporary, 21st century
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
The Power of the Dog (2021)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Western
Country: UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA
Duration: 126 min.
Story: A domineering, magnetic rancher responds with mocking cruelty when his brother brings home a new wife and her son, until the unexpected comes to pass.
Style: psychological, thought provoking, serious, wild
Plot: cowboy, homosexuality, brother brother relationship, old west, widow, ranch, misogynist, sexual tension, mother son relationship, brothers, power relations, brother ...
Time: 20th century, 1920s
Place: montana, australia
Is relevant ?
What Dreams May Come (1998)
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Country: USA, New Zealand
Duration: 113 min.
Story: Chris Neilson dies to find himself in a heaven more amazing than he could have ever dreamed of. There is one thing missing: his wife. After he dies, his wife, Annie killed herself and went to hell. Chris decides to risk eternity in hades for the ...
Style: philosophical, surreal, touching, inspirational, cerebral ...
Plot: afterlife, life philosophy, heaven and hell, redemption, hell, life & death, loss of child, destiny, husband wife reunion, family relations, painting, true love ...
Time: 90s
Is relevant ?
 7.9
 670K
District 9 (2009)
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Country: South Africa, USA, New Zealand, Canada
Duration: 112 min.
Story: Aliens land in South Africa and, with their ship totally disabled, have no way home. Years later, after living in a slum and wearing out their welcome the 'Non-Humans' are being moved to a new tent city overseen by Multi-National United ...
Style: serious, biting, suspense, cerebral, rough ...
Audience: boys' night
Plot: distopia, space and aliens, alien, alien encounter, quarantine, mutation, transformation, human nature, alien race, racism, chaos and mayhem, confined ...
Time: 21st century, contemporary, 2000s
Place: south africa, africa, johannesburg south africa
Is relevant ?
 6.3
 17K
Deathgasm (2015)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror, Music
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 86 min.
Story: Two teenage boys unwittingly summon an ancient evil entity known as The Blind One by delving into black magic while trying to escape their mundane lives.
Style: satanic, atmospheric, lyrical, visually appealing, macabre ...
Plot: heavy metal, teenage boy, heavy metal culture, friendship, college, apocalypse, devil, supernatural, massacre, rehearsal, demon, black magic ...
Place: new zealand, new jersey
Is relevant ?
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The Last Samurai (2003)
Genre: Action, Drama
Country: USA, New Zealand, Japan
Duration: 154 min.
Story: Nathan Algren is an American hired to instruct the Japanese army in the ways of modern warfare, which finds him learning to respect the samurai and the honorable principles that rule them. Pressed to destroy the samurai's way of life in the ...
Style: captivating, exciting, serious, epic, stylized ...
Plot: samurai, warrior, battles, self discovery, human spirit, pride and honor, courage, katana, honor, loyalty, emperor, war ...
Time: 19th century, 1870s
Place: japan, asia, san francisco, pacific ocean, tokyo
Is relevant ?
 7.5
 87K
The Piano (1993)
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Country: Australia, France
Duration: 121 min.
Story: After a long voyage from Scotland, pianist Ada McGrath and her young daughter, Flora, are left with all their belongings, including a piano, on a New Zealand beach. Ada, who has been mute since childhood, has been sold into marriage to a local man ...
Style: psychological, serious, sexual, stylized, captivating ...
Audience: girls' night
Plot: couples, love triangle, pianist, sexual relations, love and romance, human nature, love affair, couple relations, arranged marriage, adultery, infidelity, desire ...
Time: 19th century, victorian era, 1850s, 18th century
Place: new zealand, scotland
Is relevant ?
 6.9
 45K
Slow West (2015)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Romance, Thriller, Western
Country: UK, New Zealand
Duration: 84 min.
Story: In the Old West, a 17-year-old Scottish boy teams up with a mysterious gunman to find the woman with whom he is infatuated.
Style: serious, suspenseful, realistic, suspense, road movie ...
Plot: gunfight, old west, chase, bounty hunter, horse, death of father, criminal, rescue, unrequited love, husband wife relationship, fire, native american ...
Time: 19th century
Place: usa, colorado, ireland, scotland, california
Is relevant ?
 6.7
 25K
Eagle vs Shark (2007)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Country: New Zealand
Duration: 88 min.
Story: The New Zealand made "Eagle vs Shark" is the tale of two socially awkward misfits and the strange ways they try to find love; through revenge on high-school bullies, burgers, and video games. Love blossoms for Lily over double Meaty Boy ...
Style: humorous, feel good, sentimental, absurd, semi serious ...
Plot: misfit, eagle, friendship, love and romance, fall in love, obsessive quest, intrigue, love affair, looking for love, shark, youth, introspection ...
Place: new zealand
Is relevant ?
The Lovely Bones (2009)
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Thriller
Country: USA, UK, New Zealand
Duration: 135 min.
Story: After being brutally murdered, 14-year-old Susie Salmon watches from heaven over her grief-stricken family -- and her killer. As she observes their daily lives, she must balance her thirst for revenge with her desire for her family to heal.
Style: emotional, psychological, tense, bleak, surreal ...
Plot: pedophile, afterlife, rape, loss of child, death in the family, loss of daughter, dealing with death, serial killer, tragic event, loss of family member, loss of loved one, death of child ...
Time: 70s, 20th century, year 1973
Place: usa, delaware, pennsylvania
Is relevant ?
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Thriller
Country: USA, New Zealand
Duration: 92 min.
Story: A prequel to the first two Underworld films, this fantasy explains the origins of the feud between the Vampires and the Lycans. Aided by his secret love, Sonja, courageous Lucian leads the Lycans in battle against brutal Vampire king Viktor. ...
Style: gothic, dark fantasy, exciting, serious, rough ...
Audience: boys' night, teens
Plot: werewolf, vampire, battles, beast, evil empire, aristocracy, slavery, immortality, castle, transformation, tough heroes, lovers ...
Time: 2000s, 12th century
Is relevant ?
Black Christmas (2019)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Country: USA
Duration: 92 min.
Story: Hawthorne College is winding down for the holidays, yet one by one, sorority girls are being picked off. Riley Stone, a girl dealing with her own trauma, begins to notice and tries to save her friends before they too are picked off.
Style: slasher, enigmatic, suspenseful, disturbing, bleak ...
Plot: holiday horror, rape victim, college, murder, stalker, violence, teenage girl, christmas, sorority, feminism, characters killed one by one, home invasion ...
Is relevant ?
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