Tired of watching K dramas or still waiting for the next episode of Darna? Fret not, you can watch Arabic movies or series that are binge worthy and will instantly hook you with their gripping storylines, aesthetically pleasing stills, and swoon worthy character chemistry that will make you feel kilig!
If you’re looking for an introduction to the world of Arab films and series then we got it covered with our recommendations that will make you fall head over heels with Arabic culture that will make you jet set to different middle eastern countries or make your stay in Dubai an immersive experience! Here’s our top Arabic movies and series you should watch whenever you want to break your k-drama or Tulflix addiction.
1. Aladdin (2019)
Okay, so Aladdin is technically a Disney movie an update from the classic animated film in 1992 but you still can’t pass up the chance to watch this musical- fantasy film since it’ll take you literally wonder by wonder with Will Smith’s great take on Arabian Nights, gorgeous costumes, and modernized retelling of Aladdin from its feminist Princess Jasmine to a charming Aladdin played by Mena Massoud.
Beware of Jafar, since he’s too good looking you’ll find it hard to hate him, and most of the viewers did! If you’re familiar with middle eastern books then you probably encountered the story of Aladdin from the Arabian nights stories. You’ll definitely add the movie soundtracks on your playlist right after watching this film, or plan a Middle eastern -inspired wedding!
2. Once upon a time or Aho Da Elly Sar
Have you ever been to Cairo or Alexandria? If not then you should add it to your bucket list but if you’re still saving up for that trip, you can add this historical fantasy show that will transport you back to 1918 Alexandria in Egypt. The series revolves around the story of a rich girl who works as a journalist from Cairo who meets a palace heir in Alexandria.
You’ll love the storytelling in the series since it’ll go back and forth between the stories of Youssef the 3rd of his ancestors and the essence of the palace in 1918. If you love history, drama, and romance, then this series will be your cup of tea. If you’re fond of listening to Arabic musicians then you’ll see Ruby who is also a famous singer and actress and you’ll love her take on her characters.
Craving for some societal drama or maybe a slice of life kind of Arabic movie? Then the Saudi Arabian 2012 film, Wadja directed by Haifaa al-Mansour will satisfy you! It’s an award-winning film and the first feature film entirely shot in Saudi Arabia back when producing films were hard to come by.
The film revolves around a rebel Riyadh -based 10 year old girl named Waad who enters a Quran recitation competition to buy herself a bike. In case you’re wondering women in Saudi Arabia back then therefore the bike is a symbolism of freedom, independence, and feminism. Wadja is a heartwarming film that will make you rethink societal expectations, life in Riyadh back then, and how women around the world have taken for granted the simple things like riding a bike or owning one.
4. Sen Çal Kapımı
This Turkish series will fit the tastes of romcom or those who love the enemies to lovers trope but if you’re not a romcom fan, you’ll still enjoy watching this Turkish series with its main characters sizzling chemistry, and feel-good scenes perfect to end a long day at work.
Sen Çal Kapımı is about Eda, an aspiring landscape architect and when she meets a man that will hinder her dreams. There’s a reason why this Turkish series is popular since you’ll love seeing different locations in Turkey and how the twists and turns that will happen in the series!
5. The Cage
The Cage is the first Kuwaiti romantic drama series that will explore the concept of relationship counseling in the Gulf region. The series will revolve around a family counselor who helps couples with their marital and communication problems, dissuading them from divorce all while he has his own personal problems. This series is a feel good kind of series that will also be fun and interesting to watch if you’re into psychology and exploring relationship dynamics. The series will be released on Netflix this October.
6. Dubai Bling
Can’t get enough of the Bling Empire? Then here’s another alternative you can binge watch and it will feature the glamorous side of Dubai the world has known. The series Dubai Bling will feature the self made millionaires of Dubai that will give you more than a glimpse of luxurious living, Dubai tourist attractions and the drama! If you’re a fan of reality tv and still haven’t watched one that is based in Dubai then you can tune in to this show!
7. Huda Boss
Another Dubai-based show you can watch is Huda Boss which is a reality show that follows the life of Huda Beauty Founder, Huda Kattan and everything and in between of running a family business. If you’re a beauty enthusiast or a marketing professional you’ll definitely learn a thing or two about their beauty brand and what goes behind the scenes, how they became one of the well known middle eastern beauty brands globally.
8. Al Rawabi School for Girls
If you’ve been living in Dubai for a while now then you’re familiar with the Al Rawabi yogurt or dairy brand, but no this has nothing to do with that. This series tackles societal issues we all know today like bullying. The story revolves around Jordanian school girls who are bullied at a prestigious school.
If you’re fond of watching school series like Euphoria or Riverdale then you can relate to this series and it will give you an inside look of the education system and societal issues girls face in Jordan. If you have watched the Egyptian series called Cairo Class then this series will also give you the same all girls school feels.
9. The Writer
If you’re fond of Sherlock Holmes, whether the books or the series by Benedict Cumberbatch and the thriller movie Gone Girl then you’ll enjoy watching The Writer. This Arabic series revolves around a popular crime writer who have to untangle a series of murders that is similar to the plot of his novel. Sounds fun to watch? This show will also expose you to Levantine culture and dialect which is awesome.