No one else has popularized Thai martial arts in the Western world like Jean Claude van Damme did with his 1989 film "Kickboxer". The dark side to that is that most people tend to confuse Muay Thai with Kickboxing.
Up to this day, a lot of regular folks who don't train martial arts do not see any difference between those two distinctive martial arts.
Still, there are more pros than cons to this situation as the original Kickboxer became the 80's classic and increased popularity of Thai martial arts in general.
That was a major step to introduce Muay Thai to the wider audience. Take a look at this list of Muay Thai films that have influenced martial arts cinema.
Since I have mentioned the original flick now it's the time to talk about a "Kickboxer: Vengeance". The strong point of this Muay Thai movie is definitely a cast. Our old friend "muscles from Brussels" Van Damme is accompanied by a few of the best Mixed Martial Arts fighters such as George St Pierre and Cain Velasquez.
For a few brief seconds, you can even watch one of the top Dutch Style Kickboxers Bazooka Joe" Valtellini. Another cool thing about this movie is its cheesy 80's atmosphere and that retro feeling.
I've also really liked the main villain: the ultimate killing machine Tong Po. I do not want to spoil the ending for you but the "good guy" will prevail eventually as you can imagine :-).
This film didn't score well on imdb but it is still worth watching if you are interested in martial arts and if you liked the classic "Kickboxer". Especially since there aren't too many Muay Thai movies made in Hollywood and the subject is still fresh and untapped.
The Legend of Muay Thai is a beautiful big budget 3d animation that combines unique Thai touch with a large budget that you would expect from Hollywood. It delivers epic Hollywood-style action scenes with a plot that is dipped in Thai cultural references.
It is not just a shallow animation made purely for entertainment. It also teaches about Thailand by presenting the viewer with references to Thai Buddhism [Theravada], with Sak Yant Tattoo symbols and more.
I hope you've enjoyed this selection of my favorite Muay Thai movies. If you think some other films deserve to be on this list let me know in the comments.
If you are also interested in video games you may want to read a list of the best Muay Thai Video Games.