23 Classic Black Movies

23 classic black films over the last 50 years
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1.
Cooley High (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In 1964, a group of high school friends who live on the Near North Side of Chicago enjoy life to the fullest... (107 mins.)
Director: Michael Schultz
 
2.
Malcolm X (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam. (202 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
3.
The Color Purple (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades. (154 mins.)
 
4.
Carmen Jones (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Contemporary version of the Bizet opera, with new lyrics and an African-American cast. (105 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
 
5.
Menace II Society (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life. (97 mins.)
 
6.
Shaft (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter. (100 mins.)
Director: Gordon Parks
 
7.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. (120 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
8.
Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The story of the troubled life and career of the legendary Jazz singer, Billie Holiday. (144 mins.)
Director: Sidney J. Furie
 
9.
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black male prostitute goes on the run from "the man" with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels. (97 mins.)
 
10.
The Mack (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Goldie returns from five years at the state pen and winds up king of the pimping game. Trouble comes... (110 mins.)
Director: Michael Campus
 
11.
Uptown Saturday Night (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
At Madame Zenobia's illegal nightclub, when Steve Jackson and Wardell Franklin get robbed of their wallets containing a winning lottery ticket, they set out to recover it. (104 mins.)
Director: Sidney Poitier
 
12.
The Temptations (1998 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Biography of the singers who formed the hit Motown musical act, The Temptations. (175 mins.)
Director: Allan Arkush
 
13.
Ray (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s. (152 mins.)
Director: Taylor Hackford
 
14.
The Five Heartbeats (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group. (121 mins.)
Director: Robert Townsend
 
15.
Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An actor limited to stereotypical roles because of his ethnicity, dreams of making it big as a highly respected performer. As he makes his rounds, the film takes a satiric look at African American actors in Hollywood. (78 mins.)
Director: Robert Townsend
 
16.
Claudine (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In the 1970s Harlem, garbage collector Roop feels intimidated by the idea of dating Claudine who is a single mother of six on welfare. (92 mins.)
Director: John Berry
 
17.
What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The story of singer Tina Turner's rise to stardom and how she gained the courage to break free from her abusive husband, Ike Turner. (118 mins.)
Director: Brian Gibson
 
18.
Coffy (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A black nurse takes vigilante justice against inner-city drug dealers after her sister becomes their latest victim. (91 mins.)
Director: Jack Hill
 
19.
Dead Presidents (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A Vietnam vet adjusts to life after the war while trying to support his family, but the chance of a better life may involve crime and bloodshed. (119 mins.)
 
20.
Soul Food (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
One person can keep a family together and, when that one person is gone, a family can be torn apart. (115 mins.)
 
21.
Coming to America (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An extremely pampered African Prince travels to Queens, New York, and goes undercover to find a wife whom he can respect for her intelligence and will. (116 mins.)
Director: John Landis
 
22.
Friday (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Two homies, Smokey and Craig, smoke a dope dealer's weed and try to figure a way to get the $200 they owe to the dealer by 10 p.m. that same night. (91 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
 
23.
Harlem Nights (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
During the 1930s, a New York illegal gambling house owner and his associates must deal with strong competition, gangsters and corrupt cops in order to stay in business. (116 mins.)
Director: Eddie Murphy