The 25 Best African-American Films

I am defining "African-American films" as films directed by African Americans. This leaves out black-cast musicals ("Carmen Jones," "Cabin in the Sky") and Craig Brewer.
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1.
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
 
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.
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects. (112 mins.)
Director: John Singleton
 
4.
Moonlight (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A chronicle of the childhood, adolescence and burgeoning adulthood of a young, African-American, gay man growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. (111 mins.)
Director: Barry Jenkins
 
5.
O.J.: Made in America (2016 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation. (467 mins.)
Director: Ezra Edelman
 
6.
Chi-Raq (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago. (127 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
7.
Get Out (2017)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
It's time for a young African American to meet with his white girlfriend's parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambience will give way to a nightmare. (104 mins.)
Director: Jordan Peele
 
8.
I Am Not Your Negro (2016 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House. (93 mins.)
Director: Raoul Peck
“ From a Haitian filmmaker, but I'll go ahead and count it here. ” - z_ingle
 
9.
The Birth of a Nation (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising. (120 mins.)
Director: Nate Parker
 
10.
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
 
11.
Body and Soul (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A minister is malevolent and sinister behind his righteous facade. He consorts with, and later extorts from... (102 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
12.
Clockers (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Young drug pushers in the projects of Brooklyn live hard dangerous lives, trapped between their drug bosses and the detectives out to stop them. (128 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
13.
Within Our Gates (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Abandoned by her fianc, an educated black woman with a shocking past dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished black youths. (79 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
14.
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Story of a woman and her three lovers. (84 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
15.
Killer of Sheep (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Set in the Watts area of Los Angeles, a slaughterhouse worker must suspend his emotions to continue working at a job he finds repugnant, and then he finds he has little sensitivity for the family he works so hard to support. (80 mins.)
Director: Charles Burnett
 
16.
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
 
17.
One False Move (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A small town police chief awaits the arrival of a gang of killers. (105 mins.)
Director: Carl Franklin
 
18.
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where... (112 mins.)
Director: Julie Dash
 
19.
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An examination of the U.S. government's role and its response to Hurricane Katrina. (255 mins.)
 
20.
Training Day (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the LAPD with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be. (122 mins.)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
 
21.
School Daze (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A not so popular young man wants to pledge to a popular fraternity at his historically black college. (121 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
22.
Get on the Bus (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A disparate group of African-American men travel by bus to Washington, DC for the Million Man March. (120 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
23.
Precious (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction. (110 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
 
24.
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.)
 
25.
25th Hour (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Cornered by the DEA, convicted New York drug dealer Montgomery Brogan reevaluates his life in the 24 remaining hours before facing a seven-year jail term. (135 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee