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.
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
 
5.
Body and Soul (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
A minister is malevolent and sinister behind his righteous facade. He consorts with, and later extorts from... (102 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
6.
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
 
7.
Within Our Gates (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 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
 
8.
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Story of a woman and her three lovers. (84 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
9.
Killer of Sheep (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Stan works in drudgery at a slaughterhouse. His personal life is drab. Dissatisfaction and ennui keep... (83 mins.)
Director: Charles Burnett
 
10.
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
 
11.
One False Move (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In Los Angeles, after a violent drug rip-off, the Los Angeles Police Department detectives find the identity of the trio - the sadistic I.Q... (105 mins.)
Director: Carl Franklin
 
12.
Daughters of the Dust (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 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
 
13.
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.)
 
14.
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 on a 24-hour training course with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears. (122 mins.)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
 
15.
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
 
16.
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
 
17.
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
 
18.
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.)
 
19.
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
 
20.
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.)
 
21.
4 Little Girls (1997 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement. (102 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
22.
Dope (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Life changes for Malcolm, a geek who's surviving life in a tough neighborhood, after a chance invitation to an underground party leads him and his friends into a Los Angeles adventure. (103 mins.)
Director: Rick Famuyiwa
 
23.
New Jack City (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him. (97 mins.)
 
24.
Straight Outta Compton (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood. (147 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
 
25.
Creed (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed. (133 mins.)
Director: Ryan Coogler