Black Films...My Top 50 Favorites

Some films are headed by black actors like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, or Halle Barry but aren't necessarily listed here. These films have almost all black cast members or several play a central part in the movie. Comedies, action films, tear jerkers...Enjoy!
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1.
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family. (128 mins.)
Director: Daniel Petrie
 
2.
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. In that time, they smoke more weed and get jacked and shot at in a drive-by. (91 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
 
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.
A Soldier's Story (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
An African American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II. (101 mins.)
Director: Norman Jewison
 
5.
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
 
6.
A Piece of the Action (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Dave Anderson and Manny Durrell are two high-class sneak thieves who have never been caught. Joshua... (135 mins.)
Director: Sidney Poitier
 
7.
Love & Basketball (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In 1981 in L.A., Monica moves in next door to Quincy. They're 11, and both want to play in the NBA, just like Quincy's dad... (124 mins.)
 
8.
Set It Off (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Desperation drives four inner-city women (Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise) to bank robbery in Los Angeles, then they start mistrusting one another. (123 mins.)
Director: F. Gary Gray
 
9.
Antwone Fisher (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Antwone Fisher, a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past is revealed and a new hope begins. (120 mins.)
 
10.
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
 
11.
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.)
 
12.
Dreamgirls (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A trio of black female soul singers cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960s, facing their own personal struggles along the way. (130 mins.)
Director: Bill Condon
 
13.
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
 
14.
Soul Food (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
One person can keep a family together and, when that one person is gone, a family can be torn apart. (115 mins.)
 
15.
Waiting to Exhale (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Based on Terry McMillan's novel, this film follows four very different African-American women and their relationships with the male gender. (124 mins.)
Director: Forest Whitaker
 
16.
Boomerang (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
A successful executive and womanizer finds his lifestyle choices have turned back on him when his new female boss turns out to be an even bigger deviant than he is. (117 mins.)
Director: Reginald Hudlin
 
17.
The Best Man (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
Harper's autobiographical novel is almost out, his girlfriend Robin desires commitment, and he's best man at the wedding of Lance... (120 mins.)
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
 
18.
Love Jones (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Darius Lovehall is a young black poet in Chicago who starts dating Nina Moseley, a beautiful and talented photographer... (104 mins.)
 
19.
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
 
20.
Mahogany (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top designers... (109 mins.)
Director: Berry Gordy
 
21.
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
 
22.
Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A couple's seemingly solid marriage begins to crumble when the wife discovers that her husband intends to divorce her. (116 mins.)
Director: Darren Grant
 
23.
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
 
24.
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
 
25.
Jackie Brown (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life. (154 mins.)
 
26.
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 City, and goes undercover to find a wife whom he can respect for her intelligence and will. (116 mins.)
Director: John Landis
 
27.
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
 
28.
Think Like a Man (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Four friends conspire to turn the tables on their women when they discover the ladies have been using Steve Harvey's relationship advice against them. (122 mins.)
Director: Tim Story
 
29.
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
 
30.
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.)
 
31.
Bad Boys (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Two hip detectives protect a murder witness while investigating a case of stolen heroin. (119 mins.)
Director: Michael Bay
 
32.
Juice (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Four inner-city teenagers get caught up in the pursuit of power and happiness, which they refer to as "the juice". (95 mins.)
 
33.
Lean on Me (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve. (108 mins.)
 
34.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Stella is a highly successful, forty-something San Francisco stock broker who is persuaded by her colorful... (124 mins.)
 
35.
Barbershop (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A day in the life of a South Side Chicago barbershop. (102 mins.)
Director: Tim Story
 
36.
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.)
 
37.
Drumline (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A band director recruits a Harlem street drummer to play at a Southern university. (118 mins.)
 
38.
Django Unchained (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. (165 mins.)
 
39.
Eve's Bayou (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The story is set in 1962 Louisiana. The Batiste family is headed by charming doctor Louis. Though he is married to beautiful Roz... (109 mins.)
Director: Kasi Lemmons
 
40.
Fresh (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Death and violence anger a 12-year-old drug courier, who puts his employer's against each other. (114 mins.)
Director: Boaz Yakin
 
41.
Glory (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates. (122 mins.)
Director: Edward Zwick
 
42.
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Paul Rusesabagina was a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. (121 mins.)
Director: Terry George
 
43.
Imitation of Life (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A struggling young actress with a six year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white. (125 mins.)
Director: Douglas Sirk
 
44.
Imitation of Life (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson... (111 mins.)
Director: John M. Stahl
 
45.
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
 
46.
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
 
47.
Sparkle (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A girl group experiences turmoil after one of their members turns to drugs and another achieves their desired fame all by herself. (98 mins.)
Director: Sam O'Steen
 
48.
Talk to Me (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The story of Washington D.C. radio personality Ralph "Petey" Greene, an ex-con who became a popular talk show host and community activist in the 1960s. (118 mins.)
Director: Kasi Lemmons
 
49.
The Help (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis. (146 mins.)
Director: Tate Taylor
 
50.
The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother... (114 mins.)