Black Cinema Gems

In chronological order.

Ever wonder why you rarely hear about "iconic" or "classic" black films? Ever wonder why black cinema is so marginalized and rarely talked about? Ever wonder why most black films are so hard to find or lost forever? Well, I'll tell you why.....

Because very few people care about black films, unfortunately. Likely not you, not your mother, not your father, and most likely not your friends either. The majority of white films, on the other hand, have pretty much been preserved forever, and people usually go to extra lengths to ensure that many of the lost white films don't stay lost for long. Far too many black films, specifically classic black films, have been ignored altogether because the people of that time likely figured that future generations wouldn't care to see such films, and thus, most classic black films are lost for all eternity. You can read about them, but you can't touch them, feel them, see them, or even get close to them. Instead, the people who truly want to see everything black cinema has to offer have to search ten times as hard compared to if they were trying to find any other type of film. This can become incredibly frustrating for cinephiles who make it their goal to see nearly everything from everybody all around the world. But, it's most frustrating to black movie fans who want to get closer to their own culture through the films their own people have made. Even such filmmakers as Ousmane Sembene and Charles Burnett, who have a couple of films widely available to the public, also have a bunch of films they've made that aren't available anywhere to see unless you do some serious digging.

It's definitely the fault of society as a whole, and history's blatant marginalization of black film........well, let's be honest, anything black. A lot of people, whether in power or not in power, simply don't value black films much. It's not just black films made by black filmmakers either, it's black films, period. You can't even see 50 percent of them if you tried, really. Many of these films likely lacked support from their own people as well when they were released in theaters, so those same folks aren't safe from some of the blame either.

One question that often lingers in my mind is, "Why does Criterion only have less than a handful of black titles in their collection?" Why haven't they tried restoring Burnett's more obscure titles, or Souleymane Cissé's, or Bill Gunn's (Stop!)? They more than deserve it. I've actually enjoyed some of their films more than any of the ones Criterion has already released. Plus, I'm pretty sure cinephiles really want to see these films, as well as many others who are passionate about film. We're being neglected important pieces of film history.

With that said, I present to those of you who do care my personal list of black cinema gems; some of these are relatively well known and others are practically unknown, but my main intention was making a list of pretty much all the ones I consider at least good, so that includes favorites and non-favorites. I haven't seen everything, so this is just a reflection of what I have seen, which is more than the average person but still a lot less than I want to see.

The main criteria was, the film had to be at least decent and deal with some sort of black theme or have a black sensibility. But, here's the catch: Any film made by a black filmmaker that I felt was decent and worthy automatically went on the list even if the cast was white. The ones made by non-black filmmakers obviously had to fall in line with the first rule of my criteria.

Like I said above, most black films, specifically early black films, are impossible to find and not available anywhere to the public, and even many of the newer black independent films become incredibly difficult to see unless you go to black film festivals, which I highly recommend doing since they usually contain some real gems. The Pan African Film Festival in particular is wonderful. Every black person or person in general interested in black film should make it their duty to go to that festival whenever it's nearby. I was lucky enough to go recently since it was in my hometown of Los Angeles, and it was very refreshing and exciting seeing all the unique and diverse films from all kinds of new black talent, and participating in the Q&A sessions afterwards. Back to my first point: that's why there are only a few pre-60's entries on the list. I don't count on that changing anytime soon, but hey, miracles happen, don't they?

I included guilty pleasures as well, because films I consider to be guilty pleasure may be considered legitimately good by other folks. I found all of the films on this list to be semi-entertaining, at the very least. Then again, I'm very open-minded and choose not to criticize every film I watch to death. Watching movies shouldn't be a critical exercise, it should be effortlessly enjoyable, like listening to music.

To those who disagree with my selections, I say this. There's no such thing as a be-all-end-all list, so I didn't set out to make one. I mainly made this list for myself, so I can easily manage my favorite black films in a non-complicated way. You are always welcome to make your own.

Not on IMDb:

"Digitopia" by John Akomfrah

"The Drive-by" by The Hughes Brothers

"Colette Vignette" by Wendell B. Harris Jr.

"You Know Leadbelly" by Wendell B. Harris Jr.

"Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" by Don Letts

"First World Festival of Negro Arts" by William Greaves

"Kichwateli" by Muchiri Njenga

"Swirl In Bamako" by Dominique Philippe

I'm dying to see "Bless Their Little Hearts" by Billy Woodberry, so if anybody has access to that, please notify me by PM.
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1.
Within Our Gates (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Abandoned by her fiancé, 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
 
2.
The Symbol of the Unconquered (1920)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Racists learn that the land a negro owns lies over a vast oil field, and threaten his life when he refuses to sell. (54 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
3.
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
 
4.
Hallelujah (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
In a juke joint, sharecropper Zeke falls for a beautiful dancer, Chick, but she's only setting him up for a rigged craps game... (109 mins.)
Director: King Vidor
 
5.
Borderline (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A negro woman having an adulterous affair with a white man causes his wife to go mad and re-enforces the towns-folk's prejudice against Negroes. (63 mins.)
 
6.
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
 
7.
Sanders of the River (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
British District Officer in Nigeria in the 1930's rules his area strictly but justly, and struggles... (98 mins.)
Director: Zoltan Korda
 
8.
Underworld (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A young college student falls under the influence of a murderous gambler. (95 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
9.
God's Step Children (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A young light-skinned Negress struggles to find her place in both the black and the white worlds. (105 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
10.
Swing! (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Ted Gregory is trying to be the first black producer to mount a show on Broadway, but he has trouble with his star singer. (69 mins.)
Director: Oscar Micheaux
 
11.
The Blood of Jesus (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
An atheist accidentally shoots his Baptist wife. She dies and goes to a crossroads, where the devil tries to lead her astray. (57 mins.)
 
12.
The Quiet One (1948 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A documentary account of the rehabilitation at the Wiltwyck School of an emotionally disturbed Black boy who is unwanted, misunderstood, and inwardly tortured. (65 mins.)
Director: Sidney Meyers
 
13.
No Way Out (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A black doctor is assigned to treat two racist White, robbery suspects who are brothers, and when one dies, it causes tension that could start a race riot. (106 mins.)
 
14.
Bright Road (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Based on the story, "See How They Run," which ran in the June, 1951 issue of "The Ladies' Home Journal"... (68 mins.)
Director: Gerald Mayer
 
15.
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
 
16.
Edge of the City (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Two New York City longshoremen Axel Nordmann, an Army deserter and Tommy Tyler, an easy-going freight car loader whose growing friendship is threatened by Charles Malik, a notably repellent punk. (85 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
17.
Moi, un noir (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
"I, a Negro" depicts young Nigerien immigrants who left their country to find work in the Ivory Coast... (70 mins.)
Director: Jean Rouch
“ Ousmane Sembene's favorite film. ” - Abyss47
 
18.
The Defiant Ones (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Two escaped convicts chained together, white and black, must learn to get along in order to elude capture. (96 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kramer
 
19.
The Cry of Jazz (1959 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Discussion of jazz and the role of African-Americans in the United States. (34 mins.)
Director: Edward Bland
 
20.
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
 
21.
The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A miner trapped in a cave-in resurfaces, and upon discovering mankind has been wiped out in a nuclear holocaust, sets out to find other survivors. (95 mins.)
 
22.
The Young One (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A jazz musician seeks refuge from a lynch mob on a remote island, where he meets a hostile game warden and the young object of his attentions. (95 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
 
23.
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
 
24.
The Intruder (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A man in a gleaming white suit comes to a small Southern town on the eve of integration. He calls himself a social reformer. But what he does is stir up trouble--trouble he soon finds he can't control. (84 mins.)
Director: Roger Corman
 
25.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice. (129 mins.)
Director: Robert Mulligan
 
26.
Niaye (1964 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The pregnancy of a young girl scandalizes her community. (35 mins.)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
 
27.
The Cool World (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Filmmaker Shirley Clarke ("The Connection") directs this powerful, stark semi-documentary look at the... (105 mins.)
Director: Shirley Clarke
 
28.
One Potato, Two Potato (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Study of interracial marriage in the 1960's. A white divorcée falls in love with and marries an African-American man... (83 mins.)
Director: Larry Peerce
 
29.
Nothing But a Man (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A proud black man and his school-teacher wife face discriminatory challenges in 1960s America. (95 mins.)
Director: Michael Roemer
 
30.
A Patch of Blue (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A blind, uneducated white girl is befriended by a black man, who becomes determined to help her escape her impoverished and abusive home life. (105 mins.)
Director: Guy Green
 
31.
Black Girl (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A black girl from Senegal becomes a servant in France. (65 mins.)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
 
32.
The Black Klansman (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
After a black man's daughter is killed by the KKK, he seeks revenge by becoming a Klansman. (88 mins.)
Director: Ted V. Mikels
 
33.
Oh, Sun (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A native of Mauritania is delighted when he is chosen to work in Paris. Hoping to parlay the experience into a better life for himself... (98 mins.)
Director: Med Hondo
 
34.
Dutchman (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A sinister, neurotic white girl Lula, with the provocation of her lovely, half-naked body and of her startlingly lascivious speech... (55 mins.)
Director: Anthony Harvey
 
35.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African American fiancé. (108 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kramer
 
36.
To Sir, with Love (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Idealistic engineer-trainee and his experiences in teaching a group of rambunctious white high school students from the slums of London's East End. (105 mins.)
Director: James Clavell
 
37.
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town. (109 mins.)
Director: Norman Jewison
 
38.
Mandabi (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A money order from a relative in Paris throws the life of a Senegalese family man out of order. He deals with corruption... (90 mins.)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
 
39.
Uptight (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Black revolutionaries are betrayed by one of their own. Based on the 1935 classic, "The Informer." (104 mins.)
Director: Jules Dassin
 
40.
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (1968 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Filmmaker William Greaves auditioned acting students for a fictional drama, while simultaneously shooting the behind-the-scenes drama taking place. (75 mins.)
Director: William Greaves
 
41.
The Story of a Three-Day Pass (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
A black American soldier is demoted for fraternizing with a white girl in France. (87 mins.)
 
42.
City of Contrasts (1969 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A somewhat-humorous look at the city of Dakar, its people, architecture, politics, social behavior, and even the white French tourists... (22 mins.)
Director: Djibril Diop
 
43.
Borom sarret (1963 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Boron Sarret is arguably the first film made by a black African. It illustrates poverty in Senegal, particularly for the working man (20 mins.)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
 
44.
The Learning Tree (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The story, set in Kansas during the 1920s, covers less than a year in the life of a black teenager,... (107 mins.)
Director: Gordon Parks
 
45.
Several Friends (1969 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
An improvised late '60's short-subject student film, and debut movie of Director, Charles Burnett; done in the neo-realist... (21 mins.)
Director: Charles Burnett
 
46.
The Lost Man (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A gang of black militants plots to rob a factory to finance their "revolutionary struggle." (122 mins.)
 
47.
Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head... (97 mins.)
Director: Ossie Davis
 
48.
Watermelon Man (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
An extremely bigoted white man finds out the hard (and somewhat humorous) way what it's like being a black man, firsthand! (100 mins.)
 
49.
Halls of Anger (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
An all-black inner city school has to become an integrated school. Few dozen white kids are transfered there, but the black students are aggressively opposed to this. The school then approaches a tough black teacher for help. (96 mins.)
Director: Paul Bogart
 
50.
Badou Boy (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Sarcastic look at Senegal's capital following the adventures of a somewhat immoral street urchin. (56 mins.)
 
51.
...tick... tick... tick... (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Racial tensions threaten to explode when a black man is elected sheriff of a small, racially divided town in the Deep South. (100 mins.)
Director: Ralph Nelson
 
52.
They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
In San Francisco, a high-priced call girl is murdered and the case is assigned to Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs. (108 mins.)
Director: Gordon Douglas
 
53.
The Landlord (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
At the age of twenty-nine, Elgar Enders "runs away" from home. This running away consists of buying... (112 mins.)
Director: Hal Ashby
 
54.
The Great White Hope (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A black champion boxer and his white female companion struggle to survive while the white boxing establishment looks for ways to knock him down. (103 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
55.
The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A Southern lawyer uncovers the truth about a slain undertaker. (102 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
 
56.
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.)
 
57.
Emitaï (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
As World War II is going on in Europe, a conflict arises between the French and the Diola-speaking tribe of Africa, prompting the village women to organize their men to sit beneath a tree to pray. (103 mins.)
Director: Ousmane Sembene
 
58.
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
 
59.
Le wazzou polygame (1971 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
An Islamic faithful returns from his holy pilgrimage to Mecca with the venerated title "el hajji". On... (50 mins.)
Director: Oumarou Ganda
 
60.
The Bus Is Coming (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A young black soldier returns home to Los Angeles from combat in Vietnam to find out that his brother had been killed by a gang of racist cops. Angered, he joins a black nationalist group to take his revenge. (109 mins.)
 
61.
The Big Doll House (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Beautiful women prisoners are abused in a Philippine prison, until 5 of them plot an escape by taking the evil female warden hostage with the reluctant help of 2 male fruit vendors. (95 mins.)
Director: Jack Hill
 
62.
The Organization (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
In San Francisco, Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs helps a group of idealistic vigilantes expose a drug ring controlled by powerful businessmen. (106 mins.)
Director: Don Medford
 
63.
Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Two documentary filmmakers go back in time to the pre-Civil War American South, to film the slave trade. (136 mins.)
 
64.
Hour Glass (1971 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In the midst of the Black consciousness movement, a basketball player imagines his profession to that of a gladiator... (10 mins.)
Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: Mel Rosier
 
65.
Super Fly (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
The daily routine of cocaine dealer Priest who wants to score one more super deal and retire. (93 mins.)
 
66.
Black Girl (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An aspiring dancer and her wicked sisters resent their mother's love for a foster daughter. (97 mins.)
Director: Ossie Davis
 
67.
Trouble Man (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
It seems that masked men are knocking over the floating crap games of Chalky and Pete. Chalky and Pete hire the cool... (99 mins.)
Director: Ivan Dixon
 
68.
Buck and the Preacher (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A wagon master and a con-man preacher help freed slaves dogged by cheap-labor agents out West. (102 mins.)
Director: Sidney Poitier
 
69.
Top of the Heap (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A Washington D.C. cop is proud to be one of the few African-Americans on the force. He is not well loved by his peers or by street people. Trouble erupts when he is overlooked for a promotion. (90 mins.)
 
70.
The Final Comedown (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Black revolutionaries take action in the white suburbs. (83 mins.)
Director: Oscar Williams
 
71.
Bone (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A thief breaks into the home of a wealthy, happily married Beverly Hills couple. He soon finds out, though... (95 mins.)
Director: Larry Cohen
 
72.
Hickey & Boggs (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Bill Cosby and Robert Culp ("I Spy") are united again as private eyes in this Walter Hill-scripted "film noir." Searching for a missing girl, they find themselves involved with vicious criminals and precipitating a string of deaths. (111 mins.)
Director: Robert Culp
 
73.
Sounder (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The oldest son of a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers comes of age in the Depression-era South after his father is imprisoned for stealing food. (105 mins.)
Director: Martin Ritt
 
74.
Shaft's Big Score! (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Shaft is back to find the murderer of an old friend on the cold hard city streets with a little help from his new friends. (104 mins.)
Director: Gordon Parks
 
75.
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
 
76.
Slaughter (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Slaughter, a former Green Beret, avenges the killing of loved ones by the Mob, and in so doing is coerced by the Feds into traveling to Mexico to finish off surviving mobsters. (92 mins.)
Director: Jack Starrett
 
77.
The Harder They Come (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers. (103 mins.)
Director: Perry Henzell
 
78.
The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A slave kills a white man in self-defense and heads West towards freedom, pursued by a professional slave hunter. (98 mins.)
Director: Martin Goldman
 
79.
Across 110th Street (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Two New York City cops go after amateur crooks who are trying to rip off the Mafia and start a gang war. (102 mins.)
Director: Barry Shear
 
80.
Melinda (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A slick, smooth-talking, womanizing young black DJ falls hard for an enigmatic woman he's just met. Things take a turn for the worse... (109 mins.)
 
81.
Trick Baby (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Two Phildelphia con men try to evade gangsters they have conned and cops who are trying to put them in jail. (89 mins.)
Director: Larry Yust
 
82.
Hit Man (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
A lawyer whose brother was murdered winds up getting involved with gangsters and the world of porno movies. (90 mins.)
Director: George Armitage
 
83.
Cool Breeze (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Thalmus is the leader for a group of criminals who gather in L.A. to rob a bank. Their goal is to found a new bank. (101 mins.)
Director: Barry Pollack
 
84.
The Big Bird Cage (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Grier and Haig are thieving mercenaries who engineer a prison break from the outside. (88 mins.)
Director: Jack Hill
 
85.
Come Back, Charleston Blue (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Sequel to Cotton comes to Harlem. Another bad influence is hitting Harlem and Gravedigger and Coffin Ed are the two cops who will stop it... (100 mins.)
Director: Mark Warren
 
86.
Malcolm X (1972 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
James Earl Jones narrates this fascinating and moving documentary about the life of the assassinated black leader through various sources. (91 mins.)
Director: Arnold Perl
 
87.
Gordon's War (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Four Vietnam Vets go to war against the drug dealers and pimps of Harlem. (90 mins.)
Director: Ossie Davis
 
88.
Child of Resistance (1973 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A woman dressed in a robe, hands bound, is being transported through a barroom into a jail cell, directly... (36 mins.)
Director: Haile Gerima
Stars: Barbarao
 
89.
Ganja & Hess (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
After being stabbed with an ancient, germ-infested knife, a doctor's assistant finds himself with an insatiable desire for blood. (110 mins.)
Director: Bill Gunn
 
90.
The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A black man plays Uncle Tom in order to gain access to CIA training, then uses that knowledge to plot a new American Revolution. (102 mins.)
Director: Ivan Dixon
 
91.
The Horse (1973 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
This critically acclaimed 1973 short is about an aristocratic white farming family who has a horse that is being put away... (14 mins.)
Director: Charles Burnett
 
92.
Touki Bouki (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Mory, a cowherd, and Anta, a university student, try to make money in order to go to Paris and leave their boring past behind. (85 mins.)
 
93.
Black Caesar (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy... (87 mins.)
Director: Larry Cohen
 
94.
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
 
95.
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
 
96.
Shaft in Africa (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
P.I. John Shaft is recruited to go undercover to break up a modern slavery ring where young Africans are lured to Paris to do chain-gang work. (112 mins.)
Director: John Guillermin
 
97.
Don't Play Us Cheap (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  
Film version of Melvin Van Peebles' Broadway musical. A pair of devil-bats take human form and crash a Harlem house party in an attempt to break it up. But somehow, their attempts to ruin the party fail. (99 mins.)
 
98.
Cleopatra Jones (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
During the 1970s, U.S. Special Agent Cleopatra Jones proves to be an invaluable asset to the local police forces in the war on drugs. (89 mins.)
Director: Jack Starrett
 
99.
Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Vigilante Slaughter comes under attack from Duncan, a local money launderer whose hit-man traps Slaughter in a car at a cliff, but Slaughter escapes, arms himself, and goes after Duncan's hideout. (94 mins.)
Director: Gordon Douglas
 
100.
Savage! (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Action packed story of how Jim Haygood (James Glehart) young, black and brilliant becomes the legendary leader of a rebel army... (81 mins.)