Best Black Movies & TV shows of All Time

by euphoria2150 | created - 03 Jul 2012 | updated - 2 months ago | Public

These are some of the best black movies of all time. Each is a must-see as it reflects the real life circumstances of many African Americans, Africans, and those of African descent. Watch as each character struggles to overcome adversity and obstacles as they pursue a better life. This is all real life packed with excellent acting and direction. These movies are in no particular order.

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1. Do the Right Thing (1989)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama

91 Metascore

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.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson

Votes: 71,247 | Gross: $27.55M

2. Malcolm X (1992)

PG-13 | 202 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

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.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee

Votes: 73,426 | Gross: $48.17M

3. Glory (1989)

R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History

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.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 111,172 | Gross: $26.83M

4. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

PG-13 | 121 min | Biography, Drama, History

79 Metascore

Paul Rusesabagina was a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Director: Terry George | Stars: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali

Votes: 305,798 | Gross: $23.53M

5. Sometimes in April (2005 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 140 min | Drama, History, War

When the Hutu nationalists raised arms against their Tutsi countrymen in Rwanda in April 1994, the violent uprising marked the beginning of one of the darkest times in African history which resulted in the deaths of almost 800,000 people.

Director: Raoul Peck | Stars: Idris Elba, Carole Karemera, Pamela Nomvete, Oris Erhuero

Votes: 4,477

6. City of God (2002)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

In the slums of Rio, two kids' paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund | Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phellipe Haagensen

Votes: 622,483 | Gross: $7.56M

7. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Not Rated | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

75 Metascore

An African-American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant

Votes: 58,055 | Gross: $24.38M

8. A Time to Kill (1996)

R | 149 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

54 Metascore

In Canton, Mississippi, a fearless young lawyer and his assistant defend a black man accused of murdering two white men who raped his ten-year-old daughter, inciting violent retribution and revenge from the Ku Klux Klan.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey

Votes: 115,654 | Gross: $108.77M

9. The Great White Hope (1970)

PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Romance, Sport

A black champion boxer and his white female companion struggle to survive while the white boxing establishment looks for ways to knock him down.

Director: Martin Ritt | Stars: James Earl Jones, Jane Alexander, Lou Gilbert, Joel Fluellen

Votes: 2,045

10. A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Approved | 128 min | Drama

A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands

Votes: 5,941

11. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Not Rated | 108 min | Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton

Votes: 33,994 | Gross: $56.70M

12. Carmen Jones (1954)

Approved | 105 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

Contemporary version of the Bizet opera, with new lyrics and an African-American cast.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, Olga James

Votes: 3,931

13. Ray (I) (2004)

PG-13 | 152 min | Biography, Drama, Music

73 Metascore

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.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell

Votes: 124,280 | Gross: $75.33M

14. The Color Purple (1985)

PG-13 | 154 min | Drama

78 Metascore

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery

Votes: 69,591 | Gross: $98.47M

15. Remember the Titans (2000)

PG | 113 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

48 Metascore

The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Director: Boaz Yakin | Stars: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst

Votes: 180,094 | Gross: $115.65M

16. The Hurricane (1999)

R | 146 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

74 Metascore

The story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a boxer wrongly imprisoned for murder, and the people who aided in his fight to prove his innocence.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Denzel Washington, Vicellous Shannon, Deborah Kara Unger, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 84,491 | Gross: $50.67M

17. Cooley High (1975)

PG | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

In 1964, a group of high school friends who live on the Near North Side of Chicago enjoy life to the fullest...parties, hanging out, meeting new friends. Then life changes for two of the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz | Stars: Glynn Turman, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Garrett Morris, Cynthia Davis

Votes: 3,655

18. Shaft (1971)

R | 100 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

Director: Gordon Parks | Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John

Votes: 13,916

19. Menace II Society (1993)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu, Toshi Toda

Votes: 45,464 | Gross: $27.90M

20. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

PG-13 | 117 min | Biography, Drama

64 Metascore

A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional career.

Director: Gabriele Muccino | Stars: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith, Brian Howe

Votes: 392,867 | Gross: $163.57M

21. Coming to America (1988)

R | 116 min | Comedy, Romance

47 Metascore

An extremely pampered African Prince travels to Queens, New York, and goes undercover to find a wife who he can respect for her intelligence and will.

Director: John Landis | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Paul Bates, Garcelle Beauvais, Feather

Votes: 140,318 | Gross: $128.15M

22. Friday (1995)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama

54 Metascore

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.

Director: F. Gary Gray | Stars: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister

Votes: 87,399 | Gross: $27.47M

23. Fresh (1994)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

81 Metascore

Death and violence anger a twelve-year-old drug courier, who sets his employers against each other.

Director: Boaz Yakin | Stars: Sean Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson, N'Bushe Wright

Votes: 10,787 | Gross: $8.09M

24. Imitation of Life (1959)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

An aspiring actress befriends a black widow, but trouble arises when the latter is rejected by her daughter, who tries to pass for white.

Director: Douglas Sirk | Stars: Lana Turner, John Gavin, Sandra Dee, Susan Kohner

Votes: 12,944 | Gross: $13.99M

25. Imitation of Life (1934)

Approved | 111 min | Drama, Romance

A struggling widow and her daughter take in a black housekeeper and her fair-skinned daughter; the two women start a successful business, but face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.

Director: John M. Stahl | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson, Ned Sparks

Votes: 3,474

26. Hustle & Flow (2005)

R | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Music

68 Metascore

With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.

Director: Craig Brewer | Stars: Terrence Howard, Ludacris, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning

Votes: 36,140 | Gross: $22.20M

27. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

PG | 112 min | Drama

72 Metascore

A young girl from South Los Angeles tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.

Director: Doug Atchison | Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke Palmer, Curtis Armstrong

Votes: 16,869 | Gross: $18.81M

28. New Jack City (1991)

R | 97 min | Action, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

Director: Mario Van Peebles | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock

Votes: 27,710 | Gross: $47.62M

29. Amistad (1997)

R | 155 min | Drama, History

63 Metascore

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 64,353 | Gross: $44.18M

30. Cry Freedom (1987)

PG | 157 min | Biography, Drama, History

59 Metascore

South African journalist Donald Woods is forced to flee the country, after attempting to investigate the death in custody of his friend, the black activist Steve Biko.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Josette Simon, Wabei Siyolwe

Votes: 11,262 | Gross: $5.90M

31. Stormy Weather (1943)

Approved | 78 min | Musical

The relationship between an aspiring dancer and a popular songstress provides a retrospective of the great African American entertainers of the early 1900s.

Director: Andrew L. Stone | Stars: Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra, Katherine Dunham and Her Troupe

Votes: 1,634

32. Love & Basketball (2000)

PG-13 | 124 min | Drama, Romance, Sport

70 Metascore

Monica and Quincy love and play basketball together through many life challenges from childhood to adulthood.

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood | Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Glenndon Chatman, Jess Willard

Votes: 16,296 | Gross: $27.44M

33. Brown Sugar (2002)

PG-13 | 109 min | Romance, Comedy, Drama

58 Metascore

Friends since childhood, a magazine editor and a hip-hop record executive stumble into romantic territory.

Director: Rick Famuyiwa | Stars: Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Yasiin Bey, Nicole Ari Parker

Votes: 7,791 | Gross: $27.36M

34. A Soldier's Story (1984)

PG | 101 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An African American officer investigates a murder in a racially charged situation in World War II.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Howard E. Rollins Jr., Adolph Caesar, Art Evans, David Alan Grier

Votes: 7,732 | Gross: $21.82M

35. Get on the Bus (1996)

R | 120 min | Drama, History

A disparate group of African-American men travel by bus to Washington, DC for the Million Man March.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Ossie Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Andre Braugher, Richard Belzer

Votes: 4,503 | Gross: $5.73M

36. What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, Music

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.

Director: Brian Gibson | Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, RaéVen Kelly, Virginia Capers

Votes: 15,136 | Gross: $39.10M

37. Lean on Me (1989)

PG-13 | 108 min | Drama

The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school and he is determined to improve by any and all means.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Robert Guillaume, Alan North

Votes: 16,300 | Gross: $31.91M

38. Soul Food (1997)

R | 115 min | Comedy, Drama

68 Metascore

One person can keep a family together and, when that one person is gone, a family can be torn apart.

Director: George Tillman Jr. | Stars: Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Michael Beach

Votes: 6,068 | Gross: $43.49M

39. Bad Boys (1995)

R | 119 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

41 Metascore

Two hip detectives protect a witness to a murder while investigating a case of stolen heroin from the evidence storage room from their police precinct.

Director: Michael Bay | Stars: Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Lisa Boyle, Michael Taliferro

Votes: 199,803 | Gross: $65.81M

40. Cool Runnings (1993)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family

60 Metascore

When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympic Games, he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.

Director: Jon Turteltaub | Stars: John Candy, Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis

Votes: 81,702 | Gross: $68.86M

41. The Five Heartbeats (1991)

R | 121 min | Drama, Music

The story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group.

Director: Robert Townsend | Stars: Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon, Harry Lennix

Votes: 3,123 | Gross: $8.75M

42. Clockers (1995)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

71 Metascore

Young drug pushers in the projects of Brooklyn live hard dangerous lives, trapped between their drug bosses and the detectives out to stop them.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer

Votes: 18,492 | Gross: $13.04M

43. Mississippi Masala (1991)

R | 118 min | Drama, Romance

An Indian family is expelled from Uganda when Idi Amin takes power. They move to Mississippi and time passes. The Indian daughter falls in love with a black man, and the respective families... See full summary »

Director: Mira Nair | Stars: Denzel Washington, Sarita Choudhury, Roshan Seth, Sharmila Tagore

Votes: 4,328 | Gross: $7.31M

44. The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)

Approved | 77 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player in the 20th century. Traces his career in the negro leagues and the major leagues.

Director: Alfred E. Green | Stars: Jackie Robinson, Ruby Dee, Minor Watson, Louise Beavers

Votes: 945

45. Love Jones (1997)

R | 104 min | Drama, Romance

Darius Lovehall is a young black poet in Chicago who starts dating Nina Mosley, a beautiful and talented photographer. While trying to figure out if they've got a "love thing" or are just "... See full summary »

Director: Theodore Witcher | Stars: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson

Votes: 3,307 | Gross: $12.51M

46. Life (I) (1999)

R | 108 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

63 Metascore

In 1932, two strangers are wrongfully convicted and develop a strong friendship in prison that lasts them through the 20th century.

Director: Ted Demme | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Obba Babatundé, Nick Cassavetes

Votes: 39,973 | Gross: $63.84M

47. South Central (1992)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama

A man is sent to prison for 10 years. Coming out of prison he wants to live a normal life and stop crime but his son has now followed the criminal path of his father.

Director: Stephen Milburn Anderson | Stars: Glenn Plummer, Byron Minns, Lexie Bigham, Vincent Craig Dupree

Votes: 4,231 | Gross: $1.37M

48. Jason's Lyric (1994)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

The story of a young man, Jason (Allen Payne) who must confront his trauma-induced insecurity about love, as well as a sense of owed responsibility to his mother and troubled brother Joshua... See full summary »

Director: Doug McHenry | Stars: Allen Payne, Jada Pinkett Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Anthony 'Treach' Criss

Votes: 3,061 | Gross: $20.85M

49. Waiting to Exhale (1995)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Based on Terry McMillan's novel, this film follows four very different African-American women and their relationships with the male gender.

Director: Forest Whitaker | Stars: Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon

Votes: 8,435 | Gross: $67.05M

50. The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992– )

240 min | Biography, Drama, Music