Best African-American Crime Dramas

by muybueno16 | created - 02 Jan 2014 | updated - 11 Sep 2015 | Public
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1. The Wire (2002–2008)

TV-MA | 59 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Baltimore drug scene, seen through the eyes of drug dealers and law enforcement.

Stars: Dominic West, Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Wendell Pierce

Votes: 224,721

2. Detroit 1-8-7 (2010–2011)

TV-14 | 42 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The everyday trials and tribulations of Detroit's homicide unit.

Stars: Michael Imperioli, James McDaniel, Aisha Hinds, Jon Michael Hill

Votes: 3,054

3. The Shield (2002–2008)

TV-MA | 47 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Follows the lives and cases of a dirty Los Angeles Police Department cop and the unit under his command.

Stars: Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins, Michael Jace

Votes: 62,338

4. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Lloyd Avery II

Votes: 105,679 | Gross: $57.50M

5. Baby Boy (2001)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

This is the story of Jody, an unemployed young black man, who's been living with his mother for several years, even though he's got a child of his own. Romantically, he's having ... See full summary »

Director: John Singleton | Stars: AlexSandra Wright, Tyrese Gibson, Taraji P. Henson, Omar Gooding

Votes: 10,871 | Gross: $28.73M

6. Dead Presidents (1995)

R | 119 min | Action, Crime, Drama

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.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Larenz Tate, Keith David, Chris Tucker, Freddy Rodríguez

Votes: 16,910 | Gross: $24.20M

7. Training Day (2001)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

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.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger

Votes: 338,084 | Gross: $76.63M

8. 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: 43,936 | Gross: $27.90M

9. Lift (I) (2001)

R | 85 min | Crime, Drama

This feature takes us into the world of "boosters" or shoplifters where a charismatic, intelligent young female booster from a dysfunctional family, notably her mother and grandmother, ... See full summary »

Directors: DeMane Davis, Khari Streeter | Stars: Kerry Washington, Lonette McKee, Eugene Byrd, Barbara Montgomery

Votes: 324

10. The Playaz Court (2000)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A gritty Tale of how the game of life out on the court of Inglewood. When a pickup game turns deadly, Reggie is out for blood as he track down his best friends killer and returns to the gym... See full summary »

Director: Greg Morgan | Stars: Sean Blakemore, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Robert David Cochrane, Arlen Escarpeta

Votes: 145

11. Snitch (I) (2013)

PG-13 | 112 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

51 Metascore

A father goes undercover for the DEA in order to free his son, who was imprisoned after being set up in a drug deal.

Director: Ric Roman Waugh | Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Susan Sarandon, Jon Bernthal, Rafi Gavron

Votes: 71,554 | Gross: $42.93M

Underused.

12. A Day in the Life (II) (2009)

R | 90 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Bad blood between two urban crime families explodes into an all-out turf war in this gritty, hard-hitting drama set to rap and starring music legend Sticky Fingaz.

Director: Sticky Fingaz | Stars: Alvin 'Porky' Holland, Bokeem Woodbine, Chris Fleming, Clarence Williams III

Votes: 509

13. Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1999)

TV-14 | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A police homicide investigation unit investigates violent crimes in the city of Baltimore.

Stars: Richard Belzer, Clark Johnson, Yaphet Kotto, Kyle Secor

Votes: 9,851

14. Oz (1997–2003)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants.

Stars: Ernie Hudson, J.K. Simmons, Lee Tergesen, Dean Winters

Votes: 76,429

15. Lockdown (2000)

R | 105 min | Drama, Thriller

Avery (Jones) returns to college as a competitive swimmer after getting his life back on track. But his life takes another unexpected turn when he and his two friends (Bonds, Casseus) are wrongly accused of murder and end up in prison.

Director: John Luessenhop | Stars: Richard T. Jones, De'aundre Bonds, Gabriel Casseus, Master P

Votes: 2,190 | Gross: $0.45M

16. New York Undercover (1994–1999)

TV-14 | 60 min | Crime, Drama

Drugs, robbery, corruption, rape, murder. Cops versus criminals. The undercover war has started. Welcome to New York City.

Stars: Malik Yoba, Michael DeLorenzo, Patti D'Arbanville, Luna Lauren Velez

Votes: 1,649

17. Belly (1998)

R | 96 min | Crime, Drama

A pair of violent Men have spiritual awakenings.

Director: Hype Williams | Stars: Nas, DMX, Taral Hicks, Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins

Votes: 7,906 | Gross: $9.63M

18. Never Die Alone (2004)

R | 88 min | Action, Crime, Drama

38 Metascore

A drug kingpin's return home touches off a turf war.

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson | Stars: DMX, David Arquette, Michael Ealy, Drew Sidora

Votes: 5,088 | Gross: $5.64M

19. Sons of Anarchy (2008–2014)

TV-MA | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A man in his early 30s struggles to find a balance in his life between being a new dad and his involvement in a motorcycle club.

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates

Votes: 214,245

20. Squeeze (1997)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama

Ty, Hector, and Bao are close friends in a tough section of Boston, where they're called "the PG-13 crew." They're 14, decent kids with few skills who've bailed out of school. A small gang ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Patton-Spruill | Stars: Tyrone Burton, Eddie Cutanda, Phuong Duong, Geoffrey Rhue

Votes: 271 | Gross: $0.01M

21. Fresh (1994)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

81 Metascore

Death and violence anger a 12-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: 10,589 | Gross: $8.09M

22. Four Brothers (2005)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama

49 Metascore

When their adopted mother is gunned down in a store robbery the 'four brothers' investigated the murder for themselves & look for the killers but not all is what it seems.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, André Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund

Votes: 119,854 | Gross: $74.49M

23. Shaft (2000)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

50 Metascore

New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Christian Bale, Jeffrey Wright

Votes: 62,796 | Gross: $70.33M

24. Street Kings (2008)

R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Drama

55 Metascore

An undercover cop, disillusioned by the recent murder of his wife, is implicated in the murder of an officer and must struggle to clear himself.

Director: David Ayer | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans

Votes: 99,996 | Gross: $26.42M

25. Lorenzo & Monica (2012)

86 min | Crime, Drama

A young couple go on a crime spree holding up stores in hope of becoming famous while being pursued by a cop who recently rejoined the force after losing his fiancée to a violent crime.

Director: Frank E. Jackson Jr. | Stars: Tray Chaney, Natasha 'Breezy' Malone, Chrystale Wilson, Ian Novick

Votes: 31

26. King of New York (1990)

R | 103 min | Crime, Thriller

A drug kingpin is released from prison and seeks to take total control of the criminal underworld in order to give back to the community.

Director: Abel Ferrara | Stars: Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne, Victor Argo

Votes: 26,272 | Gross: $2.55M

27. American Gangster (2007)

R | 157 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

An outcast New York City cop is charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, whose real life inspired this partly biographical film.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin

Votes: 350,554 | Gross: $130.16M

28. Hoodlum (1997)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

50 Metascore

Black gangsters in 1930 Harlem fights Dutch Schultz who is trying to horn in on their numbers racket.

Director: Bill Duke | Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Tim Roth, Vanessa Williams, Andy Garcia

Votes: 9,238 | Gross: $23.46M

29. Brooklyn's Finest (2009)

R | 132 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

43 Metascore

Three unconnected Brooklyn cops wind up at the same deadly location after enduring vastly different career paths.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes

Votes: 56,022 | Gross: $27.15M

30. Crash (I) (2004)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.

Director: Paul Haggis | Stars: Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandie Newton, Karina Arroyave

Votes: 387,553 | Gross: $54.58M

31. LUV (2012)

R | 94 min | Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

An 11-year-old boy gets a crash course in what it means to be a man when he spends a day with the ex-convict uncle he idolizes.

Director: Sheldon Candis | Stars: Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover

Votes: 1,889 | Gross: $0.14M

32. Takers (2010)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

45 Metascore

A group of bank robbers find their multi-million dollar plan interrupted by a hard-boiled detective.

Director: John Luessenhop | Stars: Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy

Votes: 50,971 | Gross: $57.74M

33. Baller Blockin' (2000)

Not Rated | 54 min | Action, Crime

Showing the life(dramatization) of the hot boys or cash money millionaires and how it goes down in the magnolia,dirty cops,drug life and shoot outs with a twist of reality

Director: Steven Esteb | Stars: B.G., Birdman, Jeanette Branch, Juvenile

Votes: 292

34. Paid in Full (2002)

R | 97 min | Action, Crime, Drama

49 Metascore

A young man from Harlem, forced to cope with the 1980s drug scene, builds an illegal empire, only to have a crisis of conscience.

Director: Charles Stone III | Stars: Mekhi Phifer, Wood Harris, Chi McBride, Kevin Carroll

Votes: 8,536 | Gross: $3.04M

35. Waist Deep (2006)

R | 97 min | Action, Crime, Drama

37 Metascore

An ex-convict (Tyrese) gets tangled up with a gang after his car is hijacked with his son inside.

Director: Vondie Curtis-Hall | Stars: Tyrese Gibson, Meagan Good, Larenz Tate, Shawn Parr

Votes: 8,686 | Gross: $21.32M

36. New Jersey Drive (1995)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama

Jason and Midget are two young, black teenagers living in Newark,New Jersey, the unofficial car theft capital of the world. Their favourite pastime is that of everybody in their ... See full summary »

Director: Nick Gomez | Stars: Shar-Ron Corley, Gabriel Casseus, Saul Stein, Gwen McGee

Votes: 2,421 | Gross: $3.57M

37. Shottas (2002)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

36 Metascore

This movie is about crime connected to selling drugs and extortion, hence the title. The crimes which start off in Jamaica then move to USA.

Director: Cess Silvera | Stars: Ky-Mani Marley, Spragga Benz, Louie Rankin, Paul Campbell

Votes: 3,637

38. Colors (1988)

R | 120 min | Action, Crime, Drama

66 Metascore

An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Director: Dennis Hopper | Stars: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso, Randy Brooks

Votes: 21,088 | Gross: $46.62M

39. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama

69 Metascore

Terence McDonagh is a drug- and gambling-addled detective in post-Katrina New Orleans investigating the killing of five Senegalese immigrants.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Russell M. Haeuser, Val Kilmer

Votes: 68,684 | Gross: $1.70M

40. Rude (1995)

R | 89 min | Crime, Drama

This is the Easter weekend. In an inner city project, three people struggle against their demons and try to find redemption. They are Maxine, a window dresser depressed since she had an ... See full summary »

Director: Clement Virgo | Stars: Maurice Dean Wint, Rachael Crawford, Clark Johnson, Richard Chevolleau

Votes: 199

41. Blue Hill Avenue (2001)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama

41 Metascore

A child of a middle class home with solid moral values is lured into a world of crime and corruption.

Director: Craig Ross Jr. | Stars: Allen Payne, Angelle Brooks, Michael Taliferro, William L. Johnson

Votes: 1,142

42. Tsotsi (2005)

R | 94 min | Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

Six days in the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang leader.

Director: Gavin Hood | Stars: Presley Chweneyagae, Mothusi Magano, Israel Makoe, Terry Pheto

Votes: 26,159 | Gross: $2.91M

43. Zooman (1995 TV Movie)

R | 95 min | Action, Drama

Just another typical day in the life of a shooter. Not one person in this fine neighborhood is willing to come forward with any clues as to the identity of the killer of an innocent little ... See full summary »

Director: Leon Ichaso | Stars: Louis Gossett Jr., Charles S. Dutton, Cynthia Martells, Khalil Kain

Votes: 125

44. Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema (2008)

R | 119 min | Action, Crime, Drama

53 Metascore

A young hoodlum's rise from a small-time criminal to a powerful crime entrepreneur during the turbulent years before and after the fall of apartheid.

Director: Ralph Ziman | Stars: Rapulana Seiphemo, Jeffrey Zekele, Ronnie Nyakale, Shelley Meskin

Votes: 9,918 | Gross: $0.00M

45. In Too Deep (1999)

R | 95 min | Crime, Thriller, Drama

53 Metascore

Jeff Cole is a recent graduate of the Cincinnati police academy who dreams of working undercover. His wish is granted and through success is given the task of taking down state-wide crack ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Rymer | Stars: Omar Epps, LL Cool J, Nia Long, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 5,049 | Gross: $14.00M

46. Hot Boyz (2000 Video)

R | 98 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Injustice begets a criminal. Kool is an artist without prospects, a black belt in karate, and in love with LaShawna, poised and college bound. One night she witnesses a stabbing and ... See full summary »

Director: Master P | Stars: Gary Busey, Silkk Tha Shocker, Jeff Speakman, Snoop Dogg

Votes: 917

47. Luck of the Draw (2000)

R | 101 min | Thriller, Crime, Drama

Jack Sweeny is a young man just trying to get a job. Turned down at another bank due to his criminal record he meets a girl, Rebecca, but also witnesses a 3 way shootout between 2 groups of... See full summary »

Director: Luca Bercovici | Stars: James Marshall, Dennis Hopper, Michael Madsen, Eric Roberts

Votes: 549

48. Jacked (2001)

R | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Boy commits murder, gets away with it and a year later, he turns himself in, but before doing so, he confesses to the victim's family.

Director: Timothy Wayne Folsome | Stars: RonReaco Lee, Alexis Fields, Anna Maria Horsford, Bizzy Bone

Votes: 194

49. Law & Order (1990–2010)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points, the police investigation and the prosecution in court.

Stars: Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina, S. Epatha Merkerson

Votes: 27,474

50. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The Special Victims Unit, a specially trained squad of detectives in the NYPD, investigate sexually related crimes.

Stars: Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T, Dann Florek

Votes: 61,038

51. Streets of Blood (2009 Video)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

4.4