Historically Black Films

by yrnej | created - 24 Jan 2017 | updated - 31 Jan 2017 | Public

Pay tribute to these historic tales of Black Americans, both real and imagined. Which tells the most interesting story?

Discuss the list here

* not biopics, but covering more than just one person's story + please note, the non-inclusion of Hidden Figures was an unintentional error

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1. 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: 64,140 | Gross: $44.18M

2. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)

PG | 110 min | Comedy, Sport

Tired of the slave-like treatment of his team's owner, charismatic star Negro League pitcher Bingo Long takes to the road with his band of barnstormers through the small towns of the Midwest in the 1930's.

Director: John Badham | Stars: Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Rico Dawson

Votes: 1,383

3. The Birth of a Nation (2016)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising.

Director: Nate Parker | Stars: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley

Votes: 17,759 | Gross: $15.86M

4. Boycott (2001 TV Movie)

PG | 118 min | Drama

Black Americans boycott the public buses during the 1950s civil rights movement.

Director: Clark Johnson | Stars: Jeffrey Wright, Terrence Howard, CCH Pounder, Carmen Ejogo

Votes: 724

5. Brother John (1971)

PG-13 | 95 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A man who returns to his hometown for a funeral may have a much larger purpose in life than those around him can see.

Director: James Goldstone | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Will Geer, Bradford Dillman, Beverly Todd

Votes: 487

6. Buffalo Soldiers (1997 TV Movie)

G | 100 min | Drama, History, Western

Fact based story about the all-black US Cavalry Troop H which protected the Western territories in post Civil War times. The story focuses on the troops attempts to capture an Apache ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Haid | Stars: Lamont Bentley, Tom Bower, Timothy Busfield, Gabriel Casseus

Votes: 653

7. 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: 69,353 | Gross: $98.47M

8. Daughters of the Dust (1991)

TV-PG | 112 min | Drama, History, Romance

81 Metascore

Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last ... See full summary »

Director: Julie Dash | Stars: Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbarao, Trula Hoosier

Votes: 1,413 | Gross: $1.64M

9. 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: 70,914 | Gross: $27.55M

10. 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: 4,489 | Gross: $5.73M

11. Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, History

A Mississippi district attorney and the widow of Medgar Evers struggle to finally bring a white racist to justice for the 1963 murder of the civil rights leader.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Whoopi Goldberg, Virginia Madsen

Votes: 9,351 | Gross: $13.05M

12. 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: 110,948 | Gross: $26.83M

13. Addio zio Tom (1971)

Unrated | 123 min | Drama

Two documentary filmmakers go back in time to the pre-Civil War American South, to film the slave trade.

Directors: Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi | Stars: Stefano Sibaldi, Cicely Browne, Lewis E. Ciannelli, Geoffrey Copleston

Votes: 1,175

14. The Great Debaters (2007)

PG-13 | 126 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

65 Metascore

A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.

Director: Denzel Washington | Stars: Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise, Nate Parker

Votes: 52,306 | Gross: $30.23M

15. Killer of Sheep (1978)

80 min | Drama

94 Metascore

Set in the Watts area of Los Angeles, a slaughterhouse worker must suspend his emotions to continue working at a job he finds repugnant, and then he finds he has little sensitivity for the family he works so hard to support.

Director: Charles Burnett | Stars: Henry G. Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, Angela Burnett

Votes: 5,232 | Gross: $0.40M

16. The Long Walk Home (1990)

PG | 97 min | Drama, History

73 Metascore

Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King.

Director: Richard Pearce | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg, Dwight Schultz, Ving Rhames

Votes: 2,906 | Gross: $4.80M

17. Men of Honor (2000)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama

56 Metascore

The story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American U.S. Navy Diver, and the man who trained him.

Director: George Tillman Jr. | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron, Aunjanue Ellis

Votes: 98,594 | Gross: $48.82M

18. Miracle at St. Anna (2008)

R | 160 min | Action, Drama, War

37 Metascore

Set in 1944 Italy, the story of four black American soldiers who get trapped in a Tuscan village during WWII.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller

Votes: 16,805 | Gross: $7.92M

19. Miss Evers' Boys (1997 TV Movie)

PG | 118 min | Drama, War

The true story of the U.S. Government's 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, in which a group of black test subjects were allowed to die, despite a cure having been developed.

Director: Joseph Sargent | Stars: Alfre Woodard, Laurence Fishburne, Craig Sheffer, Joe Morton

Votes: 891

20. Mississippi Burning (1988)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, History

65 Metascore

Two F.B.I. Agents, with wildly different styles, arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif

Votes: 75,603 | Gross: $34.60M

21. Night Catches Us (2010)

R | 90 min | Drama, Romance

65 Metascore

In 1976, complex political and emotional forces are set in motion when a young man returns to the race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood where he came of age during the Black Power movement.

Director: Tanya Hamilton | Stars: Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Jamara Griffin, Sadiq Afif

Votes: 1,375 | Gross: $0.08M

22. Nothing But a Man (1964)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

A proud black man and his school-teacher wife face discriminatory challenges in 1960s America.

Director: Michael Roemer | Stars: Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln, Julius Harris, Gloria Foster

Votes: 1,051 | Gross: $0.01M

23. Panther (I) (1995)

R | 124 min | Drama

A dramatized account of the story of The Black Panther Party of Self-Defense.

Director: Mario Van Peebles | Stars: Kadeem Hardison, Bokeem Woodbine, Joe Don Baker, Courtney B. Vance

Votes: 2,047 | Gross: $6.83M

24. Pride (2007)

PG | 104 min | Drama, Family, Sport

55 Metascore

The determined Jim Ellis starts a swim team for troubled teens at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation.

Director: Sunu Gonera | Stars: Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac, Kimberly Elise, Tom Arnold

Votes: 5,853 | Gross: $7.04M

25. Red Tails (2012)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program, having faced segregation while kept mostly on the ground during World War II, are called into duty under the guidance of Col. A.J. Bullard.

Director: Anthony Hemingway | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney, David Oyelowo, Andre Royo

Votes: 31,164 | Gross: $49.88M

26. The Retrieval (2013)

R | 92 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

75 Metascore

On the outskirts of the U.S. Civil War, a boy is sent north by his bounty hunter gang to retrieve a wanted man.

Director: Chris Eska | Stars: Ashton Sanders, Tishuan Scott, Keston John, Bill Oberst Jr.

Votes: 2,275 | Gross: $0.05M

27. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (1978 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama

With the land to hold them together, nothing can tear the Logans apart. Why is the land so important to Cassie's family? It takes the events of one turbulent year- the year of the night ... See full summary »

Director: Jack Smight | Stars: Claudia McNeil, Janet MacLachlan, Robert Christian, Larry B. Scott

Votes: 260

28. Roots (1977)

TV-14 | 588 min | Biography, Drama, History

A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.

Stars: LeVar Burton, Robert Reed, John Amos, Louis Gossett Jr.

Votes: 14,604

29. Rosewood (1997)

R | 140 min | Action, Drama, History

71 Metascore

A dramatization of a 1923 horrific racist lynch mob attack on an African-American community.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Jon Voight, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Bruce McGill

Votes: 6,738 | Gross: $13.10M

30. Selma (2014)

PG-13 | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

89 Metascore

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussaint

Votes: 74,911 | Gross: $52.08M

31. Separate But Equal (1991– )

PG | 190 min | Drama, History

A dramatization of the American court case that destroyed the legal validity of racial segregation.

Stars: Sidney Poitier, Burt Lancaster, Richard Kiley, Cleavon Little

Votes: 580

32. 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: 7,703 | Gross: $21.82M

33. The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)

PG | 102 min | Action, Drama, Crime

A black man plays Uncle Tom in order to gain access to CIA training, then uses that knowledge to plot a new American Revolution.

Director: Ivan Dixon | Stars: Lawrence Cook, Janet League, Paula Kelly, J.A. Preston

Votes: 954

34. 10,000 Black Men Named George (2002 TV Movie)

R | 95 min | Drama

Union activist Asa Philip Randolph's efforts to organize the black porters of the Pullman Rail Company in 1920s America.

Director: Robert Townsend | Stars: Andre Braugher, Charles S. Dutton, Mario Van Peebles, Brock Peters

Votes: 277

35. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

96 Metascore

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Votes: 551,911 | Gross: $56.67M



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