Most Popular African American Protagonist Movies and TV Shows

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1. BlacKkKlansman (2018)

R | 135 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
83 Metascore

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

Votes: 151,665 | Gross: $48.69M

2. Remember the Titans (2000)

PG | 113 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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: 184,666 | Gross: $115.65M

3. The Equalizer (2014)

R | 132 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
57 Metascore

A man believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can't stand idly by - he has to help her.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour

Votes: 303,135 | Gross: $101.53M

4. Creed II (2018)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Sport

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
66 Metascore

Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, newly crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.

Director: Steven Caple Jr. | Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad

Votes: 74,082 | Gross: $115.72M

5. Sorry to Bother You (2018)

R | 111 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
80 Metascore

In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed.

Director: Boots Riley | Stars: LaKeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick

Votes: 40,935 | Gross: $17.49M

6. Shaft (1971)

R | 100 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
66 Metascore

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: 14,629

7. Flight (I) (2012)

R | 138 min | Drama, Thriller

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
76 Metascore

An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez, Don Cheadle, John Goodman

Votes: 303,596 | Gross: $93.77M

8. American Gangster (2007)

R | 157 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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: 367,649 | Gross: $130.16M

9. Creed (II) (2015)

PG-13 | 133 min | Drama, Sport

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
82 Metascore

The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad

Votes: 225,406 | Gross: $109.77M

10. Coming to America (1988)

R | 116 min | Comedy, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
47 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 146,509 | Gross: $128.15M

11. Black Lightning (2018– )

TV-14 | 43 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A crusading school principal gets back into action as the original African-American electrical superhero.

Stars: Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams

Votes: 16,834

12. The Color Purple (1985)

PG-13 | 154 min | Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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: 71,658 | Gross: $98.47M

13. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

R | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
64 Metascore

A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.

Director: Martin Brest | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Lisa Eilbacher

Votes: 149,234 | Gross: $234.76M

14. The Haves and the Have Nots (2013– )

Unrated | 42 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

6.0
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Centers on the rich Cryer and Harrington families (the haves) and the poor Young family (the have nots) whose lives intertwine when Hanna Young begins working for the Cryers.

Stars: Tika Sumpter, John Schneider, Crystal Fox, Angela Robinson

Votes: 2,482

15. The Book of Eli (2010)

R | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
53 Metascore

A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Gary Oldman

Votes: 271,857 | Gross: $94.84M

16. Unstoppable (2010)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Thriller

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
69 Metascore

With an unmanned, half-mile-long freight train barreling toward a city, a veteran engineer and a young conductor race against the clock to prevent a catastrophe.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Ethan Suplee

Votes: 173,330 | Gross: $81.56M

17. Insecure (2016– )

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Follows the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American woman.

Stars: Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Lisa Joyce

Votes: 9,128

18. Everything, Everything (2017)

PG-13 | 96 min | Drama, Romance

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
52 Metascore

A teenager who's spent her whole life confined to her home falls for the boy next door.

Director: Stella Meghie | Stars: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose, Ana de la Reguera

Votes: 27,008 | Gross: $34.00M

19. Deja Vu (2006)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
59 Metascore

After a ferry is bombed in New Orleans, an A.T.F. agent joins a unique investigation using experimental surveillance technology to find the bomber, but soon finds himself becoming obsessed with one of the victims.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Jim Caviezel, Val Kilmer

Votes: 276,626 | Gross: $64.04M

20. Trading Places (1983)

R | 116 min | Comedy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
69 Metascore

A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.

Director: John Landis | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche

Votes: 123,517 | Gross: $90.40M

21. Safe House (2012)

R | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
52 Metascore

A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.

Director: Daniel Espinosa | Stars: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Robert Patrick, Vera Farmiga

Votes: 192,942 | Gross: $126.37M

22. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

R | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
48 Metascore

Axel Foley returns to Beverly Hills to help Taggart and Rosewood investigate Chief Bogomil's near-fatal shooting and the series of "alphabet crimes" associated with it.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jürgen Prochnow, Ronny Cox

Votes: 98,808 | Gross: $153.67M

23. Glory (1989)

R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
78 Metascore

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: 113,286 | Gross: $26.83M

24. Gothika (2003)

R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

5.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
38 Metascore

A depressed female psychiatrist wakes up as a patient in the asylum where she worked, with no memory of why she is there or what she has done.

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz | Stars: Halle Berry, Penélope Cruz, Robert Downey Jr., Charles S. Dutton

Votes: 100,651 | Gross: $59.69M

25. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Not Rated | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
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: 60,485 | Gross: $24.38M

26. Rush Hour 3 (2007)

PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
44 Metascore

After an attempted assassination on Ambassador Han, Lee and Carter head to Paris to protect a French woman with knowledge of the Triads' secret leaders.

Director: Brett Ratner | Stars: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Max von Sydow, Hiroyuki Sanada

Votes: 141,836 | Gross: $140.13M

27. The Manchurian Candidate (2004)

R | 129 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and brainwashed for sinister purposes.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep, Kimberly Elise

Votes: 97,594 | Gross: $65.96M

28. Ray (I) (2004)

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

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
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: 127,908 | Gross: $75.33M

29. The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

R | 106 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
55 Metascore

Armed men hijack a New York City subway train, holding the passengers hostage in return for a ransom, and turning an ordinary day's work for dispatcher Walter Garber into a face-off with the mastermind behind the crime.

Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, John Travolta, Luis Guzmán, Victor Gojcaj

Votes: 173,640 | Gross: $65.45M

30. Next Friday (2000)

R | 98 min | Comedy

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
41 Metascore

Uncle Elroy and Day Day owe money on taxes so Craig finds a way to steal from the next door neighbors to pay off the taxes so Uncle Elroy's house doesn't get put up for auction.

Director: Steve Carr | Stars: Ice Cube, Mike Epps, Justin Pierce, John Witherspoon

Votes: 33,889 | Gross: $57.33M

31. Marshall (2017)

PG-13 | 118 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
66 Metascore

The story of Thurgood Marshall, the crusading lawyer who would become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.

Director: Reginald Hudlin | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown

Votes: 14,529 | Gross: $10.05M

32. Think Like a Man (2012)

PG-13 | 122 min | Comedy, Romance

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
51 Metascore

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.

Director: Tim Story | Stars: Chris Brown, Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy

Votes: 41,086 | Gross: $91.55M

33. Waiting to Exhale (1995)

R | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

5.8
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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: 8,736 | Gross: $67.05M

34. Rosewood (2015–2017)

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

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Miami pathologist Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr. finds secrets in people's bodies using his state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.

Stars: Morris Chestnut, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Gabrielle Dennis, Anna Konkle

Votes: 6,403

35. Boat Trip (2002)

R | 94 min | Comedy

4.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
18 Metascore

Two straight men mistakenly end up on a "gays only" cruise.

Director: Mort Nathan | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Horatio Sanz, Roselyn Sanchez, Vivica A. Fox

Votes: 29,092 | Gross: $8.59M

36. Boomerang (1992)

R | 117 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

5.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
45 Metascore

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.

Director: Reginald Hudlin | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry, David Alan Grier

Votes: 23,710 | Gross: $70.10M

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

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, Music

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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.

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

Votes: 15,662 | Gross: $39.10M

38. Jungle Fever (1991)

R | 132 min | Drama, Romance

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Friends and family of a married black architect react in different ways to his affair with an Italian secretary.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra, Spike Lee, Ossie Davis

Votes: 15,581 | Gross: $32.48M

39. Barbershop (2002)

PG-13 | 102 min | Comedy, Drama

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
66 Metascore

A day in the life of a South Side Chicago barbershop.

Director: Tim Story | Stars: Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Eve, Anthony Anderson

Votes: 27,919 | Gross: $75.78M

40. Think Like a Man Too (2014)

PG-13 | 106 min | Comedy, Romance

5.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
38 Metascore

All the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas, but plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.

Director: Tim Story | Stars: Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Wendi McLendon-Covey, La La Anthony

Votes: 18,571 | Gross: $65.18M

41. War Room (2015)

PG | 120 min | Drama

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
26 Metascore

A seemingly perfect family looks to fix their problems with the help of Miss Clara, an older, wiser woman.

Director: Alex Kendrick | Stars: Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie, Beth Moore

Votes: 11,738 | Gross: $67.79M

42. House of Payne (2006– )

30 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

3.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  

A multi-generational family lives together under one roof.

Stars: LaVan Davis, Cassi Davis, Lance Gross, Allen Payne

Votes: 5,609

43. No Good Deed (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 84 min | Action, Crime, Drama

5.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
26 Metascore

An unstable escaped convict terrorizes a woman who is alone with her two children.

Director: Sam Miller | Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Idris Elba, Leslie Bibb, Kate del Castillo

Votes: 16,090 | Gross: $52.54M

44. Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (2013)

PG-13 | 111 min | Drama, Thriller

5.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  
26 Metascore

An ambitious married woman's temptation by a handsome billionaire leads to betrayal, recklessness, and forever alters the course of her life.

Director: Tyler Perry | Stars: Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Vanessa Williams, Brandy Norwood, Kim Kardashian West

Votes: 10,986 | Gross: $51.98M

45. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
78 Metascore

An African-American man is hired to find a woman, and gets mixed up in a murderous political scandal.

Director: Carl Franklin | Stars: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals, Don Cheadle

Votes: 15,916 | Gross: $16.03M

46. The Great Debaters (2007)

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

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
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: 53,342 | Gross: $30.23M

47. Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins (2008)

PG-13 | 114 min | Comedy, Romance

5.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
46 Metascore

Dr. RJ Stevens is a talk show host who visits his family in the deep south. While there he reunites with his brother Otis, his sister Betty, his cousin/rival Clyde and his childhood love interest Lucinda Allen.

Director: Malcolm D. Lee | Stars: Martin Lawrence, Louis C.K., James Earl Jones, Margaret Avery

Votes: 12,613 | Gross: $42.44M

48. Superior Donuts (2017–2018)

TV-PG | 21 min | Comedy

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Sympathetic old-school doughnut shop owner Arthur, his spunky young employee and aspiring artist, Franco, and their friends and patrons keep the shop going in a changing culturally-mixed inner city Chicago neighborhood.

Stars: Jermaine Fowler, David Koechner, Maz Jobrani, Katey Sagal

Votes: 2,621

49. South Central (1992)

R | 98 min | Crime, Drama

6.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A former gangster fresh out of prison wants to change his life for the better and must save his 10 year old son whose already chosen a gang life.

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

Votes: 4,455 | Gross: $1.37M

50. Yo Gabba Gabba! (2007–2019)

TV-Y | 23 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Yo Gabba Gabba! is a fun live-action program for young children ages 1 and up. Join our host DJ Lance Rock as he introduces us to friendly toy monsters in a magical land full of music, ... See full summary »

Stars: Lance Robertson, Adam Deibert, Erin Pearce, Amos Watene

Votes: 1,209



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