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The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Updated October 12, 2020 605.2k votes 56.8k voters 6.3m views629 items

List RulesMovies must feature African American and African culture and/or mostly above-the-line Black casts.

The best Black movies are favorites that explore African American culture and themes. This list is ranked by film fans, many of whom grew up waiting for and watching good, realistic representations of what life was like for Black people in America. The top African American movies often dominate the box office when released, and this is a list of the best Black films. What are the best Black people movies of all time? Some of these films appear on other lists that you may find interesting, such as: best comedies of all time, best drama movies, and best actions movies on Netflix. You can sort by actor and director, or press "rerank" below to make your own list of the greatest African American-themed movies.

This list of top popular Black films features classic African American comedies like Friday and Coming to America, sports films like Love & Basketball, and biographical movies about Black celebrities and leaders, from Ray and Ali to Malcolm X. This list also includes great movies about slavery (both Roots and Django Unchained, for example) and films about Black life in the American South throughout history, from Glory and A Time to Kill to The Help. These and other highly acclaimed Black movies in cinema focus on African Americans, and most have surpassed the test of time among Black audiences.

This includes everything to watch from '90s Black comedy movies - comedies with a mostly Black cast and perspective - to Black crime movies, famous gang films, and action flicks. For other interesting movie lists check out Ranker's lists of well-made movies about slavery and films about racism. Also check out these lists of the best Black sitcoms, the best Black love movies, and the best cities for African Americans.

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  • American Gangster26
    2,785
    416

    American Gangster

    Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe

    Released2007

    Directed byRidley Scott

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    #10 of 123 The Best Mafia Films Of All Time#374 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

  • Bad Boys II27
    4,840
    955

    Bad Boys II

    Megan Fox, Will Smith

    Released2003

    Directed byMichael Bay

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    #188 of 224 The Worst Sequels Of All Time#31 of 68 The Best Comedy Movie Sequels

  • Sister Act28
    2,660
    470

    Sister Act

    Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith

    Released1992

    Directed byEmile Ardolino

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    #148 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies#41 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies

  • Training Day29
    7,049
    1,771

    Training Day

    Eva Mendes, Snoop Dogg

    Released2001

    Directed byAntoine Fuqua

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  • The Pursuit of Happyness30
    5,630
    1,403

    The Pursuit of Happyness

    Will Smith, Thandie Newton

    Released2006

    Directed byGabriele Muccino

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    #26 of 170 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made#12 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

  • Antwone Fisher31
    3,592
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    Antwone Fisher

    Denzel Washington, Viola Davis

    Released2002

    Directed byDenzel Washington

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    #35 of 66 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories#17 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

  • The Five Heartbeats32
    4,148
    696

    The Five Heartbeats

    Diahann Carroll, Harry Lennix

    Released1991

    Directed byRobert Townsend

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  • The Players Club33
    4,108
    868

    The Players Club

    Jamie Foxx, Ice Cube

    Released1998

    Directed byIce Cube

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    #72 of 94 The Best Dance Movies Ever Made#116 of 134 The Best Directorial Debuts of Famous Actors

  • Eve's Bayou34
    2,486
    525

    Eve's Bayou

    Samuel L. Jackson, Meagan Good

    Released1997

    Directed byKasi Lemmons

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    #336 of 836 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#484 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

  • The Original Kings of Comedy35
    2,624
    553

    The Original Kings of Comedy

    Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer

    Released2000

    Directed bySpike Lee

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    #7 of 102 The Best Stand-Up Comedy Specials#15 of 36 The Best R-Rated Stand-up Comedies

  • Paid in Full36
    2,752
    422

    Paid in Full

    Regina Hall, Cam'ron

    Released2002

    Directed byCharles Stone III

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    #6 of 105 The Best Hood Movies#148 of 216 The Best R-Rated Crime Thriller Movies

  • Purple Rain37
    2,210
    346

    Purple Rain

    Prince, Apollonia Kotero

    Released1984

    Directed byAlbert Magnoli

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    #569 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#94 of 206 Musical Movies With the Best Songs

  • Love Jones38
    3,849
    757

    Love Jones

    Nia Long, Isaiah Washington

    Released1997

    Directed byTheodore Witcher

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  • The Help39
    2,727
    430

    The Help

    Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain

    Released2011

    Directed byTate Taylor

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  • The Temptations40
    1,417
    141

    The Temptations

    Smokey Robinson, Bianca Lawson

    Released1998

    Directed byAllan Arkush

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    #83 of 174 The Best Miniseries in TV History#14 of 52 The Best Movies About Real Bands & Musicians

  • Barbershop41
    5,487
    1,216

    Barbershop

    Ice Cube, Eve

    Released2002

    Directed byTim Story

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    #13 of 100 The Funniest Black Movies Ever Made#12 of 34 The Best Comedies About the Workplace

  • Boomerang42
    3,917
    927

    Boomerang

    Halle Berry, Eddie Murphy

    Released1992

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

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  • Why Did I Get Married?43
    2,560
    475

    Why Did I Get Married?

    Janet Jackson, Tyler Perry

    Released2007

    Directed byTyler Perry

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    #12 of 42 Every Movie Coming To Netflix In December 2020#15 of 72 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked

  • Above the Rim44
    2,332
    432

    Above the Rim

    Tupac Shakur, Bernie Mac

    Released1994

    Directed byJeff Pollack

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    #6 of 33 The 30+ Best Black Sports Movies Ever Made#274 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

  • John Q45
    2,073
    201

    John Q

    Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall

    Released2002

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

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    #187 of 541 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies#10 of 101 The Best Kidnapping & Hostage Movies Of All Time, Ranked

  • Ali46
    3,268
    889

    Ali

    Will Smith, Jamie Foxx

    Released2001

    Directed byMichael Mann

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    #298 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies#69 of 145 The Most Inspirational Sports Movies

  • The Wiz47
    2,559
    526

    The Wiz

    Michael Jackson, Diana Ross

    Released1978

    Directed bySidney Lumet

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    #276 of 553 The Best '70s Movies#273 of 356 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time

  • Do the Right Thing48
    4,573
    1,289

    Do the Right Thing

    Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence

    Released1989

    Directed bySpike Lee

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    #19 of 63 Movies Set in Brooklyn#322 of 372 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

  • Harlem Nights49
    2,874
    330

    Harlem Nights

    Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor

    Released1989

    Directed byEddie Murphy

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    #157 of 314 The Funniest '80s Movies#543 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

  • Brown Sugar50
    4,221
    957

    Brown Sugar

    Queen Latifah, Mos Def

    Released2002

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

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