Entertainment

The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
643k votes 52.6k voters 6M views 717 items

List Rules Movies must feature African-American and African culture and/or mostly above the line black casts.

Ranker Video The Best Black Movies Of All Time

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 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 and the best cities for African Americans.

list ordered by
1
Boyz n the Hood is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia ...more
2
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela
Malcolm X is a 1992 American biographical drama film about the African-American activist Malcolm X. Directed and co-written by Spike Lee. The film dramatizes key events in Malcolm X's life: his ...more
3
Coming to America is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones
Coming to America is a 1988 American comedy film directed by John Landis, and based on a story originally created by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the lead role. The film also co-stars ...more
4
Training Day is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Eva Mendes, Snoop Dogg, Denzel Washington
Training Day is a 2001 American thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua, written by David Ayer, and starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke. The story follows two LAPD narcotics officers over ...more
5
Friday is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Ice Cube, Meagan Good, Nia Long
Friday is a 1995 American stoner buddy comedy film directed by F. Gary Gray in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, Bernie Mac, Tiny 'Zeus' Lister Jr, and John ...more
6
Ray is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard
Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more
7
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne
See The Best The Color Purple Movie Quotes
The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It was Spielberg's eighth film as ...more
8
Django Unchained is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Django Unchained is a 2012 American revisionist Western film directed by Quentin Tarantino. With the help of a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) sets out to ...more
9
Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington
Remember the Titans is a 2000 American sports drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Boaz Yakin. The screenplay, written by Gregory Allen Howard, is based on the true story of ...more
10
Do the Right Thing is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Spike Lee
Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama hood film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee, who also played the part of Mookie in the film. Other members of the cast include Danny ...more
11
New Jack City is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Chris Rock, Ice-T, Judd Nelson
New Jack City is a 1991 American thriller action film film directed by Mario Van Peebles in his directorial debut, who also co-stars in the film. The film stars Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen ...more
12
Glory is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick
Glory is a 1989 American drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, based on ...more
13
Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Martin Lawrence
Bad Boys is a 1995 American action comedy film produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, producers of Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop, and directed by Michael Bay in his directorial debut. It ...more
14
The Pursuit of Happyness is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will ...more
15
Menace II Society is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Charles S. Dutton
Menace II Society is a 1993 drama/hood film and the directorial debut of twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes. Set in South Central Los Angeles, the film follows the life of a hoodlum named ...more
16
Hotel Rwanda is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle
Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay written by both George and Keir Pearson. It stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo ...more
17
Bad Boys II is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Megan Fox, Will Smith, Dan Marino
Bad Boys II is a 2003 American action-comedy film directed by Michael Bay, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. The film is a sequel to the 1995 film Bad ...more
18
The Nutty Professor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, Dave Chappelle
The Nutty Professor is a 1996 American slapstick science-fiction comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac, and a remake of the 1963 film, which starred Jerry Lewis. Grossly overweight yet ...more
19
Lean on Me is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd, Regina Taylor
Lean on Me is a 1989 dramatized biographical film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Morgan Freeman. Lean on Me is loosely based on the story of Joe Louis ...more
20
Set It Off is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre, Jada Pinkett Smith
Set It Off is a 1996 American action film directed by F. Gary Gray, and written by Kate Lanier and Takashi Bufford. The film stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly ...more
21
Ali is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of the boxer Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964-74 featuring his capture of the heavyweight ...more
22
Poetic Justice is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Tupac Shakur
Poetic Justice is a 1993 drama/romance film starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur with Regina King and Joe Torry. It was written and directed by John Singleton. The main character, Justice, ...more
23
A Time to Kill is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey
This film is a 1996 drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name, directed by Joel Schumacher. Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey ...more
24
Juice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah
Juice is a 1992 American drama thriller directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, written by Ernest R. Dickerson and Gerard Brown. It stars rapper Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps. Additional cast members ...more
25
Life is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery, Martin Lawrence
Life is a 1999 American comedy-drama film written by Robert Ramsey & Matthew Stone and directed by Ted Demme. The film stars Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. The supporting cast includes ...more