Entertainment
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The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Updated September 22, 2021 555.1k votes 57.8k voters 6.4m views666 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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  • 1

    Friday

    Ice Cube, Meagan Good
    12,328
    1,586

    Released1995

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

  • 2

    Menace II Society

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith
    6,190
    920

    Released1993

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

  • 3

    Set It Off

    Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre
    7,968
    1,315

    Released1996

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

  • 4

    Boyz n the Hood

    Ice Cube, Angela Bassett
    11,760
    2,216

    Released1991

    Directed byJohn Singleton

  • 5

    Poetic Justice

    Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves
    6,098
    913

    Released1993

    Directed byJohn Singleton

  • 6

    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg
    7,853
    1,394

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    See The Best The Color Purple Movie Quotes
  • 7

    Soul Food

    Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long
    4,734
    780

    Released1997

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

  • 8

    Love & Basketball

    Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union
    9,589
    1,269

    Released2000

    Directed byGina Prince-Bythewood

  • 9

    New Jack City

    Chris Rock, Ice-T
    4,897
    778

    Released1991

    Directed byMario Van Peebles

  • 10

    Lean on Me

    Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd
    5,794
    870

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

  • 11

    Juice

    Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson
    5,571
    729

    Released1992

    Directed byErnest R. Dickerson

  • 12

    What's Love Got to Do with It

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne
    4,479
    559

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

  • 13

    Bad Boys

    Will Smith, Téa Leoni
    6,075
    1,057

    Released1995

    Directed byMichael Bay

  • 14

    The Best Man

    Nia Long, Terrence Howard
    5,266
    844

    Released1999

    Directed byMalcolm D. Lee

  • 15

    Life

    Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery
    4,468
    658

    Released1999

    Directed byTed Demme

  • 16

    House Party

    Martin Lawrence, George Clinton
    4,400
    756

    Released1990

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

  • 17

    The Wood

    Christina Milian, Sanaa Lathan
    4,764
    651

    Released1999

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

  • 18

    Malcolm X

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton
    7,025
    1,443

    Released1992

    Directed bySpike Lee

  • 19

    Coach Carter

    Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum
    3,162
    506

    Released2005

    Directed byThomas Carter

  • 20

    Coming to America

    Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson
    10,412
    2,292

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn Landis

  • 21

    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx
    5,602
    1,138

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

  • 22

    Waiting to Exhale

    Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett
    4,073
    646

    Released1995

    Directed byForest Whitaker

  • 23

    Remember the Titans

    Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling
    5,155
    1,122

    Released2000

    Directed byBoaz Yakin

  • 24

    Baby Boy

    Snoop Dogg, Taraji P. Henson
    3,908
    651

    Released2001

    Directed byJohn Singleton

  • 25

    A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

    Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan
    3,364
    633

    Released1996

    Directed byMartin Lawrence

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