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The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated August 4, 2020 682.9k votes 56.2k voters 6.2M views 629 items

List Rules Movies 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 Vlack 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Ice Cube, Meagan Good, Nia Long

Released: 1995

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

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

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#361 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #146 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #110 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

2
Boyz n the Hood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Released: 1991

Directed by: John Singleton

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama film directed by John Singleton. Three young men weave in and out of violence, relationships, and racial issues in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los

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#124 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #165 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #101 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

3
Menace II Society is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Charles S. Dutton

Released: 1993

Directed by: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

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

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#1,196 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #431 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #48 of 203 The Best Drug Movies of All Time

4
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne

Released: 1985

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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#160 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #50 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #173 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

5
Set It Off is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre, Jada Pinkett Smith

Released: 1996

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

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

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#1,002 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #202 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks #6 of 47 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women

6
Coming to America is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones

Released: 1988

Directed by: John Landis

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

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After A Contentious Six-Month Production, It's A Miracle 'Coming To America' Even Exists #33 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #120 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

7
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela

Released: 1992

Directed by: Spike Lee

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

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#111 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #42 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Long #3 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

8
Lean on Me is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd, Regina Taylor

Released: 1989

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

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

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#9 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies #33 of 112 The Best Inspirational Movies #78 of 180 The Best Coming of Age Movies

9
Poetic Justice is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Tupac Shakur

Released: 1993

Directed by: John Singleton

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

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15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Film ‘Poetic Justice’ #2 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked #10 of 47 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women

10
Love & Basketball is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan

Released: 2000

Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Love & Basketball is a 2000 American romantic drama film starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. The film tells the story of Quincy McCall and Monica Wright, two next-door neighbors in Los ...more

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#260 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #288 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #4 of 33 The 30+ Best Black Sports Movies Ever Made

11
Soul Food is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Vanessa L. Williams

Released: 1997

Directed by: George Tillman, Jr.

Soul Food is a 1997 American comedy-drama film, produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Tracey Edmonds, and Robert Teitel, and released by Fox 2000 Pictures. Featuring an ensemble ...more

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#162 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies #24 of 50 The Best Movies About Cooking #11 of 60 The Best Black Movies of the 1990s

12
Ray is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

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

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#10 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #525 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington

Released: 2000

Directed by: Boaz Yakin

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

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#950 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #334 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #85 of 133 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

14
The Best Man is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan

Released: 1999

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee

The Best Man is a 1999 American romantic comedy-drama film, written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It was produced by 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, with Lee's cousin, Spike Lee, serving as ...more

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#174 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies #4 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked #10 of 60 The Best Black Movies of the 1990s

15
Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Martin Lawrence

Released: 1995

Directed by: Michael Bay

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

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#345 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #729 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #42 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies

16
Training Day is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Eva Mendes, Snoop Dogg, Denzel Washington

Released: 2001

Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

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

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#788 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #244 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
What's Love Got to Do wi... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander

Released: 1993

Directed by: Brian Gibson

What's Love Got to Do with It is a 1993 American biographical film directed by Brian Gibson, loosely based on the life of Tina Turner. It stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence ...more

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#57 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #9 of 55 The Best Biopics About Women #21 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

18
House Party is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Martin Lawrence, George Clinton, Paul O'Grady

Released: 1990

Directed by: Reginald Hudlin

House Party is a 1990 American comedy film released by New Line Cinema. It stars Kid and Play of the popular hip hop duo Kid 'n Play, and also stars Paul Anthony, Bow-Legged Lou, and B-Fine from ...more

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#293 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #515 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #133 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies

19
The Pursuit of Happyness... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

Released: 2006

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

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

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#485 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #14 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #43 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

20
Juice is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah

Released: 1992

Directed by: Ernest R. Dickerson

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

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#764 of 863 The Best Albums of the 1990s #287 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #2 of 36 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens

21
New Jack City is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Chris Rock, Ice-T, Judd Nelson

Released: 1991

Directed by: Mario Van Peebles

New Jack City is a 1991 American action crime film directed by Mario Van Peebles. In his rise to power, crime lord Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) stops at nothing to profit off the New York City ...more

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#177 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #352 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #52 of 203 The Best Drug Movies of All Time

22
The Wood is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Christina Milian, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs

Released: 1999

Directed by: Rick Famuyiwa

The Wood is a 1999 romantic comedy, written by Rick Famuyiwa and Todd Boyd. Famuyiwa also directed the film, which stars Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones, and Taye Diggs.

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#148 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies #7 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked #59 of 93 The Best Hood Movies

23
Life is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery, Martin Lawrence

Released: 1999

Directed by: Ted Demme

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

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#426 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #453 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #441 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

24
Coach Carter is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, Ashanti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Thomas Carter

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter, based on the true story of the Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter. Controversy ...more

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#53 of 172 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #2 of 33 The 30+ Best Black Sports Movies Ever Made #4 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

25
Antwone Fisher is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Salli Richardson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Denzel Washington

Antwone Fisher is a 2002 American biographical drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington in his feature film directorial debut. He also stars in the film as the psychiatrist Jerome ...more

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#107 of 235 The Best Movies Based On True Stories #16 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies #13 of 28 The Greatest African American Biopics