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The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Updated October 12, 2020 603.3k votes 56.6k 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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  • 1
    Friday
    13,355
    1,593

    Friday

    Ice Cube, Meagan Good

    Released1995

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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  • 2
    Menace II Society
    6,704
    908

    Menace II Society

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith

    Released1993

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

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  • 3
    Poetic Justice
    6,577
    870

    Poetic Justice

    Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves

    Released1993

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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  • 4
    Set It Off
    8,665
    1,392

    Set It Off

    Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre

    Released1996

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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  • 5
    Soul Food
    5,075
    774

    Soul Food

    Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long

    Released1997

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

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  • 6
    Love & Basketball
    10,363
    1,325

    Love & Basketball

    Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union

    Released2000

    Directed byGina Prince-Bythewood

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  • 7
    The Color Purple
    8,518
    1,479

    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 8
    Lean on Me
    6,328
    905

    Lean on Me

    Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

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  • 9
    Boyz n the Hood
    12,804
    2,473

    Boyz n the Hood

    Ice Cube, Angela Bassett

    Released1991

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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  • 10
    What's Love Got to Do with It
    4,832
    571

    What's Love Got to Do with It

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

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  • 11
    Juice
    6,083
    766

    Juice

    Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1992

    Directed byErnest R. Dickerson

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  • 12
    New Jack City
    5,329
    817

    New Jack City

    Chris Rock, Ice-T

    Released1991

    Directed byMario Van Peebles

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  • 13
    The Best Man
    5,696
    897

    The Best Man

    Nia Long, Terrence Howard

    Released1999

    Directed byMalcolm D. Lee

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    #256 of 294 The Best Teen Movies Of All Time#9 of 95 The Best Black Movies Of The 1990s

  • 14
    Bad Boys
    6,617
    1,137

    Bad Boys

    Will Smith, Téa Leoni

    Released1995

    Directed byMichael Bay

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  • 15
    House Party
    4,768
    784

    House Party

    Martin Lawrence, George Clinton

    Released1990

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

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    #111 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies#10 of 87 The Funniest Black Movies Ever Made

  • 16
    Life
    4,843
    699

    Life

    Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery

    Released1999

    Directed byTed Demme

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  • 17
    The Wood
    5,171
    680

    The Wood

    Christina Milian, Sanaa Lathan

    Released1999

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

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  • 18
    Malcolm X
    7,652
    1,627

    Malcolm X

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton

    Released1992

    Directed bySpike Lee

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    #276 of 366 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime#44 of 315 The Best Political Films Ever Made

  • 19
    Coach Carter
    3,447
    539

    Coach Carter

    Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum

    Released2005

    Directed byThomas Carter

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    #52 of 172 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made#5 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

  • 20
    Coming to America
    11,375
    2,570

    Coming to America

    Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn Landis

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  • 21
    Waiting to Exhale
    4,400
    691

    Waiting to Exhale

    Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett

    Released1995

    Directed byForest Whitaker

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    #287 of 836 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#334 of 356 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time

  • 22
    Ray
    6,173
    1,287

    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

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  • 23
    Remember the Titans
    5,617
    1,260

    Remember the Titans

    Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling

    Released2000

    Directed byBoaz Yakin

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  • 24
    Baby Boy
    4,297
    681

    Baby Boy

    Snoop Dogg, Taraji P. Henson

    Released2001

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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  • 25
    A Thin Line Between Love and Hate
    3,650
    656

    A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

    Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan

    Released1996

    Directed byMartin Lawrence

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