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The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Updated October 12, 2020 605.9k votes 56.9k 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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  • Friday1
    13,434
    1,614

    Friday

    Ice Cube, Meagan Good

    Released1995

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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    #137 of 925 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#68 of 97 The Best Movies to Watch on Mushrooms

  • Menace II Society2
    6,767
    917

    Menace II Society

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith

    Released1993

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

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    #512 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars#11 of 36 30+ Great Movies About Juvenile Delinquents

  • Poetic Justice3
    6,630
    887

    Poetic Justice

    Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves

    Released1993

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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    15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Film ‘Poetic Justice’#8 of 47 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women

  • Soul Food4
    5,110
    784

    Soul Food

    Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long

    Released1997

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

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  • Love & Basketball5
    10,419
    1,335

    Love & Basketball

    Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union

    Released2000

    Directed byGina Prince-Bythewood

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  • Set It Off6
    8,710
    1,408

    Set It Off

    Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre

    Released1996

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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  • The Color Purple7
    8,562
    1,491

    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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    #50 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books#10 of 170 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

  • Boyz n the Hood8
    12,878
    2,476

    Boyz n the Hood

    Ice Cube, Angela Bassett

    Released1991

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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  • Lean on Me9
    6,373
    912

    Lean on Me

    Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

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    #43 of 85 The Greatest African American Biopics#8 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

  • New Jack City10
    5,354
    823

    New Jack City

    Chris Rock, Ice-T

    Released1991

    Directed byMario Van Peebles

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    #54 of 204 The Best Drug Movies of All Time#319 of 480 The Greatest Movies For Guys

  • What's Love Got to Do with It11
    4,867
    581

    What's Love Got to Do with It

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

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  • Juice12
    6,126
    772

    Juice

    Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1992

    Directed byErnest R. Dickerson

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    #627 of 863 The Best Albums of the 1990s#282 of 291 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

  • The Best Man13
    5,734
    906

    The Best Man

    Nia Long, Terrence Howard

    Released1999

    Directed byMalcolm D. Lee

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    #291 of 323 The Best Teen Movies Of All Time#9 of 95 The Best Black Movies Of The 1990s

  • Bad Boys14
    6,643
    1,147

    Bad Boys

    Will Smith, Téa Leoni

    Released1995

    Directed byMichael Bay

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  • House Party15
    4,798
    793

    House Party

    Martin Lawrence, George Clinton

    Released1990

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

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    #109 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies#9 of 100 The Funniest Black Movies Ever Made

  • Life16
    4,871
    702

    Life

    Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery

    Released1999

    Directed byTed Demme

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  • The Wood17
    5,194
    687

    The Wood

    Christina Milian, Sanaa Lathan

    Released1999

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

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  • Malcolm X18
    7,683
    1,630

    Malcolm X

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton

    Released1992

    Directed bySpike Lee

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  • Coach Carter19
    3,484
    548

    Coach Carter

    Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum

    Released2005

    Directed byThomas Carter

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    #58 of 172 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made#40 of 145 The Most Inspirational Sports Movies

  • Coming to America20
    11,442
    2,572

    Coming to America

    Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn Landis

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    After A Contentious Six-Month Production, It's A Miracle 'Coming To America' Even Exists#116 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies

  • Waiting to Exhale21
    4,426
    699

    Waiting to Exhale

    Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett

    Released1995

    Directed byForest Whitaker

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    #276 of 836 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#336 of 356 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time

  • Ray22
    6,196
    1,291

    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

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    #304 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#26 of 275 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • Remember the Titans23
    5,648
    1,264

    Remember the Titans

    Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling

    Released2000

    Directed byBoaz Yakin

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    #30 of 277 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry#340 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

  • Baby Boy24
    4,322
    690

    Baby Boy

    Snoop Dogg, Taraji P. Henson

    Released2001

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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    #17 of 105 The Best Hood Movies#10 of 66 The Very Best Movies About Life in the Ghetto

  • A Thin Line Between Love and Hate25
    3,665
    662

    A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

    Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan

    Released1996

    Directed byMartin Lawrence

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