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The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Updated October 12, 2020 600.1k votes 56.5k 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    13,282
    1,570

    Friday

    Ice Cube, Meagan Good

    Released1995

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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  • 2
    Menace II Society is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    6,661
    891

    Menace II Society

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith

    Released1993

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

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  • 3
    Poetic Justice is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    6,540
    842

    Poetic Justice

    Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves

    Released1993

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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  • 4
    Soul Food is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    5,058
    759

    Soul Food

    Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long

    Released1997

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

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  • 5
    Love & Basketball is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    10,326
    1,309

    Love & Basketball

    Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union

    Released2000

    Directed byGina Prince-Bythewood

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  • 6
    Set It Off is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    8,630
    1,384

    Set It Off

    Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre

    Released1996

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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  • 7
    The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    8,491
    1,469

    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 8
    Lean on Me is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    6,300
    900

    Lean on Me

    Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

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  • 9
    New Jack City is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    5,300
    815

    New Jack City

    Chris Rock, Ice-T

    Released1991

    Directed byMario Van Peebles

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  • 10
    What's Love Got to Do with It is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    4,814
    562

    What's Love Got to Do with It

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

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  • 11
    Boyz n the Hood is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    12,750
    2,471

    Boyz n the Hood

    Ice Cube, Angela Bassett

    Released1991

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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  • 12
    Juice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    6,050
    759

    Juice

    Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1992

    Directed byErnest R. Dickerson

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  • 13
    Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    6,583
    1,128

    Bad Boys

    Will Smith, Téa Leoni

    Released1995

    Directed byMichael Bay

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  • 14
    The Best Man is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    5,673
    888

    The Best Man

    Nia Long, Terrence Howard

    Released1999

    Directed byMalcolm D. Lee

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  • 15
    House Party is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    4,738
    777

    House Party

    Martin Lawrence, George Clinton

    Released1990

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

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  • 16
    Life is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    4,811
    693

    Life

    Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery

    Released1999

    Directed byTed Demme

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  • 17
    The Wood is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    5,159
    670

    The Wood

    Christina Milian, Sanaa Lathan

    Released1999

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

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  • 18
    Coach Carter is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    3,424
    531

    Coach Carter

    Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum

    Released2005

    Directed byThomas Carter

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  • 19
    Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    7,626
    1,620

    Malcolm X

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton

    Released1992

    Directed bySpike Lee

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  • 20
    Waiting to Exhale is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    4,383
    685

    Waiting to Exhale

    Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett

    Released1995

    Directed byForest Whitaker

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  • 21
    Coming to America is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    11,321
    2,565

    Coming to America

    Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn Landis

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  • 22
    Ray is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    6,151
    1,283

    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

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  • 23
    Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    5,595
    1,251

    Remember the Titans

    Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling

    Released2000

    Directed byBoaz Yakin

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  • 24
    Baby Boy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    4,270
    670

    Baby Boy

    Snoop Dogg, Taraji P. Henson

    Released2001

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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  • 25
    American Gangster is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked
    2,752
    407

    American Gangster

    Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe

    Released2007

    Directed byRidley Scott

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