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The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

Updated January 28, 2021 580.3k votes 57.0k voters 6.3m views661 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
    12,978
    1,585

    Friday

    Ice Cube, Meagan Good

    Released1995

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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    #138 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films#70 of 97 The Best Movies to Watch on Mushrooms

  • Menace II Society2
    6,555
    906

    Menace II Society

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith

    Released1993

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

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

  • Poetic Justice3
    6,423
    881

    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’#246 of 324 The Best Teen Movies Of All Time

  • Set It Off4
    8,413
    1,368

    Set It Off

    Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre

    Released1996

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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    #225 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks#33 of 82 The Best Gangster Movies of the 1990s

  • Love & Basketball5
    10,075
    1,307

    Love & Basketball

    Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union

    Released2000

    Directed byGina Prince-Bythewood

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    #122 of 150 The Most Inspirational Sports Movies#5 of 130 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women

  • The Color Purple6
    8,286
    1,446

    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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    #49 of 369 The Best Movies Based On Books#6 of 170 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made

  • Soul Food7
    4,954
    782

    Soul Food

    Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long

    Released1997

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

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    #23 of 77 The Best Food Movies of All Time#48 of 60 The Best '90s Hood Movies

  • Boyz n the Hood8
    12,426
    2,369

    Boyz n the Hood

    Ice Cube, Angela Bassett

    Released1991

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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    #8 of 126 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time#27 of 52 The Most Woke Movies of All Time

  • New Jack City9
    5,201
    805

    New Jack City

    Chris Rock, Ice-T

    Released1991

    Directed byMario Van Peebles

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    #56 of 204 The Best Drug Movies of All Time#29 of 45 20+ Great Drama Movies About Drugs and Addiction

  • Lean on Me10
    6,165
    897

    Lean on Me

    Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

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    #8 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies#8 of 55 The Best Morgan Freeman Movies

  • Juice11
    5,920
    756

    Juice

    Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1992

    Directed byErnest R. Dickerson

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    #627 of 863 The Best Albums of the 1990s#273 of 291 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

  • What's Love Got to Do with It12
    4,717
    576

    What's Love Got to Do with It

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

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    #10 of 55 The Best Biopics About Women#34 of 192 The Best Movies About Music

  • The Best Man13
    5,556
    880

    The Best Man

    Nia Long, Terrence Howard

    Released1999

    Directed byMalcolm D. Lee

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    #54 of 86 The Best Wedding Movies#11 of 47 The Best Terrence Howard Movies

  • Bad Boys14
    6,435
    1,103

    Bad Boys

    Will Smith, Téa Leoni

    Released1995

    Directed byMichael Bay

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    #99 of 257 The Best Whodunit Movies#8 of 11 11 Actors That Totally Stole Movies From Their Co-Stars

  • House Party15
    4,653
    779

    House Party

    Martin Lawrence, George Clinton

    Released1990

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

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    #107 of 252 The Funniest '90s Movies#11 of 144 The Funniest Black Movies Ever Made

  • Life16
    4,718
    681

    Life

    Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery

    Released1999

    Directed byTed Demme

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    #3 of 24 The Funniest Movies About Jail#22 of 114 The Best Prison Movies

  • The Wood17
    5,026
    676

    The Wood

    Christina Milian, Sanaa Lathan

    Released1999

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

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    #73 of 126 The Best Teen Comedy Movies, Ranked#148 of 202 The Best R-Rated Coming Of Age Movies

  • Malcolm X18
    7,419
    1,561

    Malcolm X

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton

    Released1992

    Directed bySpike Lee

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    #284 of 372 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime#47 of 340 The Best Political Films Ever Made

  • Coach Carter19
    3,354
    532

    Coach Carter

    Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum

    Released2005

    Directed byThomas Carter

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    #52 of 204 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made#6 of 55 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

  • Coming to America20
    11,034
    2,459

    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#204 of 480 The Greatest Movies For Guys

  • Ray21
    5,977
    1,229

    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

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    #304 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#2 of 85 The Greatest African American Biopics

  • Waiting to Exhale22
    4,288
    680

    Waiting to Exhale

    Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett

    Released1995

    Directed byForest Whitaker

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    #283 of 836 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#55 of 101 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked

  • Remember the Titans23
    5,460
    1,218

    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#57 of 97 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies

  • Baby Boy24
    4,162
    671

    Baby Boy

    Snoop Dogg, Taraji P. Henson

    Released2001

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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    #17 of 159 The Best Hood Movies#10 of 147 The Very Best Movies About Life in the Ghetto

  • A Thin Line Between Love and Hate25
    3,552
    650

    A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

    Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan

    Released1996

    Directed byMartin Lawrence

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    #32 of 65 The Best Black Comedy Movies Of The '90s#150 of 223 The Best R-Rated Comedies