Entertainment

The Best Black Movies of the 1980s  

Ranker Film
4.4k votes 721 voters 65.6k views 32 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite African American films that were released in the 1980s

From Oscar-winners to dance epics, '80s black movies cover an incredible range of film genres and styles. This list of the best 1980s black movies ranks films about the African American experience from the decade, so your votes will decide whether the greatest '80s black movie is an artful drama, a searing political statement, or even a blockbuster comedy.

Several of the top '80s black movies have one thing in common: Eddie Murphy. Coming to America, Trading Places and Beverly Hills Cop, all of which star Murphy, appear on this great 1980s black movies list. While Murphy was the heaviest comedic hitter of the 1980s, Richard Pryor comedies like Brewster's Millions, Stir Crazy, and The Toy also made big impressions.

On the more serious side, the '80s saw the release of great black dramas like The Color Purple and Glory. The 1980s also introduced audiences to Spike Lee. His 1989 classic Do the Right Thing appears on this great 1980s black films list, as does his 1986 film,She's Gotta Have It. Prince's Purple Rain is another good African American film from the '80s.

Which is your favorite '80s black film? Vote up the best and vote down the worst. Your votes will decide the top black movie of the 1980s. If any great '80's African American film is missing, add it, and if you're an expert, then rerank the whole list!
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26
She's Gotta Have It is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1980s
Spike Lee, S. Epatha Merkerson, Joie Lee
She's Gotta Have It is a 1986 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Spike Lee. It is Lee's first feature-length film. The film stars Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks and ...more
27
Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1980s
Ice-T, Lucinda Dickey, Shabba Doo
Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo is the sequel to the breakdancing film Breakin', with both films having been released in 1984. Electric Boogaloo was released seven months after its predecessor by ...more
28
Cry Freedom is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1980s
Denzel Washington, Kevin Kline, Julian Glover
Cry Freedom is a 1987 British drama film directed by Richard Attenborough, set in the late 1970s, during the apartheid era of South Africa. The screenplay was written by John Briley based on a ...more
29
Under the Cherry Moon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1980s
Prince, Kristin Scott Thomas, Francesca Annis
Under the Cherry Moon is a 1986 American musical drama film directed by and starring Prince as a gigolo named Christopher Tracy and former Time member Jerome Benton as his partner, Tricky. ...more
30
Wild Style is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1980s
SeanSmith added Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Lady Pink, Fab Five Freddy
Wild Style is a 1983 hip hop film produced by Charlie Ahearn. Released theatrically in 1983 by First Run Features and later re-released for home video by Rhino Home Video, it is regarded as the ...more
31
Native Son is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1980s
Oprah Winfrey, Matt Dillon, Ving Rhames
Native Son is a 1986 drama film directed by Jerrold Freedman.
32
Bird is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1980s
Forest Whitaker, Keith David, Sam Robards
Bird is a 1988 American biographical film, produced and directed by Clint Eastwood of a screenplay written by Joel Oliansky. The film is a tribute to the life and music of jazz saxophonist ...more