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The Best Black Movies of the 1990s 

Ranker Film
Updated July 13, 2020 23.6k votes 4.1k voters 294.5k views 60 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite African American films that were released in the 1990s.

This list of the best '90s Black movies contains many of the best films about the African American experience of any decade. Thanks to filmmakers like Spike Lee and John Singleton, 1990s Black movies tackled serious issues without sacrificing entertainment value. Not all '90s African American movies were hard-hitting dramas like Malcolm X, however; plenty of '90s Black movies are comedies like Friday or straight-up actioners like Bad Boys.

What are some of the top '90s Black films? Boyz n the Hood is an obvious example of an African American film from the decade. Starring such talented actors as Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube, and Morris Chestnut, the film tells the story of young men growing up in South Central Los Angeles and it marked a major cultural moment for Black cinema.

Denzel Washington appears on this '90s Black movie list several times, more than once for playing real life figures in films like The Hurricane and, of course, Spike Lee's epic film biography of Malcolm X. Speaking of Spike Lee movies, Washington also starred in the director's He Got Game.

The order of this list of the best '90s Black films is set by your votes, so vote up your favorites to change the rankings from best to worst. If any great 1990s Black films are missing, don't hesitate to add them, and if you've seen enough of these Black movies from the '90s, rerank the entire list to create your own version!

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list ordered by
1
Friday is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1995

Actors: Ice Cube, Meagan Good, Nia Long, Bernie Mac, Chris Tucker, + more

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Friday is a 1995 American stoner buddy comedy film directed by F. Gary Gray in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, Bernie Mac, Tiny 'Zeus' Lister Jr, and John ...more

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#361 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #109 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #146 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

2
Poetic Justice is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1993

Actors: Janet Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou, Billy Zane, + more

Directed by: John Singleton

Poetic Justice is a 1993 drama/romance film starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur with Regina King and Joe Torry. It was written and directed by John Singleton. The main character, Justice, ...more

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15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Film ‘Poetic Justice’ #9 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #2 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked

3
Boyz n the Hood is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1991

Actors: Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, + more

Directed by: John Singleton

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama film directed by John Singleton. Three young men weave in and out of violence, relationships, and racial issues in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los

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#124 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #2 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #165 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

4
Juice is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1992

Actors: Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah, Omar Epps, Donald Faison, + more

Directed by: Ernest R. Dickerson

Juice is a 1992 American drama thriller directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, written by Ernest R. Dickerson and Gerard Brown. It stars rapper Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps. Additional cast members ...more

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#287 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #20 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #764 of 863 The Best Albums of the 1990s

5
Set It Off is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1996

Actors: Queen Latifah, Dr. Dre, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Blair Underwood, + more

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Set It Off is a 1996 American action film directed by F. Gary Gray, and written by Kate Lanier and Takashi Bufford. The film stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly ...more

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#1,002 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #5 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #202 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

6
Menace II Society is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1993

Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Charles S. Dutton, Khandi Alexander, Bill Duke, + more

Directed by: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Menace II Society is a 1993 drama/hood film and the directorial debut of twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes. Set in South Central Los Angeles, the film follows the life of a hoodlum named ...more

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#1,196 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #3 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #431 of 675 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

7
The Wood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
Nas Fong added 1999

Actors: Christina Milian, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Omar Epps, Tamala Jones, + more

Directed by: Rick Famuyiwa

The Wood is a 1999 romantic comedy, written by Rick Famuyiwa and Todd Boyd. Famuyiwa also directed the film, which stars Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones, and Taye Diggs.

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#22 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #148 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies #7 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked

8
House Party is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1990

Actors: Martin Lawrence, George Clinton, Paul O'Grady, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Clifton Powell, + more

Directed by: Reginald Hudlin

House Party is a 1990 American comedy film released by New Line Cinema. It stars Kid and Play of the popular hip hop duo Kid 'n Play, and also stars Paul Anthony, Bow-Legged Lou, and B-Fine from ...more

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#293 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #18 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #515 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

9
Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1995

Actors: Will Smith, Téa Leoni, Martin Lawrence, Marg Helgenberger, Joe Pantoliano, + more

Directed by: Michael Bay

Bad Boys is a 1995 American action comedy film produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, producers of Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop, and directed by Michael Bay in his directorial debut. It ...more

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#339 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #15 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #729 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

10
The Best Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1999

Actors: Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, + more

Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee

The Best Man is a 1999 American romantic comedy-drama film, written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It was produced by 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, with Lee's cousin, Spike Lee, serving as ...more

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#14 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #174 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies #4 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked

11
Soul Food is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1997

Actors: Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Vanessa L. Williams, Babyface, Malik Yoba, + more

Directed by: George Tillman, Jr.

Soul Food is a 1997 American comedy-drama film, produced by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Tracey Edmonds, and Robert Teitel, and released by Fox 2000 Pictures. Featuring an ensemble ...more

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#11 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #162 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies #24 of 50 The Best Movies About Cooking

12
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1992

Actors: Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela, Angela Bassett, Christopher Plummer, + more

Directed by: Spike Lee

Malcolm X is a 1992 American biographical drama film about the African-American activist Malcolm X. Directed and co-written by Spike Lee. The film dramatizes key events in Malcolm X's life: his ...more

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#7 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #111 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #42 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Long

13
Life is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1999

Actors: Eddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Sanaa Lathan, + more

Directed by: Ted Demme

Life is a 1999 American comedy-drama film written by Robert Ramsey & Matthew Stone and directed by Ted Demme. The film stars Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. The supporting cast includes ...more

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#426 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #453 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #23 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

14
What's Love Got to Do wi... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1993

Actors: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander, Chi McBride, Jenifer Lewis, + more

Directed by: Brian Gibson

What's Love Got to Do with It is a 1993 American biographical film directed by Brian Gibson, loosely based on the life of Tina Turner. It stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence ...more

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#57 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #17 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #21 of 40 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

15
Waiting to Exhale is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1995

Actors: Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Kelly Preston, Wesley Snipes, Kenya Moore, + more

Directed by: Forest Whitaker

Waiting to Exhale is a 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Forest Whitaker, based on Terry McMillan's novel of the same name. The film centers around four unique women and how they ...more

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#187 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #106 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #26 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

16
New Jack City is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1991

Actors: Chris Rock, Ice-T, Judd Nelson, Wesley Snipes, Flavor Flav, + more

Directed by: Mario Van Peebles

New Jack City is a 1991 American action crime film directed by Mario Van Peebles. In his rise to power, crime lord Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) stops at nothing to profit off the New York City ...more

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#177 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #21 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #352 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

17
Love Jones is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
jclass62 added 1997

Actors: Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson, Larenz Tate, Bill Bellamy, + more

Directed by: Theodore Witcher

Love Jones is a 1997 American romantic drama film written and directed by Theodore Witcher, in his feature film debut. It stars Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington, Bill Bellamy, and Lisa ...more

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#42 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #3 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked #18 of 47 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women

18
Above the Rim is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1994

Actors: Tupac Shakur, Bernie Mac, Marlon Wayans, Wood Harris, Henry Simmons, + more

Directed by: Jeff Pollack

Above the Rim is a 1994 American drama directed by Jeff Pollack. The screenplay was written by Pollack and screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper, from a story by Pollack and Benny Medina. Starring ...more

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#56 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #311 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks #6 of 33 The 30+ Best Black Sports Movies Ever Made

19
Boomerang is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1992

Actors: Halle Berry, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Grace Jones, + more

Directed by: Reginald Hudlin

Boomerang is a 1992 American romantic comedy film directed by Reginald Hudlin. The film stars Eddie Murphy as Marcus Graham, a hotshot advertising executive who also happens to be an insatiable ...more

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#390 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #271 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #30 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

20
Crooklyn is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1994

Actors: RuPaul, Spike Lee, Alfre Woodard, Isaiah Washington, Delroy Lindo, + more

Directed by: Spike Lee

Crooklyn is a 1994 semi-autobiographical film co-written and directed by Spike Lee. The film takes place in Brooklyn, New York and the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant during the summer of ...more

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#279 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #91 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

21
Jason's Lyric is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1994

Actors: Jada Pinkett Smith, Forest Whitaker, Eddie Griffin, Lisa Nicole Carson, Treach, + more

Directed by: Doug McHenry

Jason's Lyric is a 1994 romantic drama film, written by Bobby Smith, Jr, and directed by Doug McHenry, who co-produced the film with George Jackson and Marilla Lane Ross. Both Jackson and ...more

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#77 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #10 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked #31 of 93 The Best Hood Movies

22
Don't Be a Menace to Sou... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1996

Actors: Vivica A. Fox, Bernie Mac, Damon Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, + more

Directed by: Paris Barclay

Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood is a 1996 American comedy film directed by Paris Barclay, and produced by Keenen Ivory Wayans, and also written by Wayans ...more

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#676 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #81 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #329 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

23
A Thin Line Between Love... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
jclass62 added 1996

Actors: Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, Bobby Brown, Regina King, Della Reese, + more

Directed by: Martin Lawrence

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate is a 1996 American dark comedy-romance film that was directed and co-written by Martin Lawrence, who also stars in the film. Lawrence co-wrote the screenplay ...more

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#27 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #166 of 373 The Funniest '90s Movies #28 of 86 The Funniest Black Movies Ever Made

24
Higher Learning is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1995

Actors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly, Tyra Banks, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes, + more

Directed by: John Singleton

Higher Learning is a 1995 American romantic drama film, directed by John Singleton, and starring an ensemble cast. The film follows the changing lives of three incoming freshmen at the fictional ...more

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#62 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #261 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #76 of 120 The Best College Movies Ever

25
Belly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Black Movies of the 1990s
1998

Actors: Nas, DMX, Method Man, Sean Paul, AZ, + more

Directed by: Hype Williams

Belly is a 1998 American film, directed by music video director Hype Williams, in his film directing debut. Filmed in New York City as an urban drama, the film stars rappers DMX and Nas, ...more

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#73 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #284 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #88 of 264 Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals