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The Best Black Movies Of The 1990s

Updated October 5, 2020 26.5k votes 4.3k voters 303.3k views95 items

List RulesVote 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 urban 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 popular Spike Lee movies, Washington also starred in the director's He Got Game.

The order of this list of the classic Black 90s movies is set by your votes, so vote up your favorite Black movies that came out in the 90s to change the rankings.

  • Boyz n the Hood1

    ActorsIce Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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

  • Friday2



    ActorsIce Cube, Meagan Good, Nia Long, Bernie Mac, Chris Tucker

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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    #426 of 1,540 The Most Rewatchable Movies#138 of 922 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

  • Poetic Justice3

    ActorsJanet Jackson, Keanu Reeves, Tupac Shakur, Maya Angelou, Billy Zane

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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    15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Film ‘Poetic Justice’#8 of 130 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women

  • Menace II Society4

    ActorsSamuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Charles S. Dutton, Khandi Alexander, Bill Duke

    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

  • Juice5



    ActorsTupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah, Omar Epps, Donald Faison

    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

  • Set It Off6

    ActorsQueen Latifah, Dr. Dre, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox, Blair Underwood

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

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    #225 of 315 Movies with the Best Soundtracks#25 of 98 The Best Bank Robbery Movies

  • The Wood7

    ActorsChristina Milian, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Omar Epps, Tamala Jones

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

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    #74 of 126 The Best Teen Comedy Movies, Ranked#15 of 56 The Best Black Drama Movies

  • House Party8

    ActorsMartin Lawrence, George Clinton, Paul O'Grady, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Clifton Powell

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

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

  • Bad Boys9

    ActorsWill Smith, Téa Leoni, Martin Lawrence, Marg Helgenberger, Joe Pantoliano

    Directed byMichael Bay

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    #26 of 101 The Best Bromance Movies#90 of 247 The Best Whodunit Movies

  • The Best Man10

    ActorsNia Long, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall

    Directed byMalcolm D. Lee

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

  • New Jack City11

    ActorsChris Rock, Ice-T, Judd Nelson, Wesley Snipes, Flavor Flav

    Directed byMario Van Peebles

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    #321 of 480 The Greatest Movies For Guys#56 of 204 The Best Drug Movies of All Time

  • What's Love Got to Do with It12

    ActorsAngela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander, Chi McBride, Jenifer Lewis

    Directed byBrian Gibson

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    #52 of 91 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories#10 of 55 The Best Biopics About Women

  • Life13



    ActorsEddie Murphy, Poppy Montgomery, Martin Lawrence, Bernie Mac, Sanaa Lathan

    Directed byTed Demme

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

  • Malcolm X14

    ActorsDenzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela, Angela Bassett, Christopher Plummer

    Directed bySpike Lee

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    #1 of 85 The Greatest African American Biopics#145 of 275 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • Waiting to Exhale15

    ActorsWhitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Kelly Preston, Wesley Snipes, Kenya Moore

    Directed byForest Whitaker

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    #277 of 782 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#337 of 356 The Best Musical Movies Of All Time

  • Love Jones16

    ActorsNia Long, Isaiah Washington, Lisa Nicole Carson, Larenz Tate, Bill Bellamy

    Directed byTheodore Witcher

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    #26 of 56 The Best Sundance Audience Award Winners#92 of 92 The Best Movies About Marriage

  • Soul Food17

    ActorsVivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Vanessa L. Williams, Babyface, Malik Yoba

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

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    #92 of 147 The Very Best Movies About Life in the Ghetto#23 of 77 The Best Food Movies of All Time

  • Boomerang18

    ActorsHalle Berry, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Grace Jones

    Directed byReginald Hudlin

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    #46 of 59 The Best Movies Released July 4th Weekend#48 of 125 The Best R-Rated Sex Comedies

  • Above the Rim19

    ActorsTupac Shakur, Bernie Mac, Marlon Wayans, Wood Harris, Henry Simmons

    Directed byJeff Pollack

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    #6 of 33 The 30+ Best Black Sports Movies Ever Made#34 of 63 The Best High School Sports Movies

  • A Thin Line Between Love and Hate20

    ActorsMartin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, Bobby Brown, Regina King, Della Reese

    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

  • Jason's Lyric21

    ActorsJada Pinkett Smith, Forest Whitaker, Eddie Griffin, Lisa Nicole Carson, Treach

    Directed byDoug McHenry

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    #62 of 661 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked#9 of 101 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked

  • Higher Learning22

    ActorsGwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly, Tyra Banks, Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes

    Directed byJohn Singleton

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    #60 of 141 The Best College Movies Ever#15 of 17 Great Movies About Neo-Nazis & Skinheads

  • Crooklyn23

    ActorsRuPaul, Spike Lee, Alfre Woodard, Isaiah Washington, Delroy Lindo

    Directed bySpike Lee

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  • A Low Down Dirty Shame24

    ActorsJada Pinkett Smith, Salli Richardson, Charles S. Dutton, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Robert Schimmel

    Directed byKeenen Ivory Wayans

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    #46 of 101 The Best Crime Comedy Movies, Ranked#174 of 206 The Best R-Rated Action Movies of All Time, Ranked

  • Dead Presidents25

    ActorsMartin Sheen, Terrence Howard, Chris Tucker, Keith David, Isaiah Washington

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

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    #17 of 63 Movies Set in Brooklyn#19 of 82 The Best Gangster Movies of the 1990s