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The Best Black Movies of the 1990s 

Ranker Film
Updated June 14, 2019 23k votes 4k voters 285.9k 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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#111 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #2 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #16 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

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 726 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 written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia ...more

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#1 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #166 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #102 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

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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#770 of 975 The Best Albums of the 1990s #20 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #340 of 347 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

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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#5 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #973 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #214 of 347 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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#3 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #1,171 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #46 of 212 The Best Drug Movies of All Time

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 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #147 of 493 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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#19 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #130 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #509 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

9
The Best Man is listed (or ranked) 9 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 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #169 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #5 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked

10
Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 10 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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#16 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #41 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #739 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

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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#10 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #157 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #594 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

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 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #128 of 242 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #234 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

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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#23 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #148 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #426 of 1,208 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

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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#18 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #72 of 208 The Best Movies About Music #9 of 54 The Best Biopics About Women

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 and starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett. The film was adapted from the 1992 novel of the same name by ...more

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#366 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #27 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #156 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

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 thriller action film film directed by Mario Van Peebles in his directorial debut, who also co-stars in the film. The film stars Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen ...more

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#21 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #337 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #50 of 212 The Best Drug Movies of All Time

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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#43 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #3 of 54 The Best Black Romance Movies, Ranked #19 of 46 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 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #339 of 347 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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#30 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #107 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #385 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

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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#335 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #90 of 726 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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#80 of 726 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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#81 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #68 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #316 of 1,208 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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#26 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #163 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #29 of 84 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 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #260 of 302 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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#72 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #114 of 212 The Best Drug Movies of All Time #281 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time