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The Best Black Musical Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated July 9, 2019 497 votes 68 voters 3.2k views 28 items

The cinema has a long history of producing outstanding black musical films. One of the first black musicals came in 1943 with Stormy Weather, a film with over 20 musical numbers, which showcased the talent of screen legends Lena Horne and Bill Robinson. There are also plenty of new black musicals on this roundup as well. Here are the greatest black musical films.

Jennifer Hudson won a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her show-stopping performance in Dreamgirls. Jamie Foxx took home a Best Actor Oscar for his convincing portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray. Many of these films are based on true stories, while others are purely fictional. However, they are all entertaining.

Rediscover the magic of The Wiz and the coolness of Prince in Purple Rain on this comprehensive black musical movie list. Join in on the fun by voting up your favorite films and vote down on any you wish you hadn't seen.

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Dreamgirls is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx

Released: 2006

Directed by: Bill Condon

Dreamgirls is a 2006 American musical drama film, directed by Bill Condon and jointly produced and released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures. The film debuted in three special road ...more
Purple Rain is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Wendy Melvoin

Released: 1984

Directed by: Albert Magnoli

Purple Rain is a 1984 American rock musical drama film directed by Albert Magnoli and written by Magnoli and William Blinn. In it, Prince makes his film debut, which was developed to showcase ...more
Porgy and Bess is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis, Jr.

Released: 1959

Directed by: Otto Preminger

Porgy and Bess is a 1959 American musical film directed by Otto Preminger. It is based on the 1935 opera of the same name by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin, which is in turn ...more
Carmen Jones is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Dorothy Dandridge, Diahann Carroll, Harry Belafonte

Released: 1954

Directed by: Otto Preminger

Carmen Jones is a 1954 American musical film starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte, produced and directed by Otto Preminger. The screenplay by Harry Kleiner is based on the libretto for ...more
Stormy Weather is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Lena Horne, Benny Carter, Cab Calloway

Released: 1943

Directed by: Andrew L. Stone

Stormy Weather is a 1943 American musical film produced and released by 20th Century Fox. The movie is considered one of the best Hollywood musicals with an African-American cast, the other ...more
Polly is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Phylicia Rashād, Keshia Knight Pulliam

Released: 1989

Directed by: Debbie Allen

Polly is a musical television movie that originally aired in November 1989 on NBC. Adapted from the book Pollyanna, Polly was directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen and stars Keshia Knight ...more
Fame is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Debbie Allen, Irene Cara, Meg Tilly

Released: 1980

Directed by: Alan Parker

Fame is a 1980 American musical film conceived and produced by David De Silva and directed by Alan Parker. Its screenplay is by Christopher Gore, its choreography by Louis Falco and musical ...more
Sparkle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Irene Cara, Philip Michael Thomas, Lonette McKee

Released: 1976

Directed by: Sam O'Steen

Sparkle is a 1976 American film directed by Sam O'Steen and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. Inspired by The Supremes, Sparkle is a period film set in Harlem, New York during the late 1950s ...more
The Five Heartbeats is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Diahann Carroll, Harry Lennix, Robert Townsend

Released: 1991

Directed by: Robert Townsend

The Five Heartbeats is a 1991 musical drama film directed by Robert Townsend, who co-wrote the script with Keenan Ivory Wayans. Distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film's main cast includes ...more
Sister Act 2: Back in th... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauryn Hill, Maggie Smith

Released: 1993

Directed by: Bill Duke

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is a 1993 American comedy film loosely based on the life of Crenshaw High School choir instructor Iris Stevenson, and starring Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Bill ...more
What's Love Got to Do wi... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander

Released: 1993

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
The Princess and the Fro... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Oprah Winfrey, John Goodman, Terrence Howard

Released: 2009

Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker

The Princess and the Frog is a 2009 American animated musical romantic fantasy-comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 49th film in the ...more
House Party is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Martin Lawrence, George Clinton, Paul O'Grady

Released: 1990

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
Round Midnight is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Martin Scorsese, Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon

Released: 1986

Directed by: Bertrand Tavernier

Round Midnight is a 1986 American-French musical drama film directed by Bertrand Tavernier and written by Tavernier and David Rayfiel. It stars Dexter Gordon, François Cluzet and Herbie ...more
School Daze is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Samuel L. Jackson, Laurence Fishburne, Spike Lee

Released: 1988

Directed by: Spike Lee

School Daze is a 1988 American musical-drama film, written and directed by Spike Lee, and starring Larry Fishburne, Giancarlo Esposito, and Tisha Campbell-Martin. Based in part on Spike Lee's ...more
The Wiz is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Richard Pryor

Released: 1978

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

The Wiz is a 1978 American musical adventure film produced in collaboration between Motown Productions and Universal Pictures, and released by Universal on October 24, 1978. A reimagining of L. ...more
Beat Street is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Rae Dawn Chong, Mary Alice, Kadeem Hardison

Released: 1984

Directed by: Stan Lathan

Beat Street is an American 1984 drama film featuring New York City hip hop culture of the early 1980s; breakdancing, DJing, and graffiti. It began with a script written by Steven Hager titled ...more
Krush Groove is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Chris Rock, LL Cool J, Bobby Brown

Released: 1985

Directed by: Michael Schultz

Krush Groove is a 1985 Warner Bros. film that was written by Ralph Farquhar and directed by Michael Schultz. This film is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings and up-and-coming record ...more
Miles Ahead is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Miles Ahead Ewan McGregor, Don Cheadle, Michael Stuhlbarg

Released: 2015

Directed by: Don Cheadle

Miles Ahead is a 2015 American music film directed by Don Cheadle in his feature directorial debut. Miles Davis (Don Cheadle) attempts to get his career back on track following a period of ...more
Ray is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more
Lady Sings the Blues is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Diana Ross, Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams

Released: 1972

Directed by: Sidney J. Furie

Lady Sings the Blues is a 1972 American biographical drama film directed by Sidney J. Furie about jazz singer Billie Holiday loosely based on her 1956 autobiography which, in turn, took its ...more
Idlewild is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Paula Patton, Terrence Howard, André 3000

Released: 2006

Directed by: Bryan Barber

Idlewild is an American musical film, released August 25, 2006, written and directed by Bryan Barber. The film stars André 3000 and Big Boi of the hip hop duo Outkast, and Idlewild ...more
Bird is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Forest Whitaker, Keith David, Sam Robards

Released: 1988

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

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
Bessie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Queen Latifah, Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander

Released: 2015

Directed by: Dee Rees

Bessie is a 2015 biographical film directed by Dee Rees. The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith (Queen Latifah), who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.
The Fighting Temptations... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Black Musical Movies
Beyoncé Knowles, Mickey Rooney, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Released: 2003

Directed by: Jonathan Lynn

The Fighting Temptations is a 2003 American musical comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Lynn, written by Elizabeth Hunter and Saladin K. Patterson, and distributed by Paramount Pictures and ...more