Entertainment

The Best Movies About Black History  

Ranker Film
267 votes 53 voters 5.2k views 38 items

List Rules Movies about black history.

Black history is extremely important in the United States. There are a number of award winning movies about black history that will remind us of where we came from, the dangers of prejudice, and how our nation was once divided over racial issues.. If you’ve ever asked the question, “What are the best movies about black history?” before then you’ve absolutely come to the right page!

The movies featured on this list are very historically important. They take an honest approach to a lot of issues that went on behind the scenes in history and shed light on the role racism played in America. Many also feature the true events of heroes who forever impacted the world and took a stand to fight against slavery, no matter the cost.

This list has the best movies about black history, including: Roots, Glory, Twelve Years a Slave, The Butler, A Raisin in the Sun, The Rosa Parks Story, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Color Purple.

Vote up your favorite black history film or add one you love that isn't already on the list.
list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Sidney Poitier, Louis Gossett, Jr.
A Raisin in the Sun is a 1961 drama film, starring Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Roy Glenn, and Louis Gossett, and adapted from the play of the same name by Lorraine ...more
2
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Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch
12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free ...more
3
Glory is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Black History
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick
Glory is a 1989 American drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman. The screenplay was written by Kevin Jarre, based on ...more
4
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Louis Gossett, Jr., LeVar Burton
This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the ...more
5
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Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne
The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It was Spielberg's eighth film as ...more
6
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Mariah Carey, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey
The Butler is a 2013 American historical drama film directed and produced by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong. Loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allen, the film stars Forest ...more
7
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Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela
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
8
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Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom
To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film directed by Robert Mulligan. The screenplay by Horton Foote was based on the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Harper Lee. ...more
9
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Sounder is a young adult novel by William H. Armstrong. It is the story of an African-American boy living with his sharecropper family. Although the family's difficulties increase when the ...more
10
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4 Little Girls is a 1997 American historical documentary film about the 15 September 1963 murder of four African-American girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, ...more
11
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Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Anna Paquin
Amistad is a 1997 historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the true story of the 1839 mutiny aboard the slave ship La Amistad, during which Mende tribesmen taken and managed ...more
12
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Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington
Remember the Titans is a 2000 American sports drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Boaz Yakin. The screenplay, written by Gregory Allen Howard, is based on the true story of ...more
13
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Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Lee Grant
In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 American mystery drama film directed by Norman Jewison. It is based on John Ball's 1965 novel of the same name which tells the story of Virgil Tibbs, a black ...more
14
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Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of the boxer Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964-74 featuring his capture of the heavyweight ...more
15
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Denzel Washington, Patti LaBelle, David Alan Grier
A Soldier's Story is a 1984 American drama film directed by Norman Jewison, based upon Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning Off Broadway production A Soldier's Play. A black officer is sent ...more
16
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OCD Man added Oprah Winfrey, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Selma is a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by James Bevel, Hosea Williams, and ...more
17
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Garrett Morris, Glynn Turman, Steven Williams
Cooley High is a 1975 American film based upon the real high school located on the near north side of Chicago, produced and released by American International Pictures and written by Eric Monte. ...more
18
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James Earl Jones, Hal Holbrook, Jane Alexander
The Great White Hope is a 1970 biographical romantic drama film written and adapted from the Howard Sackler play of the same name. The film was directed by Martin Ritt, starring James Earl ...more
19
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Daniela Ruah, Bryan Cranston, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Red Tails is a 2012 American film directed by Anthony Hemingway in his feature film directorial debut, and starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. The film is about the Tuskegee Airmen, a ...more
20
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Cicely Tyson, Katherine Helmond, Odetta
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a 1974 television movie directed by John Korty, based on the novel by Ernest J. Gaines. Story of a black woman in the South who was born into slavery in ...more
21
Straight Outta Compton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Black History
Tom Islava added O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell
Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and ...more
22
Django Unchained is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Black History
Tom Islava added Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
Django Unchained is a 2012 American revisionist Western film directed by Quentin Tarantino. With the help of a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) sets out to ...more
23
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With All Deliberate Speed Jeffrey Wright, Julian Bond
24
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James Earl Jones, Charlie Korsmo, David Strathairn
Heat Wave is a film directed by Kevin Hooks released on August 13, 1990.
25
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Ra'Jon' Goolsby added Jon Voight, Don Cheadle, Ving Rhames
Rosewood is a 1997 film directed by John Singleton. While based on historic events of the 1923 in Florida, when a white mob takes out blacks and destroyed their town, the film introduces ...more