Watchworthy

The Most Powerful Movies About Racism 

All Genre Movies Lists
Updated March 17, 2020 13.5k votes 2.2k voters 294.2k views 137 items

List Rules Movies with racism as a central theme.

A list of the best racism movies ever made, ranked by movie fans with film trailers when available. This racism movie list is ordered by popularity, so only the greatest movies about racism are at the top of the list. If there are any great movies about racism you believe we missed, please feel free to add them to the list yourself. The films on this list are the most famous racism movies of all time, so use it to find some movies that you haven't seen already. Click on these racism movie titles for more information about the films.

List items include This Is England, The Cotton Club and more.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best racism movies?" and "What is the greatest racism movie of all time?"

Various bits of information are included with these popular racism movies, such as who directed them, when they were released and who starred in the films. Whether you're watching these racism movies on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, these good racism movies can be enjoyed no matter what.
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
American History X is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Kaye

American History X is a 1998 American drama film directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. It stars Edward Norton and Edward Furlong, and co-stars Fairuza Balk, Stacy Keach, Elliott ...more

More American History X 

#182 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #49 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #102 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

2
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
ConnorRichardson added Robert Duvall, Gregory Peck, William Windom

Released: 1962

Directed by: Robert Mulligan

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

More To Kill a Mockingbird 

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Quotes That'll Change How You Think #87 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne

Released: 1985

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

More The Color Purple 

#178 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #169 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #4 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

4
The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Sam Rockwell

Released: 1999

Directed by: Frank Darabont

The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and adapted from the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name. The film is told in a flashback format and stars ...more

More The Green Mile 

#29 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #632 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #17 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

5
Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington

Released: 2000

Directed by: Boaz Yakin

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

More Remember the Titans 

#81 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #13 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #108 of 242 The Best Movies Based on True Stories

6
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more

More Schindler's List 

#8 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #50 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
The Help is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
but chickens double d added Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard

Released: 2011

Directed by: Tate Taylor

The Help is a 2011 American period drama film directed and written by Tate Taylor, and adapted from Kathryn Stockett's 2009 novel of the same name. Featuring an ensemble cast, the film is about ...more

More The Help 

#58 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #304 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #41 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books

8
Mississippi Burning is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

Released: 1988

Directed by: Alan Parker

Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American thriller film directed by Alan Parker and written by Chris Gerolmo. It was loosely based on the FBI investigation into the incidents involving of three ...more

More Mississippi Burning 

#277 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #191 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
A Time to Kill is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey

Released: 1996

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

This film is a 1996 drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name, directed by Joel Schumacher. Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey ...more

More A Time to Kill 

#235 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #33 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #1,392 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

10
12 Years a Slave is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
msmapo added Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Steve McQueen

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

More 12 Years a Slave 

#161 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #12 of 242 The Best Movies Based on True Storieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Django Unchained is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
PeteBoyle added Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

Released: 2012

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

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

More Django Unchained 

#74 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Made #52 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #909 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

12
Glory is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick

Released: 1989

Directed by: Edward Zwick

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

More Glory 

#16 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #231 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela

Released: 1992

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

More Malcolm X 

#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

14
The Butler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
ConnorRichardson added Mariah Carey, Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey

Released: 2013

Directed by: Lee Daniels

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

More The Butler 

#211 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #432 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #7 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

15
Gran Torino is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Clint Eastwood, Dreama Walker, Scott Eastwood

Released: 2008

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Christopher Carley, Bee Vang and Ahney Her. This was Eastwood's ...more

More Gran Torino 

#143 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #27 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #29 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

16
Hotel Rwanda is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
fullepsonline added Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

Released: 2004

Directed by: Terry George

Watch Hotel Rwanda now! http://amzn.to/1U5Htz3 Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay written by both George and Keir Pearson. It stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo ...more

More Hotel Rwanda 

#103 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #40 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #60 of 242 The Best Movies Based on True Stories

17
The Hate U Give is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie

Released: 2018

Directed by: George Tillman Jr.

The Hate U Give is a 2018 American drama thriller film directed by George Tillman Jr., based on the novel by Angie Thomas. Constantly switching between the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where ...more
18
Do the Right Thing is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Spike Lee

Released: 1989

Directed by: Spike Lee

Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama hood film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee, who also played the part of Mookie in the film. Other members of the cast include Danny ...more

More Do the Right Thing 

#307 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #303 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Rankedlisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

19
42 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
bdoctrow added Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Nicole Beharie

Released: 2013

Directed by: Brian Helgeland

42 is a 2013 American biographical sports film written and directed by Brian Helgeland about the racial integration of American professional baseball by player Jackie Robinson, who wore jersey ...more

More 42 

#204 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #29 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #3 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

20
Amistad is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Anna Paquin

Released: 1997

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

More Amistad 

#260 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #79 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #43 of 242 The Best Movies Based on True Stories

21
Get Out is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
CrystalPayne added Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams

Directed by: Jordan Peele

Get Out is a 2017 American horror film directed by Jordan Peele. A young African-American (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness ...more

More Get Out 

Things You Didn't Know About The Making Of Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' #254 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
Lean on Me is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd, Regina Taylor

Released: 1989

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

Lean on Me is a 1989 dramatized biographical film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Morgan Freeman. Lean on Me is loosely based on the story of Joe Louis ...more

More Lean on Me 

#8 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #9 of 36 The Most Inspirational Black Movies #32 of 110 The Best Inspirational Movies

23
Crash is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris

Released: 2004

Directed by: Paul Haggis

This movie is a 2004 ensemble drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Paul Haggis. The film is about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles, California. A self-described ...more

More Crash 

#1,410 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #241 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Starslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
Green Book is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Released: 2018

Directed by: Peter Farrelly

Green Book is a 2018 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. A bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) at a New York nightclub takes a job as a pianist's (Mahershala Ali) chauffeur during a tour in the ...more

More Green Book 

Who Was Don Shirley, The Virtuosic Pianist At The Center Of 'Green Book'? #117 of 242 The Best Movies Based on True Storieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
If Beale Street Could Ta... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Powerful Movies About Racism
Kiki Layne, Stephan James, Colman Domingo

Released: 2018

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

If Beale Street Could Talk is a 2018 American drama film directed by Barry Jenkins, based on the novel by James Baldwin. A woman in Harlem (Kiki Layne) desperately scrambles to prove her ...more

More If Beale Street Could Talk 

#484 of 726 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #13 of 78 The Best Period Romance Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever