Fictional Characters The Greatest Black Characters in Film History  

Ranker Film
Originally by
7.1k votes 586 voters 17.8k views 123 items

Virgil Tibbs, "Red" Redding, Jules Winnfield... This is a list of the all time greatest black characters in film, ranked as the best in film history by movie lovers everywhere. This list has the best black characters in film, portrayed by award-winning actors and featured in some of the greatest films ever made. Who are the all time best black characters in film?

From classic films like Hotel Rwanda, The Color Purple, and Jerry Maguire, the characters on this list are also some of the best characters in film history. Many of the actors who portrayed these classic black film characters received numerous awards for their notable performances. This includes some of the best black actors of all time, such as Denzel Washington and Sidney Poitier.

Cast your votes for the black characters listed here that you believe are the best of all time. And, if the black characters you think are the greatest are missing, add them below to complete the list.

list ordered by

1
181 44
Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
The Shawshank Redemption

2
179 46
Jules Winnfield is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Pulp Fiction

3
140 43
John Coffey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
The Green Mile

4
117 29
Lando Calrissian is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
slaft added Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

5
137 47
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Malcolm X

6
102 29
Django is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
tc11 added Django Unchained, Django, One Damned Day at Dawn… Django Meets Sartana!

7
124 45
Morpheus is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Sex and the Matrix, The Matrix, The Matrix Revolutions

8
122 38
Apollo Creed is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Rocky IV, Rocky, Rocky II

9
89 27
Axel Foley is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
RobLein added Beverly Hills Cop III, Beverly Hills Cop

10
92 27
Frozone is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
The Incredibles

11
87 26
Detective Lt. William Somerset is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

12
99 38
Virgil Tibbs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
In the Heat of the Night

13
73 22
Benjamin Buford
RobLein added Forrest Gump

14
115 39
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Training Day

15
90 31
Uhura is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
slaft added Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

16
71 20
Storm is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X2

17
86 30
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
The Help

18
56 9
Agent Jay is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Men in Black, Men in Black II

19
56 13
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

20
55 13
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added What's Love Got to Do with It

21
36 4
Prince Akeem is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Coming to America

22
80 33
Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley An Officer and a Gentleman

23
93 33
Blade is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Blade: Trinity, Blade II, Blade

24
97 37
Paul Rusesabagina is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Hotel Rwanda

25
88 38
Captain Steven
Independence Day

26
80 33
Roger Murtaugh is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Lethal Weapon 4, Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2

27
45 10
Solomon Northup is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Twelve Years a Slave

28
78 28
Sheriff Bart is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Sheriff Bart Blazing Saddles

29
66 27
Idi Amin Dada is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
The Last King of Scotland

30
60 22
Tiana is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added The Princess and the Frog

31
84 43
John Shaft is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Shaft

32
54 22
Nick Fury is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Ultimate Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers

33
47 18
Winston Zeddemore is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Marina Figueroa added Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II

34
38 11
Oda Mae Brown is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Ghost

35
33 8
Sofia is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Gimme the Loot, The Color Purple, The Lovers of the Arctic Circle

36
52 22
Kunta Kinte is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
slaft added Roots: The Gift

37
68 30
Sister Mary Clarence is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Sister Mary Clarence Sister Act

38
38 18
Jackie Brown is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Jackie Brown

39
50 21
Coffy is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Coffy

40
41 22
Marsellus Wallace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Pulp Fiction

41
49 22
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Glory

42
55 27
Celie Harris Johnson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Celie Harris Johnson The Color Purple

43
61 32
Detective Del Spooner is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

44
30 12
Precious is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

45
45 20
Mr. Mertle is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
The Sandlot

46
27 10
Patsey is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added 12 Years a Slave

47
51 25
Eli is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Eli The Book of Eli

48
28 11
Broomhilda is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Django Unchained

49
41 23
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Gone with the Wind

50
24 9
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Lady Sings the Blues