film characters The Greatest Black Characters in Film History  

Ranker Film
Originally by
5.6k votes 421 voters 11.5k views 119 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
140 35
Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding The Shawshank Redemption

2
133 35
Jules Winnfield is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Jules Winnfield Pulp Fiction

3
110 31
John Coffey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
John Coffey The Green Mile

4
44 5
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

5
107 38
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Malcolm X Malcolm X

6
76 19
Lando Calrissian is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
slaft added Lando Calrissian Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

7
94 35
Morpheus is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Morpheus Sex and the Matrix, The Matrix, The Matrix Revolutions

8
91 31
Apollo Creed is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Apollo Creed Rocky IV, Rocky, Rocky II

9
71 20
Uhura is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
slaft added Uhura Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

10
65 19
Axel Foley is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
RobLein added Axel Foley Beverly Hills Cop III, Beverly Hills Cop

11
69 22
Django is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
tc11 added Django Django Unchained, Django, One Damned Day at Dawn… Django Meets Sartana!

12
69 20
Detective Lt. William Somerset is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

13
97 32
Alonzo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Alonzo Training Day

14
81 32
Virgil Tibbs is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Virgil Tibbs In the Heat of the Night

African American Heroes Who Replaced White Ones

15
73 28
Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley An Officer and a Gentleman

16
70 22
Sheriff Bart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Sheriff Bart Blazing Saddles

17
76 34
John Shaft is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
John Shaft Shaft

18
68 26
Roger Murtaugh is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Roger Murtaugh Lethal Weapon 4, Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2

19
75 26
Blade is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Blade Blade: Trinity, Blade II, Blade

20
59 21
Idi Amin Dada is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Idi Amin Dada The Last King of Scotland

21
83 33
Paul Rusesabagina is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda

The Funniest Black TV Characters of All Time, Ranked

22
72 32
Captain Steven
Captain Steven Independence Day

23
51 19
Benjamin Buford
RobLein added Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue Forrest Gump

24
65 28
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Minny Jackson The Help

25
43 12
Tiana is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Tiana The Princess and the Frog

26
45 14
Storm is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Storm X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X2

27
57 24
Frozone is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Frozone The Incredibles

28
43 16
Nick Fury is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Nick Fury Ultimate Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers

Ashton Kutcher's Loves & Hookups

29
29 4
Agent Jay is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Agent Jay Men in Black, Men in Black II

30
38 14
Winston Zeddemore is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Marina Figueroa added Winston Zeddemore Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II

31
32 8
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Tina Turner What's Love Got to Do with It

32
46 16
Coffy is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Coffy Coffy

33
28 7
Solomon Northup is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Solomon Northup Twelve Years a Slave

34
48 20
Eli is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Eli The Book of Eli

35
35 16
Marsellus Wallace is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Marsellus Wallace Pulp Fiction

12 Signs Your Boyfriend Is Actually The Devil In Disguise

36
57 27
Detective Del Spooner is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

37
30 12
Jackie Brown is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Jackie Brown Jackie Brown

38
40 18
Kunta Kinte is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
slaft added Kunta Kinte Roots: The Gift

39
27 8
Oda Mae Brown is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Oda Mae Brown Ghost

40
56 28
Sister Mary Clarence is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Sister Mary Clarence Sister Act

41
39 17
Mr. Mertle is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Mr. Mertle The Sandlot

42
19 5
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Billie Holiday Lady Sings the Blues

The Best Songs With Milk in the Title

43
19 5
Patsey is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Patsey 12 Years a Slave

44
20 6
Leticia Musgrove is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Leticia Musgrove Monster's Ball

45
39 18
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Pvt. Trip Glory

46
35 19
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Mammy Gone with the Wind

47
18 5
Sofia is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Sofia Gimme the Loot, The Color Purple, The Lovers of the Arctic Circle

48
46 25
Celie Harris Johnson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Celie Harris Johnson The Color Purple

49
20 7
Precious is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Precious Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

50
51 30
The Oracle is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
The Oracle The Matrix Revolutions, The Matrix Reloaded