Film Characters The Greatest Black Characters in Film History  

Ranker Film
Originally by
6.6k votes 529 voters 14.8k 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.

1
166 42
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
159 43
Jules Winnfield is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Jules Winnfield Pulp Fiction

3
131 39
John Coffey is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
John Coffey The Green Mile

4
104 27
Lando Calrissian is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
127 44
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Malcolm X Malcolm X

6
93 25
Django is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
tc11 added Django Django Unchained, Django, One Damned Day at Dawn… Django Meets Sartana!

7
117 42
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
111 35
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
82 23
Axel Foley is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
RobLein added Axel Foley Beverly Hills Cop III, Beverly Hills Cop

10
29 2
Prince Akeem is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Prince Akeem Coming to America

11
81 21
Detective Lt. William Somerset is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

12
98 34
Virgil Tibbs is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Virgil Tibbs In the Heat of the Night

13
89 26
Uhura is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
48 6
Agent Jay is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Agent Jay Men in Black, Men in Black II

15
112 36
Alonzo Harris is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Alonzo Harris Training Day

16
66 16
Storm is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Storm X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X2

17
56 11
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

18
67 20
Benjamin Buford
RobLein added Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue Forrest Gump

19
80 28
Minny Jackson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Minny Jackson The Help

20
80 31
Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley An Officer and a Gentleman

21
75 25
Frozone is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Frozone The Incredibles

22
51 11
Tina Turner is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Tina Turner What's Love Got to Do with It

23
91 31
Blade is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Blade Blade: Trinity, Blade II, Blade

24
95 35
Paul Rusesabagina is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda

25
77 30
Roger Murtaugh is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Roger Murtaugh Lethal Weapon 4, Lethal Weapon, Lethal Weapon 2

26
84 36
Captain Steven
Captain Steven Independence Day

27
78 27
Sheriff Bart is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Sheriff Bart Blazing Saddles

28
41 8
Solomon Northup is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Solomon Northup Twelve Years a Slave

29
64 25
Idi Amin Dada is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Idi Amin Dada The Last King of Scotland

30
82 41
John Shaft is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
John Shaft Shaft

31
54 18
Tiana is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Tiana The Princess and the Frog

32
45 16
Winston Zeddemore is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Marina Figueroa added Winston Zeddemore Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II

33
50 20
Nick Fury is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Nick Fury Ultimate Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers

34
36 9
Oda Mae Brown is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Oda Mae Brown Ghost

35
31 6
Sofia is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
48 20
Kunta Kinte is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
slaft added Kunta Kinte Roots: The Gift

37
65 28
Sister Mary Clarence is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Sister Mary Clarence Sister Act

38
36 16
Jackie Brown is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Jackie Brown Jackie Brown

39
48 19
Coffy is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Coffy Coffy

40
40 20
Marsellus Wallace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Marsellus Wallace Pulp Fiction

41
45 18
Mr. Mertle is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Mr. Mertle The Sandlot

42
51 23
Eli is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Eli The Book of Eli

43
41 20
Mammy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Mammy Gone with the Wind

44
47 20
Pvt. Trip is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Pvt. Trip Glory

45
53 25
Celie Harris Johnson is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Celie Harris Johnson The Color Purple

46
59 30
Detective Del Spooner is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History

47
24 7
Billie Holiday is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Billie Holiday Lady Sings the Blues

48
25 8
Patsey is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Patsey 12 Years a Slave

49
26 9
Broomhilda is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
Tom Islava added Broomhilda von Schaft Django Unchained

50
28 12
Vernita Green is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Black Characters in Film History
FranciscodeSouza added Vernita Green Kill Bill Volume 1