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The Most Inspirational Black Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated July 4, 2020 2.6k votes 552 voters 42.5k views 38 items

 

Watching a movie about someone succeed in achieving a lofty goal can lift your spirits and encourage you to keep trying in your own life. The best inspirational Black films feature characters fighting adversity to do great things for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. This is a list of the top inspiring African American films including everything from Remember the Titans to The Color Purple to Ray.

What films will you find on this list of the best inspiring Black movies? The historical drama? Glory appears here. This 1989 film told the story of a military unit made up entirely of African Americans who fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. Denzel Washington took home an Oscar for his portrayal of Private Silas Trip in the movie. Akeelah and the Bee is another great inspirational film. Will Smith played a homeless man who turned things around to become a successful entrepreneur in The Pursuit of Happyness. Other inspirational Black movies featured on this list include Lean on Me, The Jackie Robinson Story, and Hidden Figures.

Which movie do you think is the most inspiring? Vote your favorites up to the top and please add any films that are missing.

 

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list ordered by
1
Hidden Figures is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Hidden Figures Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe
2
Remember the Titans is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
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

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#13 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #81 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #82 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

3
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
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

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#49 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #4 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #164 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

4
Coach Carter is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, Ashanti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Thomas Carter

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter, based on the true story of the Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter. Controversy ...more

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#24 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #53 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #2 of 33 The 30+ Best Black Sports Movies Ever Made

5
The Pursuit of Happyness... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

Released: 2006

Directed by: Gabriele Muccino

The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's nearly one-year struggle with homelessness. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film features Will ...more

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#17 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #14 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #43 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

6
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
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

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#7 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #42 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Long #3 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

7
Black Panther is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
KwameObiri-Addai added Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o

Released: 2018

Directed by: Ryan Coogler

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film, based on the Marvel Comics character, directed by Ryan Coogler. After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) ...more

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15+ Easter Eggs And References Most People Completely Missed In Black Panther #321 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Selma is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Oprah Winfrey, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Released: 2014

Directed by: Ava DuVernay

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

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#602 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #10 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Storieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Lean on Me is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
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

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#8 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #32 of 112 The Best Inspirational Movies #77 of 188 The Best Coming of Age Movies

10
The Great Debaters is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett

Released: 2007

Directed by: Denzel Washington

The Great Debaters is a 2007 American biopic period drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey and her production company, Harpo Productions. It is based ...more

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#50 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #21 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories #21 of 28 The Greatest African American Biopics

11
Hotel Rwanda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

Released: 2004

Directed by: Terry George

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

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#101 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #40 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #96 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

12
12 Years a Slave is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
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

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#161 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #23 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Akeelah and the Bee is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke Palmer

Released: 2006

Directed by: Doug Atchison

Akeelah and the Bee is a 2006 American drama film written and directed by Doug Atchison. It tells the story of Akeelah Anderson, an 11-year-old girl who participates in the Scripps National ...more

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#54 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #464 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #11 of 27 Great Movies About Very Smart Young Girls

14
Ray is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more

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#12 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #550 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
42 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
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

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#203 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #29 of 182 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #4 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

16
Antwone Fisher is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Salli Richardson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Denzel Washington

Antwone Fisher is a 2002 American biographical drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington in his feature film directorial debut. He also stars in the film as the psychiatrist Jerome ...more

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#25 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #464 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys #107 of 234 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

17
Creed is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson

Released: 2015

Directed by: Ryan Coogler

Creed is a 2015 American sports drama film directed by Ryan Coogler. The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson ...more

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#227 of 233 The Worst Sequels Of All Time #782 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #132 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

18
Glory is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
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

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#15 of 375 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #38 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
Roots is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
trutones2 added Louis Gossett, Jr., LeVar Burton

Released: 1977

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

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#161 of 219 The TV Shows with the Best Writing #82 of 292 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time #24 of 43 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories

20
Dreamgirls is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx

Released: 2006

Directed by: Bill Condon

Dreamgirls is a 2006 American musical drama film, directed by Bill Condon and jointly produced and released by DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures. The film debuted in three special road ...more

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Every Song in Dreamgirls, Ranked by Singability #152 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
A Raisin in the Sun is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
trutones2 added Sidney Poitier, Louis Gossett, Jr.

Released: 1961

Directed by: Daniel Petrie

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

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#112 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #12 of 85 The Best Movies Based on Plays #32 of 47 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women

22
What's Love Got to Do wi... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Ala Hassan added Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander

Released: 1993

Directed by: Brian Gibson

What's Love Got to Do with It is a 1993 American biographical film directed by Brian Gibson, loosely based on the life of Tina Turner. It stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence ...more

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#18 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #74 of 209 The Best Movies About Music #9 of 55 The Best Biopics About Women

23
Men of Honor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Charlize Theron, Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Released: 2000

Directed by: George Tillman, Jr.

Men of Honor is a 2000 drama film, starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. The film was directed by George Tillman, Jr. It is inspired by the true story of Master chief petty officer Carl ...more

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#150 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #1,131 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #28 of 81 The Most Patriotic Movies of All Time

24
A Soldier's Story is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
trutones2 added A Soldier's Story Denzel Washington, Patti LaBelle, Howard Rollins Jr

Released: 1984

Directed by: Norman Jewison

25
Miss Juneteenth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze

Released: 2020

Directed by: Channing Godfrey Peoples

Miss Juneteenth is a 2020 American drama film directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples. Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie), a single mother in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, enters her 15-year-old ...more

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#456 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #30 of 47 The 25+ Best Movies for Black Women #17 of 34 The Best Mother-Daughter Movies Ever Made