Entertainment

The Most Inspirational Black Movies  

Ranker Film
2.2k votes 471 voters 34.4k views 33 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.

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
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
3
The Color Purple is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne
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
4
Coach Carter is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti
Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter. It is based on a true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter portrayed by Samuel L. ...more
5
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela
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
6
The Pursuit of Happyness is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
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
7
Selma is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Oprah Winfrey, Common, Cuba Gooding Jr.
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
8
The Great Debaters is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett
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
9
Lean on Me is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd, Regina Taylor
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
10
Black Panther is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
KwameObiri-Addai added Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o
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
11
Hotel Rwanda is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle
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
12
42 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Nicole Beharie
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
13
Antwone Fisher is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Salli Richardson
Antwone Fisher is a 2002 American biographical drama film directed by Denzel Washington, marking his directorial debut. He also stars in the film as the psychiatrist Jerome Davenport, alongside ...more
14
12 Years a Slave is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch
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
15
Creed is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson
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
16
Ray is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard
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
17
Akeelah and the Bee is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke Palmer
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
18
Glory is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick
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
19
What's Love Got to Do with It is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Ala Hassan added Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander
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
20
The Tuskegee Airmen is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
John Lithgow, Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne
The Tuskegee Airmen is a 1995 HBO television movie based on the exploits of an actual groundbreaking unit, the first African American combat pilots in the United States Army Air Corps, that ...more
21
Men of Honor is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Charlize Theron, Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding 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
22
Dreamgirls is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx
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
23
The Hurricane is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Rod Steiger
The Hurricane is a 1999 biographical film directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Denzel Washington. The script was adapted by Armyan Bernstein and Dan Gordon from the books Lazarus and the ...more
24
Red Tails is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Daniela Ruah, Bryan Cranston, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Red Tails is a 2012 American film directed by Anthony Hemingway in his feature film directorial debut, and starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. The film is about the Tuskegee Airmen, a ...more
25
Queen of Katwe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Inspirational Black Movies
Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Queen of Katwe is a 2016 American biographical sports drama film directed by Mira Nair. A Ugandan girl (Madina Nalwanga) sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of