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The Most Inspirational Black Movies

Updated July 31, 2020 3.1k votes 581 voters 45.4k views40 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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  • 1
    Hidden Figures
    269
    40

    Hidden Figures

    Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer
  • 2
    Remember the Titans
    138
    19

    Remember the Titans

    Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling

    Released2000

    Directed byBoaz Yakin

    Remember the Titans is a 2000 American sports drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    The Color Purple
    136
    19

    The Color Purple

    Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg

    Released1985

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    The Pursuit of Happyness
    123
    21

    The Pursuit of Happyness

    Will Smith, Thandie Newton

    Released2006

    Directed byGabriele Muccino

    The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American biographical drama film based on Chris Gardner's... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Coach Carter
    115
    16

    Coach Carter

    Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum

    Released2005

    Directed byThomas Carter

    Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter,... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Black Panther
    123
    23

    Black Panther

    Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan

    Released2018

    Directed byRyan Coogler

    Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film, based on the Marvel Comics character,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Malcolm X
    106
    15

    Malcolm X

    Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton

    Released1992

    Directed bySpike Lee

    Malcolm X is a 1992 American biographical drama film about the African-American activist... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    The Great Debaters
    88
    12

    The Great Debaters

    Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker

    Released2007

    Directed byDenzel Washington

    The Great Debaters is a 2007 American biopic period drama film directed by and starring Denzel... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Lean on Me
    92
    15

    Lean on Me

    Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    Lean on Me is a 1989 dramatized biographical film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Selma
    95
    18

    Selma

    Oprah Winfrey, Common

    Released2014

    Directed byAva DuVernay

    Selma is a 2014 historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Paul Webb. It is... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    42
    77
    10

    42

    Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni

    Released2013

    Directed byBrian Helgeland

    42 is a 2013 American biographical sports film written and directed by Brian Helgeland about... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    Akeelah and the Bee
    85
    17

    Akeelah and the Bee

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

    Released2006

    Directed byDoug Atchison

    Akeelah and the Bee is a 2006 American drama film written and directed by Doug Atchison. It... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Hotel Rwanda
    83
    16

    Hotel Rwanda

    Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2004

    Directed byTerry George

    Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    12 Years a Slave
    81
    17

    12 Years a Slave

    Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender

    Released2013

    Directed bySteve McQueen

    12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1853... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Creed
    78
    18

    Creed

    Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan

    Released2015

    Directed byRyan Coogler

    Creed is a 2015 American sports drama film directed by Ryan Coogler. The former World... more on Wikipedia

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  • 16
    Ray
    79
    19

    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor Hackford

    Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Antwone Fisher
    77
    21

    Antwone Fisher

    Denzel Washington, Viola Davis

    Released2002

    Directed byDenzel Washington

    Antwone Fisher is a 2002 American biographical drama film directed by and starring Denzel... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Glory
    68
    15

    Glory

    Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington

    Released1989

    Directed byEdward Zwick

    Glory is a 1989 American drama film directed by Edward Zwick and starring Matthew Broderick,... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Dreamgirls
    75
    23

    Dreamgirls

    Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy

    Released2006

    Directed byBill Condon

    Dreamgirls is a 2006 American musical drama film, directed by Bill Condon and jointly produced... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Uncorked
    2
    2

    Uncorked

    Hélène Cardona, Courtney B. Vance

    Released2020

    Directed byPrentice Penny

    Uncorked is a 2020 American drama film directed by Prentice Penny. An aspiring master... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    What's Love Got to Do with It
    68
    19

    What's Love Got to Do with It

    Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

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  • 22
    Men of Honor
    65
    16

    Men of Honor

    Charlize Theron, Robert De Niro

    Released2000

    Directed byGeorge Tillman, Jr.

    Men of Honor is a 2000 drama film, starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr. The film was... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    The Tuskegee Airmen
    51
    9

    The Tuskegee Airmen

    John Lithgow, Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Released1995

    Directed byRobert Markowitz

    The Tuskegee Airmen is a 1995 HBO television movie based on the exploits of an actual... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Black Is King
    2
    2

    Black Is King

    Beyoncé, Naomi Campbell

    Released2020

    Directed byBeyoncé

    Black Is King is an 2020 American film and visual album directed by Beyoncé. A young African... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    The Hurricane
    46
    14

    The Hurricane

    Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber

    Released1999

    Directed byNorman Jewison

    The Hurricane is a 1999 biographical film directed by Norman Jewison, and starring Denzel... more on Wikipedia

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