The 25 Best African-American Films

by z_ingle | created - 24 Jun 2011 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

I am defining "African-American films" as films directed by African Americans. This leaves out black-cast musicals ("Carmen Jones," "Cabin in the Sky") and Craig Brewer.

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords




IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. Do the Right Thing (1989)

R | 120 min | Comedy, Drama

92 Metascore

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson

Votes: 78,951 | Gross: $27.55M

2. Malcolm X (1992)

PG-13 | 202 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee

Votes: 78,545 | Gross: $48.17M

3. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

Follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles, dissecting questions of race, relationships, violence and future prospects.

Director: John Singleton | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir, Lloyd Avery II

Votes: 116,929 | Gross: $57.50M

4. Moonlight (I) (2016)

R | 111 min | Drama

99 Metascore

A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.

Director: Barry Jenkins | Stars: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes, Alex R. Hibbert

Votes: 246,738 | Gross: $27.85M

5. O.J.: Made in America (2016)

TV-MA | 467 min | Documentary, Biography, Crime

A chronicle of the rise and fall of O.J. Simpson, whose high-profile murder trial exposed the extent of American racial tensions, revealing a fractured and divided nation.

Director: Ezra Edelman | Stars: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mike Albanese, Muhammad Ali, Marcus Allen

Votes: 15,870

6. Chi-Raq (2015)

R | 127 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

77 Metascore

A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago, Illinois.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett

Votes: 8,453 | Gross: $2.65M

7. Get Out (I) (2017)

R | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

84 Metascore

A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

Director: Jordan Peele | Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener

Votes: 443,771 | Gross: $176.04M

8. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

R | 119 min | Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

A young woman embraces her pregnancy while she and her family set out to prove her childhood friend and lover innocent of a crime he didn't commit.

Director: Barry Jenkins | Stars: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Teyonah Parris

Votes: 34,393 | Gross: $14.92M

9. BlacKkKlansman (2018)

R | 135 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

83 Metascore

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace

Votes: 178,967 | Gross: $48.69M

10. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

PG-13 | 93 min | Documentary

95 Metascore

Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.

Director: Raoul Peck | Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X

Votes: 14,951 | Gross: $7.12M

From a Haitian filmmaker, but I'll go ahead and count it here.

11. The Birth of a Nation (2016)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising.

Director: Nate Parker | Stars: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley

Votes: 19,106 | Gross: $15.86M

12. Shaft (1971)

R | 100 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

66 Metascore

Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

Director: Gordon Parks | Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John

Votes: 15,587 | Gross: $16.69M

13. Body and Soul (1925)

Not Rated | 102 min | Drama

A minister is malevolent and sinister behind his righteous facade. He consorts with, and later extorts from, the owner of a gambling house, and betrays an honest girl, eventually driving ... See full summary »

Director: Oscar Micheaux | Stars: Paul Robeson, Marshall Rogers, Lawrence Chenault, Chester A. Alexander

Votes: 659

14. Within Our Gates (1920)

Not Rated | 79 min | Drama, Romance

Abandoned by her fiancé, an educated black woman with a shocking past dedicates herself to helping a near bankrupt school for impoverished black youths.

Director: Oscar Micheaux | Stars: Evelyn Preer, Flo Clements, James D. Ruffin, Jack Chenault

Votes: 2,115

15. Selma (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

85 Metascore

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussaint

Votes: 80,130 | Gross: $52.08M

16. Clockers (1995)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

71 Metascore

Young drug pushers in the projects of Brooklyn live hard dangerous lives, trapped between their drug bosses and the detectives out to stop them.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Delroy Lindo, Mekhi Phifer

Votes: 19,598 | Gross: $13.04M

17. She's Gotta Have It (1986)

R | 84 min | Comedy, Romance

79 Metascore

Story of a woman and her three lovers.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Tracy Camilla Johns, Tommy Redmond Hicks, John Canada Terrell, Spike Lee

Votes: 8,866 | Gross: $7.14M

18. Killer of Sheep (1978)

80 min | Drama

96 Metascore

Set in the Watts area of Los Angeles, a slaughterhouse worker must suspend his emotions to continue working at a job he finds repugnant, and then he finds he has little sensitivity for the family he works so hard to support.

Director: Charles Burnett | Stars: Henry G. Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, Angela Burnett

Votes: 5,684 | Gross: $0.40M

19. Hollywood Shuffle (1987)

R | 78 min | Comedy

74 Metascore

An actor limited to stereotypical roles because of his ethnicity, dreams of making it big as a highly respected performer. As he makes his rounds, the film takes a satiric look at African American actors in Hollywood.

Director: Robert Townsend | Stars: Robert Townsend, Craigus R. Johnson, Helen Martin, Starletta DuPois

Votes: 4,567 | Gross: $5.23M

20. One False Move (1992)

R | 105 min | Crime, Drama

87 Metascore

A small town police chief awaits the arrival of a gang of killers.

Director: Carl Franklin | Stars: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Cynda Williams, Michael Beach

Votes: 9,228 | Gross: $1.54M

21. Daughters of the Dust (1991)

TV-PG | 112 min | Drama, History, Romance

81 Metascore

Languid look at the Gullah culture of the sea islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia where African folk-ways were maintained well into the 20th Century and was one of the last ... See full summary »

Director: Julie Dash | Stars: Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers, Barbarao, Trula Hoosier

Votes: 1,826 | Gross: $1.64M

22. Black Panther (2018)

PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

88 Metascore

T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira

Votes: 564,426 | Gross: $700.06M

23. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006–2007)

TV-MA | 255 min | Documentary

An examination of the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Stars: Darleen Asevedo, Jay Asevedo, Shelton Shakespear Alexander, Lee Arnold

Votes: 4,044

24. The Hate U Give (2018)

PG-13 | 133 min | Crime, Drama

81 Metascore

Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.

Director: George Tillman Jr. | Stars: Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie

Votes: 24,222 | Gross: $29.72M

25. Training Day (2001)

R | 122 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

69 Metascore

On his first day on the job as a Los Angeles narcotics officer, a rookie cop goes beyond a full work day in training within the narcotics division of the L.A.P.D. with a rogue detective who isn't what he appears to be.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn, Tom Berenger

Votes: 368,373 | Gross: $76.63M



Recently Viewed