Special Report

Best Movies by Black Filmmakers

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

15. Mudbound (2017)
> Directed by: Dee Rees
> Starring: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell
> Where to stream: Netflix

Dee Rees’ story is about two men, one white and one African American, who return to rural Mississippi after World War II to work on farms. The Oscar-nominated film deals with issues of racism and the struggles of those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes hailed the movie as “well-acted and finely detailed.” It holds a 97% Freshness rating among Rotten Tomatoes critics, and 85% of audiences liked the movie.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

14. Love Jones (1997)
> Directed by: Theodore Witcher
> Starring: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington
> Where to stream: Vudu, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Amazon Video, DIRECTV, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW, HBO Max

Filmmaker Theodore Witcher’s sole directorial feature is the 1997 romance film “Love Jones,” about the relationship between a young poet and a talented photographer in Chicago. Although the movie was not a major commercial success — it grossed just over $12 million at the box office — it received a 97% approval rating from the more than 25,000 users who have rated it on Rotten Tomatoes. Witcher cites the film’s limited success, in addition to his race, in a 2019 New York Times interview as the reasons he was unable to direct a second studio film.

Source: Courtesy of IRS Media

13. One False Move (1992)
> Directed by: Carl Franklin
> Starring: Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Cynda Williams
> Where to stream: Google Play Movies, Vudu, YouTube, Amazon Video, Redbox, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW, Apple iTunes

Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton stars in Carl Franklin’s directorial debut. Thornton wrote this gripping story about a small-town police chief in Arkansas awaiting a confrontation with a group of killers from Los Angeles. Critics hailed the action and sly humor of the film, giving it a 96% Freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences gave it a 75% approval rating.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

12. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
> Directed by: Peter Ramsey
> Starring: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
> Where to stream: Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, Vudu, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Netflix, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Fandango, FlixFling, Redbox, FandangoNOW

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is the first animated Spider-Man feature. It was co-directed by African American filmmaker Peter Ramsey (of the 2012 “Rise of the Guardians”), Bob Persichetti, and Rodney Rothman. The movie was praised by critics not only for its groundbreaking visuals, but also for its humor and storytelling, ultimately receiving a 97% Freshness rating from critics and 93% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.

In 2019, the movie took home the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, making Ramsey the first black Oscar winner of that award.

Source: Central Press / Getty Images

11. What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (2019)
> Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
> Starring: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ossie Davis, Bill Cosby
> Where to stream: HBO Go, HBO Now, Apple iTunes, DIRECTV, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW, Vudu, HBO Max, HBO Now Amazon Channel, Amazon Video

Antoine Fuqua’s absorbing documentary chronicles the life iconic world champion boxer and social activist who called himself “The Greatest.” Critics Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes said the film is “as educational as it is inspiring.” The movie holds a 95% Freshness rating among Rotten Tomatoes critics, and it has an 8.5 rating out of 10 among IMDb users.

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