Special Report

The Best Films by Black Directors

Although Black filmmakers have been making critically acclaimed motion pictures since the early 20th century, only recently has the industry begun to honor their achievements. It was barely over 30 years ago that director John Singleton became the first Black nominee for the Best Director Oscar, for his L.A. coming-of-age drama “Boyz n the Hood.” Since then, only five other Black directors have been nominated in that category – with none taking home the award so far. (Here are 26 famous firsts by Black artists in Hollywood history.)

And it wasn’t until 2009 that a film by a Black director was nominated for Best Picture, when Lee Daniels’ “Precious” took the film world by storm. The share of Black directors garnering Best Picture nominations has increased since then, with nine more films including “12 Years A Slave,” “Selma,” and “Moonlight” honored with nominations.

To determine the best movies by Black directors, 24/7 Tempo developed an index of feature-length films directed by African-Americans using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of January 2023, weighting all ratings equally. Directorial credits are from IMDb.

Although prolific director Spike Lee didn’t win his first Academy Award until 2019, his groundbreaking works exploring racial stereotypes and the urban experience can be credited with opening Hollywood to more complex and controversial analysis of race and class relations. Seven of Lee’s films appear on this list.

Directors Ryan Coogler, Kasi Lemmons, and George Tillman, Jr. and actor-director Denzel Washington each have three films featured, while a handful of other prominent Black filmmakers have two. Women directors who have contributed acclaimed movies include Ava DuVernay, Melina Matsoukas, Dee Rees, and Regina King.

The earliest films date back to the mid ‘70s, with Michael Shultz’s Chicago coming-of-age drama “Cooley High” and Charles Burnett’s rarely seen independent art film “Killer of Sheep” being the oldest on the list. Although the ‘70s also saw the rise of blaxploitation films, the only films of that genre to appear on the list are the 2000’s films “Baadasssss” and “Black Dynamite.”

Click here for a look at the best films by Black directors

Many are based on true events – including civil rights marches as well as horrifying accounts of police brutality – or on historical figures. While most of the films explore race relations or highlight the experiences of Black main characters, a few do not, including Angela Robinson’s “Professor Marston & the Wonder Women,” which is based on a true story of (white) polyamory in midcentury America. (Here are the best movies based on real events or people.)

The diversity of excellent films coming from today’s Black directors is a constant appeal for Hollywood to offer broader support and recognition to Black filmmakers.

Source: Courtesy of Annapurna Distribution

50. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 6.9/10 (70,459 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 70% (6,418 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (311 reviews)
> Directed by: Boots Riley

In Boots Riley’s directorial debut, LaKieth Stanfield plays a young Oakland telemarketer who begins faking a “white voice” in order to make more sales, propelling him into a dark and surreal underworld of corporate greed and abhorrent labor practices.

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

49. He Got Game (1998)
> IMDb user rating: 6.9/10 (46,247 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (44,506 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 81% (63 reviews)
> Directed by: Spike Lee

High schooler Jesus Shuttlesworth, the top basketball prospect in the nation, is considering his college options. Meanwhile, his incarcerated father is given one week of parole to convince his estranged son to sign with the governor’s alma mater in order to reduce his own prison sentence.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

48. Talk to Me (2007)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (9,980 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 77% (41,551 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 83% (132 reviews)
> Directed by: Kasi Lemmons

This biographical film stars Don Cheadle as Ralph “Petey” Greene, an ex-con who became a popular Emmy-winning radio host and community activist in 1960s Washington, D.C. with the help of his manager, Dewey Hughes.

Source: Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

47. Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (26,874 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 77% (5,376 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 87% (181 reviews)
> Directed by: Angela Robinson

This biographical drama surrounding the creation of Wonder Woman details the prejudices suffered by married psychologists William Moulton Marston and Elizabeth Marston because of their polyamorous relationship with a third life partner, Olive Byrne.

Source: Frederick M. Brown / Stringer / Getty Images Entertainment

46. Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (5,406 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 80% (4,135 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 85% (27 reviews)
> Directed by: Robert Townsend

Inspired by the director’s own experiences as an actor, this satirical film displays the typecasting and pigeonholing that Black actors face in Hollywood through a series of vignettes and fantasies.

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Source: Courtesy of Gramercy Pictures

45. Gridlock’d (1997)
> IMDb user rating: 6.9/10 (15,257 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (9,837 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 88% (33 reviews)
> Directed by: Vondie Curtis-Hall

Largely autobiographical, this film written and directed by Detroit native Vondie Curtis-Hall concerns three young bandmates and their struggles with heroin addiction and the system that prevents them from getting the treatment they seek.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

44. Harriet (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 6.7/10 (27,832 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 97% (12,145 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 73% (231 reviews)
> Directed by: Kasi Lemmons

A dramatization of the life of an American hero, this biographical film recounts Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and her decision to leave the safety of Philadelphia in order to guide more slaves on the journey north.

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

43. Soul Food (1997)
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (7,692 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (20,824 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 81% (42 reviews)
> Directed by: George Tillman Jr.

As an aging Chicago matriarch is hospitalized, her 40-year tradition of serving Sunday dinners to her progeny is abruptly halted, while her daughters’ heightening quarrels threaten to fracture the family even further.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

42. Crooklyn (1994)
> IMDb user rating: 7.0/10 (10,034 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 90% (11,383 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 77% (31 reviews)
> Directed by: Spike Lee

Co-written with two of his siblings, this semi-autobiographical film from Spike Lee follows a strict school teacher, her struggling jazz musician husband, and their five children in 1970s Brooklyn.

Source: Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

41. If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (45,888 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 71% (2,617 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (362 reviews)
> Directed by: Barry Jenkins

Based on the novel by James Baldwin, this drama concerns a young pregnant woman who seeks the help of her family and her Harlem community in proving the innocence of her boyfriend, who was arrested for a rape he didn’t commit.

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Source: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

40. Antwone Fisher (2002)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (36,467 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (47,260 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 78% (152 reviews)
> Directed by: Denzel Washington

Inspired by a true story and written by real-life protagonist Antwone Fisher, this drama recounts the harrowing childhood of a troubled sailor as his Navy psychiatrist guides him on a path toward healing.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

39. House Party (1990)
> IMDb user rating: 6.5/10 (14,173 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 82% (38,586 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (29 reviews)
> Directed by: Reginald Hudlin

Starring the two members of the hip hop duo Kid ‘n Play, this wild comedy follows a high school student who sneaks out to attend a party after his father grounds him for getting into a fight at school.

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Source: Courtesy of Open Road Films

38. Marshall (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (24,868 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (8,710 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 81% (149 reviews)
> Directed by: Reginald Hudlin

This biographical drama about the early career of the first Black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, stars the late Chadwick Boseman as a young NAACP lawyer who takes on a high profile rape case.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

37. Fences (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (103,038 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 75% (36,321 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (270 reviews)
> Directed by: Denzel Washington

Based on the play by August Wilson, Fences recounts the life of a sanitation worker and former Negro League baseball player in 1950’s Pittsburgh as he faces his life’s disappointments and tries, in his own way, to save his son from the same fate.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

36. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
> IMDb user rating: 6.9/10 (46,581 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 73% (1,141 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (297 reviews)
> Directed by: George C. Wolfe

Another film based on an August Wilson play, this drama imagines a tumultuous 1920s Chicago recording session headed by legendary blues singer Ma Rainey, as she and her backup musicians clash with her producer and one another.

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Source: Courtesy of IRS Media

35. One False Move (1992)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (10,935 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 75% (4,775 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (52 reviews)
> Directed by: Carl Franklin

In this crime thriller, a demented trio of murderers flee Los Angeles after a drug heist, spurring L.A.P.D. detectives to team up with a small-town Arkansas sheriff who jumps on the chance to solve a real crime…until he recognizes one of the suspects.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

34. I Like It Like That (1994)
> IMDb user rating: 6.8/10 (1,629 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (3,067 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 82% (11 reviews)
> Directed by: Darnell Martin

Set in the South Bronx, “I Like It Like That” concerns the failing marriage and infidelities of a young couple who each want a better life and will do whatever it takes to get one.

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Source: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company

33. To Sleep with Anger (1990)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (2,329 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 80% (551 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 88% (33 reviews)
> Directed by: Charles Burnett

When a mysterious and devilishly charming old friend from the South shows up at a Southern transplant family’s home in South Central L.A., their seemingly tranquil household begins to smolder with latent tensions that can no longer be ignored.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

32. Training Day (2001)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (409,127 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (301,091 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 73% (161 reviews)
> Directed by: Antoine Fuqua

“Training Day” follows a seasoned L.A.P.D. narcotics officer as he trains a young promotee using questionable methods, revealing a web of corruption that threatens both of their lives.

Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

31. 25th Hour (2002)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (174,718 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (80,325 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 79% (177 reviews)
> Directed by: Spike Lee

In post-9/11 New York, a young man spends his last day of freedom visiting with friends and loved ones before heading to jail on a seven-year sentence for dealing drugs, all the while contemplating the choices that got him where he is.

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Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

30. The Great Debaters (2007)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (59,902 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (116,821 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 80% (132 reviews)
> Directed by: Denzel Washington

This biographical drama recounts the story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at historically Black Wiley College in 1930s Texas, whose debate team would go on to challenge the reigning national champions.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

29. Rosewood (1997)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (8,377 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (7,967 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 87% (55 reviews)
> Directed by: John Singleton

A dramatization of the 1923 Rosewood Massacre in Levy County, Florida, this film follows an outsider and a local store owner as they attempt to help citizens evacuate a small town that is being destroyed by a racist lynch mob.

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

28. Friday (1995)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (105,351 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (265,739 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 78% (27 reviews)
> Directed by: F. Gary Gray

This cult classic buddy comedy follows two unemployed friends who owe $200 to a local drug dealer and run into a zany and menacing cast of characters as they attempt to square their debt.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions

27. Black Dynamite (2009)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (47,489 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (15,678 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 83% (64 reviews)
> Directed by: Scott Sanders

In this blaxploitation action film, a former CIA agent attempts to find out who killed his little brother, and ends up investigating a shady organization that is siphoning heroin and adulterated malt liquor into Black neighborhoods.

Source: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company

26. Fear of a Black Hat (1993)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (4,075 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (4,900 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 86% (22 reviews)
> Directed by: Rusty Cundieff

A mockumentary about the gangsta rap group N.W.H., this zany film details the rise and fall of the controversial performers through the eyes of a sociologist who follows them to research her thesis on hip hop as a form of urban dialogue.

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Source: Courtesy of Trimark Pictures

25. Eve’s Bayou (1997)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (9,428 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (8,317 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 82% (57 reviews)
> Directed by: Kasi Lemmons

Set in a Louisiana Creole community in the 1960s, this Southern Gothic film follows the family of a womanizing doctor through the eyes of his 10-year-old daughter – a girl who has premonitions about things she is still too young to understand.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

24. Queen & Slim (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (27,964 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 92% (12,708 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 83% (222 reviews)
> Directed by: Melina Matsoukas

After a disappointing Tinder date, Queen and Slim are expecting to never see each other again. But when they are pulled over by an aggressive police officer, things take a turn for the worse and they end up on the run.

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Source: Courtesy of American International Pictures

23. Cooley High (1975)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (4,572 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (4,371 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 85% (13 reviews)
> Directed by: Michael Schultz

Two fun-loving high school seniors in Chicago’s Near North Side spend their time partying and living it up until their lives are upended when they are wrongfully arrested and charged with grand theft auto.

Source: Courtesy of Lionsgate

22. Precious (2009)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (108,197 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 81% (141,258 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (238 reviews)
> Directed by: Lee Daniels

Based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire, this coming-of-age film follows a pregnant, illiterate Harlem teen who has suffered numerous types of abuse, as she receives guidance at an alternative school and begins to believe in herself.

Source: Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

21. One Night in Miami… (2020)
> IMDb user rating: 7.1/10 (28,873 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (1,037 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (331 reviews)
> Directed by: Regina King

Regina King’s directorial debut is a fictionalized account of a 1964 meeting between four greats – Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown – as they discuss and sometimes clash over their ideals and responsibilities as Black icons.

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Source: Courtesy of Film & TV House

20. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (2013)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (5,372 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 88% (4,761 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 84% (38 reviews)
> Directed by: George Tillman Jr.

In this coming-of-age film, 13-year-old Mister takes nine-year-old Pete under his wing after Mister’s mom is arrested and the two are forced to forage for food and survive a sweltering New York City summer.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

19. Inside Man (2006)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (354,136 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 85% (351,658 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 86% (208 reviews)
> Directed by: Spike Lee

In this crime thriller, an elaborate bank heist on Wall Street becomes a high stakes hostage situation, and the bank’s founder sends in a power broker to protect the mysterious contents of a safe deposit box.

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Source: Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

18. Black Panther (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (676,684 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (88,211 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (525 reviews)
> Directed by: Ryan Coogler

When the prince of a hidden, technologically advanced African nation called Wakanda becomes king, an adversary from the nation’s past challenges his authority, threatening not only the fate of Wakanda, but the fate of the world.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia TriStar Films de Argentina

17. Baadasssss! (2003)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (5,023 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (4,958 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 91% (109 reviews)
> Directed by: Mario Van Peebles

Written and directed by Mario Van Peebles, this biographical film pays homage to the career of his father Melvin Van Peebles, director of the film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” credited as the forerunner of the blaxploitation genre.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

16. Pariah (2011)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (6,645 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 82% (8,692 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (122 reviews)
> Directed by: Dee Rees

This coming-of-age film concerns a Brooklyn teenager who slowly comes to terms with her identity and sexuality, while her Christian mother attempts to control her appearance and friendships.

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Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

15. Love & Basketball (2000)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (20,127 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (186,899 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 83% (95 reviews)
> Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood

This romantic sports drama follows two childhood friends who grow up pursuing their dreams of becoming professional basketball players but run into challenges as their separate paths begin to pull them apart.

Source: Courtesy of A24

14. Moonlight (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (288,673 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 79% (45,830 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (392 reviews)
> Directed by: Barry Jenkins

This coming-of-age drama details three time spans in the life of Chiron, a meek Black boy being raised by his crack-addicted mother, as he struggles with his peers and his sexuality, finding brief refuge under the wing of a local drug dealer.

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Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

13. BlacKkKlansman (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (267,485 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (11,678 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (447 reviews)
> Directed by: Spike Lee

Based on a memoir by Ron Stallworth, this black comedy crime film recounts Stallworth’s time as the first Black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department and his infiltration of the local Ku Klux Klan chapter with the help of a Jewish colleague.

Source: Courtesy of Oscilloscope

12. Killer of Sheep (1978)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (6,409 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (4,689 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (80 reviews)
> Directed by: Charles Burnett

Director Charles Burnett’s master’s thesis is an artful look at an L.A. slaughterhouse worker’s struggle to connect with his family after numbing himself daily to the horrors of his job. As a result of unsecured music rights, the film was not widely released until late 2007.

Source: Courtesy of Film & TV House

11. Mudbound (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (46,035 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 84% (5,906 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (200 reviews)
> Directed by: Dee Rees

When two soldiers, one Black and one white, return to their Mississippi town after living through the horrors of World War II, they see the racial tensions and poverty of their intertwined families with new eyes.

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

10. The Hate U Give (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (33,599 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 83% (4,519 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (225 reviews)
> Directed by: George Tillman Jr.

Starr is a 16-year-old who straddles two worlds – her predominantly Black neighborhood and her wealthy, mostly-white prep school. When she becomes the sole witness to a murder committed by a police officer, she must consolidate her identities in order to do what is right.

Source: Courtesy of GEM Entertainment

9. Fruitvale Station (2013)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (82,531 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 87% (39,286 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (214 reviews)
> Directed by: Ryan Coogler

This biographical film portrays the last day in the life of Oscar Grant – a 22-year-old father who was fatally shot by a police officer on Jan. 1, 2009 in an Oakland subway station – as he gets a headstart on his New Year’s resolution to be a better man.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

8. Malcolm X (1992)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (96,208 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (57,040 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (62 reviews)
> Directed by: Spike Lee

Based on Alex Haley’s book “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” this film follows the title character through the stages of his life and the activism that would culminate in his departure from the Nation of Islam and his eventual assassination.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

7. Straight Outta Compton (2015)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (204,843 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 91% (24,335 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (247 reviews)
> Directed by: F. Gary Gray

A biographical drama surrounding the gangsta rappers known as N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton” details how five young men from the hood used their brazen lyrics to effect social change and become one of the most influential hip hop groups in history.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

6. Selma (2014)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (92,432 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (61,564 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 99% (313 reviews)
> Directed by: Ava DuVernay

Detailing the undaunted and visionary leadership behind the 1965 Alabama voting rights marches, this biographical drama portrays how the efforts of civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

5. Creed (2015)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (258,408 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (76,266 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (311 reviews)
> Directed by: Ryan Coogler

A spin-off of the Rocky series, “Creed” portrays the trials of an amateur boxer, Adonis Creed, who is mentored by an aging Rocky Balboa, the former opponent-turned-friend of Adonis’ late father, Apollo.

Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

4. Get Out (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (530,461 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 86% (76,158 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (397 reviews)
> Directed by: Jordan Peele

In Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, a young Black man travels upstate to meet his white girlfriend’s family, and slowly discovers that his unease about their reception of him is more than warranted.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

3. Do the Right Thing (1989)
> IMDb user rating: 8.0/10 (96,267 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 89% (73,827 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 93% (98 reviews)
> Directed by: Spike Lee

On a sweltering summer day, simmering racial tensions in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn lead to violence around a veteran pizza shop, owned by Italian-Americans who have slowly watched the demographic of the neighborhood change.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

2. Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (81,784 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 95% (495 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (339 reviews)
> Directed by: Shaka King

A dramatization of the events leading up to the 1969 murder of activist and multicultural political organizer Fred Hampton by local law enforcement officers, this film details the Illinois Black Panther Party’s infiltration by an FBI informant.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

1. Boyz n the Hood (1991)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (132,951 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 93% (144,364 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 96% (70 reviews)
> Directed by: John Singleton

This coming-of-age drama follows the path of Tre Styles, a smart kid with a bad attitude, who, together with two friends, must confront race, opportunity, and violence in South Central LA.

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