35 Greatest Black History Month Movies
As we embark on the month dedicated to celebrating the rich tapestry of Black history, it is only fitting to immerse ourselves in the cinematic narratives that beautifully capture the essence of this profound journey. In this curated list, we present the “35 Greatest Black History Month Movies” — a collection that transcends time and genre to illuminate the triumphs, struggles, and contributions of the Black community. From riveting historical dramas to soul-stirring documentaries and contemporary masterpieces, each film serves as a testament to the resilience, creativity, and enduring spirit that define Black history. Join us on this cinematic journey as we honor the stories that have shaped, inspired, and continue to enrich our collective understanding of the Black experience.
1. 12 Years a Slave
First on the list of 35 greatest black history month movies is 12 Years a Slave. A powerful drama based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Chronicles the events surrounding the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr.
3. Hidden Figures
A story about a team of African American women mathematicians who played a crucial role at NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.
4. Malcolm X
A biographical film about the life of Malcolm X, a prominent civil rights leader.
5. Do the Right Thing
Directed by Spike Lee, this film explores racial tension in a Brooklyn neighborhood during a hot summer day.
6. The Color Purple
Based on Alice Walker’s novel, it follows the life of a young African American girl in the early 20th century South.
7. Get Out
A horror film that delves into racial issues in contemporary America, directed by Jordan Peele.
8. Black Panther
A groundbreaking Marvel superhero film that celebrates African culture and features a predominantly Black cast.
9. Fruitvale Station
Based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a young Black man who was fatally shot by a transit officer in Oakland, California.
10. The Help
Set in the 1960s, it explores the experiences of African American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi.
A coming-of-age drama that follows the life of a young Black man as he grapples with his identity and sexuality.
A biopic about the life and career of legendary musician Ray Charles.
13. Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino’s film set in the pre-Civil War South, telling the story of a freed slave turned bounty hunter.
Focuses on the life of Harriet Tubman, a key figure in the Underground Railroad.
A historical war drama about the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, one of the first African American units in the Civil War.
16. The Butler
Follows the life of Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who served eight U.S. presidents.
17. I Am Not Your Negro
A documentary that explores the history of racism in the United States through the writings of James Baldwin.
18. Queen & Slim
A modern-day Bonnie and Clyde story that explores systemic racism and police violence.
19. A Raisin in the Sun
Adapted from Lorraine Hansberry’s play, it explores the dreams and struggles of an African American family in the 1950s.
20. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
A classic film that addresses interracial marriage and societal attitudes of the 1960s.
A biographical film about a young Barack Obama during his college years in New York City.
Based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court case.
23. Straight Outta Compton
Chronicles the rise of the rap group N.W.A. and explores issues of race and police brutality.
24. The Great Debaters
Inspired by the true story of the Wiley College debate team, led by professor Melvin B. Tolson.
25. The Wiz
A musical adaptation of “The Wizard of Oz” with an all-Black cast.
26. Dear White People
A satirical film that explores racial tensions at a predominantly white Ivy League college.
27. House Party
“House Party” is a classic teen comedy film that showcases the vibrant and energetic hip-hop culture of the late 1980s. Starring Kid ‘n Play, the film is known for its humor, music, and dance sequences, making it a beloved part of Black cinema history.
28. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
A documentary that examines the Black Power movement through archival footage.
29. The Hate U Give
Based on the novel, it follows a young girl who witnesses the police shooting of her best friend.
30. In the Heat of the Night
A crime drama that addresses racial tensions in a Southern town.
“Blade” is a superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Starring Wesley Snipes, the film holds significance as one of the first successful superhero movies with a Black lead and contributed to the modern era of comic book adaptations.
32. If Beale Street Could Talk
Adapted from James Baldwin’s novel, it tells the story of a young couple dealing with injustice in 1970s Harlem.
33. A Ballerina’s Tale
A documentary about Misty Copeland, the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.
Explores the psychological toll of working on death row and the impact on the African American prison warden.
35. Black is King
Last on the list of 35 greatest black history month movies is Black is King. A visual album by Beyoncé that celebrates Black culture and features stunning visuals and music.