Best Black Dramas of All Time

by BigBadDolemite | created - 30 Oct 2013 | updated - 13 May 2017 | Public
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1. 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: 114,215 | Gross: $57.50M

2. Jackie Brown (1997)

R | 154 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

64 Metascore

A middle-aged woman finds herself in the middle of a huge conflict that will either make her a profit or cost her life.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda

Votes: 290,744 | Gross: $39.67M

3. Cooley High (1975)

PG | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

72 Metascore

In 1964, a group of high school friends who live on the Near North Side of Chicago enjoy life to the fullest...parties, hanging out, meeting new friends. Then life changes for two of the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz | Stars: Glynn Turman, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Garrett Morris, Cynthia Davis

Votes: 3,843

4. City of God (2002)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

In the slums of Rio, two kids' paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund | Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phellipe Haagensen

Votes: 653,861 | Gross: $7.56M

5. 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: 76,826 | Gross: $48.17M

6. Menace II Society (1993)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A young street hustler attempts to escape the rigors and temptations of the ghetto in a quest for a better life.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu, Toshi Toda

Votes: 47,381 | Gross: $27.90M

7. White Men Can't Jump (1992)

R | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Sport

65 Metascore

Black and white basketball hustlers join forces to double their chances of winning money on the street courts and in a basketball tournament.

Director: Ron Shelton | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez, Tyra Ferrell

Votes: 70,050 | Gross: $76.25M

8. Ray (I) (2004)

PG-13 | 152 min | Biography, Drama, Music

73 Metascore

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell

Votes: 129,063 | Gross: $75.33M

9. Hustle & Flow (2005)

R | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Music

68 Metascore

With help from his friends, a Memphis pimp in a mid-life crisis attempts to become a successful hip-hop emcee.

Director: Craig Brewer | Stars: Terrence Howard, Ludacris, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning

Votes: 37,034 | Gross: $22.20M

10. The Wood (1999)

R | 106 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

52 Metascore

While dealing with a friend's cold feet on his wedding day, a writer reminisces about his youth with his best friends.

Director: Rick Famuyiwa | Stars: Elayn J. Taylor, Omar Epps, Richard T. Jones, Sean Nelson

Votes: 7,755 | Gross: $25.05M

11. 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: 76,723 | Gross: $27.55M

12. American Gangster (2007)

R | 157 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

An outcast New York City cop is charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, whose real life inspired this partly biographical film.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin

Votes: 370,948 | Gross: $130.16M

13. Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Not Rated | 137 min | Drama, War

79 Metascore

A drama based on the experiences of Agu, a child soldier fighting in the civil war of an unnamed African country.

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga | Stars: Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Affadzi, Ricky Adelayitor, Andrew Adote

Votes: 65,358 | Gross: $0.08M

14. The Color Purple (1985)

PG-13 | 154 min | Drama

78 Metascore

A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery

Votes: 72,411 | Gross: $98.47M

15. Remember the Titans (2000)

PG | 113 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

48 Metascore

The true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team on their first season as a racially integrated unit.

Director: Boaz Yakin | Stars: Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris, Ryan Hurst

Votes: 186,241 | Gross: $115.65M

16. 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: 361,485 | Gross: $76.63M

17. Creed (II) (2015)

PG-13 | 133 min | Drama, Sport

82 Metascore

The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad

Votes: 229,073 | Gross: $109.77M

18. 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: 234,848 | Gross: $27.85M

19. Antwone Fisher (2002)

PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama

62 Metascore

Antwone Fisher, a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past is revealed and a new hope begins.

Director: Denzel Washington | Stars: Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Joy Bryant, Malcolm David Kelley

Votes: 30,968 | Gross: $21.08M

20. Juice (1992)

R | 95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

60 Metascore

Four inner-city teenagers get caught up in the pursuit of power and happiness, which they refer to as "the juice".

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson | Stars: Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins, Khalil Kain

Votes: 21,596 | Gross: $20.15M

21. 8 Mile (2002)

R | 110 min | Drama, Music

77 Metascore

A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make it big but his friends and foes make this odyssey of rap harder than it may seem.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger, Mekhi Phifer

Votes: 231,758 | Gross: $116.72M

22. Dead Presidents (1995)

R | 119 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A Vietnam vet adjusts to life after the war while trying to support his family, but the chance of a better life may involve crime and bloodshed.

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes | Stars: Larenz Tate, Keith David, Chris Tucker, Freddy Rodríguez

Votes: 18,205 | Gross: $24.20M

23. Wah Do Dem (2009)

TV-MA | 76 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

54 Metascore

Max lives in Brooklyn. He enjoys playing soccer, skateboarding, and drinking with his friends at local bars. Last summer he and his girlfriend, Willow, won a free cruise to Jamaica but two ... See full summary »

Directors: Ben Chace, Sam Fleischner | Stars: Kevin Bewersdorf, Sean Bones, Carl Bradshaw, Mark Gibbs

Votes: 322

24. Purple Rain (1984)

R | 111 min | Drama, Music, Musical

55 Metascore

A young musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home, must contend with a rival singer, a burgeoning romance, and his own dissatisfied band, as his star begins to rise.

Director: Albert Magnoli | Stars: Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Morris Day, Olga Karlatos

Votes: 17,836 | Gross: $68.39M

25. The Preacher's Wife (1996)

PG | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

An angel comes to Earth to help a preacher save his church and his family.

Director: Penny Marshall | Stars: Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance, Gregory Hines

Votes: 10,321 | Gross: $48.10M

26. Django Unchained (2012)

R | 165 min | Drama, Western

81 Metascore

With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington

Votes: 1,236,038 | Gross: $162.81M

27. Rebound: The Legend of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault (1996 TV Movie)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

A dramatization of the life of Earl 'The Goat' Manigault (Don Cheadle), with a lot of factual based occurrences. A reformed junkie returns from prison to clean up his act and devote the ... See full summary »

Director: Eriq La Salle | Stars: Don Cheadle, James Earl Jones, Michael Beach, Ronny Cox

Votes: 2,693

28. Rockers (1978)

100 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

Horsemouth sets himself up in business selling records but when gangsters steal his bike things start to turn nasty. As tensions build, Horsemouth and friends plot to end the gangsters ... See full summary »

Director: Ted Bafaloukos | Stars: Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Richard 'Dirty Harry' Hall, Monica Craig, Marjorie Norman

Votes: 1,582

29. The Five Heartbeats (1991)

R | 121 min | Drama, Music

The story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group.

Director: Robert Townsend | Stars: Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon, Harry Lennix

Votes: 3,329 | Gross: $8.75M

30. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)

PG | 112 min | Drama, Family

72 Metascore

A young girl from South Los Angeles tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.

Director: Doug Atchison | Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke Palmer, Curtis Armstrong

Votes: 17,397 | Gross: $18.81M

31. Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

PG | 99 min | Drama

81 Metascore

An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy, Dan Aykroyd, Patti LuPone

Votes: 90,516 | Gross: $106.59M

32. Talk to Me (2007)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

The story of Washington D.C. radio personality Ralph "Petey" Greene, an ex-con who became a popular talk show host and community activist in the 1960s.

Director: Kasi Lemmons | Stars: Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bruce McFee, Mike Epps

Votes: 9,115 | Gross: $4.47M

33. Precious (II) (2009)

R | 110 min | Drama

79 Metascore

In New York City's Harlem circa 1987, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.

Director: Lee Daniels | Stars: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey

Votes: 101,004 | Gross: $47.40M

34. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

PG-13 | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

86 Metascore

Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

Director: Benh Zeitlin | Stars: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly, Lowell Landes

Votes: 77,867 | Gross: $12.80M

35. Fences (2016)

PG-13 | 139 min | Drama

79 Metascore

A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

Director: Denzel Washington | Stars: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo

Votes: 88,773 | Gross: $57.64M

36. Amistad (1997)

R | 155 min | Drama, History

63 Metascore

In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 66,757 | Gross: $44.18M

37. What's Love Got to Do with It (1993)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, Music

The story of singer Tina Turner's rise to stardom and how she gained the courage to break free from her abusive husband, Ike Turner.

Director: Brian Gibson | Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, RaéVen Kelly, Virginia Capers

Votes: 15,800 | Gross: $39.10M

38. Love & Basketball (2000)

PG-13 | 124 min | Drama, Romance, Sport

70 Metascore

Monica and Quincy love and play basketball together through many life challenges from childhood to adulthood.

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood | Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Glenndon Chatman, Jess Willard

Votes: 16,917 | Gross: $27.44M

39. Paid in Full (2002)

R | 97 min | Action, Crime, Drama

49 Metascore

A young man from Harlem, forced to cope with the 1980s drug scene, builds an illegal empire, only to have a crisis of conscience.

Director: Charles Stone III | Stars: Mekhi Phifer, Wood Harris, Chi McBride, Kevin Carroll

Votes: 9,600 | Gross: $3.04M

40. John Q (2002)

PG-13 | 116 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

30 Metascore

John Quincy Archibald takes a hospital emergency room hostage when his insurance won't cover his son's heart transplant.

Director: Nick Cassavetes | Stars: Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, Gabriela Oltean, Kimberly Elise

Votes: 116,554 | Gross: $71.76M

41. Black Snake Moan (2006)

R | 116 min | Drama, Music

52 Metascore

A God-fearing bluesman takes to a wild young woman who, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it.

Director: Craig Brewer | Stars: Christina Ricci, Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Timberlake, S. Epatha Merkerson

Votes: 58,797 | Gross: $9.40M

42. Cadillac Records (2008)

R | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Music

65 Metascore

Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists.

Director: Darnell Martin | Stars: Adrien Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Beyoncé, Columbus Short

Votes: 18,593 | Gross: $8.20M

43. Soul Food (1997)

R | 115 min | Comedy, Drama

68 Metascore

One person can keep a family together and, when that one person is gone, a family can be torn apart.

Director: George Tillman Jr. | Stars: Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Michael Beach

Votes: 6,411 | Gross: $43.49M

44. He Got Game (1998)

R | 136 min | Drama, Sport

63 Metascore

A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Denzel Washington, Milla Jovovich, Ray Allen, Rosario Dawson

Votes: 41,653 | Gross: $21.55M

45. Life Support (2007 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 87 min | Drama

The true-life story of a mother who overcame an addiction to crack and became a positive role model and an AIDS activist in the black community.

Director: Nelson George | Stars: Queen Latifah, Vianca Mercedes, Anna Deavere Smith, Wendell Pierce

Votes: 1,054

46. Goodbye Uncle Tom (1971)

Unrated | 123 min | Drama

Two documentary filmmakers go back in time to the pre-Civil War American South, to film the slave trade.

Directors: Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi | Stars: Stefano Sibaldi, Dick Gregory, Gualtiero Jacopetti, Ernest Kubler

Votes: 1,241

47. Set It Off (1996)

R | 123 min | Action, Crime, Drama