Black Life on Film

I’ve enjoyed many of these films because they’ve provided me with a variety of portrayals and images of black men and women as they go about their lives in the most mundane and extraordinary ways. The genres and quality may vary but the underlying theme doesn’t. This is a list that will allow you to see yourself on the screen or it may deepen your understanding of the other. The list contains films that were directed by a diverse group of creators and they showcase the good the bad and the ugly as it relates to the black experience. In this way, you’re able to gain a full understanding of how representation, for better or worse, can build and destroy a culture.  

Subcategories (Based on Letterboxd Genre Filters)


















Science Fiction

Short Films





Suggestions/Recommendations are always welcome.

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Paris Is Burning
  • Hoop Dreams
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Minding the Gap
  • Lemonade
  • Dirty Computer
  • Moonlight
  • When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
  • Get Out
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • LA 92
  • Michael Jackson's Thriller
  • Blindspotting
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Django Unchained
  • Nothing But a Man
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Intouchables
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • Personal Problems
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • Imitation of Life
  • Richard Pryor: Live in Concert
  • Tongues Untied
  • Malcolm X
  • When We Were Kings
  • In the Heat of the Night
  • Pariah
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • Blue Collar
  • Killer of Sheep
  • Roots
  • Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
  • Black Girl
  • King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis
  • A Raisin in the Sun
  • 4 Little Girls
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • Bush Mama
  • Chris Rock: Bring the Pain
  • Murder on a Sunday Morning
  • Creed
  • Portrait of Jason
  • Camp de Thiaroye
  • Wattstax
  • The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun
  • Hidden Figures
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Runaway
  • Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
  • The Hate U Give
  • To Sleep with Anger
  • The Help
  • Moolaadé
  • Chris Rock: Bigger & Blacker
  • Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives
  • City of Joy
  • Boyz n the Hood
  • Bad Black
  • Black Dynamite
  • Quest
  • Roots
  • Black Orpheus
  • Jackie Brown
  • George Washington
  • Black Panther
  • The Central Park Five
  • Fruitvale Station
  • The New Edition Story
  • Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One
  • Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
  • Who Killed Captain Alex?
  • Selma
  • The Watermelon Woman
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
  • The Murder of Fred Hampton
  • A Patch of Blue
  • Street Fight
  • Jackie Robinson
  • The Color Purple
  • Philadelphia
  • Far from Heaven
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Sorry to Bother You
  • Babylon
  • Free Angela and All Political Prisoners
  • Touki Bouki
  • Widows
  • United Skates
  • Tangerine
  • Step
  • Uptight
  • Four Women
  • Black Is … Black Ain’t
  • Mudbound
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
  • The Spook Who Sat by the Door
  • The Connection