Best films about Civil Rights / Racism

by raschalluc | created - 17 Sep 2017 | updated - 18 Sep 2017 | Public
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1. 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: 76,771 | Gross: $27.55M

2. Selma (2014)

PG-13 | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

88 Metascore

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussaint

Votes: 78,701 | Gross: $52.08M

3. 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: 76,843 | Gross: $48.17M

4. 4 Little Girls (1997)

TV-14 | 102 min | Documentary, History

89 Metascore

A documentary of the notorious racial terrorist bombing of an African American church during the Civil Rights Movement.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Maxine McNair, Walter Cronkite, Chris McNair, Fred Lee Shuttlesworth

Votes: 2,533 | Gross: $0.13M

5. Mississippi Burning (1988)

R | 128 min | Crime, Drama, History

65 Metascore

Two F.B.I. Agents, with wildly different styles, arrive in Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of some civil rights activists.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif

Votes: 80,378 | Gross: $34.60M

6. Jungle Fever (1991)

R | 132 min | Drama, Romance

Friends and family of a married black architect react in different ways to his affair with an Italian secretary.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra, Spike Lee, Ossie Davis

Votes: 15,718 | Gross: $32.48M

7. The Long Walk Home (1990)

PG | 97 min | Drama, History

73 Metascore

Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King.

Director: Richard Pearce | Stars: Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg, Dwight Schultz, Ving Rhames

Votes: 2,979 | Gross: $4.80M

8. The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, Biography, History

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay city supervisor.

Director: Rob Epstein | Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg, Tory Hartmann

Votes: 5,276 | Gross: $0.01M

9. Roots (1977)

TV-14 | 588 min | Biography, Drama, History

A dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement to his descendants' liberation.

Stars: LeVar Burton, Robert Reed, John Amos, Louis Gossett Jr.

Votes: 15,193

10. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

96 Metascore

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Votes: 586,431 | Gross: $56.67M

11. 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: 114,254 | Gross: $57.50M

12. Reel Injun (2009)

Not Rated | 85 min | Documentary, Western

63 Metascore

The history of the depiction of Native Americans in Hollywood films.

Directors: Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge, Jeremiah Hayes | Stars: Adam Beach, Chris Eyre, Russell Means, John Trudell

Votes: 1,270

13. Incident at Oglala (1992)

PG | 89 min | Documentary, History

This film describes the events surrounding a 1975 shootout at the Pine Ridge reservation in S. Dakota where two FBI agents were killed.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Robert Redford, Norman Zigrossi, Robert Sikma, Darelle 'Dino' Butler

Votes: 989 | Gross: $0.54M

14. Eyes on the Prize (1987–1990)

TV-PG | 360 min | Documentary, History

A documentary about the American Civil Rights Movement from 1952 to 1965.

Stars: Julian Bond, Unita Blackwell, James Hicks, Burke Marshall

Votes: 456

15. The Help (2011)

PG-13 | 146 min | Drama

62 Metascore

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

Director: Tate Taylor | Stars: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard

Votes: 397,884 | Gross: $169.71M

16. Before Stonewall (1984)

Unrated | 87 min | Documentary, History

The history of the Gay and Lesbian community before the Stonewall riots began the major gay rights movement.

Directors: Greta Schiller, Robert Rosenberg | Stars: Rita Mae Brown, Maua Adele Ajanaku, Red Jordan Arobateau, Ann Bannon

Votes: 678 | Gross: $0.02M

17. After Stonewall (1999)

Not Rated | 88 min | Documentary, Biography, History

Documentary/Historical retrospective of the Gay Rights movement from the 1969 Stonewall riots to the present.

Director: John Scagliotti | Stars: Craig Rodwell, Melissa Etheridge, Mike Carney, Barney Frank

Votes: 366

18. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Not Rated | 129 min | Crime, Drama

88 Metascore

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his children against prejudice.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy

Votes: 276,254

19. Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, History

A Mississippi district attorney and the widow of Medgar Evers struggle to finally bring a white racist to justice for the 1963 murder of the civil rights leader.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Whoopi Goldberg, Virginia Madsen

Votes: 9,601 | Gross: $13.05M

20. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 110 min | Drama

Story of a black woman in the South who was born into slavery in the 1850s and lives to become a part of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Director: John Korty | Stars: Cicely Tyson, Eric Brown, Richard Dysart, Joel Fluellen

Votes: 1,524

21. Sounder (1972)

G | 105 min | Drama, Family

80 Metascore

The oldest son of a loving and strong family of black sharecroppers comes of age in the Depression-era South after his father is imprisoned for stealing food.

Director: Martin Ritt | Stars: Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks, Carmen Mathews

Votes: 3,226

22. Bamboozled (2000)

R | 135 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

50 Metascore

A frustrated African-American TV writer proposes a blackface minstrel show in protest, but to his chagrin it becomes a hit.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Rapaport

Votes: 9,619 | Gross: $2.19M

23. The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (2005)

PG-13 | 70 min | Documentary, Biography

80 Metascore

Never-before-seen testimony is included in this documentary on Emmett Louis Till, who, in 1955, was brutally murdered after he whistled at a white woman.

Director: Keith Beauchamp | Stars: Mamie Till Mobley, Wheeler Parker, Simeon Wright, Ruthie Mae Crawford

Votes: 352 | Gross: $0.20M

24. A Raisin in the Sun (1961)

Approved | 128 min | Drama

87 Metascore

A substantial insurance payment could mean either financial salvation or personal ruin for a poor black family.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee, Diana Sands

Votes: 6,442

25. 42 (2013)

PG-13 | 128 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

62 Metascore

In 1947, Jackie Robinson becomes the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era when he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and faces considerable racism in the process.

Director: Brian Helgeland | Stars: Chadwick Boseman, T.R. Knight, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie

Votes: 78,731 | Gross: $95.00M

26. Blazing Saddles (1974)

R | 93 min | Comedy, Western

73 Metascore

In order to ruin a western town, a corrupt politician appoints a black Sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.

Director: Mel Brooks | Stars: Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder, Slim Pickens, Harvey Korman

Votes: 117,526 | Gross: $119.50M

27. Fruitvale Station (2013)

R | 85 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

85 Metascore

The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

Director: Ryan Coogler | Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand

Votes: 68,982 | Gross: $16.10M

28. The Loving Story (2011)

Not Rated | 77 min | Documentary, Drama, History

A racially-charged criminal trial and a heart-rending love story converge in this documentary about Richard and Mildred Loving, set during the turbulent Civil Rights era. Long Way Home: The... See full summary »

Director: Nancy Buirski | Stars: Jane Alexander, Lindsay Almond Jr., Edward L. Ayers, Leon M. Bazile

Votes: 662

29. Lee Daniels' The Butler (I) (2013)

PG-13 | 132 min | Biography, Drama

66 Metascore

As Cecil Gaines serves eight presidents during his tenure as a butler at the White House, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events affect this man's life, family, and American society.

Director: Lee Daniels | Stars: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda

Votes: 103,406 | Gross: $116.63M

30. Get on the Bus (1996)

R | 120 min | Drama, History

A disparate group of African-American men travel by bus to Washington, DC for the Million Man March.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Ossie Davis, Charles S. Dutton, Andre Braugher, Richard Belzer

Votes: 4,664 | Gross: $5.73M

31. Baseball (1994–2010)

TV-PG | 1,140 min | Documentary, History, Sport

A documentary on the history of the sport with major topics including Afro-American players, player/team owner relations and the resilience of the game.

Stars: John Chancellor, Daniel Okrent, Ossie Davis, Paul Roebling

Votes: 3,372

32. 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: 72,439 | Gross: $98.47M

33. Stand and Deliver (1988)

PG | 103 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout prone students to learn calculus.

Director: Ramón Menéndez | Stars: Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan, Virginia Paris

Votes: 14,860 | Gross: $13.99M

34. Cesar Chavez (2014)

PG-13 | 102 min | Biography, Drama

51 Metascore

A biography of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer Cesar Chavez.

Director: Diego Luna | Stars: Michael Peña, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, John Malkovich

Votes: 3,052 | Gross: $5.55M

35. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Not Rated | 108 min | Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

A couple's attitudes are challenged when their daughter introduces them to her African-American fiancé.

Director: Stanley Kramer | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton

Votes: 35,695 | Gross: $56.70M

36. Hairspray (1988)

PG | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

77 Metascore

A 'pleasantly plump' teenager teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.

Director: John Waters | Stars: Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Divine, Debbie Harry

Votes: 18,719 | Gross: $6.67M

37. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

R | 147 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood.

Director: F. Gary Gray | Stars: O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown Jr.

Votes: 167,408 | Gross: $161.20M

38. Chi-Raq (2015)

R | 127 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

77 Metascore

A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago, Illinois.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Nick Cannon, Teyonah Parris, Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett

Votes: 8,242 | Gross: $2.65M

39. Soundtrack for a Revolution (2009)

Not Rated | 82 min | Documentary, History, Music

64 Metascore

Tells the story of the American civil rights movement through its powerful music - the freedom songs protesters sang on picket lines, in mass meetings, and in jail cells as they fought for ... See full summary »

Directors: Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman | Stars: The Roots, John Legend, Wyclef Jean, Joss Stone

Votes: 264



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