Best African American Peformances

by horne_jeffrey | created - 11 Jan 2014 | updated - 11 Jan 2014 | Public
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1. 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: 361,599 | Gross: $76.63M

Denzel Washington

2. 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: 129,103 | Gross: $75.33M

Jamie Foxx

3. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

R | 124 min | Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

A young man must complete his work at a Navy Officer Candidate School to become an aviator, with the help of a tough Gunnery Sergeant and his new girlfriend.

Director: Taylor Hackford | Stars: Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith, Robert Loggia

Votes: 45,098 | Gross: $129.80M

Louis Gosslett JR

4. Forrest Gump (1994)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Sally Field

Votes: 1,644,148 | Gross: $330.25M

Bubba

5. Claudine (1974)

PG | 92 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

In the 1970s Harlem, garbage collector Roop feels intimidated by the idea of dating Claudine who is a single mother of six on welfare.

Director: John Berry | Stars: Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Tamu Blackwell

Votes: 1,537

James Earl Jones and Diane Carol

6. The River Niger (1976)

R | 105 min | Drama

An intimate look at life in the ghetto: Johnny Williams is a house painter who moonlights as a poet, struggling to financially and emotionally support his cancer-ridden wife Mattie. But ... See full summary »

Director: Krishna Shah | Stars: Cicely Tyson, James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett Jr., Glynn Turman

Votes: 179

James Earl Jones

7. 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: 76,845 | Gross: $48.17M

Denzel Washington

8. Lean on Me (1989)

PG-13 | 108 min | Drama

58 Metascore

The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school and he is determined to improve by any and all means.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Robert Guillaume, Alan North

Votes: 16,968 | Gross: $31.91M

MORGAN FREEMAN

9. 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: 90,557 | Gross: $106.59M

Morgan Freeman

10. Dreamgirls (2006)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Music, Musical

76 Metascore

A trio of black female soul singers cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960s, facing their own personal struggles along the way.

Director: Bill Condon | Stars: Beyoncé, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover

Votes: 65,036 | Gross: $103.37M

Eddie Murphy

11. 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

Don Cheadle

12. Ghost (1990)

PG-13 | 127 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

52 Metascore

After a young man is murdered, his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger, with the help of a reluctant psychic.

Director: Jerry Zucker | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Tony Goldwyn

Votes: 181,899 | Gross: $217.63M

WHOOPI GOLDBERG

13. 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: 37,047 | Gross: $22.20M

TERRANCE HOWARD

14. Monster's Ball (2001)

R | 111 min | Drama, Romance

69 Metascore

After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard reexamines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed.

Director: Marc Forster | Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Taylor Simpson, Gabrielle Witcher

Votes: 79,243 | Gross: $31.25M

HALLE BERRY

15. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

R | 142 min | Drama

80 Metascore

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler

Votes: 2,136,313 | Gross: $28.34M

MORGAN FREEMAN

16. 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: 1,236,615 | Gross: $162.81M

SAMUEL JACKSON

17. Sparkle (I) (2012)

PG-13 | 116 min | Drama, Music

54 Metascore

In the 1960s, three sisters form a girl group and soon become local sensations with major label interest, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart.

Director: Salim Akil | Stars: Jordin Sparks Thomas, Carmen Ejogo, Whitney Houston, Derek Luke

Votes: 5,673 | Gross: $24.40M

MIKE EPPS

18. Glory (1989)

R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History

78 Metascore

Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 114,311 | Gross: $26.83M

DENZEL WASHINGTON

19. Men of Honor (2000)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama

56 Metascore

The story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American U.S. Navy Diver, and the man who trained him.

Director: George Tillman Jr. | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron, Aunjanue Ellis

Votes: 101,852 | Gross: $48.82M

CUBA GOODING JR

20. 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: 15,194

KUNTA

21. 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: 114,255 | Gross: $57.50M

Cuba Gooding Jr, Ice Cube, and Morris Chestnut

22. New Jack City (1991)

R | 97 min | Action, Crime, Drama

61 Metascore

A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

Director: Mario Van Peebles | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock

Votes: 29,128 | Gross: $47.62M

Wesley Snipes

23. Sugar Hill (1993)

R | 123 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A drug dealer tries to get out of the life and start anew with his girlfriend, but the transition is tragically difficult.

Director: Leon Ichaso | Stars: Wesley Snipes, Michael Wright, Khandi Alexander, DeVaughn Nixon

Votes: 3,817 | Gross: $18.27M

Wesley Snipes

24. 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: 3,330 | Gross: $8.75M

Robert Townsend, Leon, and other African American stars

25. The Temptations (1998)

150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Biography of the singers who formed the hit Motown musical act, The Temptations.

Stars: Charles Malik Whitfield, D.B. Woodside, Terron Brooks, Christian Payton

Votes: 3,698

Leon and African American stars

26. Radio (2003)

PG | 109 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

38 Metascore

The story of a high school coach and the developmentally challenged man who he took under his wing.

Director: Michael Tollin | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Ed Harris, Debra Winger, S. Epatha Merkerson

Votes: 36,631 | Gross: $52.28M

Cuba Gooding Jr

27. Crooklyn (1994)

PG-13 | 115 min | Comedy, Drama

65 Metascore

Spike Lee's vibrant semi-autobiographical portrait of a school teacher, her stubborn jazz musician husband and their five kids living in Brooklyn in 1973.

Director: Spike Lee | Stars: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, David Patrick Kelly, Zelda Harris

Votes: 8,301 | Gross: $13.64M

Alfre Woodward and Delroy Lindo

28. Holiday Heart (2000 TV Movie)

R | 100 min | Drama

A drag queen takes in a drug addict and her daughter and helps raise the daughter.

Director: Robert Townsend | Stars: Ving Rhames, Alfre Woodard, Jesika Reynolds, Mykelti Williamson

Votes: 1,026

Ving Thames and Alfre Woodward

29. Sometimes in April (2005 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 140 min | Drama, History, War

When the Hutu nationalists raised arms against their Tutsi countrymen in Rwanda in April 1994, the violent uprising marked the beginning of one of the darkest times in African history which resulted in the deaths of almost 800,000 people.

Director: Raoul Peck | Stars: Idris Elba, Carole Karemera, Pamela Nomvete, Oris Erhuero

Votes: 4,678



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