Great African American Experience Movies

These movies span the full range of African American cinema, from the funny but powerful Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing to the sentimental drama of Alice Walker's novel-turned-movie The Color Purple. Teens and parents will find much to appreciate in these films that bring to life the experiences of the past -- from the Civil War to civil rights -- that have shaped us all.

Browse Great African American Experience Movies

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World Movie Poster Image
Powerful, kid-friendly intro to black history stories.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story Movie Poster Image
Inspirational animated tale of famous black ballerina soars.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Garrett's Gift Movie Poster Image
Smart animation introduces African-American inventor.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2007)
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The Journey of Henry Box Brown Movie Poster Image
Powerful tale of former slave with big ideas about freedom.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2005)
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And the Children Shall Lead Movie Poster Image
A sensitive, powerful drama on race issues.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1988)
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A Ballerina's Tale Movie Poster Image
Engrossing dance docu introduces powerful role model.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Thunder Soul Movie Poster Image
Uplifting docu spotlights legendary high school jazz band.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2011)
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Hidden Figures Movie Poster Image
Inspiring true story of African-American women at NASA.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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The Long Walk Home Movie Poster Image
Moving Civil Rights story heavy on "N" word but uplifting.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1991)
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Remember the Titans Movie Poster Image
Inspiring football drama brings history to life.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2000)
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Woodlawn Movie Poster Image
Heartwarming fact-based drama about faith, race, football.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Betty & Coretta Movie Poster Image
Moving tribute to two civil rights widows' legacies.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Drumline Movie Poster Image
Outstanding cast, great message, strong language.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2002)
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The Express Movie Poster Image
Inspirational true story tackles race, football.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2008)
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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Movie Poster Image
Civil rights, love, and family drama in '60s classic.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1967)
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The Help Movie Poster Image
Poignant, thought-provoking civil rights tale.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2011)
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Pride Movie Poster Image
Inspiring sports tale takes on racism; cursing, drugs.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2007)
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A Raisin in the Sun Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful, play-based drama examines racism.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2008)
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Sounder (1972) Movie Poster Image
A strong family triumphs over poverty and racism.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1972)
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The Watsons Go to Birmingham Movie Poster Image
Warm family drama brings the civil rights movement to life.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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Barbershop Movie Poster Image
Engaging ensemble comedy has some salty language.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2002)
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Boycott Movie Poster Image
Humanizing look at start of civil rights movement.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2001)
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The Great Debaters Movie Poster Image
Inspiring true story confronts racism head-on.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2007)
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Hoop Dreams Movie Poster Image
Stunning documentary addresses race and class issues.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1994)
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I Am Not Your Negro Movie Poster Image
Powerful documentary explores race, art, and activism.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Movie Poster Image
Forceful telling of Angelou's coming-of-age book.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1999)
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Malcolm X Movie Poster Image
Insightful and well-rounded portrait of Malcolm X.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1992)
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A Raisin in the Sun Movie Poster Image
Classic based on the Pulitzer prize-winning play.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1961)
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Selma Movie Poster Image
Outstanding drama about MLK's fight for equal rights.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Strong Island Movie Poster Image
Emotionally raw docu on racial injustice in America.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till Movie Poster Image
Eye-opening docu on horrific '50s murder has graphic images.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2005)
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The Black List: Vol. 1 Movie Poster Image
Profound docu explores African-American racial identity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2008)
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Coach Carter Movie Poster Image
Engaging film with a terrific message.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2005)
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The Color Purple Movie Poster Image
Powerful tale of survival with wrenching scenes of abuse.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1986)
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Eyes on the Prize Movie Poster Image
Award-winning history of the American Civil Rights movement.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Good Hair Movie Poster Image
Funny, smart docu is OK for older teens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2009)
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Roots Movie Poster Image
Classic miniseries is essential viewing for mature teens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1977)
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The Tuskegee Airmen Movie Poster Image
True story of African-Americans in WWII has mature themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1995)
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12 Years a Slave Movie Poster Image
Imperfect but must-see epic drama with major cruelty.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2013)
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The Book of Negroes Movie Poster Image
Riveting slavery epic is artful, sobering, and inspiring.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Mudbound Movie Poster Image
Masterful drama set in 1940s South has brutality, racism.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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The Rape of Recy Taylor Movie Poster Image
Awful crime becomes civil rights flash point in moving docu.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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13th Movie Poster Image
Searing docu decries racial bias; intense violence, cursing.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Bessie Movie Poster Image
Gritty biopic has sex, violence, drinking, great music.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Detroit Movie Poster Image
Essential drama about violent chapter in U.S. history.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Do the Right Thing Movie Poster Image
Spike Lee's masterwork of racial unrest; discuss with kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1989)
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Glory Movie Poster Image
Excellent Civil War movie has graphic violence, profanity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1989)
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Introducing Dorothy Dandridge Movie Poster Image
Rise and fall of talented star documents racism, sexuality.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1999)
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Our Song Movie Poster Image
Honest, positive look at urban teens; mature themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2001)
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When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts Movie Poster Image
Spike Lee's masterful and disturbing Katrina docu.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2006)
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Dear White People Movie Poster Image
Satire offers insightful, very edgy look at race relations.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2014)
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Dope Movie Poster Image
Brilliant, mature coming-of-age story explores race, class.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Moonlight Movie Poster Image
Heartbreaking, mature, unforgettable coming-of-age drama.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Straight Outta Compton Movie Poster Image
Edgy but powerful story of incendiary '80s rap group.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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