Great Movies with Black Characters

These memorable movies feature everything from Spike Lee's funny but powerful landmark film Do the Right Thing to the fierce call to action of Ava DuVernay's stirring documentary 13th. Kids and parents will find much to appreciate in these films that bring to life the experiences that have helped shaped the entire United States -- from the Civil War to civil rights. For more fantastic picks, check out our lists of Movies with Inspiring Black Girls and Women and TV Shows with Black Leads.

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World Poster Image
MOVIE

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World

age 4+

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 Poster Image
MOVIE

Dancing in the Light: The Janet Collins Story

age 5+

Inspirational animated tale of famous black ballerina soars.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
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Garrett's Gift Poster Image
MOVIE

Garrett's Gift

age 5+

Smart animation introduces African-American inventor.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2007)
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The Journey of Henry Box Brown Poster Image
MOVIE

The Journey of Henry Box Brown

age 5+

Powerful tale of former slave with big ideas about freedom.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2005)
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The Princess and the Frog Poster Image
MOVIE

The Princess and the Frog

age 6+

First African American Disney princess is a good role model.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2009)
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Akeelah and the Bee Poster Image
MOVIE

Akeelah and the Bee

age 8+

Inspiring drama about a champion speller; OK for tweens.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2006)
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Amazing Grace Poster Image
MOVIE

Amazing Grace

age 8+

Aretha documentary has soaring music but no narration.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
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Our Friend, Martin Poster Image
MOVIE

Our Friend, Martin

age 8+

Dated movie about MLK Jr. offers positive lessons for kids.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1999)
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Soul Poster Image
MOVIE

Soul

age 8+

Amazing animation, serious themes in existential dramedy.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
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We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest Poster Image
MOVIE

We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest

age 8+

Docu about kids living MLK's legacy gives all the feels.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
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Woman in Motion Poster Image
MOVIE

Woman in Motion

age 8+

Docu about role model Nichelle Nichols inspires, delights.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
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And the Children Shall Lead Poster Image
MOVIE

And the Children Shall Lead

age 9+

A sensitive, powerful drama on race issues.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1988)
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A Ballerina's Tale Poster Image
MOVIE

A Ballerina's Tale

age 9+

Engrossing dance docu introduces powerful role model.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
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Thunder Soul Poster Image
MOVIE

Thunder Soul

age 9+

Uplifting docu spotlights legendary high school jazz band.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2011)
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Hidden Figures Poster Image
MOVIE

Hidden Figures

age 10+

Inspiring true story of African American women at NASA.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
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John Lewis: Good Trouble Poster Image
MOVIE

John Lewis: Good Trouble

age 10+

Inspiring, timely biography of Congress' legendary activist.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
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Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia Poster Image
MOVIE

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia

age 10+

Biopic has positive messages, some violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
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Ruby Bridges Poster Image
MOVIE

Ruby Bridges

age 10+

Historical drama lacks subtlety but has positive messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1998)
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Remember the Titans Poster Image
MOVIE

Remember the Titans

age 10+

Inspiring football drama brings history to life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2000)
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River City Drumbeat Poster Image
MOVIE

River City Drumbeat

age 10+

Uplifting, heartfelt docu about life-changing drum corps.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
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