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Movies and TV Shows with Arab Leads

The need for accurately portrayed Arab characters is clear—and this list puts titles with Arab actors and experiences front and center. Like many underrepresented groups in media, Arabs and Arab Americans have long been portrayed stereotypically, but the entries on this list disregard that tendency in favor of more authentic storytelling. From tender stories of romance to tales of family and sisterhood, there's humor, grit, and a ton of heart to be found on this list. For more resources that celebrate culture and community, try these links and articles.

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Animated poster with an image of a Syrian girl named Lamya holding a book with the name Rumi visible. Behind her is Lamya and Rumi standing in a fantasy world with a mystal castle in the distance. Rumi is a young Syrian boy looking concerned and holding papers to write poetry..
MOVIE

Lamya's Poem

age 9+

Animated refugee story has mature themes, peril.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2023)
Wadjda Poster Image
MOVIE

Wadjda

age 9+

Beautiful, nuanced tale of an independent Saudi girl.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2013)
Koran by Heart Poster Image
MOVIE

Koran by Heart

age 10+

Moving, sensitive documentary challenges stereotypes.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2012)
Bohemian Rhapsody Poster Image
MOVIE

Bohemian Rhapsody

age 13+

Exuberant music, electric performance in routine biopic.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)
Ali's Wedding Poster Image
MOVIE

Ali's Wedding

age 14+

Engaging Australian romcom has some language.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)
Mo TV show: Poster
TV

Mo

age 14+

Immigrant dramedy has violence, language, some drugs.

Network: Netflix (2022)
The Swimmer movie poster
MOVIE

The Swimmers

age 14+

Inspiring true refugee story has sexual violence and peril.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2022)
AlRawabi School for Girls Poster Image
TV

AlRawabi School for Girls

age 15+

Violent Arab mean-teen drama better with cultural knowledge.

Network: Netflix (2021)
Farha movie poster: girl highlighted against darkened backdropc
MOVIE

Farha

age 15+

Intense historical drama has violence, mature themes.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2022)
For Sama Poster Image
MOVIE

For Sama

age 15+

Powerful, intense docu about young mother's war-torn life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
The Kite Runner Poster Image
MOVIE

The Kite Runner

age 15+

Best seller-based drama has harrowing moments.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2007)
The Little Things Poster Image
MOVIE

The Little Things

age 15+

Flawed but well-made, violent, bloody serial killer tale.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
Ramy Poster Image
TV

Ramy

age 15+

Language, sex in comedy about balancing faith, modern life.

Network: Hulu (2019)
We Are Lady Parts Poster Image
TV

We Are Lady Parts

age 15+

Brilliant comedy rejects stereotypes; swearing, smoking.

Network: Peacock (2021)
Capernaum Poster Image
MOVIE

Capernaum

age 16+

Powerful, gritty Lebanese drama shows kids in danger.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)
Mr. Robot Poster Image
TV

Mr. Robot

age 16+

Computer-hacking antihero navigates anarchy, social anxiety.

Network: USA (2015)
Search Party Poster Image
TV

Search Party

age 16+

Dark but goofy comedic mystery explores millennial culture.

Network: TBS (2016)