A good ol’ fashioned movie marathon is just the thing to get you through a cold February night. While this is not by any means a definitive list of all the best black films ever made, these are the movies that entertained us, punched us in the gut, and made us laugh out loud. Grab some popcorn and join us for a black movie marathon in honor of Black History Month!
Get Out (2017)
Directed By: Jordan Peele
Written By: Jordan Peele
We’ll preface this by saying we love horror films and Jordan Peele’s twisted vision, and we’ve seen Get Out probably five hundred times already. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya as a young photographer who takes a trip to meet the family of his white girlfriend (played by Allison Williams). Over the course of a weekend, he uncovers their disturbing secret. Get Out is a wild nail-biting horror and a clever satire, but also a brilliant critique of racism in America. It was hands down the best movie of 2017 and made us scared of teacups. Oh, and we can’t wait for Us – coming 2019.
Black Panther (2018)
Directed By: Ryan Coogler
Written By: Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the thunderous roar of Black Panther. The film broke records, earning more than $1.3 billion worldwide and features a powerful ensemble cast. As comic book fans know, Black Panther is the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), who returns to his country of Wakanda to take over the throne after the death of his father. Black Panther is not the first black superhero movie, but it is one of the best. It has everything – dashing heroes, compelling villains, incredible set design and mind-blowing action sequences. Black Panther is just plain fun. We’d remiss if we didn’t mention the amazing Oscar-nominated costume design by Ruth Carter. Oh, and Black Panther is the first ever superhero movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award. NBD.
Girls Trip (2018)
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee
Written By: Erica Rivinoja, Kenya Barris & Tracy Oliver
Let’s face it, the world is a dumpster fire right now and we need ALL the laughs we can get. And boy, did Girls Trip deliver. The film follows the story of four lifelong friends (Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, and Tiffany Haddish), who travel to New Orleans for the Essence Festival. Of course, hijinks and lots of laughs ensue. Girls Trip is hysterical, raunchy and unapologetic about it (just as it should be). At its core, Girls Trip is a story about friendship, and that’s beautiful.
Directed By: Dee Rees
Written By: Virgil Williams, Dee Rees
Based on the book written by Hillary Jordan, Mudbound follows the story of two farming families in the Mississippi Delta – the McAllans and the Jacksons. The relentless demands of life on the farm and the routine hardships they face are further complicated when their family members return from World War II. Battered and suffering from PTSD, Ronsel and Jamie (played by Jason Mitchell and Garrett Hedlund respectively) forge a friendship based on their shared experience. Dee Rees (also known for another Amber Rose Box favorite film Pariah) paints a snapshot of a time in American history marred by racism, hate, and violence. The ensemble cast put in stellar performances, but Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige really command the screen and take your breath away.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Directed By: Steve McQueen
Written By: John Ridley, Solomon Northrup
12 Years a Slave is based on the slave memoir of the same name written by Solomon Northup. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as the titular character, a free African American born in New York state. He is kidnapped by two conmen and sold into slavery. Solomon is forced to work on the plantations of Louisiana for 12 grueling years before he is finally freed and able to return home to his family. We won’t lie – 12 Years a Slave isn’t a relaxing watch. The film doesn’t pull any punches, and the wrenching story hits you right in the gut. This one stays with you long after the credits roll.
Hidden Figures (2016)
Directed By: Theodore Melfi
Written By: Allison Schroder, Theodore Melfi
Need a feel-good pick-me-up after our last recommendation left you reaching for the tissues? Hidden Figures was one of our faves of 2016. Loosely based on a book written by Margot Lee Shetterly, the film chronicles the story of three female African American mathematicians. They worked at NASA during the 1960s, at the height of racial segregation and the explosive civil rights movement in America. It is their calculations that send the astronauts into space. Some critics dismissed Hidden Figures as just a feel-good movie. But you know what? We feel no shame in enjoying a feel-good movie about awesome ladies being awesome at their jobs and overcoming adversity. The critics can suck it.
Inside Man (2006)
Directed By: Spike Lee
Written By: Russel Gewirtz
Spike Lee’s impressive career spans three decades. He directs, writes, and produces. With such a roster to choose from, is Inside Man his best movie? Probably not. In our humble opinion, that title would go to his iconic 1989 film Do the Right Thing). That said, Inside Man remains one of the best heist movies we’ve ever seen. It stars Clive Owen as a bank robber who tries to pull off the perfect heist at a Wall Street bank. He’s up against a skilled NYPD hostage negotiator, played by Denzel Washington. The cast is stellar, and the plot is clever and fun. What more could you ask for? We’re still bitter that Hollywood passed on the sequel.
What are your favorite black films? Let us know in the comments!
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