Positive opinion: 81% Negative opinion: 3% Neutral opinion: 12% Have heard of: 96% Multiple Oscar-winner Denzel Washington is almost always mentioned in "greatest actor of all time” discussions. And for good reason. Washington has starred in endless award-winning movies like "Glory,” "Cry Freedom,” "Malcolm X,” "Philadelphia,” "Crimson Tide,” "Training Day,” and more. Not just a movie star, Washington is also known for his stage work where he won a Tony for 2010’s "Fences” and was nominated for another Tony in "The Iceman Cometh.”

As we have entered Black History Month, it is important to note that Black history did not start with slavery. Slavery is a part of American history but it is not all that encompasses Black history and culture. From music history to stories that highlight monumental “firsts,” take a look at 20 notable films that tell an array of narratives rich in Black history.

  • 1. Selma, (2014)

    A historical drama based on the 1965 Selma marches to Montgomery detailing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s campaign to secure equal voting rights for Black Americans. Stream Selma on Hulu. 

  • 2. 42, (2013)

    A biographical sports film about baseball player Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball (MLB). Stream 42 on HBO Max.

  • 3. One Night in Miami, (2020)

    A film that follows a fictitious night of Black legends in Miami (Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, Malcolm X, and Jim Brown). Although the night in history never happened several details of the film intertwine with the events following these men later in life. Stream on Amazon Prime.


  • 4. Judas and The Black Messiah, (2021)

    A biographical crime drama film based on “Chairman” Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers; their chapter is infiltrated by FBI informant William O’Neal. Stream on HBO Max.

  • 5. Just Mercy, (2019)

    A film focusing on the true story of a young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his historic win defending Walter McMillian. McMillian was sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. Stream on HBO Max.

  • 6. Hidden Figures, (2016)

    The story of a team of three Black women (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson) who played vital roles in making the historical launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Stream on Hulu.

  • 7. Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, (2020)

    A fictional series retelling of Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first African American self-made millionaire. Stream on Netflix.

  • 8. The United States vs. Billie Holiday, (2021)

    A biographical drama based on The Federal Bureau of Narcotics that launched an undercover sting operation against jazz singer, Billie Holiday. Stream on Hulu.

  • 9. Race, (2016)

    A biographical sports drama film based on the story of African-American track star Jesse Owens who won four record-breaking gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Stream on Prime Video.

  • 10. Malcolm X, (1992)

    A biographical drama film about the African-American activist Malcolm X and his fight for Black liberation. Stream on HBO Max.

  • 11. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

    A biographical musical drama film based on the lives and musical careers of hip-hop group N.W.A who revolutionized rap with their groundbreaking debut album Straight Outta Compton. Stream on Hulu.

  • 12. Get On Up (2014)

    A biographical musical drama film about the life of singer James Brown. Stream on Netflix.

  • 13. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)

    A biographical drama film based on the life of trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band during a Chicago studio session in 1927. Stream on Netflix.

  • 14. King Richard (2021)

    A biographical sports drama film on superstar tennis players Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams, and his plan to make his daughters the best on and off the court. Stream on Amazon Prime Video.

  • 15. Good Hair (2009)


    A documentary/comedy that explores the importance of Black hair in Black culture. Stream on Peacock.

  • 16. I Am Not Your Negro (2016)

    Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book, this documentary film explores racism through the stories of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. Stream on Netflix.

  • 17. John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020)

    A documentary combining archival footage and interviews on the 60 plus years of social activism by the late Representative John Lewis. Stream on HBO Max.

  • 18. Remember The Titans (2000)

    A biographical sports film based on the true story of a newly appointed African-American coach and his high school team (T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia) on their first season as a racially integrated unit. Stream on Disney+.

  • 19. 4 Little Girls (1997)

    A historical documentary film about the September 15, 1963, murder of four African-American girls in a church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama by the Ku Klux Klan. Since there is not a trailer available of the film, watch director Spike Lee talk about the making of the project. Stream on HBO Max.

  • 20. 13th (2016)

    A documentary that explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the premise that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. Stream on Netflix.

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