(Photo by Uniersal/ courtesy Everett Collection)

The 100 Best Black Movies of the 21st Century

Rotten Tomatoes is celebrating the work of Black filmmakers and performers and the stories they have brought to our theaters over the past 20-plus years. In this guide to the best-reviewed African American movies of the 21st Century – that’s from 2000 all the way to now – you’ll find some of the most incredible voices working in movies today, and some of the most game-changing, industry-shaking films to hit theaters in decades. Think titles like Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time at the U.S. box office. Or Gina Prince-Bythewood’s seminal star-making romance, Love and Basketball. Or Moonlight, which made history as the first film with an all-black cast to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2017. Or Ava DuVernay’s Selma, which at 99% on the Tomatometer remains one of the most critically acclaimed films of all time.

Alongside the work of longtime industry veterans like Spike Lee, you’ll find incredible debut features, like Dee Rees’ Pariah, Justin Simien’s Dear White People, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Phillip Youmens’ Burning Cane, which he directed while still in high school, and, of course, Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning social thriller Get Out and his follow-up, Us. You’ll also discover documentaries that have stirred the national conversation – DuVernay’s 13th, Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: Made In America – alongside recent mega hits that, like Black Panther, alerted Hollywood’s decision-makers to the fact that there was a huge audience for stories made by Black filmmakers, featuring Black actors, telling Black stories: Malcolm D. Lee’s Girls Trip, F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton.

To compile our list, we chose the top 100 Certified Fresh Black films, according to the Tomatometer, released in theaters since 2000. We defined Black films as those that centered on African American stories and African American characters, or – as in the case of Black Panther – were made by Black filmmakers and were embraced by African American audiences; there are instances of films here made by non-Black filmmakers (Django Unchained, Detroit, and Get On Up for example), but the top half of the list is dominated by Black writers and directors. 

We did not include straight-to-streaming or TV movies unless, like 13th did, they had some sort of theatrical release, even just an Oscar-qualifying run, and did not include comedy specials. We ranked the list by Adjusted Tomatometer, which takes into account year of release and number of reviews collected to weight the ratings.

Below is the result of all that compiling: our guide to the best Black films of the century (so far!). It’s chock full of laughs, thrills, tears, and insight. Enjoy, and if you want to tell us what you think of the list, think we’ve missed a title, or want to celebrate a film that didn’t quite meet the Certified Fresh criteria, let us know in the comments.

#100

Keanu (2016)
77%

#100
Adjusted Score: 83.498%
Critics Consensus: Keanu's absurd premise and compulsively watchable starring duo add up to an agreeably fast-paced comedy that hits more than enough targets to make up for the misses.
Synopsis: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele star in this comedy as two friends posing as drug dealers to get back a... [More]
Directed By: Peter Atencio

#99

Drumline (2002)
82%

#99
Adjusted Score: 83.791%
Critics Consensus: Essentially a sports movie with drums, the energetic Drumline somehow manages to make the familiar seem fresh.
Synopsis: Drumline brings the world of "show-style" marching bands (popular at traditionally black, Southern colleges) to the big screen for the... [More]
Directed By: Charles Stone III

#98

Fast Color (2019)
81%

#98
Adjusted Score: 84.051%
Critics Consensus: A grounded superhero story with more on its mind than punching bad guys, Fast Color leaps over uneven execution with a single Gugu Mbatha-Raw performance.
Synopsis: Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) with supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers... [More]
Directed By: Julia Hart

#97

Black Dynamite (2009)
83%

#97
Adjusted Score: 84.285%
Critics Consensus: A loving and meticulous send-up of 1970s blaxsploitation movies, Black Dynamite is funny enough for the frat house and clever enough for film buffs.
Synopsis: African-American action legend Black Dynamite goes after 'The Man' for killing his brother Jimmy, for pumping heroin into local orphanages... [More]

#96
Adjusted Score: 85.017%
Critics Consensus: An innovative blend of samurai and gangster lifestyles.
Synopsis: A surreal crime drama told as only Jim Jarmusch could, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai stars Forest Whitaker... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#95

Dreamgirls (2006)
78%

#95
Adjusted Score: 85.097%
Critics Consensus: Dreamgirls' simple characters and plot hardly detract from the movie's real feats: the electrifying performances and the dazzling musical numbers.
Synopsis: Director Bill Condon brings Tom Eyen's Tony award-winning Broadway musical to the big screen in a tale of dreams, stardom,... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#94

Get On Up (2014)
79%

#94
Adjusted Score: 85.118%
Critics Consensus: With an unforgettable Chadwick Boseman in the starring role, Get On Up offers the Godfather of Soul a fittingly dynamic homage.
Synopsis: In his follow-up to the four-time Academy Award (R)-nominated blockbuster The Help, Tate Taylor directs 42's Chadwick Boseman as James... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 85.594%
Critics Consensus: Languid and melancholy, George Washington is a carefully observed rumination on adolescence and rural life.
Synopsis: George and his adolescent friends all live in a poor North Carolina suburb, where the only jobs available are at... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#92

Marshall (2017)
80%

#92
Adjusted Score: 85.535%
Critics Consensus: Marshall takes an illuminating, well-acted look at its real-life subject's early career that also delivers as an entertainingly old-fashioned courtroom drama.
Synopsis: Starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell. Director Reginald Hudlin's Marshall, is... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#91

Ray (2004)
80%

#91
Adjusted Score: 85.762%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing and energetic portrait of a great musician's achievements and foibles, Ray is anchored by Jamie Foxx's stunning performance as Ray Charles.
Synopsis: Born in a poor town in Georgia, Ray Charles went blind at the age of seven shortly after witnessing his... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Hackford

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 85.892%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: A young African-American couple navigates the tricky paths of romance and athletics in this drama. Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood

#89

Barbershop (2002)
83%

#89
Adjusted Score: 86.187%
Critics Consensus: Besides bringing on the laughs, Barbershop displays a big heart and demonstrates the value of community.
Synopsis: An ensemble comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the south side of Chicago. It's Calvin's... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#88

Rize (2005)
84%

#88
Adjusted Score: 86.571%
Critics Consensus: The dances in Rize are electric even if the documentary doesn't go that deeply into the performers' lives.
Synopsis: Taking advantage of unprecedented access, this documentary film brings to first light a revolutionary form of artistic expression borne from... [More]
Directed By: David LaChapelle

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 86.993%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to smart direction and a powerhouse performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Beyond the Lights transcends its formulaic storyline to deliver thoroughly entertaining drama.
Synopsis: Beyond the Lights is the story of Noni, the music world's latest superstar. But not all is what it seems,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood

#86

Hustle & Flow (2005)
82%

#86
Adjusted Score: 87.105%
Critics Consensus: Hustle & Flow is gritty and redemptive, with a profound sense of place and exciting music.
Synopsis: One man's struggle to rise above his circumstances prompts him to try a career in music in this acclaimed drama... [More]
Directed By: Craig Brewer

#85

42 (2013)
80%

#85
Adjusted Score: 87.139%
Critics Consensus: 42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.
Synopsis: Hero is a word we hear often in sports, but heroism is not always about achievements on the field of... [More]
Directed By: Brian Helgeland

#84

Chi-Raq (2015)
82%

#84
Adjusted Score: 87.127%
Critics Consensus: Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven -- and it contains some of Spike Lee's smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.
Synopsis: Chi-Raq is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes. After the murder of a child... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#83
#83
Adjusted Score: 87.163%
Critics Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
Synopsis: Nobody used to notice Frank Lucas, the quiet driver to one of the inner city's leading black crime bosses. But... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#82
Adjusted Score: 87.701%
Critics Consensus: The Gospel According to André offers an engaging overview of its fascinating subject, even if his accomplishments -- and outsize personality -- prove too expansive for a single film.
Synopsis: André Leon Talley has been a fixture in the world of fashion for so long that it's difficult to imagine... [More]
Directed By: Kate Novack

#81

Monsters and Men (2018)
84%

#81
Adjusted Score: 86.679%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and visually stylish, Monsters and Men tells its timely story with enough compassion and complexity to make up for occasionally uneven execution.
Synopsis: One night, in front of a bodega in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood, Manny Ortega witnesses a white police officer wrongfully gun... [More]
Directed By:

#80

Monster's Ball (2002)
85%

#80
Adjusted Score: 88.752%
Critics Consensus: Somber and thought provoking, Monster's Ball has great performances all around.
Synopsis: Director Marc Forster, winner of Best Feature at Slamdance for his debut film Loungers (1996) and the "Someone to Watch"... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 89.046%
Critics Consensus: Wise, compassionate, and beautifully acted, Middle of Nowhere offers an early testament to writer-director Ava DuVernay's startling talent.
Synopsis: Winner of the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Middle of Nowhere follows Ruby, a bright medical... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 88.891%
Critics Consensus: Loaded up with action and a double helping of leading-man charisma, Bad Boys for Life reinvigorates this long-dormant franchise by playing squarely to its strengths.
Synopsis: The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are back together for one last ride in... [More]

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 89.45%
Critics Consensus: A warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett.
Synopsis: Akeelah Anderson is a precocious 11-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Despite the objections of... [More]
Directed By: Doug Atchison

#76
#76
Adjusted Score: 89.801%
Critics Consensus: This group of high school girls and their eccentric basketball coach easily win your heart with their unusual humanity and dynamism.
Synopsis: When Seattle filmmaker Ward Serrill met Bill Resler, a college tax professor who moonlights as a girls' basketball coach, he... [More]
Directed By: Ward Serrill, Ward Serrell

#75
Adjusted Score: 89.931%
Critics Consensus: What Happened, Miss Simone? is a compelling -- albeit necessarily incomplete -- overview of its complex subject's singular artistic legacy and fascinating life.
Synopsis: Using never-before-heard recordings, rare archival footage and her best-known songs, this is the story of legendary singer and activist Nina... [More]
Starring: Nina Simone
Directed By: Liz Garbus

#74

Queen & Slim (2019)
82%

#74
Adjusted Score: 91.008%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, provocative, and powerful, Queen & Slim tells a gripping fugitive story steeped in timely, thoughtful subtext.
Synopsis: While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man (Get Out's Daniel Kaluuya) and a black woman... [More]
Directed By: Melina Matsoukas

#73
Adjusted Score: 91.101%
Critics Consensus: This documentary focuses less on the music and more on the personality clashes and in-group tensions to great, compelling effect.
Synopsis: A documentary film directed by Michael Rapaport about one of the most influential and groundbreaking musical groups in hip-hop history.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Rapaport

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 91.11%
Critics Consensus: The warmth of traditional Disney animation makes this occasionally lightweight fairy-tale update a lively and captivating confection for the holidays.
Synopsis: Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical "The Princess and the Frog," an animated comedy set in the great city... [More]
Directed By: John Musker, Ron Clements

#71
#71
Adjusted Score: 91.96%
Critics Consensus: Presenting Princess Shaw works as a uniquely uplifting look at internet stardom -- and a compelling glimpse of an artist whose gifts transcend the medium.
Synopsis: The true story of the incredible Princess Shaw and the enigmatic composer Kutiman, who discovers her from the other side... [More]
Directed By: Ido Haar

#70

Our Song (2001)
91%

#70
Adjusted Score: 92.116%
Critics Consensus: Graced with such a realistic feel that it resembles a documentary, Our Song is a sensitive portrayal of three teenage girls.
Synopsis: A tale set in modern-day, Crown Heights, Brooklyn--Latisha, Maria, and Joycelyn are long-time friends and classmates facing the brink of... [More]
Directed By: Jim McKay

#69

Burning Cane (2019)
91%

#69
Adjusted Score: 92.192%
Critics Consensus: Burning Cane is a compelling look at weighty themes -- and a remarkably assured debut from an impressively talented young filmmaker.
Synopsis: Amongst the cane fields of rural Louisiana, an aging mother struggles between her religious convictions and the love of her... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Youmans

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 92.258%
Critics Consensus: Miss Sharon Jones! only captures a portion of its subject's power -- or her inspiring story -- but that's more than enough to offer absorbing, entertaining viewing for fans and newcomers alike.
Synopsis: A year in the life of the popular funk/soul singer who was trying to release a new album while battling... [More]
Starring: Sharon Jones
Directed By: Barbara Kopple

#67
#67
Adjusted Score: 92.496%
Critics Consensus: Madeline's Madeline proves experimental cinema is alive and well -- and serves as a powerful calling card for Helena Howard in her big-screen debut.
Synopsis: Madeline (newcomer Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop's ambitious director... [More]
Directed By: Josephine Decker

#66
#66
Adjusted Score: 92.632%
Critics Consensus: Not just a powerful telling of the journey of exiled Sudanese boys, God Grew Tired of Us is also a poignant account of the determination of the human spirit.
Synopsis: Three young men leave behind a land in chaos to find new lives in a thoroughly different culture in this... [More]

#65

Waves (2019)
84%

#65
Adjusted Score: 94.343%
Critics Consensus: An up-close look at one family's emotional ups and downs, Waves captures complicated dynamics with tenderness and grace.
Synopsis: Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of award-winning actors and breakouts alike, Waves... [More]
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults

#64
Adjusted Score: 92.856%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 mobilizes a treasure trove of 16mm material shot by Swedish journalists who came to the... [More]

#63
#63
Adjusted Score: 92.962%
Critics Consensus: Heartfelt, thought-provoking, and above all funny, Barbershop: The Next Cut is the rare belated sequel that more than lives up to the standard set by its predecessors.
Synopsis: It's been more than 10 years since our last appointment at Calvin's Barbershop. Calvin and his longtime crew, including Eddie,... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#62

Inside Man (2006)
86%

#62
Adjusted Score: 93.058%
Critics Consensus: Spike Lee's energetic and clever bank-heist thriller is a smart genre film that is not only rewarding on its own terms, but manages to subvert its pulpy trappings with wit and skill.
Synopsis: The volatile showdown between a determined cop and a perfectionist bank robber is sent spiraling toward disaster when a scheming... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#61

Top Five (2014)
85%

#61
Adjusted Score: 92.029%
Critics Consensus: As smart, funny, and trenchant as writer-director-star Chris Rock's best standup work, Top Five is a career highlight for its creator -- and one of the comedy standouts of 2014.
Synopsis: Pulsing with the rhythm of his greatest stand-up, Chris Rock's TOP FIVE takes things to the next level, reveling in... [More]
Directed By: Chris Rock

#60
Adjusted Score: 93.09%
Critics Consensus: A toe-tapping tribute to the band that gave Motown its sound.
Synopsis: In 1959, Berry Gordy gathered the best musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene to begin cutting songs for... [More]
Directed By: Paul Justman

#59
#59
Adjusted Score: 92.016%
Critics Consensus: A smart, well-acted, and refreshingly messy coming-of-age story, Selah and the Spades suggests a bright future for debuting writer-director Tayarisha Poe.
Synopsis: In the closed world of an elite Pennsylvania boarding school, Haldwell, the student body is run by five factions. Seventeen-year-old... [More]
Directed By: Tayarisha Poe

#58
Adjusted Score: 93.686%
Critics Consensus: The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution offers a fascinating -- if somewhat rudimentary -- introduction to a movement, and an era, that remains soberingly relevant today.
Synopsis: Here, we trace the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party, one of the 20th century's most alluring and... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Nelson

#57

Baadasssss! (2003)
91%

#57
Adjusted Score: 93.655%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining and intriguing tribute to a father from his son.
Synopsis: In 1971, filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles released his third film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which he wrote, directed, and scored.... [More]
Directed By: Mario Van Peebles

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 94.069%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged for brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger... [More]

#55
Adjusted Score: 94.307%
Critics Consensus: Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money.
Synopsis: In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a... [More]
Directed By: Benh Zeitlin

#54

Whitney (2018)
88%

#54
Adjusted Score: 94.312%
Critics Consensus: Whitney shifts from soaring highs to heartbreaking lows with palpable emotion and grace befitting its singular subject.
Synopsis: Whitney Houston broke more music industry records than any other female singer in history. With over 200 million album sales... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#53

Dope (2015)
89%

#53
Adjusted Score: 94.631%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a starmaking performance from Shameik Moore and a refreshingly original point of view from writer-director Rick Famuyiwa, Dope is smart, insightful entertainment.
Synopsis: A critical hit and audience favorite out of the Sundance Film Festival, in DOPE, Malcolm (Shameik Moore) is carefully surviving... [More]
Directed By: Rick Famuyiwa

#52
Adjusted Score: 94.717%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining for longtime fans as well as casually interested viewers, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool burnishes the legacy of a brilliant artist.
Synopsis: A visionary, innovator, and originator who defied categorization and embodied the word cool: a foray into the life and career... [More]
Starring: Wayne Shorter
Directed By: Stanley Nelson

#51

Detroit (2017)
82%

#51
Adjusted Score: 94.572%
Critics Consensus: Detroit delivers a gut-wrenching -- and essential -- dramatization of a tragic chapter from America's past that draws distressing parallels to the present.
Synopsis: From the Academy Award winning director of THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, DETROIT tells the gripping story of... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#50

Premature (2020)
92%

#50
Adjusted Score: 93.508%
Critics Consensus: Premature transcends its familiar trappings with sharp dialogue and a strong sense of setting that further establish Rashaad Ernesto Green as a gifted filmmaker.
Synopsis: On a summer night in Harlem during her last months at home before starting college, seventeen-year-old poet Ayanna (Zora Howard)... [More]
Directed By: Rashaad Ernesto Green

#49

Clemency (2019)
92%

#49
Adjusted Score: 97.815%
Critics Consensus: Clemency mines serious social issues for gripping drama, brought to life by an outstanding cast led by Alfre Woodard.
Synopsis: Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard). As she... [More]
Directed By: Chinonye Chukwu

#48
#48
Adjusted Score: 95.773%
Critics Consensus: Dear White People adds a welcome new voice to cinema's oft-neglected discussion of race, tackling its timely themes with intelligence, honesty, and gratifyingly sharp wit.
Synopsis: Winner of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent, Dear White People is a sly, provocative... [More]
Directed By: Justin Simien

#47
Adjusted Score: 95.905%
Critics Consensus: Dave Chappelle's Block Party is a raucous return to the spotlight for the comic, buoyed by witty, infectious humor and outstanding musical performances.
Synopsis: A genuine crowd-pleaser, "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" spotlights comedy superstar Dave Chappelle as he presents a Brooklyn neighborhood with its... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#46

Just Mercy (2020)
84%

#46
Adjusted Score: 97.196%
Critics Consensus: Just Mercy dramatizes a real-life injustice with solid performances, a steady directorial hand, and enough urgency to overcome a certain degree of earnest advocacy.
Synopsis: A powerful and thought-provoking true story, "Just Mercy" follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice.... [More]
Directed By: Destin Daniel Cretton

#45

Creed II (2018)
83%

#45
Adjusted Score: 95.972%
Critics Consensus: Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he... [More]
Directed By: Steven Caple Jr.

#44

Good Hair (2009)
95%

#44
Adjusted Score: 97.011%
Critics Consensus: Funny, informative, and occasionally sad, Good Hair is a provocative look at the complex relationship between African Americans and their hair.
Synopsis: "Good Hair" is an insightful and entertaining, yet remarkably serious, documentary about African-American hair culture. An exposé of comic proportions... [More]
Starring: Chris Rock
Directed By: Jeff Stilson

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 98.24%
Critics Consensus: Straight Outta Compton is a biopic that's built to last, thanks to F. Gary Gray's confident direction and engaging performances from a solid cast.
Synopsis: In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 97.126%
Critics Consensus: Support the Girls handles serious themes with wit and humor, and provides a strong showcase for Regina Hall and a talented ensemble cast.
Synopsis: Lisa Conroy is the last person you'd expect to find in a highway-side "sports bar with curves,"-- but as general... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Bujalski

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 98.333%
Critics Consensus: It Comes at Night makes lethally effective use of its bare-bones trappings while proving once again that what's left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen.
Synopsis: Imagine the end of the world. Now imagine something worse. Award-winning filmmaker Trey Edward Shults follows his incredible debut feature... [More]
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults

#40

Luce (2019)
90%

#40
Adjusted Score: 96.435%
Critics Consensus: Luce brings a stellar ensemble to bear on a satisfyingly complex story that addresses its timely themes in thought-provoking fashion.
Synopsis: It's been ten years since Amy and Peter Edgar (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) adopted their son from war-torn Eritrea,... [More]
Directed By: Julius Onah

#39

Django Unchained (2012)
87%

#39
Adjusted Score: 97.744%
Critics Consensus: Bold, bloody, and stylistically daring, Django Unchained is another incendiary masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino.
Synopsis: Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#38

Girls Trip (2017)
91%

#38
Adjusted Score: 97.677%
Critics Consensus: Girls Trip is the rare R-rated comedy that pushes boundaries to truly comedic effect -- and anchors its laughs in compelling characters brought to life by a brilliantly assembled cast.
Synopsis: When four lifelong friends-Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish-travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 97.774%
Critics Consensus: Southside With You looks back on a fateful real-life date with strong performances and engaging dialogue, adding up to a romance that makes for a pretty good date movie in its own right.
Synopsis: Inspired by Barack and Michelle Obama's first date, SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU recounts the eventful summer day in 1989 when a... [More]
Directed By: Richard Tanne

#36

Pariah (2011)
95%

#36
Adjusted Score: 98.027%
Critics Consensus: Pulsing with authenticity and led by a stirring lead performance from Adepero Oduye, Pariah is a powerful coming out/coming-of-age film that signals the arrival of a fresh new talent in writer/director Dee Rees.
Synopsis: Adepero Oduye portrays Alike (pronounced ah-lee-kay), a 17-year-old African-American woman who lives with her parents Audrey and Arthur (Kim Wayans... [More]
Directed By: Dee Rees

#35
Adjusted Score: 98.524%
Critics Consensus: Precious is a grim yet ultimately triumphant film about abuse and inner-city life, largely bolstered by exceptional performances from its cast.
Synopsis: Monster's Ball producer Lee Daniels follows up his 2005 directorial debut, Shadowboxer, with this adaptation of author Sapphire's best-selling novel... [More]
Directed By: Lee Daniels

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 98.866%
Critics Consensus: Offering keen observations and infectious warmth, Keep On Keepin' On is a joy for jazz buffs and novices alike.
Synopsis: Shot over the course of five years by first time filmmaker Al Hicks, KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON depicts the remarkable... [More]
Directed By: Alan Hicks

#33
Adjusted Score: 99.214%
Critics Consensus: Intimate in scope yet thematically expansive, Hale County This Morning, This Evening draws extraordinary insights out of seemingly ordinary moments.
Synopsis: In Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Ross offers an inspired and intimate portrait of a place and its people.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: RaMell Ross

#32

Step (2017)
96%

#32
Adjusted Score: 99.707%
Critics Consensus: Step tells an irresistibly crowd-pleasing story in a thoroughly absorbing way -- and while smartly incorporating a variety of timely themes.
Synopsis: STEP documents the senior year of a girls' high-school step dance team against the background of inner-city Baltimore. As each... [More]
Directed By: Amanda Lipitz

#31

13th (2016)
97%

#31
Adjusted Score: 100.303%
Critics Consensus: 13th strikes at the heart of America's tangled racial history, offering observations as incendiary as they are calmly controlled.
Synopsis: The title of Ava DuVernay's extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads "Neither... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#30

Loving (2016)
89%

#30
Adjusted Score: 100.27%
Critics Consensus: Loving takes an understated approach to telling a painful -- and still relevant -- real-life tale, with sensitive performances breathing additional life into a superlative historical drama.
Synopsis: From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols, Loving celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Nichols

#29
Adjusted Score: 100.718%
Critics Consensus: Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am honors its acclaimed subject with a comprehensive, illuminating, and fittingly profound overview of her life and work.
Synopsis: This artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has... [More]

#28

Blindspotting (2018)
94%

#28
Adjusted Score: 100.871%
Critics Consensus: As timely as it is overall impactful, Blindspotting blends buddy comedy with seething social commentary, and rises on the strength of Daveed Diggs' powerful performance.
Synopsis: Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning.... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Lopez Estrada

#27

Whose Streets? (2017)
98%

#27
Adjusted Score: 100.839%
Critics Consensus: Whose Streets? takes a close-up look at the civil unrest that erupted after a shocking act of violence in Ferguson, Missouri - and the decades of simmering tension leading up to it.
Synopsis: Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Sabaah Folayan

#26

Strong Island (2017)
100%

#26
Adjusted Score: 101.194%
Critics Consensus: Strong Island uses one family's heartbreaking tragedy to offer a sobering picture of racial injustice in modern America.
Synopsis: In April 1992, on Long Island NY, William Jr., the Ford's eldest child, a black 24 year-old teacher, was killed... [More]
Starring:
Directed By:

#25

Night Comes On (2018)
98%

#25
Adjusted Score: 99.235%
Critics Consensus: Steadily drawing viewers into its harrowing tale with equal parts grim intensity and startling compassion, Night Comes On heralds the arrivals of debuting director Jordan Spiro and her magnetic young stars.
Synopsis: Angel LaMere is released from juvenile detention on the eve of her 18th birthday. Haunted by her past, Angel embarks... [More]
Directed By: Jordana Spiro

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 101.258%
Critics Consensus: O.J.: Made in America paints a balanced and thorough portrait of the American dream juxtaposed with tragedy and executed with power and skill.
Synopsis: A look at the rise and fall of sports icon-turned-accused murderer O.J. Simpson. This riveting documentary examines Simpson's 1995 trial... [More]
Starring: O.J. Simpson
Directed By: Ezra Edelman

#23

Tangerine (2015)
96%

#23
Adjusted Score: 101.505%
Critics Consensus: Tangerine shatters casting conventions and its filmmaking techniques are up-to-the-minute, but it's an old-fashioned comedy at heart -- and a pretty wonderful one at that.
Synopsis: A working girl tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart. (C) Magnolia... [More]
Directed By: Sean Baker (II)

#22
Adjusted Score: 101.579%
Critics Consensus: An affecting story powerfully told, The Last Black Man in San Francisco immediately establishes director Joe Talbot as a filmmaker to watch.
Synopsis: Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his... [More]
Directed By: Joe Talbot

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 102.034%
Critics Consensus: Passionate and powerfully acted, Fruitvale Station serves as a celebration of life, a condemnation of death, and a triumph for star Michael B. Jordan.
Synopsis: Winner of both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#20

Fences (2016)
92%

#20
Adjusted Score: 102.247%
Critics Consensus: From its reunited Broadway stars to its screenplay, the solidly crafted Fences finds its Pulitzer-winning source material fundamentally unchanged -- and still just as powerful.
Synopsis: Denzel Washington directed and stars in this adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which centers on a black garbage... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 103.326%
Critics Consensus: Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.
Synopsis: Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning... [More]
Directed By: Morgan Neville

#18

Mudbound (2017)
97%

#18
Adjusted Score: 104.82%
Critics Consensus: Mudbound offers a well-acted, finely detailed snapshot of American history whose scenes of rural class struggle resonate far beyond their period setting.
Synopsis: Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees' Mudbound is an epic story of two families... [More]
Directed By: Dee Rees

#17

Amazing Grace (2019)
99%

#17
Adjusted Score: 105.435%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.
Synopsis: Concert footage from 1972 of Aretha Franklin performing songs from the best-selling gospel album at the New Temple Missionary Baptist... [More]
Directed By:

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 105.925%
Critics Consensus: Fearlessly ambitious, scathingly funny, and thoroughly original, Sorry to Bother You loudly heralds the arrival of a fresh filmmaking talent in writer-director Boots Riley.
Synopsis: In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, black telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success,... [More]
Directed By: Boots Riley

#15

The Hate U Give (2018)
97%

#15
Adjusted Score: 106.199%
Critics Consensus: Led by a breakout turn from Amandla Stenberg, the hard-hitting The Hate U Give emphatically proves the YA genre has room for much more than magic and romance.
Synopsis: Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly... [More]
Directed By: George Tillman Jr.

#14

Hidden Figures (2017)
93%

#14
Adjusted Score: 106.304%
Critics Consensus: In heartwarming, crowd-pleasing fashion, Hidden Figures celebrates overlooked -- and crucial -- contributions from a pivotal moment in American history.
Synopsis: HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary... [More]
Directed By: Ted Melfi

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 106.628%
Critics Consensus: In dramatizing Rudy Ray Moore's stranger-than-fiction story, Eddie Murphy makes Dolemite Is My Name just as bold, brash, and ultimately hard to resist as its subject.
Synopsis: Stung by a string of showbiz failures, floundering comedian Rudy Ray Moore (Academy Award nominee Eddie Murphy) has an epiphany... [More]
Directed By: Craig Brewer

#12

Creed (2015)
95%

#12
Adjusted Score: 106.842%
Critics Consensus: Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson Creed (Michael B. Jordan), the son of former heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, attempts to follow in his father's... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 107.414%
Critics Consensus: I Am Not Your Negro offers an incendiary snapshot of James Baldwin's crucial observations on American race relations -- and a sobering reminder of how far we've yet to go.
Synopsis: In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, Remember This House. The book... [More]
Directed By: Raoul Peck

#10

Widows (2018)
91%

#10
Adjusted Score: 108.908%
Critics Consensus: Widows rounds up a stellar ensemble for a heist thriller that mixes popcorn entertainment with a message - and marks another artistic leap for director Steve McQueen.
Synopsis: From Academy Award (R)-winning director Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") and co-writer and bestselling author Gillian Flynn ("Gone Girl")... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen (III)

#9

12 Years a Slave (2013)
95%

#9
Adjusted Score: 109.468%
Critics Consensus: It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema.
Synopsis: Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, the New York State citizen who was kidnapped and made to work on a... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen (III)

#8
Adjusted Score: 110.49%
Critics Consensus: If Beale Street Could Talk honors its source material with a beautifully filmed adaptation that finds director Barry Jenkins further strengthening his visual and narrative craft.
Synopsis: Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk is a timeless and moving love story of both a couple's... [More]
Directed By: Barry Jenkins (III)

#7

Selma (2014)
99%

#7
Adjusted Score: 111.325%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- but doesn't ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied.
Synopsis: SELMA is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#6

Moonlight (2016)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 113.317%
Critics Consensus: Moonlight uses one man's story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema.
Synopsis: The tender, heartbreaking story of a young man's struggle to find himself, told across three defining chapters in his life... [More]
Directed By: Barry Jenkins (III)

#5
Adjusted Score: 113.744%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the creative minds behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street, bring their unique talents... [More]

#4

Get Out (2017)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 114.457%
Critics Consensus: Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#3

BlacKkKlansman (2018)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 114.933%
Critics Consensus: BlacKkKlansman uses history to offer bitingly trenchant commentary on current events -- and brings out some of Spike Lee's hardest-hitting work in decades along the way.
Synopsis: From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It's the early 1970s, and Ron... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#2

Us (2019)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 117.116%
Critics Consensus: With Jordan Peele's second inventive, ambitious horror film, we have seen how to beat the sophomore jinx, and it is Us.
Synopsis: Set in present day along the iconic Northern California coastline, Us, from Monkeypaw Productions, stars Oscar (R) winner Lupita Nyong'o... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#1

Black Panther (2018)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 118.519%
Critics Consensus: Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.
Synopsis: "Black Panther" follows T'Challa who, after the events of "Captain America: Civil War," returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

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