(Photo by Universal/ courtesy Everett Collection)

11 Fresh Cicely Tyson Movies and Series

Discovered at age 30 while working as a typist in New York, Cicely Tyson transformed what was an already unlikely, late-blooming modeling stint into a full-blown acting career, and would become a trailblazer for Black artists across film, TV, and theater from the 1950s and well into the 21st century. Tyson’s versatility across stage and screen meant easy occupancy in roles worthy of her dignity and attention, with appearances in I Spy and Mission: Impossible, a co-starring part in kitchen sink TV drama East Side/West Side, and films like The Comedians and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

The Civil Rights era signaled a dramatic societal shift, not just in American civics but in arts and entertainment. This opened the path for Tyson’s creative peaks, starting with 1972’s Sounder, the deeply humanistic Depression-era drama. For her role as a mother whose husband has been incarcerated and is left to care for their only son (along with a runaway dog), Tyson received her sole Best Actress Oscar nomination. (She would become an Honorary Award recipient in 2019.)

Television emerged as a daring storytelling force during the ’70s, thanks to films and miniseries like 1974’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Tyson portrayed Pittman across 90 years of her character’s life, from a child born into slavery to becoming a figurehead of 1960s’ social justice. Tyson won the Best Lead Actress in a Drama Emmy, and the TV-movie would go on to take Outstanding Special. Tyson would make history again as Kunta Kinte’s mother in the first section of the 1977’s legendary miniseries Roots, which garnered a Emmy nomination for her.

Tyson would ultimately be nominated for at least one Emmy every decade afterwards, including a late-career surge starting with 2014’s The Trip to Bountiful, and a stunning five-nomination run into 2020 for How to Get Away with Murder, playing Annalise’s (Viola Davis) mother, Ophelia.

Two days before her death in January 2021, Tyson published her memoir: Just As I AmWe look back on her life and career in film (including Fried Green Tomatoes and The Help), TV (Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman), and series, including Cherish the Day, created by Ava DuVernay. Here are 10 Fresh movies and series starring the legendary Cicely Tyson.

#11
Adjusted Score: 100.064%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this film, John Singer is a deaf man who moves to a small town to be close to his... [More]
Directed By: Robert Ellis Miller

#10

Sounder (1972)
90%

#10
Adjusted Score: 91.833%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Set during the 1930s, Sounder is the tale of a family of black sharecroppers struggling to survive the Great Depression.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Ritt

#9
Adjusted Score: 89.12%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Based on the book by Ernest Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman originally aired on CBS in 1974. In... [More]
Directed By: John Korty

Synopsis: A law professor and a group of her best students are drawn into a real-life murder conspiracy.... [More]

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 20.469%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Don Cheadle, Mekhi Phifer, and Cicely Tyson star in this drama set in the 1940s about a black man sentenced... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Sargent

Cherish the Day (2020)
78%

#6
Synopsis: The relationship of one couple is chronicled, with each episode spanning a single day.... [More]

Roots (1977)
78%

#5
Synopsis: The landmark dramatization of Alex Haley's classic saga followed his ancestors from Africa into slavery and then to their freedom... [More]

#4

Last Flag Flying (2017)
77%

#4
Adjusted Score: 85.913%
Critics Consensus: Last Flag Flying balances raw drama against refreshing moments of humor in an impeccably cast film that wrestles with questions of patriotism, family, and grief.
Synopsis: In 2003, 30 years after they served together in the Vietnam War, former Navy Corps medic Richard "Doc" Shepherd (Steve... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#3

The Help (2011)
76%

#3
Adjusted Score: 83.24%
Critics Consensus: Though it fails to fully engage with its racial themes, The Help rises on the strength of its cast -- particularly Viola Davis, whose performance is powerful enough to carry the film on its own.
Synopsis: The Help stars Emma Stone as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny-three very different, extraordinary women... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 76.642%
Critics Consensus: Fried Green Tomatoes' tearjerking drama is undeniably manipulative, but in the hands of a skilled cast that includes Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, it's also powerfully effective.
Synopsis: A woman learns the value of friendship as she hears the story of two women and how their friendship shaped... [More]
Directed By: Jon Avnet

#1

Bustin' Loose (1981)
60%

#1
Adjusted Score: 27.752%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: It's The African Queen meets Richard Pryor in this schmaltzy and salty attempt by Pryor to appeal to the family... [More]
Directed By: Oz Scott

Tag Cloud

2020 Netflix HBO The Arrangement mission: impossible Comedy Central scorecard IFC Films technology ABC Family Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt BAFTA DC Universe boxoffice First Reviews Emmy Nominations Extras dc YouTube Premium remakes Tumblr golden globe awards Television Academy Marvel Television space Lifetime Christmas movies TV Land 2019 king kong Shondaland medical drama Superheroes Hear Us Out FOX period drama Cosplay DC Comics politics Paramount Network cinemax godzilla game of thrones halloween comedies football psycho 71st Emmy Awards Hallmark worst video on demand Paramount Plus spinoff spy thriller TCM SDCC spanish language Brie Larson ratings Peacock Western Chernobyl Disney+ Disney Plus TV renewals dark romance Interview screen actors guild casting Columbia Pictures Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Film Heroines what to watch blockbuster asian-american ABC crime CMT Mystery Vudu spider-man stoner A24 Crunchyroll The Witch Arrowverse dramedy TIFF CBS All Access Broadway The Walt Disney Company Creative Arts Emmys Apple TV+ jurassic park Emmys latino quibi Photos GoT Rock based on movie elevated horror Spring TV documentary Video Games facebook Oscars Best and Worst streaming chucky Binge Guide screenings cults Election anthology toy story Apple blaxploitation cancelled TV series Horror RT21 science fiction strong female leads zero dark thirty TLC Holiday Mudbound classics name the review serial killer FXX Premiere Dates a nightmare on elm street telelvision rotten movies we love Black History Month Sundance reviews independent ViacomCBS documentaries Grammys composers Disney Plus 45 Summer Paramount Nominations Trophy Talk Rocketman italian Comics on TV Hallmark Christmas movies child's play docudrama diversity Action Martial Arts Ovation richard e. Grant hidden camera japanese singing competition ESPN james bond comiccon disaster indiana jones 2021 Biopics romantic comedy 2015 satire Kids & Family HBO Go toronto SundanceTV Cannes natural history WGN Christmas Schedule History YouTube Red rom-coms Awards Tour Awards black Mindy Kaling VH1 crime drama CBS 2016 christmas movies Universal sag awards animated Reality revenge VICE Fantasy films Pet Sematary The Purge miniseries monster movies scary movies Ellie Kemper BBC America MTV Red Carpet historical drama Starz Certified Fresh south america Tarantino Turner Classic Movies nature Endgame news cancelled TV shows BBC superman YA AMC binge Super Bowl Sneak Peek canceled TV shows Polls and Games tv talk Fall TV television Pirates discovery political drama CNN slashers Sundance Now nbcuniversal IFC HBO Max dragons Set visit Reality Competition indie GIFs transformers werewolf President E3 Pop Toys Avengers zombies fast and furious 99% Fox News Nickelodeon hist superhero unscripted festival Mary poppins 2018 GLAAD Holidays Fox Searchlight New York Comic Con DC streaming service Pride Month Dark Horse Comics spain Black Mirror Mary Poppins Returns American Society of Cinematographers San Diego Comic-Con reboot See It Skip It El Rey kong boxing travel FX on Hulu halloween tv Marvel Studios TCA Winter 2020 supernatural Discovery Channel popular game show crime thriller award winner Spectrum Originals Countdown Disney Hulu rotten hollywood Disney Channel comic NBC Writers Guild of America Drama stand-up comedy CW Seed FX trailers TCA Comic Book Valentine's Day YouTube LGBTQ green book NYCC crossover critics Academy Awards Captain marvel australia TV One Travel Channel die hard directors deadpool renewed TV shows Film Festival Classic Film Marathons concert war Star Wars criterion Year in Review ghosts Winners best Marvel adaptation razzies Masterpiece Lucasfilm Musical twilight all-time emmy awards Shudder archives DGA Amazon 20th Century Fox PaleyFest Britbox TBS Walt Disney Pictures sports Amazon Studios Trivia 4/20 french WarnerMedia teaser Esquire Lionsgate kaiju cancelled Pixar laika Stephen King cancelled television foreign 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Rocky Television Critics Association Country Syfy Sony Pictures hispanic movies PlayStation cats Mary Tyler Moore Netflix Christmas movies Song of Ice and Fire joker witnail First Look adventure PBS Pop TV Superheroe Amazon Prime dogs Podcast festivals DirecTV cooking justice league Disney streaming service psychological thriller parents Elton John Rom-Com Sundance TV VOD 21st Century Fox Animation TCA Awards National Geographic kids movie The Walking Dead cops versus sequel Teen 24 frames OWN Lifetime TV MCU free movies BBC One social media MSNBC ABC Signature Freeform RT History comics series Nat Geo Tubi Anna Paquin Exclusive Video universal monsters Alien Musicals biography Acorn TV TCA 2017 aliens venice sequels LGBT A&E SXSW nfl 2017 Trailer cars stop motion Warner Bros. Cartoon Network fresh cartoon Box Office rt archives obituary Adult Swim mutant 72 Emmy Awards Thanksgiving BET The CW Bravo book X-Men video APB pirates of the caribbean franchise Apple TV Plus police drama Winter TV Watching Series Amazon Prime Video talk show blockbusters prank Ghostbusters Sci-Fi batman canceled Epix Women's History Month Turner Funimation harry potter USA Network true crime Quiz Opinion Family robots jamie lee curtis docuseries zombie comic books Food Network ITV OneApp Spike USA Character Guide The Academy dceu 007 children's TV ID breaking bad Comedy Legendary spanish worst movies Star Trek Baby Yoda theme song TruTV doctor who finale thriller sitcom women vampires E! anime Music BET Awards golden globes Showtime Infographic Logo TNT mockumentary Calendar Tomatazos Crackle