(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.

Adjusted Score: 100327%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of the Carson McCullers novel, John Singer (Alan Arkin), who is deaf and mute, tries to help... [More]
Directed By: Robert Ellis Miller


Sounder (1972)

Adjusted Score: 92457%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Morgans, a family of poor black sharecroppers in the Depression-plagued South, struggle to find enough to eat despite the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Ritt

Adjusted Score: 88217%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Beginning during the racial turmoil of 1960s Louisiana, 110-year-old ex-slave Jane Pittman (Cicely Tyson) grants an interview to a persistent... [More]
Directed By: John Korty

Synopsis: Annalise Keating (Oscar- and Tony-winning actress Viola Davis), a brilliant, charismatic and seductive professor of defense law, teaches a class... [More]

Adjusted Score: 20525%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Grant Wiggins (Don Cheadle) is an African-American schoolteacher in the pre-Civil Rights Movement South who feels conflicted about his status... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Sargent

Cherish the Day (2020)

Synopsis: The stirring romance of a couple is told in segments of a single day.... [More]

Roots (1977)

Synopsis: A 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley's book tells the story of African teen Kunta Kinte, brought to America to... [More]


Last Flag Flying (2017)

Adjusted Score: 91884%
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: Thirty years after serving together in the Vietnam War, Larry "Doc" Shepherd, Sal Nealon and the Rev. Richard Mueller reunite... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater


The Help (2011)

Adjusted Score: 84813%
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: In 1960s Mississippi, Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college with dreams of being a writer. She turns... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

Adjusted Score: 75679%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On one of trapped housewife Evelyn Couch's (Kathy Bates) Wednesday nursing home visits, she encounters Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy), a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Avnet


Bustin' Loose (1981)

Adjusted Score: 34759%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Parole officer Donald (Robert Christian) compels his foul-mouthed ex-con charge Joe Braxton (Richard Pryor) to escort a bus full of... [More]
Directed By: Oz Scott

Tag Cloud

young adult Brie Larson Tomatazos monster movies 71st Emmy Awards godzilla DC Comics DGA singing competition italian black comedy emmy awards discovery zero dark thirty Character Guide Awards Tour comiccon die hard Netflix Christmas movies period drama popular independent Shudder Mystery new zealand blaxploitation GLAAD Biopics a nightmare on elm street Film Festival hist spanish romance based on movie Columbia Pictures war films screenings cinemax aapi historical drama TV canceled Food Network Bravo Opinion comedies AMC Apple TV+ boxoffice Video Games LGBT AMC Plus Cartoon Network Rocketman RT History BBC archives australia medical drama San Diego Comic-Con Pop TV Nominations miniseries rotten movies we love Turner football saw justice league Alien Marathons royal family Comedy Apple Film TLC stand-up comedy Watching Series ESPN sopranos mission: impossible NBC live event political drama facebook Mary Poppins Returns Thanksgiving canceled TV shows YouTube Cosplay Sci-Fi true crime black Holidays sequel binge Disney Plus what to watch asian-american Superheroes 93rd Oscars 90s Horror kaiju spider-verse Walt Disney Pictures Mudbound spy thriller Polls and Games Crackle Funimation spider-man Mindy Kaling prank BAFTA 007 Amazon Prime Video sag awards IFC Films dogs American Society of Cinematographers Sundance Now concert Britbox Lifetime Musical Women's History Month cancelled First Reviews Travel Channel richard e. Grant james bond MCU stoner disaster Winter TV Academy Awards olympics Box Office jamie lee curtis finale Instagram Live Spike name the review rt archives Grammys NBA CBS See It Skip It GoT cancelled television CW Seed dexter Western batman anime obituary Set visit Ovation Classic Film deadpool documentaries Certified Fresh BET spanish language Epix 24 frames Quiz Masterpiece women Calendar Kids & Family spinoff reboot Disney Channel Mary poppins blockbuster Reality MSNBC biopic Star Wars joker Spring TV movie king kong telelvision werewolf marvel comics Black History Month doctor who worst live action crime thriller classics revenge razzies Rock hispanic heritage month PBS comic book movie Marvel Television Turner Classic Movies Freeform Chernobyl best Hallmark Christmas movies romantic comedy critic resources marvel cinematic universe worst movies Television Academy Marvel technology Martial Arts Arrowverse Crunchyroll twilight wonder woman remakes fresh Teen 2018 south america Trivia Hallmark TruTV Drama HBO Go mcc golden globe awards laika blockbusters Discovery Channel Esquire The Arrangement stop motion BET Awards nature reviews comic books Universal Pictures nbcuniversal 20th Century Fox Amazon Prime Red Carpet The Walking Dead Fox News Sony Pictures natural history talk show cops news thriller slasher Pixar posters Baby Yoda Peacock Rocky biography Toys 2016 Pride Month ABC Christmas scorecard Creative Arts Emmys police drama Starz toy story Logo X-Men toronto Tubi Sundance video on demand 4/20 72 Emmy Awards satire Binge Guide rt labs TV renewals The Witch The Walt Disney Company OneApp science fiction french hollywood slashers pirates of the caribbean Winners know your critic politics TV movies Acorn TV Musicals christmas movies 2019 DC streaming service APB Apple TV Plus festival Awards space mob dramedy Nat Geo Comics on TV BBC America PaleyFest unscripted rt labs critics edition The Purge 45 halloween tv franchise elevated horror Heroines new star wars movies 21st Century Fox sequels cooking versus psycho documentary award winner children's TV movies strong female leads book docuseries cults Hulu SundanceTV teaser Paramount Network Song of Ice and Fire serial killer new york adventure TNT comic Disney streaming service Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Trailer comics DC Universe harry potter FX Cannes Ghostbusters First Look cancelled TV shows hidden camera Netflix Pet Sematary Pirates Emmy Nominations FX on Hulu supernatural Lucasfilm Marvel Studios jurassic park National Geographic Animation Valentine's Day Syfy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt child's play festivals Spectrum Originals comic book movies GIFs breaking bad Tokyo Olympics Universal Schedule VICE zombie Country Adult Swim 2020 Elton John SXSW dreamworks Premiere Dates Interview Writers Guild of America boxing dc Endgame indie ID free movies LGBTQ Comic Book 2017 WarnerMedia CBS All Access Superheroe halloween ITV Paramount ABC Signature criterion mockumentary Pop rotten Hear Us Out The Academy ABC Family 2021 YA TBS universal monsters PlayStation New York Comic Con television Captain marvel sitcom Fall TV Mary Tyler Moore RT21 Disney green book psychological thriller king arthur japanese quibi tv talk Shondaland high school USA Network Vudu ratings Infographic SDCC cars cats basketball casting critics 73rd Emmy Awards Stephen King video TCM Disney+ Disney Plus WGN genre ghosts ViacomCBS Exclusive Video TCA 2017 series Legendary 2015 HBO Max trailers Amazon Year in Review dragons VOD action-comedy scene in color Tumblr target legend rom-coms kong Lifetime Christmas movies spain composers latino book adaptation mutant Star Trek Dark Horse Comics kids Anna Paquin Wes Anderson Showtime streaming Ellie Kemper A&E VH1 Nickelodeon scary movies Avengers lord of the rings IMDb TV international debate hispanic President scary BBC One TCA heist movie crime Extras superman Warner Bros. screen actors guild parents crime drama Election directors suspense Reality Competition Photos Fox Searchlight Comic-Con@Home 2021 Neflix docudrama art house theme song nfl game of thrones aliens Paramount Plus Sundance TV Holiday Super Bowl anthology Emmys all-time foreign E3 History Action CMT Family Comedy Central adenture USA IFC CNN streaming movies FOX 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards social media YouTube Premium chucky crossover Best and Worst Pacific Islander Music HBO Lionsgate witnail Image Comics The CW adaptation 1990s El Rey vampires feel good DirecTV FXX TV One dark renewed TV shows Podcast Black Mirror fast and furious vs. dceu Oscars Tarantino Sneak Peek TV Land Countdown Rom-Com TCA Winter 2020 indiana jones Fantasy animated zombies superhero venice gangster TIFF TCA Awards golden globes game show Trophy Talk Summer 99% cartoon YouTube Red Television Critics Association japan robots cancelled TV series diversity Amazon Studios Broadway transformers travel sports A24 MTV NYCC E! OWN