These remarkable movies are imbued with profound themes found in the lives and consciousness of black Americans.

1. NOTHING BUT A MAN 1964 (Michael Roemer)

This movie has the power of a documentary as the characters do not "add" drama to the story, rather, they allow the power of their situations to work upon the audience. The main character, "Duff" attempts to reconcile the role of husband, father and son as the movie veers deeply into heartache and tragedy, before resolving into an uncertain future.


The fictional character of Miss Jane Pittman, drawn broadly and over many decades by Ernest J. Gaines, speaks her autobiography that encompasses slavery and reconstruction all the way up to the civil rights movement. For Miss Pittman, tragedy, heartbreak, love, hope and resolve bring her a wisdom and fortitude that is deeply touching.

3. THE GREAT WHITE HOPE 1970 (Martin Ritt)

James Earl Jones gives a masterful, forceful and passionate performance as the first Black heavyweight world champion and his attempts to forge a loving relationship with a white woman in a racist world while maintaining his heavyweight crown.

4. SHORT EYES 1977 (Robert M. Young)

Based on a play by Miguel Pinero "short eyes" tells the story of a child molester in a New York Jail. The dialogue is honest, fresh, raw and tells a complex and cohesive tale on incarceration, political oppression, racial tension, and the inside-out world of jail culture. Starring Curtis Mayfield, Freddie Fender, Miguel Pinero and Bruce Davison

5. COOLEY HIGH 1975 (Michael Schultz)

Starring Glynn Turman, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs and Garret Morris. Cooley High is the story of a group of friends in an inner city high school, who are trying to graduate from high school so that they can pursue their talents, but first they must avoid the pitfalls of the inner city. A kindness by a teacher has unintended consequences. The movie is equal parts comedy and tragedy and beautifully captures the joys, passions and dangers of youth.

6. WHICH WAY IS UP? 1977 (Michael Schultz)

Starring Richard Pryor in 3 roles, this movie tells the story of the improbable rise of a fruit picker to union leadership. The power exposes his flaws and faults and he finds himself becoming overwhelmed by his demons as his life falls apart

7. ROUND MIDNIGHT 1986 (Bertrand Tavernier)

Dexter Gordon earned an academy award nomination for his portrayal of fictional jazz legend, Dale Carter. Set in France, and beautifully acted, the film shows tenderness in it's character and relationship study of a man, a fan, his daughter and the hopes, ghosts and love that bind them together. Contains many amazing jazz performances under the musical supervision of Herbie Hancock.

8. UNDER THE CHERRY MOON 1986 (Prince)

Set on the French Riviera, this movie cast Prince and Jerome as two ex-pat musician/hustlers. They get in way over their heads when they both fall in love with the daughter of a rich and powerful business man. The results are comic, silly and tragic. Highly entertaining and purely non-sensical. Kristin Scott-Thomas gives a wonderful comedic performance as the object of Prince's affections.

9. SOUNDER 1972 (Martin Ritt)

Starring Cicily Tyson, Taj Mahal and Paul Winfield, "Sounder" is the story of a black sharecropper family torn apart when the father is jailed for theft. The family struggles to survive and the son comes to terms with his life while making a pilgrimage to see his jailed father.

10. SUPERFLY 1972 (Gordon Parks, Jr.)

Starring Ron O'Neal and Julius Harris, Superfly is a classic and perhaps the King of the Blaxploitation era. Ron O'Neal plays a pretty boy dope dealer who sets out to make one last score to get out of the game

11. THE WIZ 1978 (Sidney Lumet)

Starring Richard Pryor, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Mabel King and Lena Horne. With music by Quincy Jones and Luther Vandross and amazing Choreography by Lewis Johnson. The scenes in Oz with the dozens of beautiful black singers and dancers are an amazing ode to the black body, African movement and Black American culture.

12. BLACK ORPHEUS 1959 (Marcel Camus)

Set in Brazil and based upon the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, this beautiful movie features the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfa against the backdrop of Rio De Janeiro during Carnival

13. MAHOGANY 1975 (Berry Gordy)

Starring Anthony Perkins, Billy Dee Williams and Diana Ross, the movie "Mahogany" is a pretense to watch Diana Ross give an amazingly immersive performance for Director Berry Gordy. Together they demonstrate the magic of Motown on the big screen. Ross plays a struggling designer and model who finds international fame and the complex challenges that come with managing success.

14. HE GOT GAME 1998 (Spike Lee)

NBA star Ray Allen stars as a high school basketball prodigy with an incarcerated father (Denzel Washington) who is fought over like a piece of meat by college coaches, sports boosters and unscrupulous agents as he strives to make his college choice. The major college sports game is exposed in all it's bombastic perversion and slavery based ethos by Spike Lee.

15. BIRD 1988 (Clint Eastwood)

Forest Whitaker gives an amazing performance as the Jazz Legend, "Charlie "Bird" Parker. Warts and all. Directed by Clint Eastwood. It's not easy to watch, but it certainly rewards the audience with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

16. THE MACK 1973 (Michael Campos)

Max Julien, as "The Mack" is simply hard to take your eyes off. So unique, nerdy, cool, confident and amazing all at the same time, the Mack is a street Zen Master and Blaxploitation Icon. The movie also stars Carol Speed, Richard Pryor and Roger Mosely. Filmed in Oakland.

17. STREETWISE 1998 (Bruce Brown)

Director, Producer, Writer, Financier Bruce Brown created this gritty street tale about Washington D.C. out of sheer guts. The story is an important aspect of inner city life and no African-American movie collection would be complete without inclusion of the troubling issues exposed in this raw and compelling film.

18. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)

Visionary Director and Producer Steve McQueen based this art house movie on the novel of the same name. The movie includes key scenes from the book and strikes an emotional tone and pace that matches the novel. Hailed for it’s historical accuracy, this movie is one of the truest documents in the history of American slavery.

SPECIAL MENTION ROOTS 1977 (producer Stan Margulies)
This series aired during a difficult time in our nations history as millions of black and white children were caught up in forced busing, which in many cases exacerbated racial tensions and deprivations. The televised movie, shown for 10 nights, prompted an awkward and at times painful national discussion on slavery. During the last episode over 100 million American's or 71% of all households in America tuned in.

GOLD MEDAL NOMINEES (in no particular order)

1. Black Girl
2. Daughters of the Dust
3. Stormy Weather
4. That's Black Entertainment
5. Hearts In Dixie
6. Way Down South
7. For Love of Ivy
8. Buck and the Preacher
9. Ray
10. Bright Road
11. Carmen Jones
12. Beloved
13. Island in the Sun
14. The Color Purple
15. Lady Sings the Blues
16. Do The Right Thing
17. Glory
18. In the Heat of the Night
19. Cornbread, Earl and Me
20. A Soldiers Story
21. What's Love Got To Do With It
22. Shaft
23. Coffy
24. The Spook Who Sat By the Door
25. Deacons for Defense
26. Cry Freedom
27. The Original Kings of Comedy
28. Undercover Brother
29. Car Wash
30. A Raisin In The Sun
31. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
32. Purple Rain
33. Cotton Comes to Harlem
34. Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings
35. Hollywood Shuffle
36. Harlem Nights
37. Mississippi Burning
38. Emperor Jones
39. Ragtime
40. The Crying Game
41. The Wood
42. Menace II Society
43. Why Did I Get Married Too?
44. Friday
45. Diary of a Mad Black Woman
46. Cabin in the Sky
47. Porgy and Bess
48. Dolomite
49. The Help
50. Black Ceasar
51. Get On The Bus
52. Hammer
53. Hell Up In Harlem
54. Eve's Bayou
55. Antwone Fisher
56. Native Son
57. Claudine
58. City of God
59. The Exile
60. Imitation of Life
61. Body and Soul
62. She's Gotta Have It
63. To Sleep with Anger
64. Love and Basketball
65. Showboat
66. Broken Earth

AFRICAN/ABOUT AFRICA CINEMA - Title followed by Director
(in no particular order)

1. Quartier Mozart (Jean-Pierre Bekolo)
2. God Grew Tired of Us (Christopher Quinn)
3. Pray the Devil Back to Hell (Gini Reticker)
4. Sankofa (Haile Gerima)
5. Le Ballon D'or (Cheik Doukoure)
6. Hollow City (Maria Joao Ganga)
7. La Vie Est Belle (Mweze Ngangura & Benoit Lamy)
8. As We Forgive (Laura Waters Hinson)
9. Lumumba (Raoul Peck)
10. Nowhere in Africa (Caroline Link)
11. Xala (Sembene Ousmane)
12. Sometimes In April (Raoul Peck)
13. Afrique Sur Seine (Paulin Soumanou Vieyra)
14. Les Statues Meurent Aussi (Chris Marker & Alain Resnais)
15. Afrique 50 (Rene Vauthier)
16. Jaguar (Jean Rouch)
17. Black Girl (Ousmane Sembenes)
18. Soleil O (Med Hondo)
19. Yeelen (Souleymane Cisse)
20. Guimba (Cheick Oumar Sissoko)
21. Nha Fala (Flora Gomes)
22. Tsotsi (Gavin Hood)