There have been countless films made about the black experience but only a few can be the 10 best African-American drama movies of all time. Some are classics and some are more modern films, but all tell real stories of love, hardship and overcoming obstacles.
1. “Soul Food.” “Soul Food” is the story about a large African American family and what happens to them after their matriarch passes away suddenly. The story follows the three daughters and their families as they try to overcome their differences and reconnect their families.
2. “Roots.” This is one of the most famous films ever made and certainly one of the best African American drama movies. “Roots” tells the story of the author’s own personal family beginning with an ancestor who was captured in Africa and brought to America as a slave.
3. “Beloved.” Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Toni Morrison by the same title, “Beloved” tells the story of a friendship between two ex-slaves who reunite years after freedom.
4. “Lean On Me.” Released in 1989 and starring Morgan Freeman, “Lean On Me” is one of the best African American drama movies made. It is the true story of a high school principal that turns around an intercity school and the kids that attended there.
5. “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.” This film tells the story of Dorothy Dandridge, the first woman to ever be nominated for an Academy Award. The film starred Halle Berry and is one of the best African American drama movies made.
6. “The Women of Brewster Place.” A late 80’s film starring Oprah Winfrey, Robin Givens, Cicely Tyson and Jackee Harry, the movie was based on Gloria Naylor’s novel of the same title. The movie follows the lives and stories of seven women who all live in the same housing project.
7. “Amistad.” Directed by Steven Spielberg in 1997, “Amistad” starred Djimon Honsou and Morgan Freeman and is one of the best African American drama movies out there. The story tells the tale of a group of slaves who take over their captor’s ship and return the boat to their African homeland.
8. “The Color Purple.” Starring Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg’s film “The Color Purple” is one of the best African American drama movies. Telling a story that takes place over the course of a decade, Celie’s tale is one of oppression and spousal abuse and ultimately, of transformation through friendship.
9. “A Raisin in the Sun.” First made in 1961, “A Raisin in the Sun” was one of the most famous classic black films ever made. Based on a play by Lorraine Hansberry, the story explores a family’s turmoil when after the death of the father, a check comes for the mother.
10. “Imitation of Life.” Based on the 1933 book by the same title, “Imitation of Life” is one of the best African American drama movies of all time. The movie’s plot addresses racial prejudices that existed in the 1930’s.