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Top 7 Highly Acclaimed Movies Starring African American Actors

Although the Lumière Brothers made the first motion film in 1895, it took 30 years for the first Black person, Stepin Fetchit, to be given screen time. 

Later, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American woman to receive an Academy Award, and 24 years later, Sidney Poitier became the first African American male to do so. 

With these powerful concepts playing out in movie theatres around the country, we’ve arrived at an ideal time to look at the highly-acclaimed movies starring African American actors. 

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Top 7 Highly Acclaimed Movies Starring African American Actors

Hollywood is no stranger to the talents of African American actors. This is why over the years, there have been some great films bade by these black men and women that have left us stunned.

Let’s take a look at some of those films:

1: Judas And The Black Messiah (2021)

While not a biography, Judas and the Black Messiah examine Chairman Fred Hampton’s period in Chicago with the Black Panther Party, forming the Rainbow Coalition, and the circumstances that led to his death. 

It was even aided by intelligence provided to the Feds by William O’Neal. Judas analyses how deeply the government became involved in killing this young Black guy. 

He had a brilliant group of young, Black performers boosted by the work of Kaluuya and Stanfield. 

Judas, an early contender for Best Film of 2021, is the appropriate film for the movement at the right moment.

CAST

  • Daniel Kaluuya.
  • Jesse Plemons.
  • LaKeith Stanfield.
  • Ashton Sanders.
  • Dominique Fishback.
  • Lil Rel Howery.
  • Darrell Britt-Gibson.
  • Martin Sheen.
  • Algee Smith.

2: One Night In Miami (2020)

Regina King’s directorial debut is based on Kemp Powers’ 2013 play One Night in Miami. 

It depicts an imagined night in Miami with four Black legends: Malcolm X, Cassius Clay before becoming Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke. 

In a compelling back and forth, the four icons discuss what the community needs, balancing it with their personal works and aspirations, and more in a gripping back and forth that may offer fresh insight on these characters and why they moved the way they moved. 

It is a notable film to add to your Black cinema canon.

CAST

  • Kingsley Ben-Adir.
  • Eli Goree. 
  • Aldis Hodge. 
  • Leslie Odom Jr.

3: Miss Juneteenth (2020)

In her directorial debut, Channing Godfrey Peoples returns to Texas, the birthplace of Juneteenth, to tell the delicate story of Turquoise Jones. 

She was a former Miss Juneteenth yet a struggling single-mother who wanted to pay the bills keep her daughter’s head on straight, in the notion to help her win the recent Miss Juneteenth pageant. 

It’s an actual narrative, with Beharie carrying the film on her back in a way that many had hoped to see from her. 

She brings realism to her picture of Turquoise, a lady who may not have all of the answers, but she does have a decent heart and the ambition to build a better life for herself. 

CAST

  • Nicole Beharie.
  • Kendrick Sampson. 
  • Alexis Chikaeze.

4: Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Netflix released Oscar-winning director Spike Lee’s violent war epic Da 5 Bloods in the summer of 2020. 

The picture, which had fantastic work from Delroy Lindo, emerging talent Jonathan Majors as his son, and one of the greatest Chadwick Boseman’s last performances, was royally rejected at the Oscars, but none of that mattered since this got appreciated a lot. 

It presented the account of the African-American experience during the Vietnam War. 

Besides being a brutal war picture, at the film’s end, it even dealt with MAGA politics, father-son relationships and had all kinds of action/heist movie themes.

CAST

  • Delroy Lindo.
  • Jonathan Majors. 
  • Clarke Peters. 
  • Norm Lewis. 
  • Isiah Whitlock Jr. 
  • Mélanie Thierry. 
  • Paul.
  • Walter Hauser. 
  • Jasper Pääkkönen. 
  • Jean Reno. 
  • Chadwick Boseman.

5: Black Panther (2018)

There have been previous black superhero flicks, but none like this. We’ve seen campy superhero films like Meteor Man and Blankman. Then there were the anti-heroes like Spawn and Blade. 

However, in a positive sense, Black Panther is very different from its predecessors.

T’Challa, the newly chosen king of Wakanda, is confronted with his father’s death and his responsibilities to his people, as well as the rest of the suffering world that may benefit from Wakanda’s wealth, in Black Panther. 

In the middle of all of this, he must contend with villains like Klaw, after the country’s vibranium, and Erik Killmonger, seeking the crown. Besides having a lot of drama, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments present in this movie too.

CAST

  • Chadwick Boseman. 
  • Michael B. Jordan. 
  • Lupita Nyong’o. 
  • Danai Gurir.
  • Martin Freeman. 
  • Daniel Kaluuya. 
  • Letitia Wright. 
  • Winston Duke. 
  • Angela Bassett. 
  • Forest Whitaker. 
  • Andy Serkis.

6: If Beatle Street Could Talk (2018)

Adapting a lively novel like James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk is a Herculean endeavor. Still, when it was announced that Moonlight director Barry Jenkins would be taking on the project, many people felt relieved. 

Aside from the story, Jenkins demonstrated in his Academy Award-winning debut that he knew how to make black bodies sparkle on the big screen, and his eye is back in full force in Beatle Street. 

The film portrays the tense story of two longstanding friends turned lovers who receive shocking news. 

On the one hand, they’re expecting a child. On the other hand, however, they also need to figure out why Fonny was accused of a rape he clearly did not commit.

CAST

  • Regina King. 
  • Stephan James. 
  • Kiki Layne. 
  • Teyonah Parris. 
  • Dave Franco.

7: Get Out (2017)

The announcement that comedian Jordan Peele would be directing a horror-thriller was received with suspicion. 

While Peele and his comedy collaborator, Keegan-Michael Key, frequently touch on race, it’s generally on the ridiculous side of things. 

Get Out follows Chris, a black guy, as he meets the parents of his white fiancée, Rose, for the first time at their house amid the woods. 

What follows are hints of microaggressions, such as Rose’s father informing him that he should have voted thrice for Obama and a mind-bending twist that kept us away from anybody with a teacup for days.

CAST

  • Daniel Kaluuya.
  • Allison Williams. 
  • Catherine Keener. 
  • Bradley Whitford.
  • Caleb Landry Jones.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, we have only managed to name a few hits of recent years where the African American actors nailed their roles and left a long-lasting impression on our hearts. 

If you haven’t watched these movies, make a watchlist of them right now.

For further questions, ping us in the comment box.

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