Best Movies About Racism

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Best Movies About Racism

Have you heard all of these Best Movies About Racism? We bet you'll find some new picks. Here are 25 of the best ones.

Schindler's List (1993)

Schindler's List
★★★★
★★★★
3.6 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall
Rated R

Schindler's List is a 1993 American historical drama directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally. Set in Poland during World War II, it tells the story of German businessman Oskar Schindler who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. It stars Liam Neeson as Schindler, Ralph Fiennes as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley as Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern. The film follows Schindler's tumultuous efforts to protect his Jewish workers from the Nazi concentration camps of Kraków while simultaneously attempting to remain financially solvent. His motivations have been variously attributed to greed, humanitarianism, and patriotism. The film received critical acclaim and won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Spielberg, Best Adapted Screenplay for Steven Zaillian, and Best Original Score for John Williams.

The Green Mile (1999)

The Green Mile
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Frank Darabont, starring Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt
Rated R

The Green Mile is a 1999 American fantasy drama film directed by Frank Darabont and written by Stephen King, based on his 1996 novel of the same name. The film stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, a corrections officer at a prison in the 1930s who develops a friendship with a condemned inmate, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). Coffey has been convicted of the brutal murder of two young girls, but claims to have the power to heal people. With the help of his fellow inmates, Edgecomb discovers that Coffey may in fact be innocent and sets out to prove it. Along the way, the inmates must grapple with the harsh realities of prison life, as well as their own sense of morality, justice, mercy, and faith.

American History X (1998)

American History X
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Tony Kaye, starring Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo, Jennifer Lien
Rated R

American History X is a crime drama film set in Venice Beach, California. The film follows Derek Vinyard, a former neo-Nazi skinhead and convicted felon, as he struggles to reform his life after being released from prison. His older brother Danny is deeply influenced by Derek's white supremacist views, and eventually joins a neo-Nazi gang. When Danny is killed by a black gang member, Derek is forced to reconsider his own beliefs and confront his past. Through his relationships with his family, former gang members, and a black mentor, Derek ultimately chooses to embrace tolerance and understanding.

Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Quentin Tarantino, starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington
Rated R

Django Unchained is a 2012 American revisionist Western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Set in the Old West and Antebellum South, it is a highly stylized tribute to Spaghetti Westerns, in particular the 1966 Italian film Django by Sergio Corbucci. It stars Jamie Foxx as Django Freeman, a freed slave who teams up with a German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), to rescue his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from the ruthless plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). The film also features Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, and Don Johnson in supporting roles. Django Unchained follows Django and Schultz's journey to Candyland, a plantation owned by the eccentric Candie, who prides himself on his collection of slaves. As Django and Schultz get closer to their goal, they must also face a sadistic house slave, Stephen (Jackson), and confront the legacy of slavery. Through their efforts, they are ultimately able to free Broomhilda, and Django rides off into the sunset in a bloody and violent finale.

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Inglourious Basterds
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Quentin Tarantino, starring Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent
Rated R

Inglourious Basterds (2009) is a World War II action/drama directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, led by the ruthless Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt). Their mission is to ruthlessly spread fear throughout the Nazi ranks by engaging in acts of extreme violence, including scalping and torture. The group’s paths cross with a young Jewish woman (Mélanie Laurent) who plans to take revenge on the Nazi high command by killing them at a movie premiere. The group also befriends a German soldier (Daniel Brühl) who assists them in their mission. The story culminates in a tense confrontation between the Basterds and the Nazi high command, in which the Basterds succeed in their mission and end the war in a unique and violent fashion. Inglourious Basterds is an intense and thrilling war drama, driven by Tarantino’s trademark dialogue and style.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy
Rated Approved

To Kill a Mockingbird is a 1962 American drama film based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 novel of the same name. Directed by Robert Mulligan, the film stars Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, a lawyer in a racist small-town Alabama who agrees to defend a black man against an undeserved rape accusation. The film focuses on the finch family, particularly the relationship between Atticus and his children, Scout and Jem. The film also covers the issues of racism, inequality, and justice in the segregated South of the 1930s. Through its thought-provoking themes, To Kill a Mockingbird has become a classic of American literature and cinema and remains one of the most popular films of all time.

Green Book (2018)

Green Book
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Peter Farrelly, starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco
Rated PG-13

Green Book is a 2018 drama directed by Peter Farrelly. It stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali and is set in 1962. It tells the story of an Italian-American bouncer, Tony Lip (Mortensen), who is hired to drive and protect African-American pianist Don Shirley (Ali) as he embarks on a concert tour of the Deep South. Along the way, Tony and Don form an unlikely bond, learning to look past their differences and recognize their shared humanity. The film pays homage to The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guidebook published from 1936 to 1967 that provided African-Americans with advice on safe places to eat and sleep while traveling through the segregated south.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt
Rated R

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 historical drama directed by Steve McQueen, adapted from the 1853 memoir of the same name by Solomon Northup. The film chronicles Northup's kidnapping in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and subsequent enslavement for 12 years in Louisiana. Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery despite already being legally free. He struggles to survive the brutal conditions of slavery and works to reunite with his family. Through courage and perseverance, he eventually gains his freedom. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup, with supporting performances from Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, and Alfre Woodard. 12 Years a Slave received universal critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Picture, among other major awards.

Gran Torino (2008)

Gran Torino
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Christopher Carley, Ahney Her
Rated R

Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The story follows an aging Korean War veteran named Walt Kowalski (Eastwood), who finds himself drawn into a conflict with a local Hmong gang as he forms a bond with his young Hmong neighbor Thao Vang Lor. Walt, a racist and bitter man, is initially hesitant to befriend Thao, but gradually comes to respect him and bonds with the Hmong community. When the gang threatens Thao and his family, Walt is forced to confront them to protect his newfound friends. The film examines themes of racism, family, friendship, and redemption. Its critical reception was overwhelmingly positive, and Gran Torino was a commercial success.

The Help (2011)

The Help
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Tate Taylor, starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard
Rated PG-13

The Help is a 2011 drama directed by Tate Taylor and based on the novel of the same name by Kathryn Stockett. The film is set in Jackson, Mississippi during the early 1960s, and follows Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone), a recent college graduate who aspires to become a writer. Skeeter is determined to get to the heart of what it really means to be a "help" in the segregated South. She interviews a number of African-American maids, including Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minny Jackson (Octavia Spencer), about their experiences working for white families. As their stories unfold, a new community is formed, and the women find themselves empowered to create change in their own lives and the lives of those around them. The Help is an emotional and inspiring story of courage, friendship and the power of a collective voice.

Do the Right Thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Spike Lee, starring Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson
Rated R

Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama film directed by Spike Lee. Set on a hot summer day in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, the film centers on a local pizzeria and its owner, Sal (Danny Aiello), who is forced to choose between closing his shop or letting his son, Pino (John Turturro), change the menu by adding more Italian dishes. The tensions between Sal's African-American and Italian-American customers come to a head when Radio Raheem (Bill Nunn) plays his boombox loudly while in the pizzeria. This eventually leads to a physical altercation between Raheem and the police, followed by his death. In the aftermath of Raheem's death, the community rallies together to take a stand against the racial injustice and violence that has plagued their neighborhood. Do the Right Thing highlights issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and economic and social inequality. Ultimately, the film reinforces the idea that everyone has the potential to do the right thing.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

In the Heat of the Night
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Norman Jewison, starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant
Rated Approved

In the Heat of the Night is a 1967 American mystery drama film directed by Norman Jewison and based on the 1965 novel of the same name by John Ball. It stars Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs, a black police detective from Philadelphia, who becomes involved in a murder investigation in a small town in Mississippi. Tibbs must navigate the town's deep racial divisions as he works to solve the crime. Along the way, he forms an unlikely partnership with local law enforcement as they battle prejudice and ultimately catch the killer. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Poitier), and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also inspired a television series and sequel, They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970).

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kramer, starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Katharine Houghton
Rated Approved

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 comedy-drama directed by Stanley Kramer. The film stars Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier. The story centers on the surprise visit of Dr. John Prentice (Poitier) to the home of his girlfriend Joanna (Katharine Houghton) and her parents, Matt (Tracy) and Christina (Hepburn). Joanna's parents must come to terms with the fact that their daughter is in love with a black man and must confront their own racial prejudices. The film is a thinly-veiled commentary on race relations in the 1960s and how society's views on race were changing. It was the first major studio film to feature an interracial relationship. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress for Hepburn.

A Bronx Tale (1993)

A Bronx Tale
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Robert De Niro, starring Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato, Francis Capra
Rated R

A Bronx Tale is a 1993 American coming-of-age crime drama film directed by Robert De Niro and based on Chazz Palminteri's 1989 play of the same name. The film stars De Niro as Lorenzo Anello, a hard-working Italian-American bus driver from the Bronx, and Lillo Brancato Jr. as Calogero Anello, his son, who is torn between the temptations of organized crime and the values of his hardworking father. Calogero's story is set in the 1960s, when the Italian-American South Bronx neighborhood was a hotbed of racial tension and organized crime. The story follows Calogero as he is enticed into joining a local mob, while his father works hard to give his son a better life. As Calogero struggles with the conflicting influences of his father and the mob, he must also face the harsh realities of his neighborhood and the consequences of his actions. In the end, Calogero learns the power of honesty and loyalty, and that it is important to stay true to one's values in order to make a lasting impression.

Mississippi Burning (1988)

Mississippi Burning
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Alan Parker, starring Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif
Rated R

Mississippi Burning is a 1988 drama directed by Alan Parker. The film is based on the true story of the 1964 investigation into the murder of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. The movie stars Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe as FBI agents Rupert Anderson and Alan Ward, who are sent to investigate the killings. The two agents discover a corrupt and oppressive system of racism and violence that has been maintained by the local authorities, and they must use all of their skills and resources to bring justice to the town and the victims. Through their investigation, they uncover a conspiracy involving the Ku Klux Klan, which leads to a dramatic and intense climax. With strong performances, intense drama, and a powerful message, Mississippi Burning is an Academy Award-winning film that is considered a classic of the genre.

Crash (2004)

Crash
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Paul Haggis, starring Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Thandiwe Newton, Karina Arroyave
Rated R

Crash is a 2004 drama film written and directed by Paul Haggis. The film interweaves the lives of several characters from different racial, social, and economic backgrounds, all of whom are connected in some way to a car accident in Los Angeles. The story follows the characters as they deal with racism, prejudice, and the complexities of contemporary urban life. The film explores themes of identity, violence, and redemption, as the characters fight to overcome the prejudices that drive them apart. The ensemble cast includes Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Terrence Howard, Brendan Fraser, Thandie Newton, and Ryan Phillippe.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Jordan Peele, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
Rated R

Get Out is a 2017 horror/thriller film directed by Jordan Peele. It follows the story of Chris Washington, a young African American man, who visits his white girlfriend's family estate. Once there, he experiences a series of increasingly disturbing events and discovers a horrific secret behind the family's friendly façade. As he uncovers the sinister truth, he finds himself in a fight for his life. Get Out is an exploration of racism and classism in modern society and a powerful commentary on the horror of being an outsider.

Ray (2004)

Ray
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Taylor Hackford, starring Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington, Clifton Powell
Rated PG-13

Ray is a biographical drama based on the life of music legend Ray Charles. The film follows Ray from his early days in the segregated South, through his meteoric rise to fame as one of the first African American superstars of popular music, and his struggles with personal demons along the way. The film stars Jamie Foxx in the title role, and chronicles the highs and lows of Ray's career, as well as his personal relationships with family and friends. Ray ultimately overcomes his demons and emerges as a beloved icon of American music, earning him a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Malcolm X (1992)

Malcolm X
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Spike Lee, starring Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, Spike Lee
Rated PG-13

Malcolm X is a biographical drama directed by Spike Lee which explores the life and legacy of the eponymous civil rights leader. The film follows Malcolm's life from his childhood in Lansing, Michigan, to his intense involvement in the Nation of Islam and his eventual assassination. Along the way, the film highlights Malcolm's philosophy of Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism, as well as his visions of racial justice, dignity, and social progress. It also portrays the many obstacles and difficulties he faced, such as his life in prison, the racism he endured, and the political and personal tensions within the Nation of Islam. Ultimately, the film is a moving portrait of a complex and important figure in American history.

The Color Purple (1985)

The Color Purple
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery
Rated PG-13

The Color Purple is a 1985 American drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey. The film follows the story of Celie, a young African-American woman living in rural Georgia during the early 1900s. After being raped and impregnated by the man she calls "father", Celie is separated from her sister and forced into an abusive marriage. Through her struggles and with the help of a few strong female friends, Celie eventually finds her own strength and learns to live and love with dignity. The Color Purple is an inspiring story about overcoming adversity and finding the courage to fight for one's rights, despite the odds.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

BlacKkKlansman
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Spike Lee, starring John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace
Rated R

BlacKkKlansman is a 2018 American biographical black comedy crime film directed by Spike Lee and co-written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Lee and Kevin Willmott, based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth. It stars John David Washington as Stallworth, the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who sets out to infiltrate and expose the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. The film also stars Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. The film follows Stallworth's efforts to infiltrate the KKK as he and a white colleague (Driver) pose as a white supremacist and a white supremacist sympathizer, respectively. Through a series of phone calls, Stallworth ultimately becomes the head of the local chapter, and gets close to the Klan's leader David Duke (Grace). In the meantime, he forms a relationship with a black student activist (Harrier). The film was released in the United States on August 10, 2018 and was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $88 million worldwide on a production budget of $15 million. It was chosen by the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute as one of the Top Ten

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Ryan Coogler, starring Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand
Rated R

Fruitvale Station is a 2013 American drama film written and directed by Ryan Coogler. It is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old African-American man who was fatally shot by BART police officers at the Fruitvale district station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit in Oakland, California, on New Year's Day in 2009. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Grant, and follows the events leading up to his death, as well as the aftermath of it. The film also explores the themes of racism, police brutality, and the struggle of single-parent families in the Bay Area. Critics praised the film's performances and story, and it won numerous awards, including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Menace II Society (1993)

Menace II Society
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes, starring Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu, Toshi Toda
Rated R

Menace II Society is a 1993 American hood film directed by Albert and Allen Hughes. Set in South Central Los Angeles, the story follows Caine Lawson, a young man living in a crime-ridden environment and struggling to survive. After witnessing his friend's murder, Caine is determined to make a better life for himself, but finds the surrounding gangs and violence make it difficult to stay on the right path. With his friend O-Dog, Caine begins to explore the world of crime and violence, and soon finds himself entangled in a series of violent events. In the end, he must choose between his own survival and standing up for what he believes in.

Selma (2014)

Selma
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Ava DuVernay, starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Wilkinson
Rated PG-13

Selma is a historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay and released in 2014. The film follows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his campaign to secure equal voting rights via the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. Through its portrayal of the marches and their violent suppression, the film highlights the struggle for racial equality in the United States and the civil rights movement. The film stars David Oyelowo as Dr. King and also features Common, Carmen Ejogo, and Tom Wilkinson. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

If Beale Street Could Talk
★★★★
★★★★
2.8 out of 4 stars

From Barry Jenkins, starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Teyonah Parris
Rated R

 



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