When we were in school, it seemed that the only time we were shown films on black history was during February. Now that you’re out of school and it’s Black History Month, you might find yourself gravitating towards watching a film. If you’re looking for a few good movies to spend your time watching, check out a few hits from our list below.
In 2013, Lee Daniels’ The Butler appeared in theaters and it was met with critical acclaim. The movie follows a man who works as a butler in the White House during the Civil Rights era. The film stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The film won two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actor.
One film that is rich in depicting the cruelty of the Civil Rights era is the 1988 film Mississippi Burning. The film follows two white FBI agents who are investigating the murders of civil rights workers. This movie is ripe with the racial discrimination and tensions of the KKK towards the black population. Mississippi Burning went on to be nominated for seven Academy Awards and took home the award for Best Cinematography.
Remember the Titans
If you’re a fan of sports movies, why not spend your time watching Remember the Titans? Starring Denzel Washington, the film follows the story of coach Herman Boone, a black man who is hired to take over the coaching position for a formerly white football team. After the team integrates, we are shown the struggle and eventual triumph that the team finds together. The film is based on the true story of Herman Boone when he went to coach at T.C. Williams High School in Virginia.
The 2011 film The Help was based off of the 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett. The story follows a young white woman who aspires to become a journalist. She decides to write a novel exposing racism and tells the narrative from the viewpoint of the maids. The film became a massive success and grossed over $215 million in the box office. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards where Octavia Spencer won for Best Supporting Actress.
12 Years a Slave
In 2013, 12 Years a Slave appeared in theaters and received critical acclaim. The adaptation of a slave narrative, the film told the story of Solomon Northup, a free-man who was captured and sold into slavery. The film starred Chiwetel Ejiofor and breakout star, Lupita Nyong’o. The film did exceptionally well and tallied over 140 awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards as well as Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes.
Based on the true story of Oscar Grant, the 2013 film Fruitvale Station describes in detail the events leading up to his death. Oscar Grant was killed by a police officer at Fruitvale Station in Oakland. The film was originally introduced at the Sundance Film Festival and after winning the Grand Jury Prize was released in theaters. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant and was produced by Forest Whitaker.
Although these are some of our favorites, there are several other films to choose from like Glory Road, Selma, The Color Purple, and Glory. In the comments, let us know some of your favorite films to watch on black history!