Netflix offers top-quality Black movies through contracts with directors like Spike Lee and collections like their Black Lives Matter collection.
Black films on this streaming service cover every genre, from romantic comedies to screwball comedies, from thrillers to horror movies. Some movies speak to racial tensions and injustice, while others are fun and lighthearted.
Here are the best Black movies on Netflix.
Loving tells the true story of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple in Virginia in 1958 who suffered arrest and persecution for marrying in a different state.
Their case went as far as the United States Supreme Court and changed the course for couples after them when the court ruled that banning interracial marriage was unconstitutional.
Two best friends keep landing on the wrong side of the law while trying to make money. They decide to rob a church and end up holding hostages in this irreverent comedy.
This crime drama follows the story of Steve Harmon, a gifted teenager who’s arrested and charged with felony murder and his fight to prove his innocence.
The system and the people involved in criminal justice assume he’s guilty because he’s a young Black man, and he has to fight against their racism and assumptions.
This fun science fiction film follows the exploits of two science nerds who invent time-machine backpacks.
The young friends try to go back in time to correct a terrible wrong in one of the best Black movies on Netflix that’s true to its genre while touching on racial issues and injustice.
Carter James wants to get home to his dog but gets stopped by a white cop and ends up shot and killed. Carter, a cartoonist in New York City, doesn’t stay dead. He wakes in bed before the shooting and relives the day again and again in a time loop.
This Oscar-winning short film sends a powerful message about systemic racism.
In an early starring role, Denzel Washington plays George McKenna, the real-life principal of a rough inner-city Los Angeles high school.
This movie is one of the best Black movies on Netflix that tells stories during wartime. In Mississippi during World War II, the sons of two families go to war and come back facing different challenges.
One has to deal with the trauma he suffered during the war. The other has to face poor treatment and abuse because of the color of his skin.
Erica Wilson’s had a rough year since breaking up with her fiance in this romantic comedy. She takes a trip to the tropics and meets a man who’s on the island for a wedding. His sister is marrying Erica’s ex.
Cut Throat City is one of the African American films on Netflix with stars in the cast. Wesley Snipes and Ethan Hawke headline this film set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Katrina erased opportunities in the area and destroyed homes and livelihoods. Some of the disenfranchised New Orleans residents turn to a life of crime to make ends meet.
Jahkor Lincoln is a man who could have been a famous rapper but ended up serving a life sentence in prison for murder.
His childhood marked by violence and need is shown in stark flashbacks to help the audience understand and sympathize with the character who wants to redeem himself and needs some help doing it.
Concrete Cowboy is based on the novel “Ghetto Cowboy.” A teenager and his estranged father clash while the teen tries to adapt to the urban cowboy culture.
This movie is one of the Black movies on Netflix that features Idris Elba in a leading role.
This movie is one of the African American films on Netflix that isn’t about racism or racial issues. Omar Epps stars in this film about a lawyer named Elle who meets an ex-lover for a drink and discovers that he’s stalking her.
Oscar-nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as fundamentalist preacher Carlton Pearson. The film covers the scandal of his revelation from God that people didn’t need to be saved. Church leaders believed his words were blasphemy and stripped him of his standing in the church by excommunication.
Jason Segal also stars in the film, and Martin Sheen plays the role of Oral Roberts.
Rose is one of several children of a single mother who struggles every day to make ends meet. Rose meets a man who seems like a dream come true and someone who can transform her life from one of poverty and need to something better.
This movie features some of the best performances you’ll see in any of the African American films on Netflix.
Sonny travels home to Atlanta to help his family with their failing restaurant in this comedy of errors that features Mike Epps and Queen Latifa.
When he accidentally drops marijuana into the fryer, business starts booming because people can’t get enough of the restaurant’s new and improved fried chicken recipe.
Katie works as a caregiver for an elderly and wealthy man. When he dies, he leaves everything to her in his will.
She soon discovers that some people are after parts of the man’s estate, and diamonds hidden on the property put Katie’s life and her husband’s life in danger.
Elijah wants to be a sommelier instead of going into the family business making barbecue.
This film is one of the best Black movies on Netflix that’s both a comedy and a drama as Elijah has to choose between an opportunity that will take him away from the people he loves or family traditions.
Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris star in this near-future science-fiction thriller. Racing against the clock, a drone pilot and an android must team up to stop a doomsday device that will start a nuclear war.
Powerhouse Viola Davis has won an Emmy, an Oscar, and two Tony Awards. She and Golden Globe winner Chadwick Boseman star in this movie set in a 1927 Chicago music studio.
Davis plays Ma Rainey, a fierce woman who fights against the white studio management to sing the blues her way and have control of her career in this film based on August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.
Dineo is unhappily alone after a painful breakup and encouraged by her best friend Noni to embrace being single and enjoy playing the field for a change. Noni finds love in an unlikely place, and Dineo’s ex realizes he made a mistake and makes a play to win her back.
Seriously Single is one of the funniest Black movies on Netflix that shows the perils and the joys of falling in love and being unable to let go.
Oscar-winner Sam Rockwell joins Golden Globe-winner Taraji P. Henson in this true story.
Based on the book by Osha Gray Davidson, this film shows a civil rights activist and Ku Klux Klan leader meeting at a North Carolina school integration summit in 1972. A growing understanding between them develops and leads to changes in their lives and an unlikely friendship.
Eddie Murphy stars as Rudy Ray Moore, a real-life comedian and rapper. When his career doesn’t go to plan, he takes on the raunchy and boisterous alter ego of Dolemite and becomes one of the biggest superstars of the Blaxploitation era in the 1970s.
This story makes one of the most entertaining African American films on Netflix set during this time.
Jason Foster is a cop who goes undercover to catch a ring of criminals that has evaded the police department for several years. While undercover in the group, Foster forms an empathetic friendship with Stephen “Deuces” Brooks.
Idris Elba, Zoey Saldana, and Michael Ealy star in this heist thriller about a high-class gang who pull off a series of bank robberies.
One of the scariest Black movies on Netflix is Thriller, the story of a young man from Compton who goes to prison for murder after a prank. During Homecoming weekend four years later, he returns to Compton with revenge on his mind against the people who let him take the fall.
This horror film brings a plot twist you’re not likely to forget.
Multiple Emmy-nominee Kerry Washington stars in a film about a Black family trying to keep their son safe from the world, himself, and the local police.
In this gripping story, her character’s son is missing. At first, she can’t get the police to look for him. Then, she can’t get a straight answer about what went wrong.
This Tyler Perry thriller tells the story of Grace, a newly married woman who confesses to murdering her husband, and the lawyer, Jasmine, who defends her in court and believes there’s much more to the story. Eventually, Jasmine uncovers the shocking truth.
This film is the last on-screen appearance of late acting legend Cicely Tyson.
This Christmas movie is part of the Netflix Representation Matters Collection. Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker plays a jaded, betrayed toymaker whose world changes when his granddaughter enters his life.
Emmy and Golden Globe winner Alfre Woodard stars as Juanita, a woman fed up with her life and day-to-day struggles.
Juanita spontaneously takes a trip to Paper Moon, Montana, to get away from her grown children and the doldrums of everyday life and goes on a journey of hope, healing, and self-discovery.
Famed Black director Spike Lee made a deal with Netflix for exclusive films, and Da Five Bloods is the first film from that arrangement.
This movie tells the story of four Black veterans of the Vietnam War as they return to the country to recover the remains of their squad leader and a treasure they promised each other they’d return to find.
This independent drama is one of the Black movies on Netflix that’s difficult to watch because of the violence and the helplessness some characters feel. Student Zurich has difficulty coming to grips with a violent and tragic hazing night of his fraternity and suffers in the aftermath of what happened.
This film also stars Alfre Woodard in a leading role.
Will Smith plays the main character in this post-apocalyptic horror film about a world where murderous creatures have killed most of the population. It’s only safe to venture outside during the daylight in this adaptation of the 1954 Richard Matheson novel.
This South African drama follows the lives of a professor in Johannesburg and his wife, whose world changes when a writer moves into their home.
This film is one of the Black movies on Netflix that succeeds as a sexy drama and comedy as the hedonist and free-wheeling writer disrupts their daily lives and gives them a new perspective.
Maya feels trapped working in her family’s hardware store and takes an impromptu trip to Africa to assert herself. She brings back a man who pretends to be her fiancé to save her from the humiliation of her recent engagement falling through.
This movie is one of the African American films on Netflix in the romantic comedy genre that will keep you laughing and rooting for the couple to overcome the odds.
The late Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played the main character in Black Panther, travels from Cape Town, South Africa, to Los Angeles to investigate the death of his sister.
He has to infiltrate a network of criminals to uncover the shocking truth to discover who tortured and murdered her.
This drama tells the true story of rapper Roxanne Shantay. When she was only 14, Roxanne became a rapper in Queens, New York. She discovered rap as a way out of poverty and the brutality of life on the streets.
This movie is one of the most inspiring African American films on Netflix set in the 1980s.
This short film is part of the Netflix Representation Matters Collection. A grandfather tries to find the inspiration to pick up the paintbrush again in this moving Black film.
This romantic drama portrays the meeting and love affair between a painter and a bright young law student. Isaiah struggles between focusing on his growing art career or spending time with ambitious Stevie, who wants to make her mark in law.
Really Love is one of the Black movies on Netflix that shows people faced with tough, life-changing choices and how they deal with them.
Jamilah is her sorority’s president and leader of a dance crew. To get into Harvard, she has to lead a group of girls who can’t dance to win a step-dance challenge.
Azealia Banks plays 25-year-old rapper Coco Ford who takes a college poetry course. She wants to pursue a music career and draws inspiration from the class for slam poetry and rap lyrics.
A pill that gives each user temporary superpowers lies at the heart of this science-fiction film. Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star as men who team up to save one’s daughter and try to get the pills off the streets.
In this heartfelt movie, an ad executive discovers her perfectionism is only making her life worse. Her perfect hair, from hot combs as a child to salon visits as an adult, is symbolic of her need for control, and when she lets that go, her life starts to improve.
Nappily Ever After is one of the best Black movies on Netflix about a woman’s journey to discover herself and what she truly wants.
Isaiah Bone spent five years in prison. Once released, he goes to Los Angeles to fulfill a promise he made to a dead friend. He joins the underground fighting circuit and fights for redemption and success.
As a gangster named Bambi, played by John Boyega, tries to leave the Imperial Courts housing projects in Los Angeles, he can’t seem to escape his violent past and keeps getting dragged back into the drama.
This Steven Soderbergh drama is notable because it was filmed on an iPhone. The movie tells the story of a sports agent and his plan to end an NBA lockout.
Based on the 2005 novel, this movie shows the journey of Agu, who’s recruited into guerilla warfare in West Africa while still a boy. Golden Globe winner Edris Elba stars as Commandment, the guerilla leader who recruits Agu and oversees his militaristic training.
Comedian Kevin Hart stars in this comedy about a widowed father who needs help.
Matthew’s wife dies one day after giving birth, leaving him to learn to parent alone. With the help of friends and parenting groups, Matthew juggles single fatherhood and his career and even finds time for love.
Radha is a New York playwright who won awards in her 30s but is approaching 40 without the success she thought she’d have. She breaks out of the mold and becomes a 40-year-old rapper.
This movie is one of the best Black movies on Netflix that’s a remake of an earlier film. The movie is a remake of the 2007 British film by the same name.
Comedian Chris Rock plays the main character, a frustrated man who learns several new things about his father’s life at his funeral.
In this romantic comedy, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. A couple prepares for a lavish wedding, but parental fights, exes, and more cause problems.
Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a border patrol officer trying to find a Coyote responsible for the death of several immigrants. In his pursuit of justice, he comes face to face with his criminal past and has to choose a path.
This movie, shot in dramatic black and white, tells the story of two friends whose skin is light enough to pass for white in 1920s Harlem. One bleaches her hair and marries a man who hates Black people, while the other embraces who she is and refuses to try to pass.
Passing is one of the best African American films on Netflix about what it means to be Black. The film is based on the critically acclaimed 1929 Nella Larson novel.
Will Smith stars as a Los Angeles cop in an alternate world where orcs, elves, fairies, and other species share the world with humans. The tension between humans and orcs mirror real-life racial tensions in this science-fiction thriller.
Deidra and Laney’s mother is in jail, and they can’t pay the utility bills. They joke about making meth or robbing trains to make money and keep the lights on but end up planning a series of train robberies when their options are limited.
Zendaya stars in this black and white film about a filmmaker and his girlfriend navigating the joys and pitfalls of their long-term relationship.
Virginia tries to make ends meet in modern-day Washington, D.C., and keep her 15-year-old son off the streets and out of gangs. Emmy-winner Uzo Aduba stars as Virginia, who struggles to put her son in a private school and becomes an activist for school choice and reform.
Miss Virginia is one of the African American films on Netflix that tells a true, triumphant story about what one determined person can achieve.
A young boy with a talent for electrical engineering convinces his science teacher to keep teaching him when his parents can’t pay his tuition.
A famine puts his village in peril, and he must put his skills and education to use to create a windmill with almost no resources to power a water pump and save lives.
Spike Lee filmed his directorial debut for only $175,000 in 15 days and became a star in Black filmmaking. In this movie, protagonist Nola Darling dates three men and struggles with whether she wants a partner for love, money, or protection.
The resulting film is one of the best Black movies on Netflix from the 1980s. Spike Lee has a series on Netflix by the same name.
If you love action movies or enjoy watching Idris Elba, you’ll enjoy this funny thriller that features Elba as a CIA operative. Richard Madden plays a pickpocket recruited by Elba to stop a French terrorist group.
Kenan and Kel star in this fun vehicle of fighting for the underdog. The characters work at indie restaurant Good Burger and fight against a corporate burger franchise. This film is one of the funniest Black movies on Netflix from the 90s.
In this African film, Adaeze must run the family business with her uncle when her father gets too sick to work. She fights against a patriarchal society and a failing company to save the day.
No matter what kind of movies you enjoy the most, Netflix has movies you’ll love. Their Black movies touch on everything from romance to prison drama to a Black girl’s relationship with her hair.
The variety of African American films on Netflix means you’ll always have something to watch featuring top-shelf Black talent telling Black stories.