foxy brown (1974)

Black Cinema 1970-1999

This is a list I compiled based on movies I’ve either already watched or plan on watching in the near future. Please feel free to add any suggestions, recommendations, or requests for anything you’d like to see more of on this blog.

  1. Shaft (1971) 
  2. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971) 
  3. Super Fly (1972)
  4. Lady Sings the Blues (1972) 
  5. Black Gunn (1972)
  6. Trick Baby (1972)
  7. Trouble Man (1972)
  8. The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972)
  9. Across 110th Street (1972)
  10. Cool Breeze (1972)
  11. Black Mama White Mama (1972)
  12. The Mack (1973) 
  13. Sweet Jesus, Preacherman (1973)
  14. Ganja & Hess (1973)
  15. Detroit 9000 (1973)
  16. That Man Bolt (1973)
  17. Hell Up in Harlem (1973)
  18. Coffy (1973) 
  19. Black Caesar (1973) 
  20. The Spook Who Sat by the Door (1973)
  21. Five on the Black Hand Side (1973) 
  22. Black Belt Jones (1974) 
  23. Boss Nigger (1974)
  24. TNT Jackson (1974) 
  25. Three the Hard Way (1974)
  26. Truck Turner (1974)
  27. Black Samson (1974)
  28. Willie Dynamite (1974)
  29. Cleopatra Jones (1974) 
  30. Foxy Brown (1974) 
  31. Claudine (1974) 
  32. Uptown Saturday Night (1974) 
  33. Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975) 
  34. Coonskin (1975)
  35. Sheba, Baby (1975)
  36. Dolemite (1975)
  37. Friday Foster (1975)
  38. Cooley High (1975) 
  39. Bucktown (1975)
  40. The Black Gestapo (1975)
  41. Mahogany (1975) 
  42. Sparkle (1976) 
  43. Black Shampoo (1976)
  44. Black Heat (1976)
  45. The Human Tornado (1976)
  46. Car Wash (1976) 
  47. Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde (1976)
  48. Petey Wheatstraw (1977)
  49. The Wiz (1978) 
  50. A Hero Ain’t Nothing But A Sandwich (1978) 
  51. Disco Godfather (1980)
  52. The Marva Collins Story (1981) 
  53. Wild Style (1983) 
  54. Breakin’ (1984) 
  55. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984) 
  56. Beat Street (1984) 
  57. A Soldier’s Story (1984) 
  58. Purple Rain (1984) 
  59. Krush Groove (1985) 
  60. The Color Purple (1985) 
  61. Hollywood Shuffle (1987) 
  62. Raw (1987) 
  63. School Daze (1988) 
  64. Coming to America (1988) 
  65. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) 
  66. Lean On Me (1989)
  67. Polly (1989) 
  68. Glory (1989) 
  69. Do the Right Thing (1989) 
  70. Harlem Nights (1989) 
  71. Women of Brewster Place (1989) 
  72. Mo’ Better Blues (1989) 
  73. House Party (1990) 
  74. The Five Heartbeats (1991) 
  75. Jungle Fever (1991) 
  76. Strictly Business (1991) 
  77. Boyz n the Hood (1991) 
  78. New Jack City (1991) 
  79. White Men Can’t Jump (1992) 
  80. The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992) 
  81. Bebe’s Kids (1992) 
  82. Boomerang (1992) 
  83. Malcolm X (1992) 
  84. Juice (1992) 
  85. Class Act (1992) 
  86. Mo Money (1992) 
  87. What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993) 
  88. Strapped (1993) 
  89. CB4 (1993) 
  90. Sister Act II (1993) 
  91. Posse (1993) 
  92. Poetic Justice (1993) 
  93. Menace II Society (1993) 
  94. Jason’s Lyric (1994) 
  95. A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994) 
  96. Blankman (1994) 
  97. Crooklyn (1994) 
  98. Tales From the Hood (1995) 
  99. Dead Presidents (1995) 
  100. Bad Boys (1995) 
  101. Panther (1995) 
  102. Friday (1995) 
  103. Waiting to Exhale (1995) 
  104. Higher Learning (1995) 
  105. Set It Off (1996) 
  106. Preacher’s Wife (1996) 
  107. Hoodlum (1997) 
  108. Rhyme & Reason (1997)
  109. Hav Plenty (1998) 
  110. The Temptations (1998) 
  111. Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1998) 
  112. Eve’s Bayou (1997) 
  113. Love Jones (1997) 
  114. Soul Food (1997) 
  115. Belly (1998) 
  116. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) 
  117. The Best Man (1999) 
  118. The Wood (1999) 
  119. Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999)
buzzfeed.com
70 Classic Black Films Everyone Should See At Least Once
♬ "Do you know where you're going to?"♬ Here are 70 of the most iconic black films, through the year 2000.
By Kelley L. Carter

this list ignores the last 15 years of movies, but that makes sense. if we’re going to talk about “classics”, we have to give the movies time to become classics.

legend ( italicized - seen it, bold- have a copy of it too)

  1. Carmen Jones (1954)
  2. Imitation of Life (1959)
  3. Raisin in the Sun (1961)
  4. Shaft (1971)
  5. Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)
  6. Super Fly (1972)
  7. Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
  8. The Mack (1973)
  9. Coffy (1973)
  10. Black Caesar (1973)
  11. Cleopatra Jones (1974)
  12. Foxy Brown (1974)
  13. Claudine (1974)
  14. Uptown Saturday Night (1974)
  15. Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975)
  16. Dolemite (1975)
  17. Cooley High (1975)
  18. Mahogany (1975)
  19. Sparkle (1976)
  20. Car Wash (1976)
  21. The Wiz (1978)
  22. Breakin’ (1984)
  23. Beat Street (1984)
  24. A Soldier’s Story (1984)
  25. Purple Rain (1984)
  26. Krush Groove (1985)
  27. The Color Purple (1985)
  28. Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
  29. Raw (1987)
  30. School Daze (1988)
  31. Coming to America (1988)
  32. Lean On Me (1989)
  33. Glory (1989)
  34. Do the Right Thing (1989)
  35. Harlem Nights (1989)
  36. Mo’ Better Blues (1989)
  37. House Party (1990)
  38. The Five Heartbeats (1991)
  39. Jungle Fever (1991)
  40. Strictly Business (1991)
  41. Boyz n the Hood (1991)
  42. New Jack City (1991)
  43. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
  44. Bebe’s Kids (1992) (used to have this on VHS lol)
  45. Boomerang (1992)
  46. Malcolm X (1992)
  47. Juice (1992)
  48. Class Act (1992)
  49. What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993)
  50. CB4 (1993)
  51. Posse (1993)
  52. Poetic Justice (1993)
  53. Menace II Society (1993)
  54. Jason’s Lyric (1994)
  55. A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994)
  56. Tales From the Hood (1995)
  57. Bad Boys (1995)
  58. Friday (1995)
  59. Waiting to Exhale (1995)
  60. Higher Learning (1995)
  61. Set It Off (1996)
  62. Hav Plenty (1998)
  63. Eve’s Bayou (1997)
  64. Love Jones (1997)
  65. Soul Food (1997)
  66. Belly (1998)
  67. How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
  68. The Best Man (1999)
  69. The Wood (1999)
  70. Love & Basketball (2000)

of course she couldn’t get ALL of the movies on here… but some notable misses :

  • The Temptations (1998)
  • Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1998)
  • Dead Presidents (1995)
  • Polly (1989)
  • A Hero Ain’t Nothing But A Sandwich (1978)
  • The Marva Collins Story (1981)
  • Sister Act II (1993)
  • Hoodlum (1997)
  • Women of Brewster Place (1989) 
  • Little Richard (2000)
  • Bamboozled (2000)
  • I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988)
  • The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992)
  • Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999)
  • Preacher’s Wife (1996)
  • The Bodyguard (1992)
  • Mo Money (1992) (ok maybe not so notable, but yeah)
  • Blankman (1994)
  • The 6th Man (1997)
9

PAM GRIER 

The blaxploitation movies in which Pam Grier starred—Coffy (1973), Foxy Brown (1974), Sheba, Baby (1975) and Friday Foster (1975)—are a mix of the gritty naturalism of Superfly (1972), socially-relevant crime stories like Shaft (1971), high camp (she had a bit part in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, 1970), and outright Z-grade, no-brow trash.

The exploitation film, the low-budget genre that sensationalized social issues of the day, like teenage runaways, drug addiction, prostitution, biker gangs, and homosexuality, had been making money at drive-ins since the 1930s. Reefer Madness (1937) is, perhaps, the locus classicus. Films like The Wild One (1953), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and Easy Rider (1969) are all exploitation films to some extent. 

The big studios took notice when Shaft (1971) proved that low-budget films with all-black casts, reflecting current, African-American interests, concerns and realities could be big cross-over box office hits. There were, however no similar projects in development, so unproduced exploitation and crime scripts by white screenwriters with white characters were quickly reworked into vehicles with African-American characters and cultural references and acted by  African-American casts. Thus, the blaxploitation genre was born.

In the hands of an African-American director Melvin Van Peebles, the exploitation material could be appropriated to address serious issues and be elevated to a cinéaste meditation on popular film genres, as was the case with Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song (1971). However, many of the blaxploitation movies, including Grier’s, had white directors and were backed by studios more interested in cleavage and guns than social injustice and le cinema.

Grier had a special ability to be in and above her films at the same time. Her hair-raising signature stunt, a Houdini-like escape performed in Foxy Brown and recapitulated in Escape from New York (1981), involving a razor hidden in her mouth and then wielded by her tongue to cut ropes that bound her wrists—fits right in to the trashy mayhem.

Yet throughout the revenge castrations, bitch brawls, shoot-outs, and kick-boxing, Grier maintains an uncanny poise, finishing each movie with her dignity intact, standing apart from the material, without ever condescending to it. This polite aloofness allowed her to be taken seriously as an actress and celebrity while her movies were not. This is why Quentin Tarantino cast her as the lead in Jackie Brown—Grier and James Ellroy both inhabited and transcended the pulp medium in which they worked.