Shadow And Act's Top 60 Black Films Of The Decade

December 10 2019

Shadow And Act has compiled our list of the 2010s' Top 60 films from Black filmmakers and/or featuring Black talent.

Check out our list below and let's talk about your favorite films of the decade in the comments!


60. The Equalizer

Logline: Starring Denzel Washington and directed by Antoine Fuqua, Equalizer follows a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life, before he meets a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters and can't stand idly by.

59. The Hate U Give

Logline: Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.

58. Death at a Funeral

Logline: A funeral ceremony turns into a debacle of exposed family secrets and misplaced bodies.

57. Dear White People

Logline: The lives of four Black students at an Ivy League college.

56. Attack the Block

Logline: A teen gang in South London defend their block from an alien invasion.

55. An Oversimplification of Her Beauty

Logline: An artist's shortsighted film about a failed relationship is re-edited into a more collaborative, more inclusive work of art.

54. Just Wright

Logline: A physical therapist falls for the basketball player she is helping recover from a career-threatening injury.

53. The Best Man Holiday

Logline: When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be reignited.

52. Lionheart

Logline: Running a company can be challenging, especially if you are a female in a male-dominated industry. Looking to prove her worth, Adaeze steps up to the challenge when her father is forced to take a step back due to health issues.

51. Girls Trip

Logline: When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there's enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.

50. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Logline: A chronicle of Nelson Mandela's life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

49. Confirmation

Logline: Judge Clarence Thomas' nomination to the United States Supreme Court is called into question when Anita Hill, a former colleague, testifies that he sexually harassed her.

48. A Wrinkle in Time 

Logline: After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.

47. The Black Godfather

Logline: Follows the life of Clarence Avant, the ultimate, uncensored mentor and behind-the-scenes rainmaker in music, film, TV and politics.

46. Widows

Logline: Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

45. True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality 

Logline: A look at how Alabama attorney Bryan Stevenson struggles to create more fairness in the legal system.

44. Les Miserables

Logline: A cop of provinces moves Paris to join the Anti-Crime Brigade of Montfermeil, discovering an underworld where the tensions between the different groups mark the rhythm.

43. Fast Color

Logline: A woman is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered. Years after having abandoned her family, the only place she has left to hide is home.

42. Beasts of the Southern Wild

Logline: Faced with both her hot-tempered father's fading health and melting ice-caps that flood her ramshackle bayou community and unleash ancient aurochs, six-year-old Hushpuppy must learn the ways of courage and love.

41. I Will Follow

Logline: Chronicles a day in the life of a grieving woman, and the twelve visitors who help her move forward.

40. Roxanne, Roxanne

Logline: In the early 1980s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At the age of 14, Lolita "Roxanne Shante" Gooden was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend as she hustled to provide for her family while defending herself from the dangers of the streets.

39. Creed II

Logline: Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, newly crowned heavyweight champion Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago.

38. Bessie

Logline: The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.

37. Queen of Katwe 

Logline: A Ugandan girl sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess.

36. I Am Not Your Negro

Logline: Writer James Baldwin tells the story of race in modern America with his unfinished novel, Remember This House.

35. Burning Cane

Logline: Amongst the cane fields of rural Louisiana, an aging mother struggles between her religious convictions and the love of her son.

34. Jezebel 

Logline: In the last days of her mother's life, 19-year-old Tiffany crashes with five family members in a Las Vegas studio apartment. In order to make ends meet, her older sister, a phone sex operator, introduces her to the world of internet fetish cam girls.

33. Clemency

Logline: Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

32. Jinn 

Logline: Summer is a 17-year old carefree Black girl whose world is turned upside down when her mother, a popular meteorologist named Jade Jennings, abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person, prompting Summer to reevaluate her identity.

31. Lemonade 

Logline: A view of a woman's journey through life.

30. The Central Park Five 

Logline: A documentary that examines the 1989 case of five Black and Latino teenagers who were convicted of raping a white woman in Central Park. After having spent between 6 and 13 years each in prison, a serial rapist confessed to the crime.

29. Belle 

Logline: The mixed-race daughter of Royal Navy Captain Sir John Lindsay is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield in eighteenth-century England.

28. The Last Black Man in San Francisco 

Logline: A young man searches for home in the changing city that seems to have left him behind.

27. Girlhood 

Logline: A girl with few real prospects joins a gang, reinventing herself and gaining a sense of self-confidence in the process. However, she soon finds that this new life does not necessarily make her any happier.

26. Blindspotting 

While on probation, a man begins to re-evaluate his relationship with his volatile best friend.

25. Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

Logline: A documentary that chronicles the life of young college professor Angela Davis, and how her social activism implicates her in a botched kidnapping attempt that ends with a shootout, four dead, and her name on the FBI's 10 most wanted list.

24. Creed

Logline: The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.

23. Atlantics

Logline: In a popular suburb of Dakar, workers on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without pay for months, decide to leave the country by the ocean for a better future. Among them is Souleiman, the lover of Ada, promised to another.

22. Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Logline: This artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.

21. Beyond the Lights

Logline: The pressures of fame have superstar singer Noni on the edge until she meets Kaz, a young cop who works to help her find the courage to develop her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.

20.Hale County, This Morning This Evening

Logline: A kaleidoscopic and humanistic view of the Black community in Hale County, Alabama.

19. 12 Years a Slave

Logline: In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free Black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

18. Mudbound

Logline: Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after the war.

17. Luce

Logline: A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.

16. Middle of Nowhere

Logline: When her husband is sentenced to eight years in prison, Ruby drops out of medical school in order to focus on her husband's well-being while he's incarcerated - leading her on a journey of self-discovery in the process.

15. Fences

Logline: A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s while coming to terms with the events of his life.

14. Waves

Logline: Traces the journey of a suburban family--led by a well-intentioned but domineering father--as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.

13. Dolemite Is My Name 

Logline: Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

12. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 

Logline: Teen Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man of his reality, crossing his path with five counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.

11. Sorry to Bother You 

Logline: In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed.

10. Us

Logline: A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.

9. Pariah

Logline: A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak and family in a desperate search for sexual expression.

8. Just Mercy

Logline: Just Mercy shadows world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson as he recounts his experiences and details the case of a condemned death row prisoner whom he fought to free.

7. If Beale Street Could Talk 

Logline: A young woman embraces her pregnancy while she and her family set out to prove her childhood friend and lover innocent of a crime he didn't commit.

6. Get Out

Logline: A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

5. 13th 

Logline: An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality.

4. Black Panther

Logline: T'Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and must confront a challenger from his country's past.

3. Fruitvale Station

Logline: The story of Oscar Grant III, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.

2. Selma

Logline: A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

1. Moonlight

Logline: A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.

 

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