One of my absolutely favorite past times is curling up on the couch with a bag of popcorn and a classic movie. As far as I can remember I’ve been doing this since I was a child and I still enjoy it today.
Well during my movie adventures I’ve come across quite an array of astounding films. Some of which I have added to my Classic Movie Collection.
When I sat down to write, I walked over to my movie collection and picked out my all-time favorites which I have watched well over twenty times. And I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of them.
Out of my collection I decided to share 25 that every black woman should see. You may have seen some if not all at least once or twice, but if you haven’t stop what you’re doing right now! Get down to a Redbox or Blockbuster movie kiosk quickly because you are definitely missing out on some good stuff.
Grab a pen and pad so you can write these down to add to your collection:
Carmen Jones(1954) – Starring Dorothy Dandridge
Inspired by the 1954 novella Carmen, Carmen Jones is a vixen who works in a parachute factory is arrested for fighting with a co-worker and finds herself seducing a young soldier that is responsible for delivering her to the authorities.
Imitation of Life (1959) – Starring Juanita Moore
Inspired by the novel written by Fannie Hurst dealing with issues of race, class and gender. Annie Johnson (Moore) is a black divorcee with a daughter Sarah Jane who is light skin and continually attempts to pass as white.
Lady Sings The Blues (1972) – Starring Diana Ross
A biographical drama about the troubled life and career of legendary Jazz singer Billie Holiday inspired by her 1956 autobiography.
Claudine (1974) – Starring Diahann Carroll
Based on the life of a single black Harlem mother living on welfare with her six children who falls in love with a garbage collector whom she wants to marry but can’t out of fear that her welfare would be cut off. The dilemma here is that together the couple’s income would not be able to support the children.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) – Starring Cicely Tyson
Based on thee 1971 Novel, a story depicting the struggles of African Americans with major events of Jane Pittman’s life as a young slave girl in the American South nearing the end of the Civil War.
Mahogany (1975) – Starring Diana Ross
Based on a poor African-American woman living in the projects of Chicago who rises to become a popular fashion designer in Rome.
The Wiz (1978) – Starring Diana Ross
Based on a Broadway musical, The Wiz follows the adventures of Dorothy, a shy school teacher who magically lands in the Land of Oz. She befriends a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Cowardly lion on a quest to get back home.
A Woman Called Moses (1978) – Starring Cicely Tyson
Based on the life of Harriet Tubman; an African American abolitionist who escapes from slavery and led dozens of other African Americans from slavery.
The Color Purple (1985) – Starring Oprah Winfrey & Whoopi Goldberg
Based on the novel written by Alice Walker, focusing on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930’s addressing issues including their exceedingly low position in the American social culture.
School Daze (1988) – Starring Tisha Campbell-Martin
Based in part of Spike Lee’s experience at HBCU’s –Morehouse College, Spelman and Clark Atlanta University and the clashing of fraternity and sorority members with other students. It also touches on issues of racism related to skin tone and hair quality.
The Women of Brewster Place (1989) – Starring Oprah Winfrey, Mary Alice & Olivia Cole
Based on the novel written by Gloria Naylor, focusing on several African-American women living in a rundown housing project who are struggling against poverty, racism and troublesome men.
The Josephine Baker Story (1991)- Starring Lynn Whitfield
Based on the life of Josephine Baker who’s popularity stems from the “Banana Dance” in France in the late 1920s. The movie enters into her personal life rather than just her life in the public eye.
The Bodyguard (1992) – Starring Whitney Houston
Based on a former Secret Service Agent turned bodyguard hired to protect Houston’s character from an unknown stalker.
Alex Haley’s Queen (1993) – Starring Halle Berry
Based on the life of Alex Haley’s paternal grandmother; Queen Jackson Haley. It identifies problems that biracial slaves and former slaves faced in the U.S. during the 19th & 20th centuries.
Poetic Justice (1993) – Starring Janet Jackson
Based on Justice (Jackson) a hair stylist who falls into a deep depression after the shooting death of her boyfriend. Throughout the movie she writes and recites poems that are actually written by Maya Angelou who also makes an appearance in the film.
What’s Love Got To Do With It? (1993) – Starring Angela Bassett
A biopic based on the life of Tina Turner. From being abandoned as a child to her plight as an electrifying singer, Tina Turner rose to stardom with her abusive husband Ike Turner. The film also shows how she finally gained the courage to break free.
Jason’s Lyric (1994) – Starring Jada Pinkett Smith
Based on young African American adults learning how to deal with love and maturity.
Waiting to Exhale (1995) – Starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett & Loretta Divine
Based on Terry McMillan’s novel surrounding four women and their relationships with men and one another. They all want the security of feeling comfortable in a committed relationship with a man.
Set It Off (1996) – Starring Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox & Jada Pinkett
Based on four black women – friends whom each want better for themselves and better for their families. They decide to plan and execute a bank robbery all for different reasons.
Eve’s Bayou (1997) – Starring Jurnee Smollett & Megan Good
Based on young Eve whom is a ten year old girl living in a prosperous African American community with her younger brother Poe, her older sister Cisely who is entering puberty, her mother, and her father who has a weakness for his attractive women patients.
Soul Food (1997) – Starring Vanessa Williams, Vivica Fox, & Nia Long
Based on the trials of an extended African American family being held together by family traditions.
Love Jones (1997) – Starring Nia Long
Based on the love attraction between a poet and a photographer. A mutual attraction is sparked and they end up in bed on the first night not knowing where to go next.
Beloved (1998) – Starring Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton & Kimberly Elise
Based on a former slave living in the outskirts of Cincinnati with her three children. When the family is terrorized by an angry spirit Sethe’s two boys run off away leaving her and Denver-daughter to live alone.
Love and Basketball (2000) – Starring Sanaa Lathan
Based on two neighbors whose love for basketball stood in the way of their love for each other. After going separate ways in college the two reunite and rekindle their love.
Brown Sugar (2002) – Starring Sanaa Lathan
Based on two lifelong friends one an A&R Rep and the other an Editor in Chief whose friendship stems from a seminal childhood moment – the discovering of their love for hip-hop. This is what reunites them fifteen years later.
Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005) – Starring Halle Berry
Based on Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, focuses on Jaine Crawford’s struggle of self-identity because of the people she lived with tried to set an identity for her.
American Violet (2008) – Starring Nicole Beharie
Based on Regina Kelly, a victim of Texas Police drug enforcement tactics. Dee a single mother of four is handcuffed at work and faces drug charges after the local district attorney leads a drug bust in the housing projects where she resided. Left with only two choices to plead guilty and go home a convicted felon or to fight the charges and jeopardize the custody of her children and possibly a long prison sentence.
I Want to Hear From You:
Did you like the selections?
What movies would you add to this list?