(Photo by Universal/ courtesy Everett Collection)

11 Fresh Cicely Tyson Movies and Series

Discovered at age 30 while working as a typist in New York, Cicely Tyson transformed what was an already unlikely, late-blooming modeling stint into a full-blown acting career, and would become a trailblazer for Black artists across film, TV, and theater from the 1950s and well into the 21st century. Tyson’s versatility across stage and screen meant easy occupancy in roles worthy of her dignity and attention, with appearances in I Spy and Mission: Impossible, a co-starring part in kitchen sink TV drama East Side/West Side, and films like The Comedians and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.

The Civil Rights era signaled a dramatic societal shift, not just in American civics but in arts and entertainment. This opened the path for Tyson’s creative peaks, starting with 1972’s Sounder, the deeply humanistic Depression-era drama. For her role as a mother whose husband has been incarcerated and is left to care for their only son (along with a runaway dog), Tyson received her sole Best Actress Oscar nomination. (She would become an Honorary Award recipient in 2019.)

Television emerged as a daring storytelling force during the ’70s, thanks to films and miniseries like 1974’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Tyson portrayed Pittman across 90 years of her character’s life, from a child born into slavery to becoming a figurehead of 1960s’ social justice. Tyson won the Best Lead Actress in a Drama Emmy, and the TV-movie would go on to take Outstanding Special. Tyson would make history again as Kunta Kinte’s mother in the first section of the 1977’s legendary miniseries Roots, which garnered a Emmy nomination for her.

Tyson would ultimately be nominated for at least one Emmy every decade afterwards, including a late-career surge starting with 2014’s The Trip to Bountiful, and a stunning five-nomination run into 2020 for How to Get Away with Murder, playing Annalise’s (Viola Davis) mother, Ophelia.

Two days before her death in January 2021, Tyson published her memoir: Just As I AmWe look back on her life and career in film (including Fried Green Tomatoes and The Help), TV (Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman), and series, including Cherish the Day, created by Ava DuVernay. Here are 10 Fresh movies and series starring the legendary Cicely Tyson.

Adjusted Score: 100141%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this adaptation of the Carson McCullers novel, John Singer (Alan Arkin), who is deaf and mute, tries to help... [More]
Directed By: Robert Ellis Miller


Sounder (1972)

Adjusted Score: 91546%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Morgans, a family of poor black sharecroppers in the Depression-plagued South, struggle to find enough to eat despite the... [More]
Directed By: Martin Ritt

Adjusted Score: 36714%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Beginning during the racial turmoil of 1960s Louisiana, 110-year-old ex-slave Jane Pittman (Cicely Tyson) grants an interview to a persistent... [More]
Directed By: John Korty

Synopsis: Annalise Keating (Oscar- and Tony-winning actress Viola Davis), a brilliant, charismatic and seductive professor of defense law, teaches a class... [More]

Adjusted Score: 18340%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Grant Wiggins (Don Cheadle) is an African-American schoolteacher in the pre-Civil Rights Movement South who feels conflicted about his status... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Sargent

Cherish the Day (2020)

Synopsis: The stirring romance of a couple is told in segments of a single day.... [More]

Roots (1977)

Synopsis: A 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley's book tells the story of African teen Kunta Kinte, brought to America to... [More]


Last Flag Flying (2017)

Adjusted Score: 92673%
Critics Consensus: Last Flag Flying balances raw drama against refreshing moments of humor in an impeccably cast film that wrestles with questions of patriotism, family, and grief.
Synopsis: Thirty years after serving together in the Vietnam War, Larry "Doc" Shepherd, Sal Nealon and the Rev. Richard Mueller reunite... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater


The Help (2011)

Adjusted Score: 85558%
Critics Consensus: Though it fails to fully engage with its racial themes, The Help rises on the strength of its cast -- particularly Viola Davis, whose performance is powerful enough to carry the film on its own.
Synopsis: In 1960s Mississippi, Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college with dreams of being a writer. She turns... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

Adjusted Score: 77776%
Critics Consensus: Fried Green Tomatoes' tearjerking drama is undeniably manipulative, but in the hands of a skilled cast that includes Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates, it's also powerfully effective.
Synopsis: On one of trapped housewife Evelyn Couch's (Kathy Bates) Wednesday nursing home visits, she encounters Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy), a... [More]
Directed By: Jon Avnet


Bustin' Loose (1981)

Adjusted Score: 27378%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Parole officer Donald (Robert Christian) compels his foul-mouthed ex-con charge Joe Braxton (Richard Pryor) to escort a bus full of... [More]
Directed By: Oz Scott

Tag Cloud

BBC One dogs TCM cancelled TV series aliens based on movie MTV blaxploitation Discovery Channel 45 best Holidays kids television CBS All Access Character Guide marvel comics TCA Awards a nightmare on elm street 007 Rocketman die hard Reality finale king kong Pride Month BBC Watching Series spy thriller Creative Arts Emmys target miniseries sopranos obituary new star wars movies Tags: Comedy golden globes zero dark thirty trailers NBC free movies canceled sitcom Chernobyl heist movie Awards Tour prank satire french nfl Comic-Con@Home 2021 OWN ITV Paramount laika Brie Larson unscripted indie Image Comics criterion Epix Ellie Kemper Netflix Drama Emmy Nominations superhero supernatural werewolf cancelled TV shows nbcuniversal Reality Competition Trivia Pet Sematary Sony Pictures Ovation international dc ABC Signature action-comedy Amazon Prime revenge elevated horror zombies movie Ghostbusters Endgame 71st Emmy Awards spider-verse DC streaming service harry potter italian Captain marvel Avengers Star Wars TCA Winter 2020 Showtime IFC Travel Channel crossover zombie dexter biopic BET Awards chucky Horror franchise Wes Anderson 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards summer preview comic book movie serial killer legend OneApp Disney 72 Emmy Awards parents jamie lee curtis Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hispanic heritage month Superheroe NYCC singing competition dragons black Focus Features twilight cops Tokyo Olympics travel vs. PlayStation SXSW 2022 Anna Paquin rt archives Interview razzies crime drama women Pacific Islander Countdown FX TNT MSNBC screenings concert Musical book Vudu Fantasy child's play HFPA asian-american Sci-Fi films Shudder ESPN GIFs TLC australia crime thriller Marvel Studios 2018 green book Rock medical drama Year in Review San Diego Comic-Con Fox News CBS CMT Paramount Plus technology know your critic Alien halloween movies joker Pirates TruTV war Warner Bros. south america Arrowverse venice Black Mirror Tarantino Fall TV Sneak Peek witnail Mystery slasher indiana jones art house wonder woman Kids & Family critic resources Rom-Com ABC USA Network politics hollywood cancelled television richard e. Grant Best Picture Video Games Acorn TV talk show Britbox WarnerMedia worst monster movies Western First Look Disney Plus anime Hallmark Christmas movies cartoon National Geographic Christmas video on demand BAFTA The Academy Pop TV nature Best Actor Comic Book Crackle HBO godzilla festival live action reviews anthology Instagram Live LGBT Turner Classic Movies SDCC Hollywood Foreign Press Association summer TV preview Mary Poppins Returns E! TV renewals space Prime Video comic book movies Film Festival 2017 Amazon Studios adenture Heroines GoT Animation Best Actress PBS Calendar teaser diversity TCA Family ViacomCBS Disney Channel BET deadpool sag awards The Walking Dead Binge Guide VH1 Quiz 4/20 trophy Tumblr Freeform Spectrum Originals science fiction Holiday RT History royal family Country vampires Extras Columbia Pictures 79th Golden Globes Awards VOD Sundance ABC Family DirecTV Summer spinoff Fox Searchlight Hallmark animated YouTube Red hidden camera Grammys cancelled true crime what to watch YouTube 2021 YouTube Premium The Witch facebook 93rd Oscars scorecard remakes high school strong female leads Mudbound christmas movies docuseries comic period drama renewed TV shows series Trophy Talk cooking cinemax stand-up comedy HBO Max posters doctor who adventure basketball new york Peacock Tubi spider-man MCU Lifetime Christmas movies Fargo psycho obi wan Tomatazos historical drama Cannes boxoffice crime El Rey summer TV comiccon 2020 American Society of Cinematographers telelvision E3 award winner 2019 First Reviews Marvel Television Critics Association 21st Century Fox young adult 90s superman mob Amazon rotten Hear Us Out lord of the rings rotten movies we love TV movies streaming archives mockumentary discovery critics Starz halloween tv adaptation SXSW justice league Mindy Kaling streamig kong A24 game show saw slashers WGN DGA Martial Arts APB Nominations boxing Music stop motion 94th Oscars binge pirates of the caribbean Nat Geo 24 frames black comedy Broadway Rocky directors football Classic Film IFC Films children's TV Biopics X-Men Red Carpet Opinion game of thrones Emmys Bravo marvel cinematic universe composers Disney streaming service quibi Pixar VICE Superheroes Lionsgate toy story foreign king arthur Universal Pictures name the review Song of Ice and Fire Mary Tyler Moore Infographic robots Food Network Film blockbuster ratings 1990s YA sequels Set visit Awards Schedule Netflix Christmas movies A&E Disney+ Disney Plus scary MGM DC Universe broadcast IMDb TV CNN CW Seed 99% President canceled TV shows TBS 73rd Emmy Awards Lifetime social media Universal LGBTQ Oscar TIFF Academy Awards tv talk See It Skip It Super Bowl toronto Best and Worst Sundance Now Neflix spanish news worst movies The CW streaming movies transformers RT21 Legendary Valentine's Day cats 20th Century Fox PaleyFest scary movies japanese Polls and Games Apple TV+ Black History Month fast and furious FXX romance Election aapi Podcast The Arrangement comic books Hulu Amazon Prime Video disaster hist fresh festivals NBA police drama genre Trailer biography Photos feel good spanish language Turner leaderboard theme song cults Premiere Dates hispanic TV One FX on Hulu Comedy Central Pop Spike Musicals Star Trek New York Comic Con Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Cosplay Exclusive Video classics stoner dramedy AMC screen actors guild Toys Teen mutant mission: impossible Funimation dceu Adult Swim versus psychological thriller latino documentaries Dark Horse Comics Crunchyroll ghosts Certified Fresh political drama suspense independent book adaptation Esquire comics gangster Television Academy 2016 casting Baby Yoda Spring TV breaking bad rom-coms universal monsters Winners comedies mcc blockbusters jurassic park Elton John rt labs critics edition cars reboot TV Land olympics Winter TV Marvel Television History Lucasfilm sequel Paramount Pictures Best Director new zealand DC Comics Thanksgiving Cartoon Network Nickelodeon interviews japan spain Writers Guild of America batman Women's History Month thriller Syfy romantic comedy Stephen King Logo Mary poppins dark all-time Oscars USA golden globe awards rt labs Comics on TV Masterpiece documentary AMC Plus sports Apple TV Plus TCA 2017 The Purge natural history Action dreamworks Paramount Network GLAAD SundanceTV Sundance TV live event Marathons james bond popular Comedy HBO Go Shondaland The Walt Disney Company emmy awards TV video debate docudrama Apple ID scene in color 2015 kaiju South by Southwest Film Festival FOX Walt Disney Pictures Box Office BBC America