(Photo by Universal/ courtesy Everett Collection)

The 115 Best Black Movies of the 21st Century

Rotten Tomatoes is celebrating the work of Black filmmakers and performers and the stories they have brought to our theaters over the past 20-plus years. In this guide to the best-reviewed African American movies of the 21st Century – that’s from 2000 all the way to now – you’ll find some of the most incredible voices working in movies today, and some of the most game-changing, industry-shaking films to hit theaters in decades. Think titles like Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, the fourth highest-grossing movie of all time at the U.S. box office. Or Gina Prince-Bythewood’s seminal star-making romance, Love and Basketball. Or Moonlight, which made history as the first film with an all-black cast to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2017. Or Ava DuVernay’s Selma, one of the most critically acclaimed films of all time.

Alongside the work of longtime industry veterans like Spike Lee, you’ll find incredible debut features, like Dee Rees’ Pariah, Justin Simien’s Dear White People, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, Phillip Youmens’ Burning Cane, which he directed while still in high school, and, of course, Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning social thriller Get Out and his follow-up, Us. You’ll also discover documentaries that have stirred the national conversation – DuVernay’s 13th, Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: Made In America – alongside recent mega hits that, like Black Panther, alerted Hollywood’s decision-makers to the fact that there was a huge audience for stories made by Black filmmakers, featuring Black actors, telling Black stories: Malcolm D. Lee’s Girls Trip, F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton.

To compile our list, we chose the top 100 Certified Fresh Black films, according to the Tomatometer, released in theaters since 2000. We defined Black films as those that centered on African American stories and African American characters, or – as in the case of Black Panther – were made by Black filmmakers and were embraced by African American audiences; there are instances of films here made by non-Black filmmakers (Django Unchained, Detroit, and Get On Up for example), but the top half of the list is dominated by Black writers and directors.

Finally, we ranked the movies using a weighted formula which takes into account each entry’s year of release and its number of reviews collected to weigh their Tomatometer ratings. And with 2020 releasing so many strong Certified Fresh contenders, expect plenty of movies from that year represented, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Bad Boys For Life, One Night in Miami, Da 5 Bloods, Soul and more.

Below is the result of all that compiling: our guide to the best Black films of the century (so far!). It’s chock full of laughs, thrills, tears, and insight. Enjoy, and if you want to tell us what you think of the list, think we’ve missed a title, or want to celebrate a film that didn’t quite meet the Certified Fresh criteria, let us know in the comments.

#115

Antwone Fisher (2002)
78%

#115
Adjusted Score: 82763%
Critics Consensus: Washington's directing debut is a solidly crafted, emotionally touching work.
Synopsis: The touching story of a sailor (Derek Luke) who, prone to violent outbursts, is sent to a naval psychiatrist (Denzel... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#114

Drumline (2002)
82%

#114
Adjusted Score: 84223%
Critics Consensus: Essentially a sports movie with drums, the energetic Drumline somehow manages to make the familiar seem fresh.
Synopsis: Set against the high-energy, high-stakes world of show-style marching bands, "Drumline" is a fish-out-of-water comedy about a talented street drummer... [More]
Directed By: Charles Stone

#113

Fast Color (2018)
80%

#113
Adjusted Score: 84712%
Critics Consensus: A grounded superhero story with more on its mind than punching bad guys, Fast Color leaps over uneven execution with a singular Gugu Mbatha-Raw performance.
Synopsis: Hunted by mysterious forces, a young woman who has supernatural abilities must go on the run when her powers are... [More]
Directed By: Julia Hart

#112

Black Dynamite (2009)
83%

#112
Adjusted Score: 83716%
Critics Consensus: A loving and meticulous send-up of 1970s blaxsploitation movies, Black Dynamite is funny enough for the frat house and clever enough for film buffs.
Synopsis: After "The Man" kills his brother and poisons the neighborhood with tainted liquor, a kung fu fighter (Michael Jai White)... [More]
Directed By: Scott Sanders

#111

Keanu (2016)
78%

#111
Adjusted Score: 88037%
Critics Consensus: Keanu's absurd premise and compulsively watchable starring duo add up to an agreeably fast-paced comedy that hits more than enough targets to make up for the misses.
Synopsis: Recently dumped by his girlfriend, slacker Rell (Jordan Peele) finds some happiness when a cute kitten winds up on his... [More]
Directed By: Peter Atencio

#110

Dreamgirls (2006)
78%

#110
Adjusted Score: 86912%
Critics Consensus: Dreamgirls' simple characters and plot hardly detract from the movie's real feats: the electrifying performances and the dazzling musical numbers.
Synopsis: Deena (Beyoncé Knowles),Effie (Jennifer Hudson) and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose) form a music trio called the Dreamettes. When ambitious manager... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#109
#109
Adjusted Score: 85791%
Critics Consensus: Languid and melancholy, George Washington is a carefully observed rumination on adolescence and rural life.
Synopsis: Set in the landscape of a rural southern town, "George Washington" is a stunning portrait of how a group of... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green

#108

Marshall (2017)
81%

#108
Adjusted Score: 90698%
Critics Consensus: Marshall takes an illuminating, well-acted look at its real-life subject's early career that also delivers as an entertainingly old-fashioned courtroom drama.
Synopsis: Young Thurgood Marshall faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#107

Ray (2004)
79%

#107
Adjusted Score: 86557%
Critics Consensus: An engrossing and energetic portrait of a great musician's achievements and foibles, Ray is anchored by Jamie Foxx's stunning performance as Ray Charles.
Synopsis: Legendary soul musician Ray Charles is portrayed by Jamie Foxx in this Oscar-winning biopic. Young Ray watches his 7-year-old brother... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Hackford

#106
#106
Adjusted Score: 86387%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince

#105
Adjusted Score: 87142%
Critics Consensus: An innovative blend of samurai and gangster lifestyles.
Synopsis: Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) is a contract killer, a master of his trade who can whirl a gun at warp... [More]
Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

#104

Barbershop (2002)
83%

#104
Adjusted Score: 85777%
Critics Consensus: Besides bringing on the laughs, Barbershop displays a big heart and demonstrates the value of community.
Synopsis: A smart comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the south side of Chicago. Calvin (Ice... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#103

Get On Up (2014)
80%

#103
Adjusted Score: 87130%
Critics Consensus: With an unforgettable Chadwick Boseman in the starring role, Get On Up offers the Godfather of Soul a fittingly dynamic homage.
Synopsis: James Brown (Chadwick Boseman) was born in extreme poverty in 1933 South Carolina and survived abandonment, abuse and jail to... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

#102

Rize (2005)
84%

#102
Adjusted Score: 86156%
Critics Consensus: The dances in Rize are electric even if the documentary doesn't go that deeply into the performers' lives.
Synopsis: Celebrated fashion photographer David LaChapelle makes his documentary filmmaking debut with a visually arresting film shot on the streets of... [More]
Starring: Tommy the Clown
Directed By: David LaChapelle

#101

Monsters and Men (2018)
84%

#101
Adjusted Score: 87253%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and visually stylish, Monsters and Men tells its timely story with enough compassion and complexity to make up for occasionally uneven execution.
Synopsis: Tensions rise when a young man records a police officer shooting a black motorist in a Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood.... [More]
Directed By: Reinaldo Marcus Green

#100
#100
Adjusted Score: 85366%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to smart direction and a powerhouse performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Beyond the Lights transcends its formulaic storyline to deliver thoroughly entertaining drama.
Synopsis: Though she's been groomed for stardom all her life by an overbearing mother (Minnie Driver), singer Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) is... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood

#99

Chi-Raq (2015)
82%

#99
Adjusted Score: 90973%
Critics Consensus: Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven -- and it contains some of Spike Lee's smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.
Synopsis: The girlfriend (Teyonah Parris) of a Chicago gang leader (Nick Cannon) persuades other frustrated women to abstain from sex until... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#98
Adjusted Score: 88856%
Critics Consensus: The Gospel According to André offers an engaging overview of its fascinating subject, even if his accomplishments -- and outsize personality -- prove too expansive for a single film.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Kate Novack explores the life and career of fashion journalist André Leon Talley -- from his childhood in the... [More]
Directed By: Kate Novack

#97

Hustle & Flow (2005)
82%

#97
Adjusted Score: 88285%
Critics Consensus: Hustle & Flow is gritty and redemptive, with a profound sense of place and exciting music.
Synopsis: DJay (Terrence Howard) is a pimp living day to day on the tough streets of Memphis, Tennessee. Pushing 40, he's... [More]
Directed By: Craig Brewer

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 89289%
Critics Consensus: American Gangster is a gritty and entertaining throwback to classic gangster films, with its lead performers firing on all cylinders.
Synopsis: Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) earns his living as a chauffeur to one of Harlem's leading mobsters. After his boss dies,... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#95

42 (2013)
81%

#95
Adjusted Score: 87765%
Critics Consensus: 42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.
Synopsis: In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball's notorious color barrier by... [More]
Directed By: Brian Helgeland

#94

Monster's Ball (2001)
85%

#94
Adjusted Score: 90370%
Critics Consensus: Somber and thought provoking, Monster's Ball has great performances all around.
Synopsis: Hank, an embittered racist prison guard working on death row, begins an unlikely, emotionally charged sexual relationship with Leticia, a... [More]
Directed By: Marc Forster

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 94671%
Critics Consensus: Loaded up with action and a double helping of leading-man charisma, Bad Boys for Life reinvigorates this long-dormant franchise by playing squarely to its strengths.
Synopsis: The wife and son of a Mexican drug lord embark on a vengeful quest to kill all those involved in... [More]

#92
#92
Adjusted Score: 89330%
Critics Consensus: Wise, compassionate, and beautifully acted, Middle of Nowhere offers an early testament to writer-director Ava DuVernay's startling talent.
Synopsis: A med student (Emayatzy Corinealdi) considers leaving her long-imprisoned husband (Omari Hardwick) for a charming bus driver (David Oyelowo).... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#91
#91
Adjusted Score: 90719%
Critics Consensus: A warm, family-friendly underdog story, featuring terrific supporting performances from Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, and Angela Bassett.
Synopsis: Akeelah, an 11-year-old girl living in South Los Angeles, discovers she has a talent for spelling, which she hopes will... [More]
Directed By: Doug Atchison

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 90765%
Critics Consensus: This group of high school girls and their eccentric basketball coach easily win your heart with their unusual humanity and dynamism.
Synopsis: Filmed over a period of seven years, director Ward Serrill profiles Bill Resler, a university professor who coaches a basketball... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Ward Serrill

#89
Adjusted Score: 90392%
Critics Consensus: What Happened, Miss Simone? is a compelling -- albeit necessarily incomplete -- overview of its complex subject's singular artistic legacy and fascinating life.
Synopsis: Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty,... [More]
Directed By: Liz Garbus

#88
Adjusted Score: 91628%
Critics Consensus: This documentary focuses less on the music and more on the personality clashes and in-group tensions to great, compelling effect.
Synopsis: Actor Michael Rapaport examines the music of the 1990s hip-hop group as well as the conflicts that drove the band... [More]
Directed By: Michael Rapaport

#87
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Hardworking and ambitious, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) dreams of one day opening the finest restaurant in New Orleans. Her dream... [More]
Directed By: Ron Clements, John Musker

#86
Adjusted Score: 93642%
Critics Consensus: Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey celebrates the yuletide season with a holiday adventure whose exuberant spirit is matched by its uplifting message.
Synopsis: Decades after his apprentice betrays him, a once joyful toymaker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter appears on... [More]
Directed By: David E. Talbert

#85
#85
Adjusted Score: 93059%
Critics Consensus: Presenting Princess Shaw works as a uniquely uplifting look at internet stardom -- and a compelling glimpse of an artist whose gifts transcend the medium.
Synopsis: The extraordinary story of New Orleans singing sensation Princess Shaw and her collaborator Kutiman, a musician in Israel who uses... [More]
Directed By: Ido Haar

#84
#84
Adjusted Score: 93088%
Critics Consensus: A smart, well-acted, and refreshingly messy coming-of-age story, Selah and the Spades suggests a bright future for debuting writer-director Tayarisha Poe.
Synopsis: Five factions run the underground life of a prestigious east coast boarding school. The head of The Spades walks a... [More]
Directed By: Tayarisha Poe

#83

Our Song (2000)
91%

#83
Adjusted Score: 91437%
Critics Consensus: Graced with such a realistic feel that it resembles a documentary, Our Song is a sensitive portrayal of three teenage girls.
Synopsis: Follows three friends, Lanisha (Kerry Washington), Maria (Melissa Martinez) and Joycelyn (Anna Simpson), best friends and members of their school's... [More]
Directed By: Jim McKay

#82

Top Five (2014)
86%

#82
Adjusted Score: 92783%
Critics Consensus: As smart, funny, and trenchant as writer-director-star Chris Rock's best standup work, Top Five is a career highlight for its creator -- and one of the comedy standouts of 2014.
Synopsis: Though he began in stand-up comedy, Andre Allen (Chris Rock) hit the big-time as the star of a trilogy of... [More]
Directed By: Chris Rock

#81

Burning Cane (2019)
92%

#81
Adjusted Score: 93151%
Critics Consensus: Burning Cane is a compelling look at weighty themes -- and a remarkably assured debut from an impressively talented young filmmaker.
Synopsis: An aging mother who lives in cane fields of rural Louisiana, is torn between her religious convictions and the love... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Youmans

#80

Queen & Slim (2019)
83%

#80
Adjusted Score: 95703%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, provocative, and powerful, Queen & Slim tells a gripping fugitive story steeped in timely, thoughtful subtext.
Synopsis: Slim and Queen's first date takes an unexpected turn when a policeman pulls them over for a minor traffic violation.... [More]
Directed By: Melina Matsoukas

#79

Uncorked (2020)
91%

#79
Adjusted Score: 93414%
Critics Consensus: Like a good wine, once you let Uncorked breathe, its heartfelt tenderness will yield a sweet time.
Synopsis: A young man upsets his father when he pursues his dream of becoming a master sommelier instead of joining the... [More]
Directed By: Prentice Penny

#78
#78
Adjusted Score: 92590%
Critics Consensus: Miss Sharon Jones! only captures a portion of its subject's power -- or her inspiring story -- but that's more than enough to offer absorbing, entertaining viewing for fans and newcomers alike.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Barbara Kopple follows rhythm and blues singer Sharon Jones as she tries to hold her band together while battling... [More]
Starring: Sharon Jones
Directed By: Barbara Kopple

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 93903%
Critics Consensus: Madeline's Madeline proves experimental cinema is alive and well -- and serves as a powerful calling card for Helena Howard in her big-screen debut.
Synopsis: Madeline has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop's ambitious director pushes the teenager... [More]
Directed By: Josephine Decker

#76
#76
Adjusted Score: 93301%
Critics Consensus: Not just a powerful telling of the journey of exiled Sudanese boys, God Grew Tired of Us is also a poignant account of the determination of the human spirit.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Christopher Quinn observes the ordeal of three Sudanese refugees -- Jon Bul Dau, Daniel Abul Pach and Panther Bior... [More]
Starring: Nicole Kidman
Directed By: Christopher Quinn

#75
Adjusted Score: 93283%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Swedish journalists document the black power movement in America.... [More]
Directed By: Göran Olsson

#74
#74
Adjusted Score: 95185%
Critics Consensus: Heartfelt, thought-provoking, and above all funny, Barbershop: The Next Cut is the rare belated sequel that more than lives up to the standard set by its predecessors.
Synopsis: To survive harsh economic times, Calvin and Angie have merged the barbershop and beauty salon into one business. The days... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#73

Inside Man (2006)
86%

#73
Adjusted Score: 94912%
Critics Consensus: Spike Lee's energetic and clever bank-heist thriller is a smart genre film that is not only rewarding on its own terms, but manages to subvert its pulpy trappings with wit and skill.
Synopsis: A tough detective (Denzel Washington) matches wits with a cunning bank robber (Clive Owen), as a tense hostage crisis is... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#72
Adjusted Score: 93526%
Critics Consensus: A toe-tapping tribute to the band that gave Motown its sound.
Synopsis: This documentary mixes performances, interviews and reenactments to celebrate the Funk Brothers, the 1960s soul hitmakers. As the musicians behind... [More]
Directed By: Paul Justman

#71

Premature (2019)
93%

#71
Adjusted Score: 95227%
Critics Consensus: Premature transcends its familiar trappings with sharp dialogue and a strong sense of setting that further establish Rashaad Ernesto Green as a gifted filmmaker.
Synopsis: On a summer night in Harlem during her last months at home before starting college, 17-year-old poet Ayanna begins a... [More]
Directed By: Rashaad Ernesto Green

#70
Adjusted Score: 93742%
Critics Consensus: Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastical, emotionally powerful journey and a strong case of filmmaking that values imagination over money.
Synopsis: Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), in a remote Delta community. Wink is a stern... [More]
Directed By: Benh Zeitlin

#69

Baadasssss! (2003)
91%

#69
Adjusted Score: 93280%
Critics Consensus: An entertaining and intriguing tribute to a father from his son.
Synopsis: Director Mario Van Peebles chronicles the complicated production of his father Melvin's classic 1971 film, "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." Playing... [More]
Directed By: Mario Van Peebles

#68
Adjusted Score: 95322%
Critics Consensus: The Black Panthers: Vanguard Of The Revolution offers a fascinating -- if somewhat rudimentary -- introduction to a movement, and an era, that remains soberingly relevant today.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Stanley Nelson examines the rise of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and its impact on civil rights... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Nelson

#67
Adjusted Score: 93874%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining for longtime fans as well as casually interested viewers, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool burnishes the legacy of a brilliant artist.
Synopsis: An exploration of the musician's archival photos and home movies.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Stanley Nelson

#66
#66
Adjusted Score: 94443%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Filmmakers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon examine a 1989 case of five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of... [More]

#65

Waves (2019)
84%

#65
Adjusted Score: 99674%
Critics Consensus: An up-close look at one family's emotional ups and downs, Waves captures complicated dynamics with tenderness and grace.
Synopsis: The epic emotional journey of a suburban African American family as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the... [More]
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults

#64

Whitney (2018)
88%

#64
Adjusted Score: 96537%
Critics Consensus: Whitney shifts from soaring highs to heartbreaking lows with palpable emotion and grace befitting its singular subject.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Kevin Macdonald examines the life and career of singer Whitney Houston. Features never-before-seen archival footage, exclusive recordings, rare performances... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#63

Dope (2015)
88%

#63
Adjusted Score: 94208%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a starmaking performance from Shameik Moore and a refreshingly original point of view from writer-director Rick Famuyiwa, Dope is smart, insightful entertainment.
Synopsis: High-school senior Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) bond over '90s hip-hop culture,... [More]
Directed By: Rick Famuyiwa

#62

Detroit (2017)
82%

#62
Adjusted Score: 104866%
Critics Consensus: Detroit delivers a gut-wrenching -- and essential -- dramatization of a tragic chapter from America's past that draws distressing parallels to the present.
Synopsis: In the summer of 1967, rioting and civil unrest starts to tear apart the city of Detroit. Two days later,... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#61
#61
Adjusted Score: 96052%
Critics Consensus: Dear White People adds a welcome new voice to cinema's oft-neglected discussion of race, tackling its timely themes with intelligence, honesty, and gratifyingly sharp wit.
Synopsis: A campus culture war between blacks and whites at a predominantly white school comes to a head when the staff... [More]
Directed By: Justin Simien

#60
Adjusted Score: 97099%
Critics Consensus: Dave Chappelle's Block Party is a raucous return to the spotlight for the comic, buoyed by witty, infectious humor and outstanding musical performances.
Synopsis: Actor, writer and comic Dave Chappelle loads up a bus with residents of his Ohio hometown and takes them to... [More]
Starring: Dave Chappelle
Directed By: Michel Gondry

#59

Creed II (2018)
83%

#59
Adjusted Score: 101856%
Critics Consensus: Creed II's adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.
Synopsis: In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Caple Jr.

#58

Sylvie's Love (2020)
93%

#58
Adjusted Score: 100131%
Critics Consensus: A romance for the ages, Sylvie's Love wraps audiences in the sweet embrace of its old-fashioned romance and celebration of Black love.
Synopsis: In Sylvie’s Love, the jazz is smooth and the air sultry in the hot New York summer of 1957. Robert... [More]
Directed By: Eugene Ashe

#57

Luce (2019)
90%

#57
Adjusted Score: 99635%
Critics Consensus: Luce brings a stellar ensemble to bear on a satisfyingly complex story that addresses its timely themes in thought-provoking fashion.
Synopsis: A liberal-minded couple are forced to reconsider their image of their adopted son after he writes a disturbing essay for... [More]
Directed By: Julius Onah

#56

Black Is King (2020)
94%

#56
Adjusted Score: 96825%
Critics Consensus: Beyoncé is King.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Beyoncé
Directed By: Beyoncé

#55

Good Hair (2009)
95%

#55
Adjusted Score: 97566%
Critics Consensus: Funny, informative, and occasionally sad, Good Hair is a provocative look at the complex relationship between African Americans and their hair.
Synopsis: Prompted by a question from his young daughter, comic Chris Rock sets out to explore the importance of hair in... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Stilson

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 100023%
Critics Consensus: Support the Girls handles serious themes with wit and humor, and provides a strong showcase for Regina Hall and a talented ensemble cast.
Synopsis: Lisa is the general manager of Double Whammies, a sports bar that features skimpily dressed waitresses. Always nurturing and protective... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Bujalski

#53

Just Mercy (2019)
85%

#53
Adjusted Score: 105705%
Critics Consensus: Just Mercy dramatizes a real-life injustice with solid performances, a steady directorial hand, and enough urgency to overcome a certain degree of earnest advocacy.
Synopsis: After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation.... [More]
Directed By: Destin Daniel Cretton

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 106177%
Critics Consensus: It Comes at Night makes lethally effective use of its bare-bones trappings while proving once again that what's left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen.
Synopsis: After a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with few survivors, two families are forced to share a home in an... [More]
Directed By: Trey Edward Shults

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 100771%
Critics Consensus: Southside With You looks back on a fateful real-life date with strong performances and engaging dialogue, adding up to a romance that makes for a pretty good date movie in its own right.
Synopsis: Future U.S. President Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) and lawyer Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) go on a fateful first date in... [More]
Directed By: Richard Tanne

#50

Clemency (2019)
91%

#50
Adjusted Score: 99978%
Critics Consensus: Clemency mines serious social issues for gripping drama, brought to life by an outstanding cast led by Alfre Woodard.
Synopsis: Years of carrying out death row executions are taking a toll on Warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares for another... [More]
Directed By: Chinonye Chukwu

#49

Girls Trip (2017)
92%

#49
Adjusted Score: 103896%
Critics Consensus: Girls Trip is the rare R-rated comedy that pushes boundaries to truly comedic effect -- and anchors its laughs in compelling characters brought to life by a brilliantly assembled cast.
Synopsis: Best friends Ryan, Sasha, Lisa and Dina are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they travel to New... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#48

Django Unchained (2012)
86%

#48
Adjusted Score: 98844%
Critics Consensus: Bold, bloody, and stylistically daring, Django Unchained is another incendiary masterpiece from Quentin Tarantino.
Synopsis: Two years before the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave, finds himself accompanying an unorthodox German bounty hunter named... [More]
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino

#47

Pariah (2011)
95%

#47
Adjusted Score: 99745%
Critics Consensus: Pulsing with authenticity and led by a stirring lead performance from Adepero Oduye, Pariah is a powerful coming out/coming-of-age film that signals the arrival of a fresh new talent in writer/director Dee Rees.
Synopsis: Teenage Alike (Adepero Oduye) lives in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood with her parents (Charles Parnell, Kim Wayans) and younger sister... [More]
Directed By: Dee Rees

#46
#46
Adjusted Score: 98270%
Critics Consensus: It's far more conventional than the life it honors, but John Lewis: Good Trouble remains a worthy tribute to an inspiring activist and public servant.
Synopsis: Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) fights for civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health care reform and immigration.... [More]
Starring: John Lewis
Directed By: Dawn Porter

#45
#45
Adjusted Score: 98072%
Critics Consensus: Straight Outta Compton is a biopic that's built to last, thanks to F. Gary Gray's confident direction and engaging performances from a solid cast.
Synopsis: In 1988, a groundbreaking new group revolutionizes music and pop culture, changing and influencing hip-hop forever. N.W.A's first studio album,... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 97928%
Critics Consensus: Offering keen observations and infectious warmth, Keep On Keepin' On is a joy for jazz buffs and novices alike.
Synopsis: Legendary jazz musician Clark Terry, who taught Quincy Jones and mentored Miles Davis, becomes the mentor of a blind 23-year-old... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Alan Hicks

#43
Adjusted Score: 100433%
Critics Consensus: Intimate in scope yet thematically expansive, Hale County This Morning, This Evening draws extraordinary insights out of seemingly ordinary moments.
Synopsis: Filmmaker RaMell Ross captures small, but nevertheless precious, moments in black lives.... [More]
Starring: RaMell Ross
Directed By: RaMell Ross

#42

Night Comes On (2018)
98%

#42
Adjusted Score: 100534%
Critics Consensus: Steadily drawing viewers into its harrowing tale with equal parts grim intensity and startling compassion, Night Comes On heralds the arrivals of debuting director Jordan Spiro and her magnetic young stars.
Synopsis: Released from juvenile detention, a teen and her 10-year-old sister embark on a quest to avenge the death of their... [More]
Directed By: Jordana Spiro

#41

Loving (2016)
88%

#41
Adjusted Score: 106614%
Critics Consensus: Loving takes an understated approach to telling a painful -- and still relevant -- real-life tale, with sensitive performances breathing additional life into a superlative historical drama.
Synopsis: Interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point,... [More]
Directed By: Jeff Nichols

#40

Step (2017)
96%

#40
Adjusted Score: 103085%
Critics Consensus: Step tells an irresistibly crowd-pleasing story in a thoroughly absorbing way -- and while smartly incorporating a variety of timely themes.
Synopsis: The senior year of a girls' high school step team in inner-city Baltimore is documented, as they try to become... [More]
Starring: Blessin Giraldo
Directed By: Amanda Lipitz

#39
Adjusted Score: 100832%
Critics Consensus: Precious is a grim yet ultimately triumphant film about abuse and inner-city life, largely bolstered by exceptional performances from its cast.
Synopsis: Pregnant by her own father for the second time, 16-year-old Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) can neither read nor write... [More]
Directed By: Lee Daniels

#38

Farewell Amor (2020)
97%

#38
Adjusted Score: 101268%
Critics Consensus: A striking debut feature for writer-director Ekwa Msangi, Farewell Amor movingly captures the fallout from a long-separated family's reunion.
Synopsis: After 17 years apart, Angolan immigrant Walter is joined in the U.S. by his wife and teen daughter. Now absolute... [More]
Directed By: Ekwa Msangi

#37

13TH (2016)
97%

#37
Adjusted Score: 104636%
Critics Consensus: 13th strikes at the heart of America's tangled racial history, offering observations as incendiary as they are calmly controlled.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation's... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#36
Adjusted Score: 104589%
Critics Consensus: An affecting story powerfully told, The Last Black Man in San Francisco immediately establishes director Joe Talbot as a filmmaker to watch.
Synopsis: Jimmie and his best friend Mont try to reclaim the house built by Jimmie's grandfather, launching them on a poignant... [More]
Directed By: Joe Talbot

#35
Adjusted Score: 102697%
Critics Consensus: Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am honors its acclaimed subject with a comprehensive, illuminating, and fittingly profound overview of her life and work.
Synopsis: Author Toni Morrison leads an assembly of her peers, critics and colleagues on an exploration of race, history, America and... [More]

#34

Whose Streets? (2017)
98%

#34
Adjusted Score: 102830%
Critics Consensus: Whose Streets? takes a close-up look at the civil unrest that erupted after a shocking act of violence in Ferguson, Missouri - and the decades of simmering tension leading up to it.
Synopsis: An account of the Ferguson uprising as told by the people who lived it. The filmmakers look at how the... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Sabaah Folayan

#33

Blindspotting (2018)
94%

#33
Adjusted Score: 104310%
Critics Consensus: As timely as it is overall impactful, Blindspotting blends buddy comedy with seething social commentary, and rises on the strength of Daveed Diggs' powerful performance.
Synopsis: Collin must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning in his... [More]
Directed By: Carlos López Estrada

#32

Strong Island (2017)
100%

#32
Adjusted Score: 102772%
Critics Consensus: Strong Island uses one family's heartbreaking tragedy to offer a sobering picture of racial injustice in modern America.
Synopsis: When filmmaker Yance Ford investigates the 1992 murder of a young black man, it becomes an achingly personal journey since... [More]
Directed By: Yance Ford

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 102524%
Critics Consensus: O.J.: Made in America paints a balanced and thorough portrait of the American dream juxtaposed with tragedy and executed with power and skill.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: O.J. Simpson
Directed By: Ezra Edelman

#30

Tangerine (2015)
96%

#30
Adjusted Score: 102208%
Critics Consensus: Tangerine shatters casting conventions and its filmmaking techniques are up-to-the-minute, but it's an old-fashioned comedy at heart -- and a pretty wonderful one at that.
Synopsis: After hearing that her boyfriend/pimp cheated on her while she was in jail, a hooker and her best friend set... [More]
Directed By: Sean Baker

#29
Adjusted Score: 103900%
Critics Consensus: All In: The Fight for Democracy lives up to its title as a galvanizing rallying cry for voters to exercise -- and preserve -- their right to be heard.
Synopsis: Filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes examine the history of voter suppression and the activists who fight for the rights... [More]
Starring: Stacey Abrams
Directed By: Lisa Cortes, Liz Garbus

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 101615%
Critics Consensus: Passionate and powerfully acted, Fruitvale Station serves as a celebration of life, a condemnation of death, and a triumph for star Michael B. Jordan.
Synopsis: Though he once spent time in San Quentin, 22-year-old black man Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) is now trying hard... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#27

Time (2020)
98%

#27
Adjusted Score: 105204%
Critics Consensus: Time delivers a powerful broadside against the flaws of the American justice system -- and chronicles one family's refusal to give up against all odds.
Synopsis: Entrepreneur Fox Rich spends the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Garrett Bradley

#26

Fences (2016)
92%

#26
Adjusted Score: 107952%
Critics Consensus: From its reunited Broadway stars to its screenplay, the solidly crafted Fences finds its Pulitzer-winning source material fundamentally unchanged -- and still just as powerful.
Synopsis: Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) makes his living as a sanitation worker in 1950s Pittsburgh. Maxson once dreamed of becoming a... [More]
Directed By: Denzel Washington

#25
Adjusted Score: 106723%
Critics Consensus: The Forty-Year-Old Version opens a compelling window into the ebbs and flows of the artist's life -- and announces writer-director-star Radha Blank as a major filmmaking talent with her feature debut.
Synopsis: A struggling New York City playwright finds inspiration by reinventing herself as a rapper.... [More]
Directed By: Radha Blank

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 104012%
Critics Consensus: Rich, insightful, and occasionally heartbreaking, 20 Feet From Stardom is an energetic tribute to the passion, talent, and hard work of backup singers.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Morgan Neville shines a long-overdue spotlight on the hit-making contributions of longtime backup singers like Darlene Love and Merry... [More]
Directed By: Morgan Neville

#23

Miss Juneteenth (2020)
99%

#23
Adjusted Score: 108687%
Critics Consensus: Like a pageant winner walking across the stage, Miss Juneteenth follows a familiar path -- but does so with charm and grace.
Synopsis: A former beauty queen and single mom prepares her rebellious teenage daughter for the "Miss Juneteenth" pageant.... [More]

#22

Mudbound (2017)
97%

#22
Adjusted Score: 111702%
Critics Consensus: Mudbound offers a well-acted, finely detailed snapshot of American history whose scenes of rural class struggle resonate far beyond their period setting.
Synopsis: Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees' Mudbound is an epic story of two families... [More]
Directed By: Dee Rees

#21

Da 5 Bloods (2020)
92%

#21
Adjusted Score: 112566%
Critics Consensus: Fierce energy and ambition course through Da 5 Bloods, coming together to fuel one of Spike Lee's most urgent and impactful films.
Synopsis: Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#20

Amazing Grace (2018)
99%

#20
Adjusted Score: 108279%
Critics Consensus: Brilliantly capturing a remarkable performer near the peak of her prodigious power, Amazing Grace is a thrilling must-watch documentary for Aretha Franklin fans.
Synopsis: Singer Aretha Franklin performs gospel songs at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972.... [More]
Starring: Aretha Franklin
Directed By: Alan Elliott

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 111982%
Critics Consensus: Fearlessly ambitious, scathingly funny, and thoroughly original, Sorry to Bother You loudly heralds the arrival of a fresh filmmaking talent in writer-director Boots Riley.
Synopsis: In an alternate reality of present-day Oakland, Calif., telemarketer Cassius Green finds himself in a macabre universe after he discovers... [More]
Directed By: Boots Riley

#18

The Hate U Give (2018)
97%

#18
Adjusted Score: 109456%
Critics Consensus: Led by a breakout turn from Amandla Stenberg, the hard-hitting The Hate U Give emphatically proves the YA genre has room for much more than magic and romance.
Synopsis: Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds -- the poor, mostly black neighborhood where she lives and the wealthy,... [More]
Directed By: George Tillman Jr.

#17

Hidden Figures (2016)
93%

#17
Adjusted Score: 117277%
Critics Consensus: In heartwarming, crowd-pleasing fashion, Hidden Figures celebrates overlooked -- and crucial -- contributions from a pivotal moment in American history.
Synopsis: Three brilliant African American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- serve as the brains... [More]
Directed By: Theodore Melfi

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 110295%
Critics Consensus: In dramatizing Rudy Ray Moore's stranger-than-fiction story, Eddie Murphy makes Dolemite Is My Name just as bold, brash, and ultimately hard to resist as its subject.
Synopsis: Performer Rudy Ray Moore develops an outrageous character named Dolemite, who becomes an underground sensation and star of a kung-fu,... [More]
Directed By: Craig Brewer

#15

Creed (2015)
95%

#15
Adjusted Score: 106968%
Critics Consensus: Creed brings the Rocky franchise off the mat for a surprisingly effective seventh round that extends the boxer's saga in interesting new directions while staying true to its classic predecessors' roots.
Synopsis: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 113487%
Critics Consensus: I Am Not Your Negro offers an incendiary snapshot of James Baldwin's crucial observations on American race relations -- and a sobering reminder of how far we've yet to go.
Synopsis: In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his next project, "Remember This House." The book... [More]
Directed By: Raoul Peck

#13

Widows (2018)
91%

#13
Adjusted Score: 116986%
Critics Consensus: Widows rounds up a stellar ensemble for a heist thriller that mixes popcorn entertainment with a message - and marks another artistic leap for director Steve McQueen.
Synopsis: A police shootout leaves four thieves dead during an explosive armed robbery attempt in Chicago. Their widows -- Veronica, Linda,... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen

#12

Soul (2020)
95%

#12
Adjusted Score: 119524%
Critics Consensus: A film as beautiful to contemplate as it is to behold, Soul proves Pixar's power to deliver outstanding all-ages entertainment remains undimmed.
Synopsis: Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn't quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 118333%
Critics Consensus: Framed by a pair of powerhouse performances, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom pays affectionate tribute to a blues legend -- and Black culture at large.
Synopsis: Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians... [More]
Directed By: George C. Wolfe

#10

12 Years a Slave (2013)
95%

#10
Adjusted Score: 110567%
Critics Consensus: It's far from comfortable viewing, but 12 Years a Slave's unflinchingly brutal look at American slavery is also brilliant -- and quite possibly essential -- cinema.
Synopsis: In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen

#9
Adjusted Score: 116326%
Critics Consensus: If Beale Street Could Talk honors its source material with a beautifully filmed adaptation that finds director Barry Jenkins further strengthening his visual and narrative craft.
Synopsis: In early 1970s Harlem, daughter and wife-to-be Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and... [More]
Directed By: Barry Jenkins

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 116766%
Critics Consensus: A hauntingly powerful reflection on larger-than-life figures, One Night in Miami finds Regina King in command of her craft in her feature directorial debut.
Synopsis: On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest... [More]
Directed By: Regina King

#7

Selma (2014)
99%

#7
Adjusted Score: 111031%
Critics Consensus: Fueled by a gripping performance from David Oyelowo, Selma draws inspiration and dramatic power from the life and death of Martin Luther King, Jr. -- but doesn't ignore how far we remain from the ideals his work embodied.
Synopsis: Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it... [More]
Directed By: Ava DuVernay

#6

Moonlight (2016)
98%

#6
Adjusted Score: 123130%
Critics Consensus: Moonlight uses one man's story to offer a remarkable and brilliantly crafted look at lives too rarely seen in cinema.
Synopsis: A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His... [More]
Directed By: Barry Jenkins

#5
Adjusted Score: 121248%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into... [More]

#4

Get Out (2017)
98%

#4
Adjusted Score: 128243%
Critics Consensus: Funny, scary, and thought-provoking, Get Out seamlessly weaves its trenchant social critiques into a brilliantly effective and entertaining horror/comedy thrill ride.
Synopsis: Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#3

BlacKkKlansman (2018)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 122724%
Critics Consensus: BlacKkKlansman uses history to offer bitingly trenchant commentary on current events -- and brings out some of Spike Lee's hardest-hitting work in decades along the way.
Synopsis: Ron Stallworth is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#2

Us (2019)
93%

#2
Adjusted Score: 127302%
Critics Consensus: With Jordan Peele's second inventive, ambitious horror film, we have seen how to beat the sophomore jinx, and it is Us.
Synopsis: Accompanied by her husband, son and daughter, Adelaide Wilson returns to the beachfront home where she grew up as a... [More]
Directed By: Jordan Peele

#1

Black Panther (2018)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 128731%
Critics Consensus: Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.
Synopsis: After the death of his father, T'Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

(Photo by Universal/courtesy Everett Collection)

40 Movies That Celebrate Black Joy

This year for Black History Month, Rotten Tomatoes is celebrating “Black Joy” in cinema.

Though there are thousands of exceptional films from Black filmmakers and storytellers, those on the receiving end of critical and awards attention are frequently rooted in pain, violence, or oppression. (It is not a coincidence that the vast majority of Black actresses who have been nominated for an Oscar were lauded for performances where they played a slave, maid, or a woman in abject poverty.) In an effort to turn the page and highlight cinema that focuses on the celebration of the Black experience, Rotten Tomatoes’ editor Jacqueline Coley has curated a varied list of films that explore the vast diaspora of Black culture – and will make you feel good.

As our list plainly illustrates, those who have borne the yoke of oppression are often the same people who can smile, laugh, and celebrate most wholly, and the films that live in the intersection of that phenomenon are oftentimes the best of what Black Cinema has to offer. These are the movies that celebrate and chronicle that giddy and infectious emotion: Black Joy.

Titles like Ryan Coogler’s Oscar-winning, billion-dollar blockbuster Black Panther and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s seminal star-making romance, Love and Basketball, made our list – as you would expect. But we have also included lesser-known titles like Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope, the moving family drama, Queen of Katwe, and the hip-hop cult-classic Krush Groove. Recent films like Malcolm D. Lee’s Girls Trip, which made a star out of comedian Tiffany Haddish – and introduced the world to “grapefruiting” – are also on our list. As are seminal classics we revisited, like Richard Pryor’s beloved stand-up comedy feature Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip and Sidney Poitier’s Lilies of the Field. 

And not everything had to be Fresh – because there was no way we weren’t including Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

In curating this list, we included films that may touch on sensitive or serious topics, as is the case for dramas like Soul Food and Crooklyn, but as those films primarily focus on the joyful side of life, love, and family, we have included them here. Our list also has a few choices from off the beaten path, too – entries like Beyonce’s history-making live concert feature Homecoming and her visual album for Disney+, Black Is King.

We hope you enjoy the selection ranked below by Tomatometer, and if you want to tell us what you think of the list – think we’ve missed a title, or want to shout out a film that didn’t quite make our list – let us know in the comments. – Jacqueline Coley

#40

B.A.P.S (1997)
15%

#40
Adjusted Score: 16467%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Waitresses at a Georgia restaurant, Nisi (Halle Berry) and Mickey (Natalie Desselle), decide to fly to Los Angeles for a... [More]
Directed By: Robert Townsend

#39
Adjusted Score: 20585%
Critics Consensus: Sister Act is off-key in this reprise, fatally shifting the spotlight from Whoopi Goldberg to a less compelling ensemble of pupils and trading its predecessor's sharp comedy for unconvincing sentiment.
Synopsis: In this sequel, Las Vegas performer Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) is surprised by a visit from her nun friends,... [More]
Directed By: Bill Duke

#38

Breakin' (1984)
33%

#38
Adjusted Score: 28263%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Kelly (Lucinda Dickey) is a classically trained jazz dancer who's tired of warding off her amorous teacher and hungry for... [More]
Directed By: Joel Silberg

#37

The Wiz (1978)
41%

#37
Adjusted Score: 43943%
Critics Consensus: This workmanlike movie musical lacks the electricity of the stage version (and its cinematic inspiration), but it's bolstered by strong performances by Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
Synopsis: When Harlem schoolteacher Dorothy (Diana Ross) tries to save her dog from a storm, she's miraculously whisked away to an... [More]
Directed By: Sidney Lumet

#36

Krush Groove (1985)
43%

#36
Adjusted Score: 28654%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Russell Walker (Blair Underwood) has started a new hip-hop and rap label called Krush Groove, which features a stellar list... [More]
Directed By: Michael Schultz

#35

Life (1999)
51%

#35
Adjusted Score: 51828%
Critics Consensus: Entertaining if not over-the-top humor from a solid comic duo provides plenty of laughs.
Synopsis: During Prohibition, loudmouth Harlem grifter Ray (Eddie Murphy) and the no-nonsense Claude (Martin Lawrence) team up on a bootlegging mission... [More]
Directed By: Ted Demme

#34

The Last Dragon (1985)
59%

#34
Adjusted Score: 60144%
Critics Consensus: The Last Dragon is a flamboyant genre mashup brimming with style, romance, and an infectious fondness for kung fu, but audiences may find the tonal whiplash more goofy than endearing.
Synopsis: Leroy Green (Taimak), a young martial artist living in New York City, trains tirelessly to attain the same level of... [More]
Directed By: Michael Schultz

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 62208%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances and a steady directorial hand help The Preacher's Wife offer some reliably heartwarming - albeit fairly predictable - holiday cheer.
Synopsis: A cleric begins to doubt himself and is visited by an angel. The heavenly emissary is supposed to help the... [More]
Directed By: Penny Marshall

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 75831%
Critics Consensus: Eddie Murphy was in full control at this point, starkly evident in Coming to America's John Landis' coasting direction.
Synopsis: Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is the prince of a wealthy African country and wants for nothing, except a wife who... [More]
Directed By: John Landis

#31

About Last Night (2014)
69%

#31
Adjusted Score: 71650%
Critics Consensus: About Last Night wanders even further from the David Mamet play that inspired the original, but it benefits from an engaging cast and a screenplay that smartly balances romance and comedy.
Synopsis: While out with loudmouthed pal Bernie (Kevin Hart), Danny (Michael Ealy) meets successful businesswoman Debbie (Joy Bryant), who's as leery... [More]
Directed By: Steve Pink

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 81502%
Critics Consensus: Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson make for well-matched comic foils, helping Central Intelligence overcome a script that coasts on their considerable chemistry.
Synopsis: Bullied as a teen for being overweight, Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) shows up to his high school reunion looking fit... [More]

#29

Love Jones (1997)
73%

#29
Adjusted Score: 73122%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two urban African-Americans, Darius (Larenz Tate), an aspiring writer, and Nina (Nia Long), an aspiring photographer, share an instant connection... [More]
Directed By: Theodore Witcher

#28

Crooklyn (1994)
77%

#28
Adjusted Score: 78454%
Critics Consensus: A personal project that warmly reflects on director Spike Lee's childhood, Crooklyn is an episodic celebration of family and the indelible facets of one's hometown.
Synopsis: As her teacher mother, Carolyn (Alfre Woodard), and her jazz musician father, Woody (Delroy Lindo), worry over monthly bills, grade-schooler... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#27

Friday (1995)
78%

#27
Adjusted Score: 78097%
Critics Consensus: What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads.
Synopsis: It's Friday and Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has just gotten fired for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, rent... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#26

Keanu (2016)
78%

#26
Adjusted Score: 88037%
Critics Consensus: Keanu's absurd premise and compulsively watchable starring duo add up to an agreeably fast-paced comedy that hits more than enough targets to make up for the misses.
Synopsis: Recently dumped by his girlfriend, slacker Rell (Jordan Peele) finds some happiness when a cute kitten winds up on his... [More]
Directed By: Peter Atencio

#25

Soul Food (1997)
81%

#25
Adjusted Score: 82140%
Critics Consensus: Much like the titular cuisine, Soul Food blends a series of savory ingredients to offer warm, generous helpings of nourishment and comfort.
Synopsis: When Ahmad Simmons' (Brandon Hammond) diabetic grandmother, Josephine "Big Mama" Joseph (Irma P. Hall), falls into a coma during an... [More]
Directed By: George Tillman Jr.

#24

Drumline (2002)
82%

#24
Adjusted Score: 84223%
Critics Consensus: Essentially a sports movie with drums, the energetic Drumline somehow manages to make the familiar seem fresh.
Synopsis: Set against the high-energy, high-stakes world of show-style marching bands, "Drumline" is a fish-out-of-water comedy about a talented street drummer... [More]
Directed By: Charles Stone

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 86387%
Critics Consensus: Confident directing and acting deliver an insightful look at young athletes.
Synopsis: Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) are two childhood friends who both aspire to be professional basketball players. Quincy,... [More]
Directed By: Gina Prince

#22
Adjusted Score: 85564%
Critics Consensus: If you want lots of laughs and don't mind some profanity, The Original Kings of Comedy can deliver.
Synopsis: A cultural phenomenon for our time: Spike Lee captures the comic geniuses behind the successful "Kings of Comedy" tour. In... [More]
Directed By: Spike Lee

#21

Barbershop (2002)
83%

#21
Adjusted Score: 85777%
Critics Consensus: Besides bringing on the laughs, Barbershop displays a big heart and demonstrates the value of community.
Synopsis: A smart comedy about a day in the life of a barbershop on the south side of Chicago. Calvin (Ice... [More]
Directed By: Tim Story

#20

Fame (1980)
81%

#20
Adjusted Score: 83422%
Critics Consensus: Just because Fame is a well-acted musical doesn't mean it flinches against its surprisingly heavy topics.
Synopsis: Young men and women audition for coveted spots at the New York High School of Performing Arts. Those who make... [More]
Directed By: Alan Parker

#19

Cooley High (1975)
85%

#19
Adjusted Score: 84408%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Richard "Cochise" Morris (Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs), a local basketball hero, and Leroy "Preach" Jackson (Glynn Turman), who dreams of a career... [More]
Directed By: Michael Schultz

#18

Top Five (2014)
86%

#18
Adjusted Score: 92783%
Critics Consensus: As smart, funny, and trenchant as writer-director-star Chris Rock's best standup work, Top Five is a career highlight for its creator -- and one of the comedy standouts of 2014.
Synopsis: Though he began in stand-up comedy, Andre Allen (Chris Rock) hit the big-time as the star of a trilogy of... [More]
Directed By: Chris Rock

#17
Adjusted Score: 89267%
Critics Consensus: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind earns its predictably uplifting arc through strong performances and impressive work from debuting director Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Synopsis: A 13-year-old boy is thrown out of the school he loves when his family can no longer afford the fees.... [More]
Directed By: Chiwetel Ejiofor

#16
Adjusted Score: 91789%
Critics Consensus: The Incredible Jessica James makes its standard storyline feel new, almost purely on the strength of a captivating, potentially star-making performance from Jessica Williams.
Synopsis: Jessica, an aspiring playwright in New York City, is trying to get over a recent break-up when she meets Boone,... [More]
Directed By: Jim Strouse

#15

Dope (2015)
88%

#15
Adjusted Score: 94208%
Critics Consensus: Featuring a starmaking performance from Shameik Moore and a refreshingly original point of view from writer-director Rick Famuyiwa, Dope is smart, insightful entertainment.
Synopsis: High-school senior Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) bond over '90s hip-hop culture,... [More]
Directed By: Rick Famuyiwa

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 92838%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When traveling African-American handyman Homer Smith (Sidney Poitier) stops by a farm in rural Arizona, he is welcomed by a... [More]
Directed By: Ralph Nelson

#13

Girls Trip (2017)
92%

#13
Adjusted Score: 103896%
Critics Consensus: Girls Trip is the rare R-rated comedy that pushes boundaries to truly comedic effect -- and anchors its laughs in compelling characters brought to life by a brilliantly assembled cast.
Synopsis: Best friends Ryan, Sasha, Lisa and Dina are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they travel to New... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 100771%
Critics Consensus: Southside With You looks back on a fateful real-life date with strong performances and engaging dialogue, adding up to a romance that makes for a pretty good date movie in its own right.
Synopsis: Future U.S. President Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers) and lawyer Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) go on a fateful first date in... [More]
Directed By: Richard Tanne

#11

House Party (1990)
93%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94521%
Critics Consensus: House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy.
Synopsis: Play's parents are out of town, and he's planning the house party to end all house parties. His best friend,... [More]
Directed By: Reginald Hudlin

#10

Hidden Figures (2016)
93%

#10
Adjusted Score: 117277%
Critics Consensus: In heartwarming, crowd-pleasing fashion, Hidden Figures celebrates overlooked -- and crucial -- contributions from a pivotal moment in American history.
Synopsis: Three brilliant African American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- serve as the brains... [More]
Directed By: Theodore Melfi

#9

Queen of Katwe (2016)
94%

#9
Adjusted Score: 104634%
Critics Consensus: Queen of Katwe is a feel-good movie of uncommon smarts and passion, and outstanding performances by Lupita Nyong'o and David Oyelowo help to elevate the film past its cliches.
Synopsis: Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona (Madina Nalwanga) and her... [More]
Directed By: Mira Nair

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 93691%
Critics Consensus: See You Yesterday marries a novel sci-fi premise with urgent social relevance and forges something excitedly new from the union -- providing an impressive showcase for star Eden Duncan-Smith and debut writer-director Stefon Bristol.
Synopsis: Two teenage science prodigies spend every spare minute working on their latest homemade invention: backpacks that enable time travel. When... [More]
Directed By: Stefon Bristol

#7

Stormy Weather (1943)
95%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100923%
Critics Consensus: Stormy Weather's depiction of the Black community is disappointingly facile, but its delightful musical numbers drown out any missed narrative notes.
Synopsis: Bill Williamson (Bill Robinson), a struggling performer, meets a beautiful vocalist named Selina Rogers (Lena Horne). Bill promises her that... [More]
Directed By: Andrew L. Stone

#6

Black Is King (2020)
94%

#6
Adjusted Score: 96825%
Critics Consensus: Beyoncé is King.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Beyoncé
Directed By: Beyoncé

#5

Soul (2020)
95%

#5
Adjusted Score: 119524%
Critics Consensus: A film as beautiful to contemplate as it is to behold, Soul proves Pixar's power to deliver outstanding all-ages entertainment remains undimmed.
Synopsis: Joe is a middle-school band teacher whose life hasn't quite gone the way he expected. His true passion is jazz... [More]
Directed By: Pete Docter

#4
Adjusted Score: 121248%
Critics Consensus: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse matches bold storytelling with striking animation for a purely enjoyable adventure with heart, humor, and plenty of superhero action.
Synopsis: Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into... [More]

#3
Adjusted Score: 100676%
Critics Consensus: Beychella forever.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Starring: Beyoncé
Directed By: Unknown Director

#2
Adjusted Score: 106723%
Critics Consensus: The Forty-Year-Old Version opens a compelling window into the ebbs and flows of the artist's life -- and announces writer-director-star Radha Blank as a major filmmaking talent with her feature debut.
Synopsis: A struggling New York City playwright finds inspiration by reinventing herself as a rapper.... [More]
Directed By: Radha Blank

#1

Black Panther (2018)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 128731%
Critics Consensus: Black Panther elevates superhero cinema to thrilling new heights while telling one of the MCU's most absorbing stories -- and introducing some of its most fully realized characters.
Synopsis: After the death of his father, T'Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place... [More]
Directed By: Ryan Coogler

There aren’t many big titles newly available on streaming video this week, but we do have plenty of worthy indies, including a Chris Rock comedy, and some decent TV, like TNT’s alien invasion series Falling Skies. Plus, there’s a holiday treat, a couple of well-received foreign films, and some classics. Read on for details:


New on Amazon Prime:

 

Top Five (2014) 86%

Chris Rock (who also directed) plays Andre Allen, a popular comic actor who’s about to be married to a famous reality TV star. He agrees to be profiled by a New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson), and as they stroll about the city, Allen begins to question the decisions he’s made in his life and career.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Falling Skies: Season 5 (2015) 70%

TNT’s Steven Spielberg-produced action drama centers on a group of survivors — led by Noah Wyle and Moon Bloodgood — mounting a resistance effort against alien invaders.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town (1970) 93%

One of the classic Rankin-Bass TV specials from the 1970s, this stop motion animated musical features the voices of Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, and more in a dramatization of the popular holiday song.

Available now on: Amazon Prime


New on Netflix

 

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014) 92%

This documentary chronicles the unlikely success of the studio that brought audiences both classic B-movie actioners starring Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme and films by directors like John Cassavetes and Franco Zeffirelli through the 1970s and 1980s.

Available now on: Netflix


Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014) 96%

This thriller from China centers on a former cop who teams up with his old partner to solve the case that ended their careers after copycat murders begin to occur.

Available now on: Netflix


What Maisie Knew (2012) 87%

Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan star in this modern-day adaptation of a Henry James novel about the effects of divorce on a seven-year-old girl.

Available now on: Netflix


Guidance (2014) 88%

This Canadian black comedy is about a former child star who fakes his way into a gig as a high school guidance counselor.

Available now on: Netflix


A Hard Day (2014) 83%

This Korean thriller follows a detective whose involvement in a hit-and-run becomes part of a tangled criminal investigation.

Available now on: Netflix


New on Fandor

 

Grey Gardens (1975) 94%

This groundbreaking documentary by Albert and David Maysles profiles Edie Beale — aunt of Jackie Kennedy Onassis — and her daughter, also named Edie, who lived in poverty at the titular estate for decades.

Available now on: Fandor


The Big Combo (1955) 93%

A 1955 noir by Joseph Lewis, this thriller follows a cop who squares off against a ruthless mob kingpin whose sadistic methods begin to irk his own men.

Available now on: Fandor


The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) 81%

Frank Sinatra is dependably awesome in Otto Preminger’s dated but still compelling portrait of a junkie at the end of his wits.

Available now on: Fandor


Available for Purchase

 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) 48%

The second installment of the dystopian sci-fi series finds Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his gang attempting to survive a barren landscape while on the run from an evil organization and deadly zombies.

Available 12/4 on: Amazon, Google PlayiTunes, Vudu


The Look of Silence (2014) 96%

This Certified Fresh ocumentary about the survivors of the Indonesian killings of 1965-66 is a companion piece to the Oscar-nominated The Act of Killing.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu


Once I Was a Beehive (2015) 75%

This small independent drama follows a teenager dealing with the death of her father and her mother’s new relationship by exploring the natural world.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu


Life (2015) 64%

Ths historical drama centers around a photo shoot by celebrated shutterbug Dennis Stock (played by Robert Pattinson) of James Dean (played by Dane DeHaan) for the titular magazine.

Available now on: AmazoniTunes, Vudu

 

This week on home video, we’ve got an Oscar nominee, a surprisingly successful animated spinoff, a Biblical epic, and an ill-advised remake. Then we’ve got a few decent choices in the smaller releases, including Chris Rock’s Certified Fresh comedy and a couple of selections from the Criterion Collection. Read on for details:


Annie (2014) 28%

First it was a comic strip, then it was a musical, and then it was a film (twice), so it’s sort of understandable that the makers of 2014’s Annie — whose producers include such names as Will Smith and Jay-Z — would want to do things a little differently this time. Plus, they hired a few talented actors and the adorable star of Beasts of the Southern Wild to play the titular orphan. What could go wrong? A lot, according to the critics, who saddled the film with a 28 percent Tomatometer score for its reliance on clichés, syrupy sweetness, oddly staged musical numbers, and crass messaging. Quvenzhané Wallis is as charismatic as ever as the little girl who’s swept into the political machinations of wealthy mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks (Jamie Foxx), who initially uses Annie for her PR value but ultimately falls for her charm. But essentially everything else about this production rubbed critics the wrong way, which renders this remake a missed opportunity.


Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) 28%

Speaking of missed opportunities, who could have predicted a biblical epic directed by Ridley Scott and starring Christian Bale would have misfired as badly as Exodus: Gods and Kings did? Maybe people were burnt out on Old Testament stories by high profile directors, having already witnessed what Darren Aronofsky did with Noah back in March. Whatever the case, Scott’s retelling of Moses’ (Bale) journey was poorly received by both critics and audiences alike, earning a lukewarm box office total and earning a 28 percent score to match Annie‘s. Exodus has its moments, critics said, but the updated visual effects and few story embellishments (Moses as a sword-wielding general?) weren’t quite enough to erase memories of The Ten Commandments, and the newer film suffered from the comparison. For those who are interested, however, the Blu-ray release features a historical guide, a number of deleted or extended scenes, and few featurettes exclusive to the 3D release if you decide to go that route.


Song of the Sea (2014) 98%

Back in 2009, director Tomm Moore’s film The Secret of Kells earned an Oscar nod for Best Animated Feature, thanks to an enchanting mythological tale and its unique, hand-drawn art style. Earlier this year, he repeated the feat with Song of the Sea, which employed those same signature elements en route to an impressive Certified Fresh 98 percent on the Tomatometer and another Academy Award nomination. Song explores the Celtic myth of the selkie, a creature that takes the form of a seal underwater and that of a human on land, as told through the story of a young boy named Ben and his young sister Saoirse, who live in a lighthouse with their father. When Saoirse discovers a shell flute that plays a mystical tune, they learn a magical secret about their mother, who passed away years earlier. Song of the Sea is visually spectacular and rich in story, which makes it both an artful film and an excellent choice for family viewing.


Penguins of Madagascar (2014) 72%

DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar franchise is one of the rare few that has gotten better with each installment, and it’s been so successful that a few of the side characters — The Penguins of Madagascar — got their own TV show on Nickelodeon. In 2014, those pesky penguins even got their own movie, and it turned out pretty good. Unrelated in plot to the TV series, Penguins of Madagascar follows Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private as they attempt to thwart the nefarious plans of Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), an octopus with an anti-penguin vendetta, after a dashing wolf (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruits them into his super-secret spy organization. Thanks to its vibrant colors, brisk pacing, and manic silliness, Penguins of Madagascar entertained most critics and earned a 72 percent on the Tomatometer. Its constant, frantic energy might be a bit too much for some adults to handle, but it’s harmless fun that will certainly keep the kids occupied for a while.


 

ALSO AVAILABLE THIS WEEK:

The Way He Looks (2014) (91 percent), a Brazilian coming-of-age story about the struggles of a blind teenager.
Top Five (2014) (88 percent), Chris Rock’s Certified Fresh comedy about a comedian (Rock) who reflects on his life as he’s being interviewed by a journalist (Rosario Dawson).
Son of a Gun (2014) (60 percent), starring Ewan McGregor and Brenton Thwaites in an Australian crime thriller about a petty criminal on the run with a notorious armed robber after the pair break out of jail.
Vice (2015) (0 percent), starring Bruce Willis and Thomas Jane in a futuristic thriller about a lifelike robot who becomes self-aware and escapes from a pleasure resort.
The Soft Skin (1964) (91 percent), François Truffaut’s 1964 drama about a married literary scholar who engages in an affair with a stewardess, gets a new Criterion Blu-ray this week.

The biggest titles new to streaming services this week include the final chapter in Peter Jackson’s journey through Middle-earth, an Oscar-nominated thriller, and a little-seen but highly acclaimed comedy starring Chris Rock. After that, we’ve got some excellent choices on Netflix, including the latest season of its original drama House of Cards and old favorites like Donnie Brasco and Ground hog Day. Read on for the full list:


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
59%

After going up against the fire-breathing dragon Smaug, Bilbo (Martin Freeman), Gandalf (Ian McKellen), and makeshift battalions of men, elves, and dwarfs must join forces to fight off an onslaught of orcs and restore order to Middle-earth.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play


Foxcatcher
87%

Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo star in this Certified Fresh drama about an Olympic wrestling hopeful who falls under the influence of a questionable patron.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play


Top Five
86%

Chris Rock (who also directed) plays Andre Allen, a popular comic actor who’s about to be married to a famous reality TV star. He agrees to be profiled by a New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson), and as they stroll about the city, Allen begins to question the decisions he’s made in his life and career.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play


House of Cards: Season Three

In the third season of Netflix’s acclaimed political drama, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) attempt to maintain the powerful positions to which they’ve risen, even in the face of troubling global events and adversaries much closer to home.

Available now on: Netflix


A Summer’s Tale
98%

Eric Rohmer’s naturalistic, low-key dramedy follows the lives and loves of young people over the course of a summer.

Available now on: Netflix


Groundhog Day
97%

Bill Murray stars in Harold Ramis’s classic comedy about a jaded reporter whose bitter outlook on life changes when he’s caught in a time loop that forces him to relive the same day over and over again.

Available now on: Netflix


Donnie Brasco
88%

Johnny Depp goes undercover to bring down mob boss Al Pacino — and finds himself taking something of a shine to the old man — in this Certified Fresh gangster drama.

Available now on: Netflix


Finding Neverland
83%

Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, and Dustin Hoffman star in Marc Forster’s warm, heartfelt biopic of Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie.

Available now on: Netflix


Bridget Jones’s Diary
79%

Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant star in this comedy about a brash thirtysomething woman who decides to shape up and meets a couple of eligible bachelors.

Available now on: Netflix


Hawaii Five-0: Season Four

The fourth season of CBS’s cop show reboot starring Alex O’Laughlin and Scott Caan focuses on McGarrett and Co. facing new adversaries and playing both sides of the law.

Available now on: Netflix

This week at the movies, we’ve got a Biblical epic (Exodus: Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton) and a conflicted comedian (Top Five, starring Chris Rock and Rosario Dawson). What do the critics have to say?


Exodus: Gods and Kings

30%

It’s got a daring escape from slavery, the parting of the Red Sea, the unveiling of the Ten Commandments, and a literal river of blood — yep, the Book of Exodus is certainly one of the Old Testament’s most action-packed installments. Unfortunately, critics say that while Exodus: Gods and Kings director Ridley Scott mostly succeeds in crafting an eye-popping spectacle, he fails to bring the story’s legendary people to vivid life. You probably know the story, but if not, here goes: the orphaned Moses (Christian Bale) was raised by the Pharaoh, but he’s cast out when it’s discovered that his parents were Jewish. God reveals to Moses that he’s been chosen to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but first he must free his people before undertaking an epic trek across the desert. The pundits say Exodus: Gods and Kings mostly avoids taking a theological stand on the story, but as a result the film’s spectacular visuals overwhelm the heat and passion this oft-told tale continues to evoke. (Watch our video interviews with Scott and stars Bale, Joel Edgerton, and Aaron Paul, and check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down co-star Sigourney Weaver’s best-reviewed films.)



Top Five

86%

Few would deny that Chris Rock is one of the best standup comedians of his generation — or that, for the most part, his movie career has left something to be desired. That’s about to change, as critics say Top Five represents a career peak for Rock as a director and actor — it’s a semi-autobiographical portrait of the artist as a neurotic that recalls Woody Allen at his best. Rock plays Andre Allen, a popular comic actor who’s about to be married to a famous reality TV star. He agrees to be profiled by a New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson), and as they stroll about the city, Allen begins to question the decisions he’s made in his life and career. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Top Five is blessed with palpable chemistry between its leads, and the result is timely, insightful, and often hilarious. (Watch our video interviews with Rock and co-stars Anders Holm, Ben Vereen, and JB Smoove.)

What’s Hot on TV:


Critics say the final episode of Sons of Anarchy is, like the series itself, both twisty and turbulent, but ultimately, “Papa’s Goods” (87 percent) is a fitting farewell to the SAMCRO gang that ties up loose ends in an involving, poetic fashion.


The penultimate episode of HBO’s The Newsroom, “Oh Shenandoah,” stirred up a lot of internet chatter this week, and much of it was negative; critics objected to everything from a subplot on campus rape to the unprompted death of a major character.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Awards season is on, and with everything that is going on from December through February, it’s difficult to keep track of who is getting what. To help you with that, we created the Awards Leaderboard, a ranking of movies by the number of awards won and their respective categories. Read on to find out where your favorite movies stand, and who is leading the pack.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) 91%

49 wins

Boyhood (2014) 97%

49 wins

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) 92%

25 wins

Whiplash (2014) 94%

24 wins

Citizenfour (2014) 96%

11 wins

The LEGO Movie (2014) 96%

11 wins

  • BAFTA – Animated Film
  • PGA – Animated Picture
  • Critics Choice – Best Animated Feature
  • Golden Tomato – Best-Reviewed Animation
  • CFCA – Best Animated Feature
  • SFFCC – Best Animated Feature
  • NYFCO – Best Animated Feature
  • WAFCA – Best Animated Feature
  • NBR – Original Screenplay
  • NYFCC – Best Animated Film
  • LVFCS – Best Animated Film

Still Alice (2014) 85%

11 wins

Ida (2013) 96%

9 wins

The Theory of Everything (2014) 80%

8 wins

Life Itself (2014) 98%

7 wins

Chris Rock‘s latest film, Top Five is getting rave reviews so far, so we thought we would ask him and fellow cast members Anders Holm, Ben Vereen, and JB Smoove what their top five films were. Read on for their lists:

Chris Rock

Anders Holm

Ben Vereen

JB Smoove

Mark Seman also got to talk to Rosario Dawson and Gabrielle Union about Top Five, celebrity, and the sense of smell.


  • Watch more video interviews
  • Tag Cloud

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