A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (2023)

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A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (1)

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A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (2)

By:Jael Rucker

Updated February 8, 2023


In honor of Black History Month, we continue our series recognizing pivotal moments in entertainment that changed the course of history in the black community. One of those times is the Blaxploitation era, which emerged in the 1970s. Now you may be wondering what exactly the Blaxploitation era is. Let us explain it. Before the 1970s, most African Americans played what we call stereotypical roles. For the most part, prior to the 1970s, black actors and actresses were primarily cast as maids, babysitters, butlers, etc. Of course, there were some exceptions like Sydney Poitier and Lena Horne to name a few, but these actors were a rarity to speak of, and despite their respective successes, it didn't change the fact that most black actors were limited to these. stereotyped roles. Many of the best blaxploitation movies that came out in the '70s began to change the narrative.

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A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (3)

Pam Grier como Foxy Brown/American International Images

In short, black actors needed to show that they were also capable of being superheroes, supervillains, detectives, etc., and black directors (who also had very few opportunities) needed to show that they were capable of directing those kinds of movies. Thus began the Blaxploitation era, a period in which black directors and actors came together to create the kind of movies they always wanted to direct and star in, showing the world the magic they could create when given the chance. Today, we're going to take a look at those movies and give you a rundown of a few that you can add to your watch list. You can check the list below.

1. coffin

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (4)

American International Images

  • Director:jack colina
  • stars:Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert Doqui
  • Where to look:Amazon Prime

Of course we have to start with the godmother of the Blaxploitation era, Pam Grier. This will be the first of a few Pam Grier movies on the list because she really was a big part of the movement. Released in 1973,coffinit was about a force of woman to be reckoned with looking to even the score with the people who got her sister hooked on drugs. Nurse Coffy is on a mission to find those responsible as she navigates the streets of drug dealers, pimps and deviants, kicking ass while she does it.

2. Dolemita

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (5)

Comediante International Enterprise Productions

  • Director:Martin D'Urville
  • stars:Rudy Ray Moore, D'Urville Martin
  • Where to look:tubes

Dolemitais an example of how black actors and directors sometimes had to do it all during the Blaxploitation era. D'Urville Martin not only directed this movie, but was also one of the stars. And Rudy Ray Moore not only starred in this movie, he was also a producer. These days it's not uncommon to see actors directing and starring in their own movies once they reach a certain level, but back then it was a necessity to get the job done.Dolemitais a hilarious crime comedy about a pimp, comedian, and nightclub owner named Dolemite (Ray Moore) who is serving 20 years in prison after being framed. After being released from the Governor, Dolemite seeks revenge on those who imprisoned him.

3. Cooley High School

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (6)

(Video) BLAXPLOITATION Collection Overview | The Movies [DVD | BLU-RAY]

American International Images

  • Director:michael schultz
  • stars:Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Leroy “Predicar” Jackson
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

Set in 1960s Chicago,cooley collegeis about two best friends from high school facing the challenges of everyday life and growing through their projects. The two have similar interests, like hanging out with friends, chasing pretty girls, and listening to Motown music, but they also have big dreams. And as they chase those dreams, they learn a hard lesson that not everyone has their best interests at heart.cooley collegeIt was a critical and commercial success, grossing $13 million at the box office and serving as the inspiration for future films such asboyz capa.

4. Friday Foster

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (7)

American International Images

  • Director:arthur marks
  • stars:Pam Grier, Thalmus Rasulala
  • Where to look: tubes

Starring Pam Grier,friday fosterit is about a photographer named Friday Foster (Grier) at the behest of her editor, who travels through an airport to capture photos of America's richest black man (Rasulala). However, there is a major plot twist when she discovers that she is not the only one taking pictures of her model when she witnesses an assassination attempt. With photographic evidence of the crime in her hands, Foster sets out to find the truth.

5. Black Caesar

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (8)

American International Images

  • Director:Larry Cohen
  • stars:Fred Williamson, Arte Lund
  • Where to look:YouTube

Released in 1973,black caesarcenters on a young man named Tommy Gibbs (Williamson) growing up on the rough streets of Harlem, who makes life even more difficult for crooked cop John McKinney (Art Lund) and breaks his leg, crippling him for the rest of his life. his life. life. Angered by the racism he faces on a daily basis, Tommy Gibbs decides that he will no longer play Mr. Nice Guy, becoming the Kingpin of Harlem. And now that he's in power, he's intent on taking down New York mob John McKinney, no matter the cost.

6. The Human Tornado

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (9)

Comediante International Enterprise Productions

  • Director:roquemore cliff
  • stars:Rudy Ray MooreLady Reed
  • Where to look: tubes

If you plan to attendDolemita, then make sure to addthe human tornadoto the list, as it is the official sequel to the movie. Starring Rudy Ray Moore and Lady Reed once again,the human tornadoIt's about a rhymer who runs away from California, and along the way, he finally meets and helps a lady (Lady Reed) and her wrestlers fight a local gangster.

7. Hell in Harlem

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (10)

American International Images

  • Director:Larry Cohen
  • stars:Fred Williamson, Margaret Avery, Julius Harris, Gloria Hendry, D'Urville Martin
  • Where to look:tubes

And if you plan to attendblack caesarbe sure to stick with the 1973 sequelHell without Harlem, which is about a new adventure for Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson). After an assassination attempt on his life, Tommy Gibbs wants to take on the corrupt New York District Attorney, DiAngelo, who had already tried to arrest him and his father, Papa Gibbs, for monopolizing the illicit drug trade. . As Tommy tries to fight for justice, he too falls in love with a beautiful lady, making this a story of crime and love.

8. Bucktown

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plitt theater

  • Director:arthur marks
  • stars:Fred Williamson, Pam Grier, Tony King, Thalmus Rasulala
  • Where to look: YouTube

If you haven't figured it out yet, Fred Williamson was the man. This time, Williamson played Duke Johnson in the 1975 film.Bucktown, which revolves around a young man who travels to his small southern hometown (Bucktown) to arrange his brother's funeral. While there, he decides to revive his brother's nightclub and quickly discovers the corruption and racism running rampant in the city, leading him to team up with his friend Aretha (Pam Grier) as they face various bribes and lawsuits. police.

9. Marihuana y Hess

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (12)

Kelly-Jordan Companies

  • Director:bill gunn
  • stars:Marlene Clark, Duane Jones
  • Where to look: Paramount+

The horror element of the Blaxploitation era was crucial, proving that black actors and actresses could play ghosts, ghouls, and goblins very well. Starring Marlene Clark and Duane Jones,marihuana y hessfollows the adventures of anthropologist Dr. Hess Green (Jones), who becomes a vampire after his assistant stabs him with an ancient cursed dagger. The only other person who knows Dr. Green is the widow of his assistant (Clark), with whom he falls in love. Together they become immortal vampires.

10. Blacula

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (13)

American International Images

  • Director:Guillermo Crain
  • stars:William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas, Gordon Pinsent, Charles Macaulay, Thalmus Rasulala
  • Where to look: YouTube

Ok, boom. the next isblobula, which is considered by many to be the best horror film of the Blaxploitation era. Starring William Marshall as an African prince who is turned into a vampire by Count Dracula during a visit to Transylvania.blobulaIt's horror adventure to the max as Count Dracula awakens to wreak havoc in 1970s Los Angeles after being locked in a coffin for several lifetimes. Despite mixed reviews,blobulait was a box office success, paving the way for other noir horror films.

As of June 2021, there is ablobulareboot in development currently planned. The film will be a co-production between MGM, Bron Studios and Hidden Empire Film Group, directed by Deon Taylor and produced by Roxanne Avent.

(Video) Quentin Tarantino talks Blaxploitation

11. Blackenstein

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (14)

Frisco Productions

  • Director:Guillermo A. Levey
  • stars:Joe Desue, John Hart, Andrea Rey
  • Where to look: tubes

And ifblobulawas the counterpart to Blaxploitation'sdracula, soBlackensteinis the counterpart offrankenstein. Released in August 1973,BlackensteinIt's about a war veteran (Desue) who becomes a threat to society's killer when a doctor changes his medication. Although it was not as critically and commercially successful asblobula, this is a movie that has grown to be more appreciated over time.

12. Black Shampoo

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (15)

world entertainment company

  • Director:clark
  • stars:John Daniels, Tanya Boyd, Joe Ortiz, Skip E. Lowe
  • Where to look:brown sugar

First of all call Brown Sugar streaming app which is a streaming service where you can watch hit movies and TV shows along with the largest collection of classic film noir. If you want to show your support for Black History Month, this is a great and affordable streaming service to sign up for andwhite shampooIt is one of the many films in his catalogue. Talking aboutwhite shampoo, the film is about a promiscuous black hairdresser and businessman (Daniels) who frequently has affairs with his white clients. However, when he begins a relationship with his black secretary (Boyd), he soon discovers that his white mobster ex-boyfriend will do anything to win her back.

13. Take down

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (16)

American International Images

  • Director:Jack Starret
  • stars:Jim Brown, Stella Stevens, Rip Torn
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

Starring Jim Brown as a former Green Beret captain named Slaughter who seeks revenge for the murder of his parents,decreaseIt's a movie about settling scores. Slaughter wreaks havoc by killing many of the people he believed to be involved in the murder of his parents, before being caught by the police. Now that he's facing a murder charge, Slaughter has no choice but to make a deal with government officials in exchange for finding and killing another gangster who fled to Mexico.decreaseit was a box office success, grossing $10 million on a budget of $750,000.

14. Super Flight

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (17)

Warner Bros

  • Director:gordon parks
  • stars:Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

Released in 1972,super flightIt's about a cocaine dealer named Priest who wants to close one more big deal before he retires. Working with his reluctant friend Eddie (Lee), Priest comes up with a grand plan that will allow him to make his deal before leaving the scene altogether. However, the plan is thwarted when a desperate street hustler informs the police of Priest's plans, leaving him in an awkward relationship with the cops he tries not to obey.

15. Shaft

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (18)


  • Director:gordon parks
  • stars:Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

Starring Richard Roundtree,HurryIt is about a suave and suave private detective who is up against a series of enemies, including Bumpy (Gunn), the leader of the dark crime mob. Throughout the film, Detective Shaft also fights against the Black Nationals, and the white mob he discovers is trying to blackmail Bumpy by kidnapping his daughter. Focusing on issues of the Black Power Movement, race, masculinity and sexuality,Hurryit was a hit, grossing $12 million at the box office, along with its theme song which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

16. Sugar Hill

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American International Images

  • Director:Pablo Maslansky
  • stars:Larry D. Johnson, Robert Quarry, Marki Bey
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

to morality ofsugar hillis to never come across a woman who is already seeking revenge under any circumstances. When a nightclub owner (Johnson) is bludgeoned to death by a hired gang after refusing to sell himself out to local mob boss Morgan (Quarry), his grieving girlfriend turns to old voodoo authority Mama Maitresse (Zara Cully) to conjure the demonic spirit of Baron Samedi (Don Pedro Colley) to form an army of zombies with a simple instruction: revenge.

(Video) Iceberg Slim Trick Baby 1972 - American Culture Pimp Hustler Blaxploitation Film

17. Saturday, baby

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (20)

American International Images

  • Director:Guillermo Girdler
  • stars:Pam Grier, Rudy Challenger, Austin Stoker
  • Where to look: tubes

When her father's loan business is destroyed by criminals looking to force a sale, Sheba Shayne (Grier) travels back to her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky to even the score. While she's there, she runs into her old boyfriend, Brick Williams (Austin Stoker), who helps her attack the henchmen of a local loan shark named Pilot (D'Urville Martin), but the attack changes when Brick finishes. being killed. Now filled with rage, Sheba is on a mission to take down Pilot's boss, mob boss Shark.

18. Godfather of the Disco

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (21)

international generation images

  • Director:J. Roberto Waggoner
  • stars:Rudy Ray Moore, Theodore Toney
  • Where to look:tubes

Released at the end of the disco movement,godfather of the discois a funny movie about a retired police officer (Ray Moore) who now owns a nightclub known as the "Godfather of the Nightclub." While things are fun at the disco, there's a twist when the Disco Godfather declares war on a group of drug dealers after his nephew has a bad trip on angel dust.

19. Across the street from 110

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (22)

film guarantors

  • Director:barry shear
  • stars:Yaphet Kotto, Anthony Quinn, Anthony Franciosa, Paul Benjamin
  • Where to look:YouTube

Starring Yaphet Kotto as young black police officer William Pope assigned to a robbery case that turns into a mass murder in Harlem,across the street 110is packed with action and tension as Pope teams up with bigoted Italian-American cop Frank Mattelli (Anthony Quinn), whom he frequently clashes with during the investigation. If you're looking for a smooth, lazy movie to watch in the afternoon, consider givingacross the street 110one shot.

20. Cotton comes to Harlem

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (23)

Samuel Goldwin Jr.

  • Director:sheep davis
  • stars:Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, Redd Foxx
  • Where to look: tubes

Cotton comes to Harlemrevolves around the African-American population of Harlem being raided by Rev. Deke O'Malley (Calvin Lockhart), who dishonestly claims that community donations are being used to secure land in Africa. That being said, when New York City cops Gravedigger Jones (Cambridge) and Coffin Ed Johnson (St. Jacques) discover what he's been up to, they discover that the money/donations were smuggled inside a bale of cotton. Although they have uncovered the plot, the money suddenly disappears, throwing their investigation into disarray.

21. Three the Hard Way

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Photos of allied artists

  • Director:gordon parks
  • stars:Jim Kelly Fred Williamson Jim Brown
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

With a budget of $2 million,three the hard wayit is the most expensive and ambitious Blaxploitation film ever produced. Starring football players Jim Brown and Fred Williamson, along with martial arts icon Jim Kelly, aka "The Big Three,"three the hard wayis a non-stop thriller about three friends who combine forces to fight a mysterious organization bent on racial genocide.

22. Truck dumper

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (25)

American International Images

  • Director:jonathan kaplan
  • stars:Issac Hayes, Paul Harris, Nichelle Nichols
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

Starring Isaac Hayes as bounty hunter Mack "Truck" Turner, "Truck" is about a pimp named Gator (Harris) who is killed when Truck chases him. Devastated by his death, Gator's girlfriend, Dorinda (Nichols), vows to avenge his death by offering ownership of his successful prostitute operation to anyone who can take down Truck, who makes it clear that he will not go down without a fight. . .

23. Uptown, Saturday night

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(Video) Blaxploitation 101: How black filmmakers took on the system and got shafted

first artists

  • Director:Sydney Poitier
  • stars:Sydney Poitier Harry Belafonte
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

Saturday night uptownis a funky detective flick about two blue-collar friends who search the underworld for a winning lottery ticket lost in a nightclub robbery. The film spawned two indirect sequels,Let's do it again(1975) miA piece of the action(1977), and as of 2018, is slated for a Kevin Hart remake written by Kenya Barris.

24. Which way is up?

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (27)

universal images

  • Director:michael schultz
  • stars:Richard Pryor, Margaret Avery, Lonette McKee
  • Where to look:Amazon Prime

which way is upIt teeters along the lines of being a Blaxploitation movie, but for all intents and purposes, we're putting it here because Richard Pryor was a genius. A remake of the 1972 film.mimi's seduction, Pryor plays not one, not two, but three different roles: an orange picker who has two wives at the same time, the orange picker's father, and a reverend who impregnates the orange picker's wife (insanity). If you want to take a look at why Pryor is one of the best to do it, definitely check it out.which way is up.

25. Cleopatra Jones

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (28)

Warner Bros.

  • Director:Jack Starret
  • stars:Tamara Dobson, Caro Kenyatta, Albert Popwell
  • Where to look: brown sugar

It stars Tamara Dobson as Federal Agent Jones, a young woman on a mission to rescue her framed boyfriend (Bernie Casey) from a kinky drug queen known as Mom (Shelley Winters).Cleopatra Jonesis packed with amazing action.

26. Foxy Brown

A Guide to the 26 Best Blaxploitation Movies (29)

American International Images

  • Director:jack colina
  • stars:pam grier
  • Where to look: Amazon Prime

And speaking of awesome action movies, no one kicked more ass than Foxy Brown. Seeking revenge after a mob kills an undercover cop she was dating, Brown assumes the identity of a prostitute with the help of neighborhood watchmen to help track down the men responsible for killing her boyfriend, a mob bosses and even his own brother. .

So there you have it! 26 of the best Blaxploitation movies to watch this month and beyond. Be sure to follow us for more entertaining content and updates.

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(Video) Trouble Man (1972)

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What is the most successful blaxploitation movie? ›

Shaft (1971)

If you asked a casual moviegoer to name one blaxploitation movie, the answer you're most likely to get is Shaft. With box office takings of $13m off the back of a £500,000 budget, this early entry into the genre is also one of its most successful.

What does the term blaxploitation refer to? ›

: the exploitation of Black people by producers of Black-oriented films. often used before another noun. blaxploitation movies.

What is the blaxploitation controversy? ›

The genre's role in exploring and shaping race relations in the United States has been controversial. Some held that the blaxploitation trend was a token of black empowerment but others accused the movies of perpetuating common white stereotypes about black people. As a result, many called for the end of the genre.

How many blaxploitation films are there? ›

In time, these films would be called "blaxploitation." And while it has long been debated exactly which film launched the blaxploitation era, the financial success of Melvin Van Peebles's Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and Gordon Parks's Shaft helped open the flood gates for the more than 200 films that are now ...

What is considered the best film of all time? ›

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

What is classed as the best film ever? ›

Best movies of all time
  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Film. Science fiction. ...
  2. The Godfather (1972) Film. Thrillers. ...
  3. Citizen Kane (1941) Film. ...
  4. Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975) Film. ...
  5. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Film. ...
  6. La Dolce Vita (1960) Film. ...
  7. Seven Samurai (1954) Film. ...
  8. In the Mood for Love (2000) Film.
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