The Most Iconic Movies in Black Cinema

For the culture, by the culture.

Blackness is by no means a monolith, but Black culture allows us to share many things across the diaspora, be it food, music, or religion. Movies, in particular, celebrate the diversity of the Black experience. These stories, textured and nuanced, speak to the many facets of blackness while reminding us that no matter where we're from, we're all in this together.

Here are some of the most iconic Black films ever. If you don't already count them among your favorites, add them to your watchlist now.

Waiting to Exhale (1995)

A woman smokes a cigarette as she watches a car burn.

(Image credit: ©20th Century Fox/Everett Collection)

Recognize this iconic scene? It's straight from the 1995 classic Waiting to Exhale, directed by Forest Whittaker. Waiting to Exhale meets the requirements of every great movie: friendship, steamy romance, oh-so satisfying revenge, and an amazing soundtrack featuring the likes of R&B legends Whitney Houston (who also stars in the film), Toni Braxton, and Brandy.

Quotable moment: "I hope you find true love...and get you some that’s so electric, you ain’t going to need no blow dryer."

Get Out (2017)

A man wide eyed in fear with tears running down his face.

(Image credit: Universal/Everett)

Funny man turned evil genius (opens in new tab) Jordan Peele both frightened and delighted us with his directorial debut, Get Out. The psychological horror thriller explores the nuances of race relations, positing white supremacy as a literal nightmare. Issa evil world we live in, y'all.

Quotable moment: "First of all, my dad would have voted for Obama a third time if he could've. Like, the love is so real."

Black Panther (2018)

A scene from the movie 'Black Panther'

(Image credit: Marvel)

The early 2018 release of Black Panther (during Black History Month!) marked a necessary shift in the film industry and in the culture at large; the movie was the first superhero film ever to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, and it was the first in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to win an Academy Award. More importantly, T'Challa and the crew gave little Black boys and girls someone to look up to, and we'll forever be grateful. Wakanda forever!

Quotable moments: "Don't scare me like that, colonizer!"