Criteria for Rankings

All the movies selected for inclusion in Top 50 African American Films of All Time must meet the following criteria:

  • Feature length narrative format, typically over 60 minutes long
  •  Critically recognized with formal commendation in print, television, and/or digital media.  A movie about the Black experience and/or a movie that is written, produced, and/or directed by Black people.  A movie with a Black person in the lead role.
  • Popularity over time, including success at the box office, television and cable airings, and DVD/VHS sales and rentals.
  • A movie of historical significance that has left a mark on the history of the moving image through visionary narrative devices, technical innovation, or other groundbreaking achievements.
  • A movie of cultural impact that has left a mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

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