20 must-watch movies for Black History Month and beyond

These movies will draw you in with laughter, touching moments and stories that make you think

Cinema has the power to transport us to another time and place and to help us see the world through the eyes of others. Celebrate Black History Month by viewing a film that explores the struggles and achievements of the Black community.

These 20 movies are a perfect addition to your watch list this month — and beyond:

‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’

In 1951, doctors took a sample of a tumor from Henrietta Lacks. Unbeknownst to Lacks or her family, those cells became the basis of many important medical breakthroughs in the decades that followed. This film explores the journey of her Lack’s daughter, Deborah, as she learns more about her mother and the impact she had on modern medicine.

To this day, the family has never received any compensation, despite the so-called HeLa cells being used to help develop vaccines for HPV, COVID-19, leukemia and more.

Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

‘Is That Black Enough For You?!?’

This Netflix documentary examines the influence, craft and power of African Americans and their achievements in film.

‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’

This is the story on how one song, “Strange Fruit,” sparked outrage — leading President Harry Truman to open an investigation into singer Billie Holiday. This Hulu original movie takes you on a rollercoaster ride as you witness the FBI launch its undercover on Holiday.

‘Hidden Figures’

Amidst the drama of the space race, three brilliant NASA employees struggle with prejudice as they work to send the first human — astronaut John Glenn into orbit.

Available on Disney+.

‘Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise’

A powerful look at the life of legendary poet Maya Angelou, this film details the untold, inspiring — and at times heartbreak — aspects of her life.

Available on Amazon Prime and PBS.

‘High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America’

This Netflix documentary explores the origins of African American cuisine through Africa to Texas.


Watch the late Chadwick Boseman bring Thurgood Marshall to life. Marshall is faced with handling a criminal case that requires him to navigate racist and anti-Semitic views.

Available on Hulu.

‘Woman King’

In the 1800s, a group of all-female warriors protects the African kingdom of Dahomey with a fierceness unlike anything the world has seen.

Available on Netflix starting February 16.


An interracial marriage in 1950s Virginia lands the Lovings in jail — before being banished from the state — but the couple fights for their love all the way to the Supreme Court.

Available on Netflix.

‘The Butler’

In Lee Daniel’s The Butler, a young man from the South, Cecil Gaines, makes his way to Washington D.C., where he lands a job as a butler in the White House. While Gaines has a front row seat to history, his job collides with the views of his wife and son.

Available on Tubi, Netflix, Peacock and Prime.

‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’

One of the many cinematic tellings of Nelson Mandela’s life, this historical drama follows Mandela from childhood to his emergence as South Africa’s most famous revolutionary.

Available on Netflix, Paramount+ and Peacock.

‘Malcolm X’

Controversy follows a revolutionary leader whose unapologetic fight for Black liberation lands him on various government watch lists. Denzel Washington was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in this Spike Lee-directed masterpiece.

Available on HBO Max.

‘King Richard’

See the true story of tennis icons Venus and Serena Williams unfold from the perspective of their father Richard. Will Smith won an Oscar for his performance in this heartwarming drama.

Available on HBO Max.


Former first lady Michelle Obama takes an intimate look at her life and hopes, all while making connections with ordinary extraordinary people in this Netflix documentary.


An Alabama city becomes a battleground in the fight for suffrage. Despite violent opposition, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers press forward with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery to demand passage voting rights.

Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

‘Remember the Titans’

Racial tensions are high as a Virginia high school football team integrates in 1972. But the love of the game offers a path towards recognition and respect.

Available on Disney +.

‘Jingle Jangle’

Jingle Jangle is more than just a great holiday movie; it explores the relationships between family members and asks how you can rebuild trust once it’s been broken.

This Netflix original features plenty of love and honesty — with some great musical numbers in-between.

‘To Sir, With Love’

Sidney Poitier stars as a teacher in this 1967 British drama about social and racial issues in an inner city school.

Available on Amazon Prime, YouTube and fuboTV.


Play ball! Jackie Robinson breaks barriers in baseball, but not without a fight from his own team.

Available on Amazon Prime.

‘When They See Us’

This Netflix limited series from director Ava DuVernay tells the tragic story of five Black boys who were charged with the rape and assault of a New York jogger in 1989. Despite illegal police tactics and a lack of evidence, the so-called Central Park Five were convicted and spent years in prison before their exoneration in 2002.