Eight moving films to watch for Black History Month


Andy Dandino

Various black history movies.

Mateo Berman-Sample, Staff Writer

February is Black history month. This year has been very eventful for the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement with police brutality and protests. Racial injustice has been fought for in a number of ways and many filmmakers have sent powerful messages through their features. Those messages are very important and need to be heard. Movies are a good way to bring messages to the general public in a way that they can really grasp and understand. Thus, here are some must watch films that deliver important messages very well.

1. Blackkklansman (2018)

Poster for Blackkklansman (Amazon)

NOTE: Events and language in this film could be triggering.

Blackkklansman (2018) tells the incredible true story of Ron Stallworth (John David Washington). He is a rookie cop at the Colorado Springs police department that gets word of an impending KKK attack. He allies himself with Phillip Flip” Zimmerman (Adam Driver) and they devise a plan to infiltrate the organization to stop the attack. This film is very much a message to today’s world. It really shows that after all these years, our society has problems with systemic racism. Some of the parallels to today’s issues are chilling and implore the viewer to think about the issues happening in the world around them. This Academy Award-winning film has a lot to offer as just a movie. The performances are great and the cinematography is outstanding. The ending hits really hard showing footage from the riot attack in Charlottesville, VA.

2. Get Out (2017)

Poster for “Get Out” (imdb)

Get Out (2017) is a sharp movie that has a lot to say about society and systemic racism. It is best watched without any prior knowledge about the plot. When a Black man visits his white girlfriend’s house, things go awry. He thus has to get out as soon as possible. This Oscar-winning film is extremely intelligent and bold. It does a great showing how people can have very strong internalized racism and it’s expressed in everyday interactions. It is a must-watch if you have opinions on modern-day racism.

3. Hidden Figures (2016)

Poster for Hidden Figures (imdb )

Hidden Figures (2016) tells the story of the events that helped us get to space. Three smart and outspoken Black women serve as the brains for the operation. Marginalized by society as just pawns, they stand up and show that they are more than capable of defying stereotypes of Black women at the time. This is a super heartwarming story and is a must-watch if you’re looking for an inspiring film to watch. The performances are by far the best part of the film and are very emotionally satisfying.

4. Django Unchained (2012)

Poster for “Django Unchained” (Wikipedia)

NOTE: Events and language in this film could be triggering.

From renowned filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino comes his powerful 7th film, Django Unchained (2012). This film tells the story of a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who finds himself alongside a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz). They hunt down their target and Django is freed in exchange. They then work together to hunt the most wanted criminals. Their travels eventually take them to a plantation where they find out that Django’s long-lost wife is still a slave. This film really carries the theme of liberty. It raises the idea of rising up and fighting oppression. This Academy Award-winning movie is definitely worth a watch.

5. Nine From Little Rock (1964)

Poster for Nine From Little Rock (imdb)

Nine From Little Rock (1964) is a short documentary about the segregation of nine students in Little Rock, Arkansas. This film documents segregation and what came after. It shows with perseverance, that change will happen. These students fight for equal rights and this captures it perfectly. This Academy Award-winning film will show that change is possible.

6. Do The Right Thing (1989)

Poster for Do The Right Thing (imdb)

Do The Right Thing (1989) centers around pizza parlor owner Sal (Danny Ailleo) in brooklyn. Another pizza parlor, this one Italian, has a wall of fame. The wall only features Italian celebrities. Local customer, Buggin’ Out (Giancarlo Esposito) believes that the pizza shop in the Black neighborhood should be able to showcase black celebrities. Sal strongly disagrees. The film really has a message of the subtle issues of everyday racism. As the stakes rise, the film keeps the viewer interested and wanting more. This Academy Award-nominated movie is a must-watch.

7. Moonlight (2016)

Movie poster (Wikipedia)

Moonlight follows a young, gay African-American boy who overcomes all obstacles as he struggles to find his place in this world. It really shows the struggles that come with growing up as a minority in that setting. The cinematography is a standout and the performances are perfect. Moonlight will make you cry, inspire you, and keep you invested in the story. This is an important must-watch.

8. Selma (2014)

Poster for Selma (Amazon.com )

Selma (2014) centers around Martin Luther King jr. (David Oyelowo) and his fight against injustice. It shows the march from Selma to Montgomery in epic fashion. This film is so clear with its message and delivers it in a great way. It shows that change will happen. Problems will inevitably be solved. It takes strength and perseverance. It shows that there will be hardships but to never give up. This is an inspiring story that anyone can enjoy.