15 Films to Watch for Black History Month

Three black people sitting on a couch watching a big screen television

Every February, Black History Month celebrates the culture and contributions of African Americans and honors their role in U.S. history. Take time this month to check out some of these movies about the Black experience in America.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

Based on the true story of Solomon Northup. It is 1841, and Northup, an accomplished, free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps and must find the strength within to survive. Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt and Alfre Woodard.

Check out 12 Years a Slave on DVD.

42 (2013)

In 1946, Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, took a stand against major league baseball’s infamous color line when he signed Jackie Robinson to the team. The deal put both men in the cross-hairs of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and let his talent on the field win over fans and his teammates–silencing his critics and forever changing the world by changing the game of baseball.  Starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford.

Check out 42 on DVD.

Also check out The Jackie Robinson Story available to watch via hoopla Digital.

Blackkklansman (2018)

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.  Starring John David Washington and Adam Driver.

Check out Blackkklansman on DVD.

The Butler (2013)

Inspired by a true story about Cecil Gaines, a devoted husband, father, and White House butler who served eight Presidential administrations during the turbulent politics and civil rights battles of twentieth century America.  Starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo and many other famous faces.

Check out The Butler on DVD.

The Color Purple (1985)

The heart-wrenching story of a young black girl in the early 20th century who’s forced into a brutal marriage and separated from her sister.  Starring Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Check out The Color Purple on DVD.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Crusading newspaper publisher Matt Drayton’s liberal principles are put to the test when his daughter, Joey, announces her engagement to John Prentice, an internationally renowned African-American physician. While Matt’s wife, Christina, readily accepts Joey’s decision, Matt intends to withhold his consent, forgetting that when it comes to matters of the heart, true love is colorblind.  Starring Sidney Poitier, Katharine Houghton, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

Check out Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner on DVD.

Harriet (2019)

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, the movie tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman‘s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.  Starring Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monáe and Leslie Odom Jr.

Check out Harriet on DVD.

The Hate U Give (2018)

Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr tries to find her voice in order to stand up for what’s right.  Starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby and Issa Rae.

Check out The Hate U Give on DVD.

Hidden Figures (2016)

The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program.  Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Kevin Costner.

Check out Hidden Figures on DVD.

Just Mercy (2019)

World-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.  Starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson.

Check out Just Mercy on DVD.

Loving (2016)

The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.  Starring Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton.

Check out Loving on DVD.

Malcolm X (1992)

Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, Malcolm X, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam.  Starring Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett.

Check out Malcolm X on DVD.

Moonlight (2016)

A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and burgeoning adulthood.  Starring Mahershala Ali, and Janelle Monáe.

Check out  Moonlight on DVD.

Remember the Titans (2000)

A drama of forced high school integration in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. A rousing celebration of how a town torn apart by resentment, friction and mistrust comes together in triumphant harmony.  Starring Denzel Washington and Will Patton.

Check out Remember the Titans on DVD.

Selma (2014)

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965. Starring David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Oprah Winfrey.

Check out Selma on DVD.


Celebrate Black History Month with Clermont County Public Library.

If you’re looking for other book suggestions, explore our online resource, NoveList Plus. Or sign up for Recommends, our personalized reading suggestions via email service. Or ask Library staff during your next visit.