The best Black movies that are available to watch on NOW

·7-min read
Photo credit:  Billie Holiday Films/NBC Universal/Paramount Pictures/WarnerBros Illustration by Shyvonne Thomas/Digital Spy
Photo credit: Billie Holiday Films/NBC Universal/Paramount Pictures/WarnerBros Illustration by Shyvonne Thomas/Digital Spy

Get the popcorn ready as we've compiled our favourite movie picks, showcasing the best in Black talent, that are available to stream with NOW Cinema Membership. From comedies, to horrors and movies based on true stories, here are 18 of the best Black films that you can watch on NOW right away.

Coming to America

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Related: Coming 2 America review: Has Eddie Murphy's sequel been worth the wait?

Follow Zamundan heir to the throne Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his aide Semmi (Arsenio Hall) on their quest to find true love for the Prince in America. This '80s classic will have you in hysterics from start to finish and also stars James Earl Jones, Madge Sinclair and John Amos.

Watch Coming to America on NOW

Judas and the Black Messiah

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Related: How Judas and the Black Messiah connected me to my identity as a Black man

Watch Daniel Kaluuya's Oscar winning performance as Fred Hampton, leader of the Black Panther Party in the '60s. The film follows the betrayal of Hampton by FBI informant William 'Bill' O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) which led to the Black Panther leader's assassination.

Watch Judas and the Black Messiah on NOW

Cut Throat City

Photo credit: NBCUniversal
Photo credit: NBCUniversal

After the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the poverty that followed, four friends in New Orleans join together to carry out a heist at a casino in the heart of the city.

Cut Throat City is the third directorial feature from Wu Tang Clan's RZA, and features performances from Wesley Snipes, Ethan Hawke, Terrence Howard and Tip 'TI' Harris.

Watch Cut Throat City on NOW

The United States vs Billie Holiday

Photo credit: Billie Holiday Films/Takashi Seida
Photo credit: Billie Holiday Films/Takashi Seida

Related: 14 of the best films and documentaries to educate yourself on racism and Black oppression

Andra Day gives an incredible performance as singer and activist Billie Holiday, whose song Strange Fruit was blacklisted by radio stations. The movie follows Holiday's defiance in performing the song – which later became a form of protest – and the FBI's targeted persecution of the singer to try and silence her.

Watch The United States vs Billie Holiday on NOW

Blue Story

Photo credit: Paramount Pictures
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Related: Netflix movies with strong Black leads that you can watch right now

Blue Story is a powerful film with a strong message that shows the brutally honest cycle of the postcode gang wars. Based on director Rapman's own experiences, the film follows Timmy (Stephen Odubola) and Marco (Micheal Ward) as they get caught up in the endless loop of the bloodshed on the streets of south London.

Watch Blue Story on NOW

The Nutty Professor

Photo credit: NBC Universal
Photo credit: NBC Universal

Eddie Murphy stars as Professor Sherman Klump (and most of his family members) in this romantic comedy about an overweight Professor who creates a potion to make him thin – except his slimmer alter-ego Buddy Love takes over and tries to get rid of Professor Klump for good.

There's also an epic stand-up comedy battle between Love and Dave Chapelle's Reggie that'll have you rolling on the floor laughing.

Watch The Nutty Professor on NOW

Young Soul Rebels

Photo credit: British Film Institiute
Photo credit: British Film Institiute

Directed by Isaac Julien, Young Soul Rebels takes an in-depth look at the cultural tensions between soul boys, skinheads and punks in '70s Britain. Set against the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in London, the film follows friend and DJs Chris and Caz and their shared love for soul music.

After the murder of their friend TJ, who was killed while cruising for sex in the local park, the two friends embark on differing paths. Caz is distraught over the loss of his friend, while Chris wants to get on with his dream of a professional career in radio and this drives a wedge between the two.

The movie places a spotlight on the racial tensions and homophobia of 1970s Britain, but also how two friends and their love of soul music can bring communities together and strike out prejudice.

Watch Young Soul Rebels on NOW

Think Like a Man Too

Photo credit: Matt Kennedy - Sony Pictures
Photo credit: Matt Kennedy - Sony Pictures

The sequel to Think Like a Man (which was inspired by Steve Harvey's book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man), Think Like a Man Too follows a star-studded cast including Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Taraji P Henson, LaLa Anthony, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara and Romany Malco as a group of friends who get together for the Vegas wedding of Michael (Terrence J) and Candace (Regina Hall). The romantic weekend getaway goes left when their antics threaten to ruin the big day.

Watch Think Like a Man Too on NOW

Spell

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Related: Why should Black movies be held to a higher standard?

Power's Omari Hardwick stars in this supernatural horror. The film sees Marq (Hardwick) trapped in the attic of hoodoo practitioner Eloise (Loretta Devine) after his plane crash lands in Appalachia, Kentucky on the way to his father’s funeral.

Devine gives an incredibly scary performance as the dark magician – enough to tear the skin off your back!

Watch Spell on NOW

Harriet

Photo credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features/ NB
Photo credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features/ NB

Related: Harriet biopic erases white violence – and that's a big problem

Oscar-nominated Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman, the freedom fighter who helped to liberate hundreds of slaves from the South as an Underground Railroad conductor. Erivo gives an exceptional performance as Harriet, and her song Stand Up also received an Oscar nod for Best Original Song.

Watch Harriet on NOW

The 24th

Photo credit: Vertical Entertainment
Photo credit: Vertical Entertainment

Based on the true story of how members of the US army's all-Black 24th soldiers got involved in the The Camp Logan mutiny of 1917 in Houston, Texas. The regiment took up arms on the streets of Houston after multiple incidents of police brutality from local cops, which also lead to the largest murder trial in American history at the time.

Watch The 24th on NOW

Babylon

Photo credit: Kaleidoscope
Photo credit: Kaleidoscope

Nothing quite sums up the Black British culture of the '80s quite like Babylon. The movie follows Blue and his Ital Lions sound system in pre-gentrified Brixton, South London, as they navigate their lives through their love of music, their culture and relationships, while also coming face-to-face with racism, police brutality and oppression faced by Black youths in the '80s.

Watch Babylon on NOW

Do the Right Thing

Photo credit: Universal City Studios
Photo credit: Universal City Studios

Director, writer and producer Spike Lee stars as Mookie, a pizza delivery guy for Sal's Famous Pizzeria who feuds with his boss Sal (Danny Aiello) over his refusal to put up pictures of Black celebrities in his restaurant.

The movie was inspired by and dedicated to the families of elderly woman Eleanor Bumpers, who was gunned down by police at her home in the Bronx, and Michael Griffith who was killed in a racially motivated attack in Queens, and chronicles the mounting racial tensions in '80s Brooklyn.

Watch Do The Right Thing on NOW

This Christmas

Photo credit: Columbia TriStar/Suzanne Tenner
Photo credit: Columbia TriStar/Suzanne Tenner

It's never too early for a Christmas movie, and with an incredible cast line up that includes Idris Elba, Delroy Lindo, Regina King, Mekhi Phifer and Laz Alonso this festive film brings all the drama and the spirit of Christmas.

Watch This Christmas on NOW

Just Mercy

Photo credit: Warner Bros
Photo credit: Warner Bros

Related: Just Mercy star Jamie Foxx on how the movie "could have gone wrong"

Michael B Jordan stars as Civil Rights defence attorney Bryan Stevenson who fights to overturn the conviction of death-row inmate Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) who was sentenced to die for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite monumental evidence of his innocence. Stevenson becomes a target himself as he fights a web of legal and political actions, racism and backlash as he fights for Walter's freedom.

Watch Just Mercy on NOW

Bad Boys for Life

Photo credit: Columbia Pictures
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures

Related: Will Smith reveals the worst movie he's ever made

Just 17 years after Bad Boys II (which is also available to watch on NOW), Detective Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Detective Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) reunite for Bad Boys for Life. The movie kicks off with the shooting of Lowrey by a cunning mother and son who seek vengeance for the imprisonment and death of the Mexican drug lord Benito Aretas.

There's plenty of action, plot twists and good old humour from the comedy duo.

Watch Bad Boys for Life on NOW

Shaft (2000)

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

Related: The rise and history of the Black superhero

Samuel L Jackson stars as the slick, no-bullshit, New York Police detective John Shaft in John Singleton's remake of the 1970s classic.

After a Black man is beaten in a racially motivated attack by rich-kid Walter Wade Jr (Christian Bale) – who flees on bail (no pun intended) – Shaft throws in his badge and makes a hunt for Wade using not-so-legal tactics.

The movie features special appearances from Richard Roundtree who starred in the original Shaft films, Toni Collette, Busta Rhymes and Jeffrey Wright as Peoples Hernandez.

Watch Shaft on NOW

Training Day

Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

Denzel Washington stars in his 2002 Oscar winning performance as rogue Los Angeles Police Department detective Alonzo Harris who puts rookie cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) through his paces on his first day with the narcotics team.

The action thriller, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, not only won Washington his first Oscar, but also placed a spotlight on the widespread police corruption within the LAPD which came to light during the Rampart scandal of the late '90s.

Watch Training Day on NOW

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