40 Movies on Racism To Educate Yourself About Color Injustice

‘Achievement has no color.’

Abhishek Biju Nair

Feb 24, 2021|9 min read


Without no doubt, racism and colour injustice is a social problem in our society. Racism is based on stereotypes with people who have different skin colours. It affects how people view and interact with each other.

Most of us are still not aware of the racial issues that take place in America and different parts of the world. But movies have made a great contribution in addressing the issue of racism and colour injustice and creating awareness.

Movies on Racism

Here’s a list of 40 movies on racism to educate yourself about colour injustice.

1. Hidden Figures

The right movie to start this list of movies on racism. ‘Hidden Figures’ is an incredible story of three African-American woman mathematicians who worked at NASA and overcame gender and race bias by being the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history. The movie takes place in the ’60s when women and African Americans were looked down upon. The film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae in lead roles.

2. Get Out

Get-Out is a horror-thriller directed by Jorden Peele with Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams in lead roles. The film expresses racial tension amongst white and black individuals that existed in post-racial America.

3. Burden

A real-life story of Love and Racism. The film does a fantastic job by showing how racist attitudes and built-in people’s minds.

4. Bright

Starring the iconic Will Smith, Bright is an American crime film directed by David Ayer. Smith plays Officer Ward, who is black. Even though the movie is about racism, it received backlash for many reasons mainly because of trying to change minds on racism.

5. Race

This is an inspiring story. The film is about a legendary black athlete Jesse Owens and his inspiring story about how he overcame racism at home and the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The movie has a lot of touching moments and is a must-watch.

6. See You Yesterday

Directed by Stefon Bristol, the film is about two young brilliant high school juniors who use their time machine to go back in time to save someone who was an innocent victim of fatal police brutality. The movie is about the problems of racist police brutality against the backdrop of time travel.  

7. Mudbound

This is an example of an incredible film. Set in post-world War II, the movie is about two men who return home, post-war to work on a farm in Mississippi where they struggle with racism. The film received great reviews for some great acting and also won several awards.

8. BlacKkKlansman

A masterpiece! This film, directed by Spike Lee, is a true story of an African-American cop who infiltrated White supremacy.  The movie is said to be a direct response to an infamous speech by Donald Trump on racism.

9. 12 Years A Slave

Based on a true story, the movie depicts the journey of a free black man, that is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He is threatened by his white masters for being able to read and write. Directed by Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role, the film received widespread praise and was the best film of 2013. It’s another must-watch.

10. 13th

13th is a documentary directed by Ava DuVernay. The film shows us the intersection of race, justice in the United States. The movie is named after the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which abolishes slavery throughout the United States. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary at the 89th Academy Awards.

11. Supremacy

Based on a true story, Supremacy is about a paroled neo-nazi white man, who after brutally killing a police officer, takes an African-American family hostage. Supremacy is a true story of Walter Scully Jr. and Brenda Kay Moore.

12. The Shape of Water

The film portrays a positive female relationship between two women. ‘The shape of water’ is set in the 1960s during the peak racial turmoil.

13. 42

Starring the legend, late Chadwick Boseman, 42 is a true story based on the life of baseball legend, Jackie Robinson. The movie is just a snapshot of the two years in which Jackie broke the sport’s colour barrier and how he became the first African-American to play in major leagues. The film is the best example of how to overcome racism. It’s also inspirational and will also be remembered as one of Boseman’s memorable performances. A MUST WATCH!

14. Django Unchained

The movie tells the story of a German bounty hunter and his new partner Django, who was just recently freed from slavery. Django Unchained highlights how slaves were treated and forced to obey the rules of their masters. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, starring Jamie Fox, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson in lead roles, the film received numerous awards and nominations.

15. If Beale Street Could Talk

Next up in the list of movies on racism, we have a wonderful film. Directed by Barry Jenkins, the film is the story of a pregnant African-American woman, who sets out to prove her fiance’s innocence after he is falsely imprisoned. The movie is an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel about Black intimacy against the backdrop of white racism.

16. The Butler

Lee Daniels’ The Butler is a powerful and moving film. Based on the real-life of Eugene Allen, the film stars Forest Whitaker, an African-American who witness the social events that take place during his three-decade-long tenure serving as the White House Butler. The film portrays discrimination towards African-Americans in the early 20 century, white dominance, and how blacks were able to overcome this.  

17.  Red Tails

A World War II action-drama directed by Anthony Hemingway, the film is about an all-black fighter pilot squadron. It’s an action-pact movie and also shows the racism the aviators encountered every day just because they were black.

18. The Great Debaters

Starring Denzel Washington, the movie is about how his character, Mel Tolsen forms a debate team at a black college and later goes on to win a national championship. The film portrays the racism that existed in America in the 1930s. It’s very inspiring to see how the four young African-American fight for their respect, pride, and dignity.

19. Remember The Titans

Starring Denzel Washington, Remember the titans is based on a true story where a black man is assigned as the new coach of a school football team. He reduces racism in the community, by making the white players and African-American players play together as a team. Initially, it was difficult to make that happen, but the reduction of racism results in the success of the football team. Another inspiring movie on racism that will educate you on colour injustice and is a must-watch.

20. Just Mercy

Starring Michael B Jordan and Jamie Foxx. ‘Just Mercy’ is the story of the civil rights attorney, Bryan Stevenson, and his fight for justice for Black men who were wrongfully convicted for crimes and who could not afford proper legal representation. Jordan delivered the best performance of his career in the movie.

21. American History X

The 1998 classic, starring Edward Norton is a film dealing with racism. Racism is always a difficult concept to deal with, but this movie has done it with ease and has also brought forward the theme of equality and justice to the people. In addition to that Norton’s hard-hitting performance makes this movie a must-watch.

22. Detroit

This movie is different from the usual movies on Racism. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit does not centre black characters except as victims. It’s a movie about racism for white people in America. ‘Detroit’ story makes it unique from other movies based on racism.

23. Tangerine

Surprisingly this movie was shot on an iPhone. Directed by Sean Baker, the movie is about a Transgender Sex Worker who discovers her boyfriend was cheating on her. The movie did a great job of bringing trans issues to light.

24. The Hate U Give

Based on the 2017 novel by Angie Thomas, the movie follows 16-year-old Starr Carter after she witnesses the killing of her black friend, by a white police officer. The movie is all about her struggles with racial identity.

25. Inglorious Bastards

A war film, directed by Quentin Tarantino, and starring Brad Pitt. The movie shows elements of racism and sadism and is Tarantino’s biggest hit so far. The film received widespread appreciation after its premiere at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival.

26. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

Freedom from Racism is the theme of the small extract from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. Nelson Mandela was the first black president of South Africa.  Directed by Justin Chadwick, the film is set in those days when white people ruled society and life was hell for the blacks.

27. The Man Who Knew Infinity

Next up in the list of movies on racism we have a film based on the life of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan played by Dev Patel. The movie portrays the racism he faced during his days at The Cambridge University in the early 20th century.

28. Do The Right Thing

Written, directed, and produced by Spike Lee, ‘Do the right thing’ is an American comedy-drama film. The movie revolves around the racial tensions that arise on a hot day in Brooklyn.

29. Selma

Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie is about Dr Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights by a long march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. David Oyelowo plays the role of Martin Luther King, Jr. The movie received numerous appreciation and nominations. The movie was re-released in January 2021 to celebrate Black History Month.

30. Fruitvale Station

Directed by Ryan Cooger, the film is based o the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22- year old African-American boy who was shot dead by an officer in a local train on the night of New Year’s Eve of 2009, after he fought with few other young men. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant. His gentleness and toughness in the movie were praised.

31. Dear White People

Written and directed by Justin Simien, Dear white people’s main focus is African-American students and the racism they face in prestigious colleges in the United States.

32. Malcolm X

This Spike Lee-directed biopic, about the African-American activist Malcolm X, takes us deep into his life. The film shows his conversion and ministry to Islam and incidents of racism he faced in his life.

33. LA92

LA92 is a documentary directed by Daniel Lindsay based on the Los Angeles riots that took place in 1992 in which 34 people, 29 of them black were killed in six days. The true cause of the riot was police racism.

34. Rodney King

Another one was directed by Spike Lee. Rodney King was a construction worker who has beaten up four policemen during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. The film is a one-man show where Roger Guenveur takes and opposes Rodney’s side.

35. The Glass Sheild

This movie gives us another insight into Racism in modern America. Directed by Charles Burnett, the movie is about how a police rookie gets involved in his department’s racism and corruption when they implicate an innocent man for murder. The cop has a choice either to stand with them or be the innocent man’s way out.

36. Whose Streets

Directed by Sabaah Folayan, the film portrays how the killing of an 18-year-old, inspired a whole black community to fight back. The movie was dedicated to African-American liberation.

37. Loving

The next movie on the list of movies on basic we have an essential one. Directed by Jeff Nichols, the movie is based on the real-life love story of Richard and Mildred Loving. They were jailed and forced to leave Virginia for challenging the interracial marriage laws of Virginia in 1958 by getting married. The film received a five-minute standing ovation after its premiere at The Cannes Film Festival.  

38. Quest

Filmed over eight years, Quest is about Raineys, an African-American family living in Philadelphia. Directed by quest. Beginning at the dawn of the Obama presidency, 
the movie is about healing and hope amid the race and class discrimination in America.

39. In The Heat of The Night

The 1967 film, based on the novel by John Ball, addressed the racism the blacks face in the southern states. The crime drama is the story of a black detective, who suffers racial discrimination by the white police while he tries to solve a murder.

40. A Raisin in the Sun

To end with, in this list of movies on racism, we have an old drama film adapted from the play of the same name by Lorraine Hansberry. It’s a story of a black family that suffers to deal with racism and poverty as the hope for a better life.

Even after all these struggles, racism exists not just in America, but in different parts of the world. Treat everyone with equal respect, regardless of their skin colour or race, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. Accept people for who they are, rather than trying to change them.

The above list of movies is some of the most emotional and dramatic movies ever made on racism. If you haven’t watched any of it, stop right now and go watch them. Watching these real-life stories of people fighting against racism will inspire you.

Racism will come to an end one day. But that day will only come if people stop finding racism in everything. If you’ve enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it with a friend or your family. ALL LIVES MATTER!

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Abhishek Biju Nair

I grew up with immense love for Performing arts, Movies and Sports. I never thought that I could write an article. But life is worthwhile if you try! You never know what you’re capable of until you try. And then I tried writing for fun, and here I am!



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