Some of the absolutely best films in history have been Black films. Inspiring black actors such as Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington, have opened the dramatic doors for many others. Originality, confidence, and enchanting characters have taken over the mainstream movie scene to open up some of the most delightful theatric performances.
Big hair, tight jeans, and loud colors were only some of the descriptions of a cool 80’s character. Many people can relate because they too wore attire similar to the characters in these films. Some of the most excellent movies during the 80’s were Black comedy, drama, and action films. Here is a list of the best 80’s Black Films that are definitely must-sees or must see again.
Purple Rain (1984)
If you love Prince then you have to love Purple Rain. This is absolutely one of the coolest films in history. The singer-gone actor plays a young man with a talent for music whose career has begun with much promise. He meets another aspiring singer, Apollonia, and finds that talent alone will not get him where he wants to be. This is an intricate tale the Kid (Prince) repeating his father’s self destructive behavior, losing Apollonia to another singer (Morris Day), and his coming to grips with his own connection to other people ensues. This is definitely a must see or must see again. You will love this film.
The Last Dragon (1985)
This is one of the best black Kung Fu films of all times. Who could ever forget Leroy and Sho Nuff’s show down? I know that I can’t. A young man named Leroy searches for the “master” to obtain the supreme level of martial arts mastery known as the glow. Along the way he must fight the most evil martial arts expert known as Sho Nuff and a rescue a beautiful singer (Vanity) from a fanatical music promoter. This is one of those movies that will never get old and it gets better every time you see it.
The Color Purple (1985)
This is definitely considered a classic! Whoopi Goldberg plays a young black girl growing up in the early 1900’s. Celie is a 14-year-old girl pregnant by her father. She ends up having two of her children taken away and given up for adoption and then she has to marry a man that is three times her age to help raise his family. This dramatic film takes the audience through the next 30 years of Celie’s life and her struggle to break away from bondage into freedom. This film is an absolute must see or must see again.
Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
This is one of the most original Black comedies out there. Robert Townsend and other great cast members such as the Waynes brothers and many others star in this satirical performance. Bobby Taylor (Townsend) wants to be a respected actor. From Sam Spade to Shakespeare to superheroes, he can do it all. He just has to convince Hollywood that gangstas, slaves and “Eddie Murphy-types” aren’t all that his talents are worth. This is a great film and you will be sure to laugh throughout the entire thing.
I’m Gonna Get You Sucka (1988)
You are going to laugh if you watch this film, guaranteed. If you love Keenan and Damon Waynes then you will definitely love this movie. Jack Spade (Keenan Ivory Waynes) returns back home from the army to his old ghetto neighborhood to find that his brother, June Bug, died. Jack is determined to avenge his brother’s death so he declares war on Mr. Big, a powerful local crime boss. John Slade, his childhood hero, who used to fight bad guys in the 70s, leads Spade’s army. Spade, black super hero wannabe, reunites black 70’s heroes to help him bring down Mr. Big.
Coming to America (1988)
This is my all time favorite black film. This African American royal love story is filled with hilarious and inspiring characters. Eddie Murphy is the African Prince Akeem of Zamunda who doesn’t want to marry the woman that his parents have arranged for him to. He insists on going to Queens, New York to find his true queen; a woman who will love him for who he is and not because he is a prince. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall play several characters that make this movie even more entertaining. This film never gets old and I think that it will always be my favorite.
Harlem Nights (1989)
If you love Eddie Murphy and the all time great comedian Richard Pryor, then this film should be at the top of your list. Sugar” Ray is the owner of an illegal casino and is pressured by other gangsters and corrupt police trying to run him out of business. This movie is filled with organized New York crime, corrupt police officers, and extreme laughter. This is one of the best “gangsta” movies of all time.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
This Spike Lee Joint is a dynamic and riveting film. On the hottest day of the year in Brooklyn, NY, tensions begin to explode in this black ghetto area, with the only local businesses a Korean grocery and Sal’s Pizzeria owned by Italians. Mookie (Spike Lee), Sal’s delivery boy, manages to always be at the center of the neighborhood action. This film shows the evils of racisim and bigotry and how difficult they are to overcome.
All of these movies are definitely must-sees or must see again. Check them out!!