This collection of African-American culture movies offers a diverse variety of social perspectives. Like any other cultural group, there are characteristics that are specific to the culture based on environment, social issues, economics, traditions and collective history. These five films are standouts, due to their distinctive expression of African-American culture.

  1. "Do the Right Thing" Spike Lee wrote, directed, and co-starred in this astonishing Academy Award-nominated, 1989 time capsule of just how ugly race relations have been. African-American culture is explored and expressed during the course of one extremely hot day in a Brooklyn, New York neighborhood making tempers flare. This film shows exactly how hatred, ignorance and anger can affect anyone's ability to do the right thing.

  2. "Boyz N the Hood"John Singleton was only 23 years old when he made his Hollywood debut with this powerful movie about how African-American culture is affected by impoverished conditions in the South Central section of Los Angeles. Singleton secured a talented cast that included Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Laurence Fishburne. The success of "Boyz N the Hood" was realized with two Academy Award nominations for John Singleton-for directing and his original screenplay-and by earning more than eight times its initial 6.5 million dollar production budget.

  3. "Malcolm X" As a fearless leader for the human rights of African-Americans, and adhering to the slogan of "by all means necessary," Malcolm X was an extremely huge pair of shoes for Denzel Washington to fill artistically. Washington brought this man's transformation from convicted criminal to educated protest leader to life with complet conviction, under the epic direction of Spike Lee. When the production of "Malcolm X" required more than the Warner Brothers studio would offer, African-American culture was also expressed behind the camera thanks to the generosity of Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and others who contributed financially to help bring the film towards completion.

  4. "Glory" When you have two incredible actors such as Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman in a film together about the Civil War, African-American culture gets reflected with capable representatives. They play soldiers that are members of the first completely African-American volunteer squadron that fought in the U.S. Civil War. Denzel's gripping performance as Private Trip awarded him his very first Academy Award.

  5. "Uptown Saturday Night" African-American culture cannot be merely summed up with racial prejudices and poverty; there are also good times filled with laughs especially as seen in "Uptown Saturday Night." This 1974 comedy, based in Harlem, New York was the first of three films to feature Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby as a duo -- all directed by Poitier. This time around, they play two blue-collar guys who must find a winning lottery ticket that was stolen from one of them during a robbery at a private gambling house. Harry Belafonte, Richard Pryor and Flip Wilson also make memorable appearances.