The Best Blaxploitation Movies of All Time

From 'Blackenstein' to 'That Man Bolt,' here are the best blaxploitation movies that have empowered people and broken down racial barriers.

This is the lobby card from Trouble Man.


This is the lobby card from Trouble Man.

Back in the '70s, blaxploitation ("black exploitation") films catered to America's black audiences, who were craving their own riffs on genre cinema. The blaxploitation genre included campy horror flicks like Blackenstein to kung-fu flicks like That Man Bolt, and introduced beloved fictional heroes like John Shaft, Cleopatra Jones, and Foxy Brown. 

Indeed, it was a wild time, an era of anti-establishment filmmaking that split viewers down the middle—some praised these movies for promoting black empowerment, bringing the black community together, and breaking down racial barriers; others felt they harmfully fed into white people's various prejudices of African-Americans. Today, nearly four decades removed from blaxploitation's initial prominence, the films are something else entirely: entertaining, one-of-a-kind time capsules. These are the best blaxploitation movies.

Blackenstein (1973)

blaxploitation movies blackenstein

Blacula (1972)

This is a photo of the lobby card for Blacula.

Petey Wheatstraw (1977)

Petey Wheatstraw

That Man Bolt (1973)

This is a scene from That Man Bolt.

Friday Foster (1975)

This is the lobby card from Friday Foster.

The Legend of Nigger Charley (1972)

This is the lobby card from The Legend of Nigger Charley.

Black Caesar (1973)

This is a still from Black Caesar.

Willie Dynamite (1974)

This is a photo from the set of Willie Dynamite.

Truck Turner (1974)

This is a film still from Truck Turner.

Three the Hard Way (1974)

This is a publicity still from Three the Hard Way.

Cooley High (1975)

Cooley High

Coffy (1973)

This is the lobby card from Coffy.

Uptown Saturday Night (1974)

Uptown Saturday Night

em>The Spook Who Sat By the Door (1973)

The Spook Who Sat By The Door

Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

This is the lobby card from Cottom Comes To Harlem.

Ganja and Hess (1973)

Ganja and Hess

Dolemite (1973)


Trouble Man (1972)

This is the lobby card from Trouble Man.

Black Belt Jones (1974)

This is the lobby card from Black Belt Jones.

Across 110th Street (1972)

This is a publicity still from Across 110th Street.

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

This is the theatrical poster for Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song

Super Fly (1972)

This is a promotional headshot from Super Fly.

Foxy Brown (1974)

Foxy Brown

Shaft (1971)

blaxploitation movies shaft afrika

The Mack (1973)

This is a movie poster for The Mack.

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