The Best Social Justice Movies and Documentaries

From films on inequality to the criminal justice system, these are the best social justice documentaries and movies available to stream right now.

Judas and the black messiah wardrobe

Image via Publicist

Judas and the black messiah wardrobe

Social causes are at the forefront of the American consciousness; just look at the #MeToo, #TimesUp, and March For Our Lives movements that have sprung up over the past year and a half. There have always been social issues that need our urgent attention, but only recently have many societal ills have become seemingly omnipresent. While it may seem bleak to constantly hear about problems within society, it’s also a chance to become more aware of your world and how you can help make it better.

As social causes have become more prominent, the entertainment industry has taken notice and has taken actions to become more progressive. It's amazing to see companies like Warner Bros. give away free rentals of Just Mercy, the 2019 feature film starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, based on the true story of Walter McMillian, who sat wrongfully-convicted on death row, for the month of June in the effort to help those in need of "learning more about the systemic racism that plagues our society." One way to do that, especially at the top of 2021 with the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and work, is to take in films like 2014's Selma. In that film, Ava DuVernay recreated an America that was broken enough that MLK and a number of Black leaders and activists took to the streets to speak out about voting rights in Alabama. It's wild to think how relevant a film like that is today, where we're coming out of horrific riots at the Capitol due to those who believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.

As long as there have been smart, empathetic filmmakers, there have been great social justice movies. They aren’t all completely serious; many have found lighter, sometimes even comical ways to address serious issues. Some have won Oscars, some were unfairly ignored, most are fascinating and necessary looks at the myriad problems within our society. Knowledge is power and these movies have plenty of it. Here are the best social justice movies.

Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Judas and the black messiah wardrobe

Selma (2014)

Keith Stanfield Selma

Just Mercy (2019)

Just Mercy

I Am Not Your Negro (2017)

I Am Not Your Negro

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

If Beale Street Could Talk

Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 (2017)

Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992

Support The Girls (2018)

Support the Girls

BlacKkKlansman (2018)


The Hate U Give (2018)

The Hate U Give

Fruitvale Station (2013)

Fruitvale Station

Do The Right Thing (1989)

Bill Nunn plays Radio Raheem in 'Do the Right Thing'

13th (2016)

13th Netflix

John Q (2002)

John Q

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club

OJ: Made In America (2016)

OJ Made in America

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

Al Gore

Milk (2008)


Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures

Tangerine (2015)


Dear White People (2014)

Dear White People

Time: The Kalief Browder Story (2017)

Jay Z

Short Term 12 (2013)

short term 12

Harlan County, USA (1976)

Barbara Kopple

Food, Inc. (2008)

Robert Kenner

Titicut Follies (1967)

Titicut Follies

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Michael Moore

Central Park Five (2012)

Central Park Five

Dark Girls (2011)

Dark Girls

RESIST (2018)


Bowling For Columbine (2002)

Michael Moore

The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)

Fred Hampton

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