Afro americans in american cinema


I'm doing a huge school work on both the evolution of perception of the afro americans in the american society and in the industry of cinema. I already know what films to talk about when it comes to movies that denounces racism (Guess Who's Coming to Diner, To Kill Mockingbird, Mississipi Burning, The Defiant Ones, etc.) but what I search are movies that without even wanting it have slight racism in them (for example Gone with the Wind, but I search others to). Also, I'd like to find some movies that have a black character as its star, but without having anything to do with the fact that th actor in question is black.

Also, I have a theory and I'd like to see if you agree because I've not seen that many 80's action films. From what I've seen black people are mainly used as a friend or any kind of non important character who ends up dying or being the bad guy. Am i right? If not I'm better to know haha

thank you!
I do not speak english perfectly so expect some mistakes here and there in my messages

Movies with a black star are fairly common. For example most of the Sidney Poitier movies. One I have is "The Bedford Incident" from 1965.

For movies with a touch of racism perhaps:

Ray (2004) I seem to remember a scene about riding on a bus.

Places In The Heart (1984) The farm assistant providing advise to the owner invited punishment for himself.

Bullitt (1968) The black doctor was not appreciated by Chalmers.

Brubaker (1980) An innocent black prisoner is selected for a public strapping just to show how things are done there.

Winter Calls Thy Name
I'd like to find some movies that have a black character as its star, but without having anything to do with the fact that the actor in question is black.
Most Denzel Washington or Morgan Freeman movies aren't concerned with their color.

but what I search are movies that without even wanting it have slight racism in them (for example Gone with the Wind, but I search others to)
Portraying slavery in a film that's about the civil war is not racist, it's historical. What makes you think Gone with the Wind is slightly racist without trying? There's a difference between modern 'PC think' and racism. That might make a good topic for your class presentation BTW.

You might look at films with Lena Horne. Due to racism in the South, her scenes were cut from many of the movies that she was in, such as the classic Words and Music (1948)

You might look at the first all black movies with positive black characters: Cabin in the Sky (1943) and Stormy Weather (1943)

It's more that in 1939 what was normal could be considered racism today not that this movie is specially racist.

And thank you very much for the other information, I didn't know that and I will surely use it!

Citizen meant that what was being portrayed whether it was in 1939 or 2009, was the US Civil War (1861-65) in the South so the depiction of slaves was Historical not Racist whether intentional or otherwise.

My name's Bobby Peru, like the country.
You could start with polarizing examples, The first ever feature length movie was Birth of a Nation (1915) and that movie was incredibly racist. Further subsequent movies that used blackface in those times were arguably quite racist - they were choosing a white actor to play a black person over a potential black actor - asinine.

Now we have a trove of extremely talented black actors today. Hell you asked for a movie with a black star that isn't about him being black, well Will Smith in Independence Day.
"A flying saucer? You mean the kind from up there?"
"Yeah, either that or its counterpart"

Their assumption was that Jerry was already dead when I arrived, and I just nodded my head. What else could I tell them? "He had to do it, Officer, or else he would’ve turned into a worm-monster and been very unhappy."

Camo: Honestly I've not seen this film yet, I just quoted a YouTube video I've seen to give en example, but I believe you and I'll give you some news after watching it.

And you're right with Independance Day!

Thought this was going to be a thread by someone who joined the site just to have us do a homework assignment. Then I saw it was PG needing info. Whom I am happy to help.

If you want films that feature black characters where race was not an issue in casting, I think of when Romero casted Duane Jones to be the lead Ben in Night of the Living Dead. He was not cast for his race, but because he was the best actor.

Also I do not know if this is what you are looking for exactly, but when you asked about Black characters in movies in the 80's being friends and dying in 80's movies that made me think about the actor Albert Popwell. Albert Popwell is an actor who has played supporting and bit roles in the first four Dirty Harry films (and one of my favorite series). In the original Dirty Harry (1971) he was the bank robber who just "Got's to know" after Harry does his 44 Magnum monologue. In the sequel Magnum Force (73) he was a pimp who was killed by the vigilant cops trying to kill Harry. In The Enforcer (76) he is a Black Nationalist who begrudgingly helps Harry find some terrorists, and in Sudden Impact (1983) he plays a cop named Horace King who is Harry's friend and gets killed.

Not sure if the last bit is info you are looking for, but it does show a reflection of the 70's and shows how things started to turn in the 80's. Since with the 80's we had pairings like Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon, Carl Weathers and Arnie in Predator, and even Carl Weathers again teaming up with Stallone in Rocky III and IV.

Steeped Beauty, God is Beauty
Men in Black, The Avengers, Se7en?

Those show African Americans as authority figures, but they do not show them in a way that demeans them or even describes them as different. Racist films are not around that much now, but joking about race is still going on. Keep looking, I'm sure you will find a bunch of good examples.

tucobenedicto's Avatar
Registered User
for your school work you must see Spike Lee' filmography. Also, in "Inside Man" the protagonist black factor is not relevant..