February is Black History Month, and watching great cinema can be a wonderful way to honor the important celebration. After all, a great number of incredible and classic films were made by black filmmakers and performers, and their contributions have advanced the medium in ways that are immeasurable.
We see new examples of their influence every single month on the big screen, but to celebrate Black History Month, do yourself a favor and check out these amazing films that are now available through the AMC Theatres On Demand.
Fans had their curiosity about Black Panther piqued in 2016 when the character made his live-action debut in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, but it was with his solo film in 2018 that the hero truly blew audiences’ hair back. Writer/director Ryan Coogler not only does a remarkable job introducing the world to the fictional nation of Wakanda — a highly advanced society that has been protected from colonization — but also simultaneously holds a mirror up to society while executing a badass action blockbuster.
The Oscar®-nominated HARRIET marks the first major motion picture about abolitionist Harriet Tubman, her incredible journey and unbreakable spirit. When we first meet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo), she is living under slavery with her mother and siblings. But when her master, Gideon (Joe Alwyn), threatens to sell her downriver, she makes the decision to run to Philadelphia. In the following decade, she returns to the South 19 times to lead her family and hundreds of other slaves to freedom.
There is no denying that Malcolm X is one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th century, and Spike Lee very much honored the man’s legacy and message with his award-winning biopic from 1992. Denzel Washington delivers one of the greatest performances of his career (which is really saying a lot), and it’s a fascinating insight into one of the most tumultuous periods in American history.
Straight Outta Compton
Though there were a bit of ups and downs in its path to getting made, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON became a serious hit when it made its way into theatres in the summer of 2015, revealing the behind-the-scenes story of one of the most influential music groups of all time: NWA. It’s an intense and well-made piece of work that features many excellent performances, and provides excellent insight into the world that ultimately inspired the rap outfit’s music in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
More than 25 years after the release of MALCOLM X, Spike Lee crafted yet another piece of revolutionary cinema, albeit one with a much stronger focus on comedy. It's still hard to believe some details of this based-on-a-true-story movie, which follows an African-American police officer who successfully infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan. But the events are real, and the film is excellent.
The Princess and the Frog
In 2009, Walt Disney Animation Studios broke long-overdue ground with the introduction of their first African-American princess in THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. Not only is the film important for that fact, but it's also a wonderful cinematic experience, featuring a fantastic voice cast (including Anika Noni Rose, Oprah Winfrey, Jenifer Lewis, Terrence Howard and Keith David), beautiful 2D animation, and enchanting music.