Rentals

Black Star

The UK’s biggest ever celebration of black screen talent, shining a spotlight on the charisma and creativity of trailblazing performers.

There is not one single story of black stardom, but myriad. So our BFI Player programme highlights the leading men and women who’ve redefined Hollywood stardom, plus the British stars who’ve made a sizable stateside impression. We also include focuses on Richard Pryor, stars of Sonic cinema and the pioneering talents who forged new developments in black representation. 

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Sorry to Bother YouSorry to Bother You

Comedy2018111 minsDirector: Boots Riley

A mild-mannered call centre operator whizzes up the corporate ladder after he discovers a unique ability to adopt a "white voice" in writer-director Boots Riley's breathlessly inventive satire.

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PiliPili

Drama201881 minsDirector: Leanne Welham

An HIV+ mother has a chance to turn her life around when she's offered a market stall, in Leanne Welham's extraordinary drama.

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RafikiRafiki

Drama201883 minsDirector: Wanuri Kahiu

Romantic sparks fly between the daughters of two opposing politicians in Wanuri Kahiu’s neon-bright story of forbidden love in Kenya.

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YardieYardie

Crime2018102 minsDirector: Idris Elba

In his thrilling directorial debut, Idris Elba brings to life Victor Headley’s cult crime novel.

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DetroitDetroit

Drama2017143 minsDirector: Kathryn Bigelow

John Boyega excels as the security guard caught up in a violent conflagration during the riots of 1967, in Kathryn Bigelow's blistering thriller.

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BlindspottingBlindspotting

Comedy201895 minsDirector: Carlos López Estrada

While on probation, a man begins to re-evaluate his relationship with his volatile best friend, in this electrifying Sundance hit.

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BlacKkKlansmanBlacKkKlansman

Drama2018135 minsDirector: Spike Lee

Spike Lee's stunning crime drama tells the stranger-than-fiction true story of an African-American police officer who infiltrated the KKK in the 1970s.

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Do the Right ThingDo the Right Thing

Comedy1989120 minsDirector: Spike Lee

Spike Lee’s awesome cinematic sucker-punch remains one of the great films about race relations.

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Monsters and MenMonsters and Men

Drama201896 minsDirector: Reinaldo Marcus Green

Unravelling the aftermath of a police killing of a black man - and how it affects the lives of three separate individuals. With John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman).

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Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

Documentary201896 minsDirector: Steve Loveridge

Fascinating delve into the career, personality and politics of award-winning musician M.I.A.  

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I Am Not Your NegroI Am Not Your Negro

Documentary201694 minsDirector: Raoul Peck

Raoul Peck’s penetrating and acclaimed documentary reconstructs an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, chronicler of America’s Civil Rights Movement.

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Grace Jones: Bloodlight and BamiGrace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

Documentary2017115 minsDirector: Sophie Fiennes

Grace Jones is laid bare in this intimate and electrifying insight into the fascinating world of a pop-cultural phenomenon.

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BrotherhoodBrotherhood

Crime2016104 minsDirector: Noel Clarke

A decade after the release of Adulthood, Sam (Noel Clarke) is trying to keep his family safe while simmering old grudges threaten to resurface.

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KidulthoodKidulthood

Drama200591 minsDirector: Menhaj Huda

Noel Clarke and Menhaj Huda’s explosive youth film follows the drug, sex and crime-fuelled antics of a group of West London teens over the course of a single day.

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AdulthoodAdulthood

Drama200899 minsDirector: Noel Clarke

After being released from prison following a murder charge, Sam Peel (Noel Clarke) attempts to reboot his life and seek redemption.

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RayRay

Biopic2004152 minsDirector: Taylor Hackford

Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his extraordinary performance as Ray Charles, in a film that revived the potency of the musical biopic.

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WhitneyWhitney

Documentary2018120 minsDirector: Kevin Macdonald

Stunning revelations and captivating reminiscences paint a picture of the extraordinary life of singer Whitney Houston, in this in-depth portrait by acclaimed filmmaker Kevin MacDonald (Touching the Void, Marley).

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Whitney: Can I Be MeWhitney: Can I Be Me

Documentary2017101 minsDirector: Nick Broomfield

Documentary titan Nick Broomfield turns his gaze to the troubled pop star whose sensational voice masked an inner identity crisis.

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12 Years a Slave12 Years a Slave

Biopic2013134 minsDirector: Steve McQueen

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender star in Steve McQueen’s fearless, Oscar-winning story of a free man who’s sold into slavery.

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Triple 9Triple 9

Crime2015115 minsDirector: John Hillcoat

Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson make up the heavyweight cast for John Hillcoat’s (The Proposition) stunning heist thriller.

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Half of a Yellow SunHalf of a Yellow Sun

Drama2012111 minsDirector: Biyi Bandele-Thomas

Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in the acclaimed adaption of the Orange Prize-winning novel.

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MoonlightMoonlight

Drama2016111 minsDirector: Barry Jenkins

Winner of the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture (eventually!), Barry Jenkins’ intoxicating drama follows the furtive life of a gay black boy through 80s Miami.

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Beasts of the Southern WildBeasts of the Southern Wild

Drama201293 minsDirector: Benh Zeitlin

Set in a Deep South delta, Zeitlin’s feature debut takes a child’s eye view of poverty, adult apathy and ecological crisis. Hallucinatory fare

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GirlhoodGirlhood

Drama2014113 minsDirector: Céline Sciamma

In the tough suburbs of Paris, sixteen-year-old Marieme decides to reinvent herself when she joins a girl gang.

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American GangsterAmerican Gangster

Crime2007157 minsDirector: Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott’s heavyweight crime drama follows the rise and fall of drug-runner Frank Lucas, commandingly portrayed by Denzel Washington.

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Bustin' LooseBustin' Loose

Comedy198193 minsDirector: Oz Scott

Richard Pryor sets out on the road to redemption, as an ex-con ferrying a busload of troubled kids on a wild cross-country adventure.

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Car WashCar Wash

Comedy197696 minsDirector: Michael Schultz

Richard Pryor, Bill Duke, Antonio Fargas are among the ensemble cast for the cult comedy set in a California car wash.

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Blue CollarBlue Collar

Industry sponsored film1978114 minsDirector: Paul Schrader

Richard Pryor and Harvey Keitel star in Paul Schrader’s great, gritty 1970s drama, one of the rare Hollywood films to tackle American labour.

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Brewster's MillionsBrewster's Millions

Comedy1985101 minsDirector: Walter Hill

Richard Pryor plays the everyman who inherits a vast estate with a massive catch: he’ll have to spend $30million in 30 days in order to inherit it all.

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The WizThe Wiz

Fantasy1978134 minsDirector: Sidney Lumet

NYC becomes Oz in the cult, urban reimagining of the family favourite, featuring an all-African American cast including Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

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Imitation of LifeImitation of Life

Melodrama1959125 minsDirector: Douglas Sirk

Douglas Sirk’s final Hollywood film is a masterpiece of melodrama, for which Juanita Moore became the fifth African-American Oscar-nominee.

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Night of the Living DeadNight of the Living Dead

Horror196896 minsDirector: George A. Romero

Landmark film from 'zombie godfather' Romero, whose makeshift heroes fight for their lives against a new and terrifying enemy.

Rent for £1.00

Sidney's ChairSidney's Chair

Drama199521 minsDirector: Roberto Bangura

What do you do when a Hollywood star makes a film in your neighbourhood? Nick his chair, of course!

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Attack the BlockAttack the Block

Crime201188 minsDirector: Joe Cornish

Aliens wage war on a tower block after one of their number is bludgeoned by a street gang in this witty, action-packed feature debut by Joe Cornish.

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Chi-RaqChi-Raq

Musical2015127 minsDirector: Spike Lee

Spike Lee’s bold and vivacious hip-hop musical restages an ancient Greek battle-of-the-sexes in 21st-century Chicago.

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Fast GirlsFast Girls

Sport201291 minsDirector: Regan Hall

The four young runners on the Team GB women's relay team battle to overcome rivalries and personal demons in time for the World Athletics Championship.

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The Glass ShieldThe Glass Shield

Drama1994110 minsDirector: Charles Burnett

The first black recruit in his squad, rookie cop J.J. Johnson (Michael Boatman) struggles to adapt to life on the force, in this thrilling drama from acclaimed director Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep).

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TrespassTrespass

Crime1992101 minsDirector: Walter Hill

Rap legends Ice Cube and Ice-T share a screen for the first time as gang members facing off against firemen hunting for a stash of gold.

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Gridlock'dGridlock'd

Drama199691 minsDirector: Vondie Curtis Hall

Tupac Shakur’s penultimate film is his most impressive; a darkly humorous drama in which he takes a daring role as a heroin addict.

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20 Feet from Stardom20 Feet from Stardom

Documentary201387 minsDirector: Morgan Neville

This moving documentary shines a spotlight on the backing singers behind some of the great musical hits of the 21st century.

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Midnight BreaksMidnight Breaks

1988113 minsDirector: Laurens C. Postma

Big Audio Dynamite’s Don Letts made his acting debut in this gripping, gritty 1990 drama of dreads, drugs, and music business corruption.

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Deliver Us from EvaDeliver Us from Eva

Comedy2003105 minsDirector: Gary Hardwick

LL Cool J plays the ultimate player, hired to seduce the sister-in-law from hell.

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Eve's BayouEve's Bayou

Drama1997115 minsDirector: Kasi Lemmons

Samuel L. Jackson stars in this seething slice of Southern Gothic, about the travails of a Louisiana family bedevilled by infidelity, incest and witchcraft.

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Pulp FictionPulp Fiction

Crime1994154 minsDirector: Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino’s crackling crime classic still retains its swagger as one of the great American films of recent decades.

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A Screaming ManA Screaming Man

Drama201087 minsDirector: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Haroun's tale of tension between a father and son working at a hotel pool in war-torn Chad has the emotional power and stark inexorability of tragedy

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Something NewSomething New

2006100 minsDirector: Sanaa Hamri

A high-flying black professional finally finds the man of her dreams, only for her family to disapprove because he’s a white guy.

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Daddy's Little GirlsDaddy's Little Girls

200796 minsDirector: Tyler Perry

Idris Elba’s kickstarted his Hollywood film career as a mechanic trying to win back his kids’ custody, in this melodrama from black auteur Tyler Perry.

Rent for £3.50

The Best ManThe Best Man

Comedy1999120 minsDirector: Malcolm D. Lee

Malcolm D. Lee set the standard for middle-class black comedy with this smart, chic feature about a best man whose indiscreet novel scuppers the wedding plans.

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BlackBlack

Drama201590 minsDirector: Bilall Fallah

Star-crossed lovers from rival street gangs conduct an illicit affair in this pulsating urban romance.

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Daughters of the DustDaughters of the Dust

Drama1991112 minsDirector: Julie Dash

Julie Dash’s groundbreaking Daughters of the Dust remains urgent and poetic and continues to resonate, most recently inspiring Beyoncé’s Lemonade.

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The TransfigurationThe Transfiguration

Horror201697 minsDirector: Michael O’Shea

Milo isn't your usual introverted, strange teenager; he also believes he's a vampire. Michael O'Shea's dark drama presents a transgressive twist on the teen vampire tale.

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Southside with YouSouthside with You

Biopic201684 minsDirector: Richard Tanne

This smart, sophisticated, Sundance-nominated romance follows the first date of a couple who would go on to change the world – Barack and Michelle Obama.

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Urban HymnUrban Hymn

Drama2015114 minsDirector: Michael Caton-Jones

In the wake of the London riots, teenager Jamie (Letitia Wright) finds herself at a crossroads; until music offers an unexpected path to salvation.

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The WeekendThe Weekend

Comedy201694 minsDirector: Sheridan De Myers

Street-smart Hackney comedy about three friends whose unexpected cash windfall funds the mother of all parties; from the talents behind YouTube hit Mandem on the Wall.

Rent for £2.50

Dreams of a LifeDreams of a Life

Documentary201191 minsDirector: Carol Morley

Carol Morley's drama-documentary investigates the tragic death of a woman whose body lay undetected for almost three years.

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A United KingdomA United Kingdom

Drama2016111 minsDirector: Amma Asante

Amma Assante (Belle) directs this impassioned drama starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike depicting an interracial romance that changed the world.

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SelmaSelma

Biopic2014128 minsDirector: Ava DuVernay

David Oyelowo’s stunning performance as Martin Luther King Jr. adorns this gripping account of the campaign that changed the course of American civil rights.

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RaceRace

Biopic2016135 minsDirector: Stephen Hopkins

The remarkable story of Jesse Owens, the grandson of a slave whose athletic feats defied Nazi ideology at the 1936 Olympics.

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Sweet CountrySweet Country

Period drama2017113 minsDirector: Warwick Thornton

Australian director Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah) brings a vital Indigenous perspective and great cinematic vision to this powerful, revisionist Western, with Sam Neill and Bryan Brown.

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For Colored GirlsFor Colored Girls

Drama2010134 minsDirector: Tyler Perry

An ensemble cast including Janet Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg bring to life Ntozake Shange's extraordinary 1975 play about the experiences of black women.

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The FitsThe Fits

Drama201572 minsDirector: Anna Rose Holmer

Toni, an eleven year-old tomboy, finds a new purpose when an epidemic of seizures strikes her dance class, in this riveting and psychological character portrait from filmmaker Anna Rose Holmer.

Rent for £4.50

Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel BasquiatBoom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Documentary201775 minsDirector: Sara Driver

The story of how one of the 20th century's most important artists emerged from the post-punk, b-boy and graffiti scenes of late '70s New York.

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Playing AwayPlaying Away

Sport1986102 minsDirector: Horace Ové

A cricketing comedy of manners exploring white and black stereotypes, from pioneering British filmmaker Horace Ové.

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Paul Robeson
Rentals collection

Paul Robeson

The African-American actor, singer and political activist who became a major star in British cinema of the 1930s.

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More related films in our Rentals collection, Black Britain on Film.