The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture is to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Afro-Americans.
Search DAARAC.org

Blaxploitation Films (List)

 What is Blaxploitation?

Black American films made for Black audiences in the 1970s are known as Blaxploitation films. These films, often set in urban environments; controversially perpetuated Black Americans on screen. During an interview with Variety Magazine, the term, proclaimed by journalist and one-time NAACP head, Junius Griffin discussed negative depictions in the film “Superfly” (1972). These films put Black audiences in a position on embracing films that may negatively portray Blacks. By the literal expressions, “Black” and “Exploitation” means blacks being exploited. Most Black films made could be considered Blaxploitation, but in particular, the term was reserved for Black themed films during the 1970s or exploitation era.

Not every Black film or film that stars a Black actor is a Blaxploitation film. There are certain characteristics that we consider and certain films that set standards. While "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" (1971) is considered the first Blaxploitation film in the eyes of many, it's not the first of its' kind. Exploitation films, in general, started to surge in the 1960s. Conservative film making in Hollywood took a turn for the more unmentionable films that would magnify sex, violence, horror, and discrimination. The Civil Rights Era of Black themed films introduced some of these exploitative factors. Early examples of Blaxploitation films:


Genres, themes, and marketing are the top three characteristics we consider in defining a film as Blaxploitation. Top genres include crime, action, drama, and comedy. Other popular genres and themes with fewer amount of films include horror, thriller western, sexploitation, and slavery. There are other genres included, but these films were not made in excess; biography, history, music, sports.

The characteristics of Blaxploitation films become a little more subjective to the viewer. Typical Blaxploitation films include an all-Black cast accompanied by a dedicated soundtrack performed by some of the more popular funk and soul artist of the 70s. Films like The Mack, Let’s Do it Again, Bucktown, Across 110th Street, Black Caesar, Foxy Brown, Black Belt Jones, The Spook Who Sat By The Door, and Shaft are some of the approved Blaxploitation films. These films featured some of the biggest African-American actors in Hollywood. They were highly sought out for their talent and popularity which helped surge the market in the mid-70s (see graphic below).

Blaxploitation era will be define between 1971 and 1979. Some films between 1970 and 1971 will be considered "early blaxploitation" and some films before 1969 will be considered "pre-blaxploitation." Junius Griffin coined the term in 1972 with "Superfly." Lastly, certain films after 1980 will be considered post-blaxploitation for research purposes.

Sub genres of Blaxplotiation films

List of films during the Blaxploitation Era
#


A


B


C


D


E


F


G


H


I


J


K


L


M


N


O


P


Q


R


S


T


U


V


W


X


Y


Z

Visit the Museum of Black Cult Cinema for additional information and digital media.