While Black History Month is celebrated in February, June is also a month where many choose to look back on the times of slavery. This is especially true now that Juneteenth, the day the last slaves were freed, is marked as a federal holiday. Many people turn to some of the best movies on Netflix in history, based on African Americans, the Deep South, and enslaved people throughout history. So it only makes sense that I collect some of the best slavery movies on Netflix and elsewhere to watch in 2023.
If you enjoyed this list of the best slavery movies on Netflix 2023, check out these other articles: best movies about moonshine, Hiking and backpacking movies, best surround sound movies, Barbie movies online, Best Twin Flame movies.
Best Slavery Movies on Netflix 2023
Plot: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States in this documentary movie, focusing on the fact that the nation’s mass incarceration of African-Americans and post american civil war racism. Named after the 13th amendment.
Star Cast: Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson, Angela Davis
What Happened to Miss Simone (2015)
Plot: Classically trained pianist, dive-bar chanteuse, black power icon and legendary recording artist Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy.
Star Cast: Nina Simone, Lisa Simone, Roger Nupie
The Black Godfather (2019)
Plot: The Black Godfather is a 2019 documentary film directed by Reginald Hudlin. The film depicts the story of music executive Clarence Avant, and civil rights activist, told by the people he worked with.
Star Cast: Jacqueline Avant, Al Capone, Clarence Avant
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)
Plot: The remarkable life of South African revolutionary, president and world icon Nelson Mandela takes center stage. Though he had humble beginnings as a herd boy in a rural village, Mandela became involved in the anti-apartheid movement and co-founded the African National Congress Youth League. His activities eventually led to his imprisonment on Robben Island from 1964 to 1990. In 1994, Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa.
Star Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Riaad Moosa
Plot: Descendants of the survivors from the Clotilda celebrate their heritage and take command of their legacy, as the discovery of the remains of the last-known slave ship to arrive in the United States offers them a tangible link to their ancestors.
Star Cast: Michael Wayne Foster, Nick Tabor, Ben Raines
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Plot: As civil war rages in Africa, a fierce warlord trains a young orphan to join his group of guerrilla soldiers.
Star Cast: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye
The Woman King (2022)
Plot: In the 1800s, a group of all-female warriors protects the African kingdom of Dahomey with skills and fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Faced with a new threat, Gen. Nanisca trains the next generation of recruits to fight against a foreign enemy that’s determined to destroy their way of life.
Star Cast: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch
Bigger Than Africa (2018)
Plot: Historians and experts analyse Trans-Atlantic slave trade route from West Africa and how it effected the countries of the United States, Brazil and the Caribbean, as well as the culture of the Yoruba people.
Star Cast: Wande Abimbola, Akin Alao, Iyanifa Ajisebo Abimbola
Best Slavery Movies To Watch on Amazon Prime
Django Unchained (2012)
Plot: Two years before the Civil War, Django, a slave, finds himself accompanying an unorthodox German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz on a mission to capture the vicious Brittle brothers. Their mission successful, Schultz frees Django, and together they hunt the America South’s most-wanted criminals. Their travels take them to the infamous plantation of shady Calvin Candie, where Django’s long-lost wife is still a slave. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Star Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson
12 Years A Slave (2013)
Plot: In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner, he also finds unexpected kindness from another, as he struggles continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity. Then in the 12th year of the disheartening ordeal, a chance meeting with an abolitionist from Canada changes Solomon’s life forever.
Star Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt
Plot: Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw is offered command of the United States’ first all-African-American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the American Civil War. With junior officer Cabot Forbes, Shaw puts together a strong and proud unit, including the escaped slave Trip and the wise gravedigger John Rawlins. At first limited to menial manual tasks, the regiment fights to be placed in the heat of battle.
Star Cast: Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman
Plot: In 1839, the slave ship Amistad set sail from Cuba to America. During the long trip, Cinque leads the slaves in an unprecedented uprising. They are then held prisoner in Connecticut, and their release becomes the subject of heated debate. Freed slave Theodore Joadson wants Cinque and the others exonerated and recruits property lawyer Roger Baldwin to help his case. Eventually, John Quincy Adams also becomes an ally. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Star Cast: Djimon Hounsou, Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Anthony Hopkins
Plot: From her escape from slavery through the dangerous missions she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad, the story of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman is told.
Star Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn
Plot: In 1873 Ohio, Sethe is a mother of three haunted by her horrific slavery past and her desperate actions for freedom. As a result, Sethe’s home is haunted by a furious poltergeist, which drives away her two sons. Sethe and her daughter endure living with the spirit for 10 more years, until an old friend, Paul D. Garner, arrives to run it out. After Garner moves in, a strange woman named Beloved enters their lives, causing turmoil. Based on the Toni Morrison novel.
Star Cast: Oprah Winfrey, Kimberly Elise, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton
I Am Not Your Negro (2017)
Plot: Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the film explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as his personal observations of American history.
Star Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Raoul Peck, James Baldwin