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A Century of Black Cinema (2003)

This film highlights moments in the long and rich African American cinema history in relation to social and political events, and how it affected black viewers of the time.


Ted Newsom


Michael Harrigan (concept), Dennis Hunt




Credited cast:
Kim Delgado ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Muhammad Ali ... Himself (archive footage)
Angela Bassett ... Herself (archive footage)
Harry Belafonte ... Himself (archive footage)
Lisa Bonet ... Herself (archive footage)
Chevy Chase ... Himself (archive footage)
Bill Cosby ... Himself (archive footage)
Dorothy Dandridge ... Herself (archive footage)
Laurence Fishburne ... Himself (archive footage)
Danny Glover ... Himself (archive footage)
Whoopi Goldberg ... Herself (archive footage)
Cuba Gooding Jr. ... Himself (archive footage)
Louis Gossett Jr. ... Himself (archive footage)
Bill Henderson ... Himself
Jack Hill ... Himself


This film highlights moments in the long and rich African American cinema history in relation to social and political events, and how it affected black viewers of the time.

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Release Date:

24 June 2003 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


When a scene from The Birth of a Nation is shown, the actress in the clip is identified as Lillian Gish. The actual cast member visible in the clip is Mae Marsh. See more »


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User Reviews

Highly Entertaining Documentary
7 December 2016 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Century of Black Cinema (2003)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Ted Newsom directs this well-made documentary that gives us a history of black cinema. This documentary was a lot better than I was expecting it to be but the director goes into some great details about various movie stars from the past. The film starts off with early silent cinema and how most black actors were just white people in blackface. We then discuss the likes of D.W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION and then we get into the likes of Oscar Micheaux.

From here the documentary covers a wide range of films and actors including the popular ones like Sidney Poitier but also some of the lesser known or forgotten artists like Stepin Fetchit, Mantan Moreland,and Willie Best. We also cover even smaller artists who have sadly been forgotten over the years. Films like GONE WITH THE WIND are discussed as well as some of the rock and roll films of the 1950s that at least allowed America to see the real artists like Chuck Berry.

While the running time keeps this from being even better, there's no question that Newsom has done a terrific job with not only the interviews but also the film clips shown. The story and how he tells it are extremely good and I thought this would really be beneficial to people that aren't overly familiar with some of these names. Yes, there's an error in regards to an actress in THE BIRTH OF A NATION but that's just a minor thing.

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