Racial diversity, or the lack thereof, in film has been a continuous conversation for decades. There is certainly a need to have a wide range of representation on screen to reflect the lives and stories of our culturally rich world.
For those who are underrepresented, it is validation that their experiences matter and they also deserve the space to have a wide variety of authentic, thoughtful, and nuanced portrayals, even if the people presented are not the heroes in the film. For others, it is a window into lives and cultures that do not reflect their own. As more films with diverse leads are made, the doors continue to open up for the types of stories that can be crafted with a variety of acting talent.
To acknowledge a wide range of film diversity, Stacker compiled data on Feb. 4, 2021, for all American-produced movies to come up with a Stacker score—a weighted index split evenly between IMDb and Metacritic scores—and ranked films accordingly. To qualify, the film had to have a non-Anglo lead or co-lead (e.g., Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”), at least 5,000 votes on IMDb, and a Metascore. Ties were broken by Metascore and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating.
Here are the 50 best U.S. movies with racially diverse leading roles.
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