The 10 Best Angela Bassett Movies
Throughout her career, Angela Bassett has portrayed some of the most iconic Black women in history and fiction, on screen. From Tina Turner to Rosa Parks, Dr. Betty Shabazz, and Queen Ramonda in Marvel’s Black Panther. After earning her Masters of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama, Bassett began her acting career on stage in New York theatres, in presentations of August Wilson plays, including Fences in 2006 alongside longtime co-star Laurence Fishburne.
Besides her acting, Bassett has directed episodes of ABC’s Scandal, the Ryan Murphy horror anthology series American Horror Story, in which she also had recurring roles in multiple seasons for which she received Emmy nominations. In 216 she received her first directorial nomination from the Directors Guild of America for the Whitney Houston biopic Whitney, starring Yaya DaCosta. She has also done voice work in Bojack Horseman, Rainbow Six: Siege, and most recently as Decepticon Shatter, in Bumblebee. Currently, as Bassett stars in and produces the hit Fox drama 9-1-1 as Los Angeles police officer Athena Grant.
What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993)
What’s Love Got to Do with It is a story about Tina Turner (Bassett) a woman who overcame abuse, and heartbreak at the hands of her husband played by Laurence Fishburne, to become an international singing and performance superstar. As a biopic, the film is one of the very few that takes an unflinching look at the painful past of its main subject. like Turner herself, Basset gave an emotionally and physically amazing performance that touched audiences and earned her an Oscar nomination, and to this day is still one of the best dramatic performances ever.
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The Rosa Parks Story (2002)
On December 1, 1955 seamstress Rosa L. Parks (Bassett) refused to give up her seat on the bus, to a white male passenger, and the course of American history was forever changed when the Montgomery Bus Boycott began. Directed by Julie Dash, the film explores Park’s past from her childhood to her part in the civil rights movements in organizations like the NAACP. For her portrayal, Bassett won the Black Image Award for Best Actress, the NAACP Image for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.
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Black Panther (1998)
As heir to the throne of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) must take up the mantle and mask of Black Panther, to protect and lead his people, but when a new foe, known as Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), steps forward to challenge him, T’Challa learns a painful family secret that puts everything, and everyone in jeopardy. As Ramonda, Queen of Wakanda, and mother of T’Challa, Basset, shows the strong and loving nature of a mother always trusts supports her children. Directed by Ryan Coogler, and starring Danai Gurira, Lupita N’ong’o, Black Panther is a film that not only succeeds as an action and superhero film, but is also one of the best films in the MCU, and 2018.
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Malcolm X (1992)
Directed and co-written by Spike Lee, the film chronicles the life of Black Nationalist leader Malcolm X (Denzel Washington) who was one of the most influential people in the African American community during the late 50s to early 60s. Beginning from his early childhood, up until his assassination in 1965, the film shows the various people in Malcolm’s life who helped shape the man he was, including his wife, Dr. Betty Shabazz (Bassett). With the combination of Bassett, Washington (who both give amazing performances) and Lee, Malcolm X looks all the sides and internal conflicts of a man who – after his death – still fascinates and inspires people by words, and life.
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Waiting To Exhale (1995)
Based on the best-selling novel by Terry McMillan, Waiting to Exhale follows four best friends, Bernadine (Bassett), Savannah (Whitney Houston), Gloria (Loretta Devine), and Robin (Lela Rochon) through their dating experiences, marriages, and professional lives. Starring some of the most popular African-American actresses and actors, the film remains a favorite with fans for its strong female characters, realistic discussions about relationships, and a great soundtrack.
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How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
Following the advice of her best-friend Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg), successful stockbroker Stella (Bassett) leaves the stress and fast-paced life of San Francisco, for the sunny shores of Jamaica. While on vacation Stella meets the much younger Winston (Taye Diggs), and the two become involved in a steamy romance. Based on another best selling Terry McMillan novel, How Stella Got Her Groove Back became a cultural phenomenon amongst the Black female community, as it encouraged them to embrace life and love, and watching Angela Bassett having fun and falling in love on screen is something that will never stop being enjoyable
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Boyz N The Hood (1991)
In an attempt to protect her son Trey, and set him on the straight and narrow, Reva (Bassett) sends him to live with his father in Crenshaw. But, eight years later South Central Los Angeles is a city that takes a toll on its citizens, particularly young Black men. In his directorial debut John Singleton – who also wrote the film – created a film spoke that bolstered the careers of actors like Cuba Gooding Jr. Ice Cube, and Morris Chestnut, and influenced a generation of young people. Boyz N the Hood also made Singleton the youngest person and first African-American nominated for a Best Director Oscar.
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Sunshine State (2002)
Desiree Perry (Basset) with her new husband Reggie (James McDaniel), returns home to the small Florida resort island where her parents still, and members of the community try to figure out what to do with a new resort being built, and family matters. At the centre of all the drama are three women, Desiree, Mary (Edie Falco), and Francine (Mary Steenburgen) trying to find resolutions to painful pasts, and three actresses who hold the film together with amazing performances.
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Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
When most kids are spending time playing video games, Akeelah (Keke Palmer) spends her learning new and complex words with her tutor Dr. Larabee (Laurence Fishburne) in preparation for the National Spelling Bee. Though her character Tanya did have some tense moments with Akeelah, it’s great to see Bassett in a light-hearted, feel-good film where family and chasing your dreams if the primary message…bonus for teaching new words like prestidigitation
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Jumping the Broom (2011)
The Watsons and Taylors do not get along, but when Sabrina Watson (Paula Patton) and Jason Taylor (Laz Alonzo) tell their parents of the impending nuptials they demand their feuding parents work things out if their wedding on Martha’s Vineyard is to be successful. Of course, some things are easier said, than done. Loretta Devine and Angela Bassett facing off against each other are one of the joys of Jumping the Broom, along with Patton’s endearing and funny interactions with Basset, who plays her mother.
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