Skip to main content
Indiana University Bloomington

Black Film Center/Archive College of Arts and Sciences


Films by Title: "J"

Listed by title followed by year of release, annotation, genre, running time, format, and director

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

J.D.'s Revenge (1970) - A docile black law student is possessed by a 1940's mobster in mid-70's New Orleans. The mobster seeks revenge upon the people who killed him and his sister. Action, 95 min., DVD, dir: Arthur Marks.

J.T. (1969) - J.T. Gamble, a black boy in Harlem does not relate well to his hostile enviornment until he finds a friend. J.T. learns about love, responsibility, honesty, and sharing after befriending an alley cat. Neighborhood bullies torment the cat; the cat escapes only to be killed in the street traffic, but J.T.'s family and the neighborhood grocer console him. Children, 50 min., 16mm, dir: Robert M. Young.

Jackie Brown (1997) - Based on the book "Rum Punch" by Elmore Leonard, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) reprises her blaxploitation characters of the seventies in this dramatic film about a fired airline stewardess who resorts to trafficing money to make extra income. Stars Samuel L. Jackson as Ordell Robbie. Action, 154 min., VHS, dir: Quentin Tarantino.

Jackie Robinson [A&E Biography] (1991) - Hosted by Peter Graves, a biographical picture about Jackie Robinson's life and role in baseball. Includes archival footage of Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, film clip from The Jackie Robinson Story, and Branch Rickey. Documentary, 50 min., VHS, dir: Maurice Paleau.

Jackie Robinson Story, The (1950) - Jackie Robinson plays himself in the story of his breakthrough to the major leagues and his early playing career. Louise Beavers plays Robinson's mother; Ruby Dee plays sweetheart-then-wife Rae. Drama, 76 min., DVD, dir: Alfred E. Green.

Jacob Lawrence: The Glory of Expression (1992) - African American painter Jacob Lawrence discusses his work and life. Documentary, 28 min., VHS, dir: David Irving.

James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (1989) - American Masters episode that presents Baldwin’s biography through rare and previously unreleased footage, interviews, and clips from his funeral service. The narrative features notable writers including Maya Angelou, Amiri Barak, and William Styron. Documentary, 87 min., VHS, dir: undetermined.

James Brown & Friends: Set Fire to the Soul (1987) - James Brown performs with Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, Wilson Pickett, Robert Palmer, and Billy Vera at a club in Detroit in this Cinemax presentation. Music Performance, 58 min., VHS, dir: Bruce Gowers.

James Brown: Live in America (1987) - James Brown performs many of his biggest hits in this 1985 concert at Chastain Park in Atlanta. Music performance, 60 min., VHS, dir: Joe Gates.

Janine (1990) - Cheryl Dunye talks about her high school friend Janine, how their friendship affected her perception of herself, and how it changed when Cheryl told Janine she is a lesbian. First film Dunye made as a MFA candidate at art school. Short, 9 min., DVD, dir: Cheryl Dunye.

Jason's Lyric (1994) - Jason (Allen Payne) and Joshua Alexander (Bokeem Woodbine) are bound together by the terrible death of their father, Maddog (Forrest Whitaker). Jason has put the past behind him, but his younger brother Joshua has memories that lead him into a life of drugs and violence. Suzzanne Douglas plays Gloria, their abused mother; Jada Pinkett Smith is Jason's love interest, Lyric Greer; Anthony "Treach" Criss plays her gangster brother Alonzo. Drama, 116 min., VHS, dir: Doug McHenry.

Jasper and the Haunted House (1942) - Jasper is told to deliver a gooseberry pie to Deacon Jones but is maliciously directed to the Haunted House instead by Scarecrow and his black crow. Children, 6 min., VHS, dir: George Pal.

Jasper's in a Jam (1946) - George Pal's puppetoon features Jasper caught in a lock clock shop as the inanimate objects come to life. Children, 8 min., VHS, dir: Duke Goldstone.

Jazz, episode 1. Gumbo (2000) - The first episode covers the development of jazz from the early years to 1917 and the influence of New Orleans on the music. Musicians highlighted include Buddy Bolden, Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton. Documentary, 90 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 2. The Gift (2000) - The episode focuses on the Jazz Age and the spread of jazz to Chicago and New York. Musicians featured are Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, Paul Whiteman and Fletcher Henderson. Documentary, 120 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 3. Our Language (2000) - This episode examines the five years between 1924 and 1929 and beginnings of Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw's careers as well as Bessie Smith facing down the KKK, Bix Beiderbecke's short career and the continuing saga of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. Documentary, 120 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 4. The True Welcome (2000) - This episode is centered on the first few years of the Great Depression and the beginning of the Swing Era. Along with focusing on Chick Webb, Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Art Tatum, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman, the episode also features the Savoy in Harlem and dancers Norma Miller and Frankie Manning. Documentary, 120 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 5. Swing: Pure Pleasure (2000) - During the Great Depression, swing music becomes the countries' favorite music. Big bands dominate led by Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmie Lunceford, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington continue their careers and influence and Billie Holiday begins her career. Documentary, 90 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 6. Swing: The Velocity of Celebration (2000) - Swing music continues to dominate but a new version comes from Kansas City led by Count Basie and Lester Young. Louis Armstrong finds love and Benny Goodman plays the first jazz concert at Carnegie Hall. Chick Webb finds Ella Fitzgerald and then dies. Billie Holliday records "Strange Fruit", Duke Ellington tours Europe and Coleman Hawkins records "Body and Soul." Documentary, 105 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 7. Dedicated to Chaos (2000) - This episode focuses on jazz during World War II including its influence in France and Germany. Django Reinhardt plays in spite of the Nazis. Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw enlist and play for the troops. Duke Ellington meets Billy Strayhorn and Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker meet and change jazz. Billie Holliday battles a growing addiction to drugs. Documentary, 120 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 8. Risk (2000) - Even though big bands fade, Duke Ellington keeps touring. Louis Armstrong travels the world with his All Stars. Norman Granz also tours with jazz groups. Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker continue to push boundaries with bebop and Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, and John Lewis leave their mark on jazz. Drugs become a bigger problem for musicians. Documentary, 120 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 9. The Adventure (2000) - The late 1950s sees the rise of the Civil Rights movement and avant-garde jazz. Louis Armstrong speaks out for civil rights, Miles Davis overcomes drugs and records several legendard albums, and Duke Ellington has a revival at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. Promising musician Clifford Brown dies in a car accident and Billie Holliday and Lester Young both die. Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman launch avant-garde jazz. Documentary, 120 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz, episode 10. A Masterpiece at Midnight (2000) - The last episode looks at the 1960s to the present. Jazz struggles to compete with rock n' roll. Dexter Gordon goes to Europe for a time. Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington both die in the early 1970s. John Coltrane and Miles Davis both help change jazz again. New musicians including Wynton Marsalis emerge. Documentary, 120 min., DVD, dir: Ken Burns.

Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960) - Jazz artists such as Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk, and Mahalia Jackson are featured in this documentary of the Newport Jazz Festival in the summer of 1958. This film was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1999. Tape includes A Summer's Day, a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the film. Documentary, 84 min., VHS, dir: Bert Stern.

Jazz Singer, The (1927) - Sam Warner's vitaphone found its first voice on screen in this film. Al Jolson plays Jack Rabinowitz, a cantor's son, who is caught between his devotion to family and tradition and his deep love for the jazz the father feels is sacriligious. Jolson dons blackface in the famous rendition of "Mammy." Musical, 89 min., DVD, dir: Alan Crosland.

Jazz, the Intimate Art (1968) - Four jazzmen--Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck and Charles Lloyd--are interviewed by Dan Morrow and are also seen in concert. Originally aired as an episode of "The Bell Telephone Hour" on April 26, 1968. Documentary, 56 min., 16mm, dir: N/A.

Jealous Princess, part 1 and 2 (2008) - Mercy received money from her uncle which attracted her husband Sam to marry her. Now, after years of marriage, Sam's company is in financial trouble. Nneka is another wealthy young lady who offers to bail Sam out, but he doesn't realize that she has hidden motives. Drama, 50 and 44 min., DVD, dir: Wonso Okonkwo.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010) - Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this definitive documentary but also delves into Basquiat as an iconoclast. Documentary, 93 min., DVD, dir: Tamra Davis.

Jena 6, The (2008) - This is the story of six students put on trial by the DA in Jena, Louisiana for attempted murder. It is a story of hidden racial inequality and violence. Jena became the site of the largest civil rights demonstration in the south since the 1960s. Documentary, 30 min., DVD, dir: N/A.

Jeni LeGon: Living in a Great Big Way (1999) - A look back on the life and career of dancer Jeni LeGon told through interviews with Jeni, friends, and professionals. Includes archival footage of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Fats Waller, Paul Robeson, and Cab Calloway. Documentary, 49 min., VHS, dir: Grant Greschuk.

Jericho (1937) - Paul Robeson portrays Jericho a falsely convicted soldier who flees from war time France to Africa where he lives as a desert sheik, saving an Arab caravan and being saved by his white Gunga Din, Wallace Ford. Jericho's pursuer finds him and attempts to take him back to stand trial. Drama, 75 min., DVD, dir: Thornton Freeland.

Jerry Maguire (1997) - Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is an agent with a top sports management firm who has a crisis of conscience after discovering that what he and the firm do is good for business but harms his clients as human beings. Dorothy (Renee Zellweger), a single mother secretly in love with Jerry, and Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a football player whose pride has hampered his sports achievements co star. Gooding Jr. won an Oscar for his performance. Drama, 138 min., VHS, dir: Cameron Crowe.

Jesse Jackson: I Am Somebody (1995) - Documents Jesse Jackson's rise within the political system. Includes archival footage of Jackson with Martin Luther King among others. Documentary, 50 min., VHS, dir: N/A.

Jesse Jackson and Carolyn Shelton: Pushing for Excellence (1978) - This short documentary produced by CBS News takes a look at the lives of Rev. Jesse Jackson and Carolyn Shelton and presents their messages of what African Americans need to do for self-improvement. Documentary, 18 min., 16mm, dir: N/A.

Jesse Owens Returns to Berlin (The Olympiad Series) (1964) - Also available in two 27 minute films, the 1936 Olympics as viewed by Jessie Owens. Some actual footage of the games in Berlin. Documentary, 46 min., VHS, dir: Bud Greenspan.

Jittering Jitter-Bugs (1938) - Hamtree Harrington, Lee Norman's Orchestra and Arthur White's Lindy Hoppers are the stars in this musical comedy that takes place in Harlem. Musical, 11 min., VHS, dir: Walter Graham.

Jivin' in Be-Bop (1947) - One of the greatest of all jazz stars, Dizzy Gillespie, appears in this featue length show playing most of his Bop hits of the forties. A number of other black entertainers, dancers, and singers appear as well. Musical, 59 min., VHS, dir: Leonard Anderson.

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (1986) - Richard Pryor portrays Jo Jo Dancer, a comedian at the peak of his career and the bottom rung of his self-esteem. After a drug-related accident that leaves him near death, Jo Jo looks back on his life, from his upbringing in a brothel, through his early comedic performances in cellar nightclubs, to his eventual stardom. Paula Kelly plays a stripper who gets Jo Jo a gig at the nightclub where she performs. Drama, 97 min., VHS, dir: Richard Pryor.

Joe Bullet (1973) - When a mysterious gangster starts sabotaging soccer team The Eagles' chance at winning the upcoming championship final, there is only one man who can save the day ... Joe Bullet. Action, 79 min., DVD, dir: Louis De Witt.

Joe Louis [aka Power Profiles: The Champs, Joe Louis (1985) - This short documentary profiles the boxing career of Joe Louis. Documentary, 24 min., VHS, dir: Richard Gabourie.

Joe Louis Story, The (1953) - A fictional dramatization of Joe Louis' career in the ring features actual sequences of his ring battles with Braddock, Baer, Carnera, and others. Drama, 88 min., VHS, dir: Robert Gordon.

Joe's Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads (1983) - Joe's (Horace Long) barbershop in Bedford-Stuyvesant is a central meeting place in the neighborhood. Clients discuss and debate personal and political issues, as well as bet their number(s). Drama, 60 min., VHS, dir: Spike Lee.

John Baker's Last Race (1976) - Filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the story took place, the film highlights the achievements of terminally ill Track and Field runner John Baker. Drama, 30 min., 16mm, dir: Douglas G. Johnson.

John Coltrane: The Coltrane Legacy (1985) - Interviews with former bandmates are interspersed with excerpts of John Coltrane performances in this documentary. Performances include "So What" (1959) with the Miles Davis Quartet and "Alabama" (1964) which was composed after four children died in an Alabama church bombing. Documentary, 61 min., VHS, dir: Burrill Crohn.

John Wideman: A Conversation with John Wideman (1992) - Part of the series In Black and White: Conversations with Afro-American Writers featuring a conversation with author John Wideman.In Black and White (Part 6). Documentary, 26 min., VHS, dir: Matteo Bellinelli.

Johnny Handsome (1989) - When severely deformed criminal John Sedley (Mickey Rourke) is set up by his partners, he is sent to prison where Dr. Steven Resher (Forest Whitaker) restructures his face and gives him a new identity. J.W. Smith plays Larry, one of the co-conspirators in the failed robbery. Morgan Freeman is Lt. A.Z. Drones. Drama, 96 min., VHS, dir: Walter Hill.

Johnny Lingo: Building Self Worth in Others (1969) - Presents a story about a young native of a Pacific island who bargains for a wife according to the custom of his people. Shows how the self-worth of an individual is augmented by love and esteem. Drama, 24 min., 16mm, dir: N/A.

Johnson Family Vacation (2004) - Comedy in the vein of National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) that follows the Johnson Family enroute to their annual family reunion in Caruthersville, Missouri. Cast includes Cedric the Entertainer, Vanessa Williams and Steve Harvey among others. Comedy, family, 96 min., DVD, dir: Christopher Erskin.

Jongos, Calangos and Folias: Black Music, Memory and Poetry (2007) - The film Jongos, Calangos and Folias: Black Music, Memory and Poetry is a historiographical documentary made from the audiovisual archives of Acervo UFF Petrobrás Cultural Memória e Música Negra. It is also intended for educational purposes, following the Brazilian National Curriculum Guidelines for Education of Ethnic-Racial Relations and the Teaching of Afro-Brazilian and African History and Culture, published in 2004. The history of jongos, calangos and folias, as cultural heritage, is presented associated with the history of social groups that support it. The film highlights the role of black poetry in all three cultural manifestations and its role in the political legitimation of the remaining Quilombo communities of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Documentary, 45 min., DVD, dir: Martha Abreu & Hebe Mattos.

Josephine Baker Story, The (1991) - The film is a dramatic account of the real life story of Josephine Baker who achieved fame through her performances on the American vaudeville circuit and on the stages of Paris. The narrative also reveals Baker's fight against racism and her contributions to France during World War II. Drama, 131 min., DVD, dir: Brian Gibson.

Joueur de Cora, Le (The Cora Player) (2000) - Two young Africans from different social backgrounds want to defy tradition and be free to love each other. This Burkina Faso/Canada co-production is based on Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which particularly upholds the right to love freely, blind to convention and social class. An animated film without words for twelve to seventeen yers olds. Animation, shorts, duration undetermined, VHS, dir: Cilia Sawadogo and Gaston J-M Kabore.

Journey of August King, The (1995) - In 1815, a widowed farmer comes across a run-away slave in North Carolina. He must decide whether to break the law and help the woman or allow her to be recaptured. Drama, 90 min., DVD, dir: John Duigan.

Journey of the Lion, The (1992) - In this docudrama, Brother Howie is a Jamaican Rastafari who dreams of the land of his ancestors - Africa. On a journey in search of his roots and his identity he travels through three continents and, with great humor and sensitivity, discovers the world and Africa. Documentary, 91 min., DVD, dir: Fritz Baumann.

Judge Priest (1934) - Will Rogers movie about a homespun judge in a small southern town, highlighted by give and take between Rogers and Stepin Fetchit, the putative chicken thief. Hattie McDaniel is Aunt Dilsey; she and the judge duet together on "My Old Kentucky Home." Comedy, 80 min., 16mm, VHS, dir: John Ford.

Judgement Day (2001) - This documentary compares the current struggles of Palestinians in Israel with the oppression of black South Africans during the apartheid era. Documentary, 59 min., VHS, dir: Kevin Harris.

Juice (1992) - Q (Omar Epps), Steel (Jermaine Hopkins), Bishop (Tupac Shakur) and Raheem (Khalil Kain) are a group of Harlem youths who commit a robbery which ends with a double murder and the young men turning against one another as the police close in. Samuel J. Jackson plays Trip, the owner of a local video arcade which students frequent instead of attending school. Drama, 95 min., VHS, dir: Ernest R. Dickerson.

Juke Joint (1947) - Spencer Williams and July Jones in a backstage plot set in Texas; includes a jitterbug contest, a staple of the forties. Drama, 70 min., 16mm, DVD, dir: Spencer Williams.

Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986) - Terry Doolittle works on computers in a bank office. She often communicates at work via computer, but one day she is contacted by a mysterious user named Jumpin’ Jack Flash. It turns out that he is a British secret agent and is asking her for help. She agrees to help him, but does not realize that she is also attracting unwanted attention. Comedy, romance, thriller, 105 min., Blu-Ray, dir: Penny Marshall.

Junction 88 (1947) - An early all-Black musical featuring Bob Howard, Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham, Noble Sissle, and Wyatt Clark. Musical, 50 min., VHS, dir: George P. Quigley.

Juneteenth Community (2000) - African-American freedom is the focus of this film about on Juneteenth, June 19, the African-American Emancipation Day, which originated in Texas in 1865 and celebrates the liberation of slaves in some states of the Confederacy. Full-length, original VHS version. Documentary, 43 min., VHS, dir: Carolyn Y. Johnson.

Juneteenth Community (2003) - African-American freedom is the focus of this film about on Juneteenth, June 19, the African-American Emancipation Day, which originated in Texas in 1865 and celebrates the liberation of slaves in some states of the Confederacy. 20-minute DVD version. Documentary, 20 min., DVD, dir: Carolyn Y. Johnson.

Jungle, The (1967) - In 1966 Harold Haskins apporached members of the 12th & Oxford St gang in Philadelphia and asked them to make a movie about their world. While not a strict documentary (it includes recreated scenes), the film is a revealing look at gang culture in the late 60s. Never theatrically released, the film was selected for the 2009 National Film Registry. Documentary, 21 min., DVD, dir: Charlie "Brown" Davis, Jimmy "Country" Robinson, and David "Bat" Williams.

Jungle Fever (1991) - When Flipper Purley (Wesley Snipes) sleeps with Italian secretary Angie Tucci (Annabella Sciorra), violence breaks out on all sides. Neither Flipper's nor Angie's family can cope with the relationship, nor apparently can most of society. Spike Lee plays Flipper's buddy; Lonette McKee plays Drew, Flipper's wife; Samuel L. Jackson plays Gator, Flipper's drug-addicted brother; Halle Berry plays Vivian, Gator's girlfriend; Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis are Gator's and Flipper's parents; Queen Latifah plays a waitress. Drama, 132 min., VHS, DVD, dir: Spike Lee.

Jungle Jig (1941) - Dorothy Dandridge sings and dances in this musical short set within the African jungles. Music performance, 2 min., VHS, dir: N/A.

Jungle Jitters (1938) - Stereotypical animated cartoon with blacks in exaggerated positions in the jungle. It is one of the "Censored 11" that were banned from television syndication by United Artists in 1968. Comedy, 8 min., 8mm, 16mm, VHS, DVD, dir: Friz Freleng.

Just an Overnight Guest (1983) - Based on the novel by Eleanora Tate, the film is about a ten-year old who has trouble adjusting when a disruptive and neglected six-year-old moves in with her family. Richard Roundtree and Rosalind Cash are the parents. Drama, 38 min., 16mm, dir: Gina Blumenfeld.

Just Another Girl on the IRT (1993) - A spirited Brooklyn teenager (Ariyan Johnson) copes with life in the projects and sustains her fierce desire to go to college and become a doctor. Drama, 96 min., VHS, dir: Leslie Harris.

Just Doin' It (A Tale of Two Barbershops) (1988) - The barbershop in the African American neighborhood functions as the location for various discussions pertaining to everything from politics to family planning. Documentary, 29 min., VHS, dir: William Greaves.

Justice for Sale (2011) - A human rights lawyer questions the justice system and investigates individuals that have been convicted. She questions if the system has been used properly or if certain laws have been ignored or unfairly applied. Documentary, 83 min., DVD, dir: Illse van Velzen and Fenke van Velzen.

Justifiable Homicide (1981) - Outside a laundromat in a black neighborhood, a pair of white policeman apprehend a young black man with no apparent cause. The suspect puts up some resistance and one of the policemen appears poised to shoot him but instead is shot himself by the suspect's brother. Is this homicide justifiable? Drama, 5 min., 16mm, dir: Carmen Coustaut.

Juwanna Mann (2002) - After Jamal Jeffries bad boy antics get him kicked out of the NBA, he dresses up as a woman and makes the try outs for the Women's Universal Basketball Association (WUBA). Jeffries efforts to hide his male identity are further complicated when he falls for his teammate, Michelle. Comedy, romance, 91 min., DVD, dir: James G. Robinson.

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