Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman is the hilarious and harrowing true story of undercover Colorado detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who partners with a white officer (Adam Driver) to infiltrate the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. But what other movies feature ambitious black men looking to take down a corrupt system from the inside? We picked five films to prime you for Lee’s latest masterpiece.
The Black Klansman  (d. Ted V. Mikels, w. Art Names & John T. Wilson)
That’s right, there’s more than one movie titled Black Klansman. Fifty-two years before Spike Lee, exploitation mainstay Ted V. Mikels’ B&W shock fest follows a light-skinned black man (Richard Gilden, who was actually white) as he infiltrates the Ku Klux Klan, hoping to uncover the mastermind behind a bombing that took his daughter’s life. Stark, violent and stuffed with upsetting imagery, The Black Klansman is just as distressing in 2018 as it was in 1966.
The Organization  (d. Don Medford, w. James R. Webb)
The final film in Sidney Poitier’s “Mr. Tibbs Trilogy”, The Organization sees the legendary performer returning for one more go-round as the straight laced detective, aiding a group of revolutionary vigilantes in an attempt to take down a ring of ruthless drug runners. Amazingly cynical, Poitier saved the pulpiest Tibbs tale for last, as the suspended policeman takes the law into his own hands, only to learn that he may win a few battles, but will ultimately lose the war against injustice.
Black Eye  (d. Jack Arnold, w. Mark Haggard & Jim Martin)
Fred “The Hammer” Williamson is Shep Stone, an ex-cop turned private investigator who arrives home one evening to find his neighbor murdered. While investigating this awful crime and searching for a client’s runaway daughter, the smooth PI infiltrates a porno set, a religious cult, and a ring of underground sex traffickers, which could all possibly be tied into a sect of Old Hollywood’s richest, most powerful members. An underseen Blaxploitation gem.
New Jack City  (d. Mario Van Peebles, w. Thomas Lee Wright & Barry Michael Cooper)
In Mario Van Peebles’ stone classic, an undercover detective on the edge (Ice T) becomes a crack pusher to try and take down kingpin Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes). New Jack City is still one of the greatest cop movies ever made; super violent and sporting a killer soundtrack, this ‘90s staple has a ton to say about the post-Reagan epidemic that overtook many of America’s inner cities.
Deep Cover  (d. Bill Duke, w. Michael Tolkin & Henry Bean)
Predator’s Bill Duke directs a live-wire Larry Fishburne, who works his way into a drug-slinging syndicate run by lecherous yuppie Jeff Goldblum. Those who grew up during the ‘90s will instantly recognize Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s iconic title track, even if they haven’t seen Duke’s brutal, uncompromising cop movie treatise on systematic racism.