In 1968 Gordon A. Parks Sr. (1912–2006) produced The Learning Tree, and helped to break down racial barriers in Hollywood when he became the first black to produce, direct, and score a film for a major studio, Warner Bros. The film Seven Arts was based on his autobiographical novel published in 1963. On September 19, 1989, the film became one of the first registered in the Library of Congress’s national film registry. Other highly commercial films directed by Parks included Shaft (1971), Shaft’s Big Score (1972), and The Super Cops (1974), all for MGM. After it had been struggling for some time, the Shaft films enabled MGM to become financially sound again.
Movie director and producer Spike Lee gained acclaim with films like 1989’s Do the Right Thing and 1992’s Malcolm X.