Where to Stream All of Cicely Tyson’s Great Movies and TV Shows


There is no better way to honor the late Cicely Tyson than by revisiting—or, in some cases, discovering—the great performances she left behind. Here are some of our favorites, and where you can watch them right now.

Rebecca Morgan in Sounder (1972) 

Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in this movie about a loving family of Louisiana sharecroppers struggling through the Depression. Rent it on Amazon

Binta in Roots (1977) 

If you haven’t yet watched Alex Haley’s groundbreaking miniseries on his own family’s history, from freedom in Africa to slavery in the American South through the Civil War, there’s no better time. Tyson appears only in the first episode, as Binta, mother of Kunta Kinte, but her performance of raw maternal love is crucial to the journey that comes next. Streaming on HBO Max

Sipsey in Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

The role of maid turned cook turned secret (and righteous!) killer Sipsey checks all the Cicely Tyson boxes in this beloved tearjerker about the lives of strong women in a now abandoned small Alabama town. Rent it on Amazon

Constantine Bates in The Help (2011) 

Though in some aspects this movie falls into the problematic trope of the “white savior,” rich performances from the cast tug effectively at the audience’s heartstrings, providing, at least, an emotionally resonant story. Tyson is no exception as the devoted maid and mother figure whose firing kick-starts the events of the plot. Streaming on Netflix

Carrie Watts in The Trip to Bountiful (2014) 

Based on the Horton Foote play of the same name, this Lifetime original earned Tyson Emmy nominations as an actor and as a producer, but what’s most exciting here is watching her reprise the role for which she won a Tony Award—the oldest acting winner in history, at 88, the year before. Watch on the Lifetime Movie Club

Playing Ophelia Harkness, mother of Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), Tyson is both fearsome and fearful, battling dementia and revealing more than a few murderous deeds from her past. Harkness is the definition of a fighter, and Tyson is really the only one who could have taken on the role. Streaming on Netflix


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