Boyz N the Hood (1991)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age, Urban Drama  |   Release Date - Jul 12, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brendon Hanley

Coming two years after Spike Lee's groundbreaking Do the Right Thing, the first movie by African-American director John Singleton was seen as part of the black film movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was the first mainstream movie to deal with gang violence in America's urban ghettos, and its thoughtful approach helped open the door for a number of similarly themed movies in the next few years, including Menace II Society, Fresh, and Juice. Boyz N the Hood stands out because of its honesty and because it successfully humanizes all of the parties involved, including the drug dealers and murderers. The story revolves around three youths who choose to deal with their environment in different ways, and the movie features a two-part structure, which shows their lives when they are children and then when they are on the verge of high school graduation. The central roles are filled well by three newcomers (Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, and Ice Cube), and their dynamic gives the movie its most memorable moments.