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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990–1996)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 83,955 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 13 critic

The Banks family, a respectable Californian family, take in a relative - Will Smith, a street-smart teenager from Philadelphia. The idea is to make him respectable, responsible and mature, but Will has got other plans...

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1996   1995   1994   1993   1992   1991   … See all »
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 13 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
 William 'Will' Smith / ... (148 episodes, 1990-1996)
 Philip Banks / ... (148 episodes, 1990-1996)
 Carlton Banks / ... (148 episodes, 1990-1996)
 Hilary Banks / ... (148 episodes, 1990-1996)
 Ashley Banks / ... (148 episodes, 1990-1996)
 Geoffrey Butler / ... (148 episodes, 1990-1996)
 Vivian Banks / ... (75 episodes, 1993-1996)
 Vivian Banks (74 episodes, 1990-1996)
 Nicky Banks / ... (50 episodes, 1994-1996)
 Jazz (47 episodes, 1990-1996)


When Will, an inner-city teenager from Philly is sent by his mother to live with his relatives (the Banks') in Bel-Air, everybody is in for a surprise. It is funny how influence can go both ways... Written by Steve Richer <sricher@sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

10 September 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Prinz von Bel-Air  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(148 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


In the episode "Will's Misery", the scenes where Carlton runs around the entire set is unscripted. Riberio mainly did this for comedic use. See more »


In the episode where Hillary obtains a job as a caterer there is a scene where Hillary is talking to the assembled group of her family. In this scene Will's apron disappears and reappears during shots. See more »


Carlton: [the very last lines of the series]
[Will sadly walks through the empty Banks' living room one last time; he makes his way towards the kitchen and turns off the lights. Carlton is still upstairs using the bathroom]
[Carlton runs down the stairs pulling his pants up]
Will: [Will stops as he watches Carlton run out the back door] I am definitely gonna miss you, C!
See more »

Crazy Credits

For a couple of episodes, the show was entitled 'The Fresh Prince of Philadelphia???' for when Will decided to stay in Philly. See more »


The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Written by Will Smith and Jeffrey A. Townes
Performed by Will Smith
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Still fresh after all these years
5 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I like to think of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" as a memorable rap song from a time when it wasn't afraid to be creative or witty. Think of a song by Public Enemy, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, or hell, even The Fresh Prince's duo with DJ Jazzy Jeff (who guest stars frequently as Jazz), as the two were known back in rap's Golden Age as DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.

Of course, this show flourished during a time when rap was still good, and I can't help but make comparisons to the hip-hop community. There is no question that Will Smith is a born entertainer, and he got his break in stardom outside of hip-hop with "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." In it, Will Smith pretty much plays Will Smith (I bet creators Andy and Susan Borowitz had a lot of difficulty thinking up that name), a Philadelphia ghetto youth who gets shipped out by his mother to the posh excess of Bel-Air to live with relatives - The Banks.

Once out there, he finds rivalry with cousins - the preppy Carlton and airheaded would-be blonde Hilary Banks (Alfonso Ribiero and Karyn Parsons), young cousin Ashley (Tatyana M. Ali) emulates Will's hip-hop attitude, and Aunt Vivian (alternately played by actresses Janet Hubert-Whitten and Daphne Maxwell Reid) keeps husband and successful lawyer Uncle Phil's (James Avery) head cool when Will gets into trouble. To keep everything tidy and in order, their loyal, sarcastic British butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell) is there too.

It's still fresh after all these years. It never fails to stir up careful, thoughtful, moving, and intelligent laughs from the viewer and I'm surprised I avoided it for so long. (Why do I do this to myself all the time?)

The acting is cool and fresh by all, especially from Smith, and the ladies of the house, Karyn and Tatyana, are both pretty cute to look at too.

29 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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