Boyz n the Hood (1991) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
207 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Hard, thoughtful film with messages for everybody
mstomaso27 May 2005
John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood remains one of the best fictionalized and most poignant summaries of some of America's toughest internal problems - racism, violence, poverty, and drug abuse. This is not a hip-hop film, nor a detached and dehumanized story about "gang violence" (the great over-simplified scapegoat of the issues treated in this film), its a story about growing up fatherless or motherless in a war zone with a faceless enemy, where people do not value each other's lives at all and value their own lives only slightly more.

Laurence Fishburn leads one of the best casts of the early 1990s, in his memorable portrayal of Furious Styles, a father trying to raise his son (Cuba Gooding Jr) well in an environment where murder and substance abuse are day-to-day realities - South Central L.A. The film follows his son, Tre, and his friends, from the hardships of childhood in an irrelevant educational system and a neighborhood which doesn't allow kids to be kids, through to the realities of making decisions about the value of life and the development of responsibility and hope as young adults.

The cast disappears into their characters and brings each one to life in a unique and powerful way. losing the identities of big personalities like Fishburne and Ice Cube is no mean feat. Many of the performances recorded here are award-worthy - Fishburne, Bassett, Chesnutt, Gooding, and Ice Cube are especially memorable. For me personally, this is the film that convinced me that Ice Cube was destined to become a major personality in American cinema. While I had enjoyed some of his music prior to this film, it was here that I was first exposed to his versatility and intelligence as an actor.

While some may see some of the film's messages as heavy-handed, and others might have issues with the fact that the film deals with so many of the problems of inner-city life in a very 'in-your-face' almost archetypal manner, I find these criticisms impossible to justify.

This is a great film about real issues, sensitively portrayed and thoughtfully examined. Every American who cares about the vast untapped potential of our people ought to take a long, hard look at this one. These are not 'black problems', they are everybody's problems, and their solutions will require everybody's understanding. I could think of far worse places to begin developing that understanding than Boyz n the Hood.
97 out of 110 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A gripping tale about South Central L.A.
Agent1022 May 2002
John Singleton's best film also proved to be one of my favorite movies about life in the streets. Cuba Gooding, Jr. displayed early on he was going to be a respectable actor. The power of the film has yet to be matched as most modern interpretations of street life prove to be violent stylizations. While Singleton has taken a couple missteps along the way, this film still stands up rather well by today's standards. The motives and actions appear realistic, especially Doughboy's thirst for revenge. A good film, which not only helped improve Laurence Fishburne's career, but introduced us to Gooding.
47 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Place for Race
mbucky20 May 2005
Most movies about life in the hoods of LosAngeles, New York City, and other urban areas of the U.S. are discounted as novelty entertainment for audiences seeking sex and violence. Out of an era of gangster rap came a nationwide exposure of the issues within the Black and Latino communities, and directors like John Singleton and the Hughes Brothers follow in the footsteps of the great Spike Lee. The film Boyz n the Hood is an intricate examination of the archetypes and stereotypes of the hood, as well as an introduction to the survivors, both trapped in the violence and escaping the cycle. The film concentrates on a Black community without the interactions between communities shown in Do the Right Thing, another epic race commentary. The direction of the film is fluid and natural, the acting heartfelt and strong, the affect extraordinary. The message of the movie is deeper than White or Italian based gangland movies, because the human aspect and the characters are more solid and approachable, and rooted in highly intellectual and applicable theories on race and violence. This film is a showcase of the radical and moderate themes expressed by Black activists, with Laurence Fishburne's character as the leader and role model of the film. A careful examination of the film reveals a strong message and a strong film. Don't underestimate the power of this film.
38 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The best ghetto film of all time.
sixerzpac326 July 2004
Boyz N The Hood Directed by: John Singleton Country: USA Year: 1991 Running time: 107 minutes Starring: Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr.

"I watched the news this morning. Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood. They had all this foreign sh-t. They didn't have sh-t on my brother, man."

The mother of Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) decides to send her son to live with his father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne), after he gets into a fight at school. Furious, who lives in the heart of South Central LA, is a man that knows the values of how to respect and how to earn it. He's strict, but he's fair. Furious works as a mortgage broker.

We watch Tre mature from a young boy to his senior year in high school taking the SAT's. His two best friends are brothers. Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is a great athlete and is getting into college to support his girlfriend and infant son. The other brother, Doughboy (Ice Cube), is headed down a totally opposite path of guns, drugs, gangs, and violence. He's in and out of prison each year.

Furious knows that his son could get killed easily, as he was once involved with the gang scene himself. He wants Tre to graduate college and be good in whatever his profession may be.

As the story goes more in depth, we see that even if you aren't involved in a gang, you could still be a target. Whether it's your brother, cousin, sister, or other family member that is thee one involved with the violence, the main target could be the person in the family who stays away from the dangers of the street.

Tre and his friends are in a world where being violent is sometimes the way to live. Helicopters are heard searching for murderers every night. The police are so busy, that sometimes a 9-1-1 call could mean waiting for the police to arrive. There is even one Black-cop, who uses his power to try and intimidate young Blacks who he thinks might be involved in the gangs and violence.

This is the ultimate ghetto film, which will never be topped. All of the direction and screenplay is brilliant. Singleton doesn't use cheap scenes that get the viewer off-topic and the audience, as a whole, is always into the movie. Come into a world that most of us haven't been in. Follow the life of one boy who turns into a man as he has to not only goes through personal struggles, but has to worry about whether he'll be killed at any moment. -Pat

79 out of 105 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Remarkable Film From First-Time Director
evanreverb19 April 2004
An exemplary directorial debut from John Singleton, who managed to create an American classic with his first effort.

As we follow Tre Styles from childhood toward becoming a young adult (as played effectively by Cuba Gooding, Jr.), and attempting to dodge, with the cautious guidance of his parents, the many dangers and risks associated with growing up in inner-city America, the sense of ever-present danger and, often, hopelessness associated with attempting to avoid falling into the cracks of society is abundantly clear.

In the role of Tre's troubled friend Dough Boy, Ice Cube is something of a revelation, and his balanced performance, alongside Singleton's excellent script, prevent him from becoming merely another gangster caricature. Lawrence Fishburne and Morris Chestnut add further depth to a strong cast.

All in all a very real, gritty depiction of the challenges faced at every turn by African American men and women in modern America. The building anger bristling beneath the surface in so many scenes is particularly resonant given the outburst of violence in the Rodney King Riots that took place in the very same city of the story just one year later.

The film spawned several 'urban gang flick' imitations in subsequent years, but most glorified violence and placed an emphasis on a loud soundtrack and sexual explicitness at the expense of strong plot-line, good character development and a serious social message.

All three are to be found in Boyz N the Hood.
49 out of 63 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A profound ghetto film
Angeneer31 May 2001
John Singleton with his debut film cleared easily any opposition in the ghetto life genre. These are real characters facing real problems. Singleton goes one step beyond Spike Lee, analyzing and not only describing, proposing and not only denouncing. The film gets even more absorbing by the terrific camera work and the top notch acting.
30 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
hood ornaments, but this is more than an ornament
Lee Eisenberg3 August 2006
It's hard to believe that John Singleton's work degenerated so in later years, because his debut was a masterpiece. We probably all have to agree that "Boyz n the Hood" was basically the first "growing up in the ghetto" movie, showing how these African-American youths are surrounded by violence during their childhoods - some perpetrated by the cops, some is their own doing - but they all have to find a way to keep going. If the movie has any problem, it's that it opened the flood gates to a series of similar inferior movies (but also the hilarious satire "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood").

Anyway, this is the one that I recommend. Cuba Gooding Jr. made a very good debut. Also starring Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long and Angela Bassett.
30 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Powerful Drama That Has not Aged
Claudio Carvalho22 March 2016
In South Central Los Angeles, the boy Tre Styles lives with his divorced mother Reva Styles (Angela Bassett). When Tre is suspended for three days at school, Reva decides to send him to live in Crenshaw with his father, the businessman Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), "to become a man". Tre befriends his neighbors, the half-brothers Doughboy and Ricky Baker, and soon they become best friends. Seven years later, Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is an educated teenager preparing to join the university; Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is an athlete, expecting to join the university with scholarship since he is a great football player; and Doughboy (Ice Cube) is a small time criminal that has been arrested several times. But they live in a dangerous neighborhood where dreams are shattered by bullets.

"Boyz n the Hood" is a powerful drama by John Singleton that has not aged after twenty-five years. The social problem in American ghettos is shown in South Central Los Angeles. Youths are forced to live with violence and shootings since their parents cannot afford to move to a better neighborhood and even those that try to prepare for a better future, may be involved with the environment. The fate of Ricky and his family is heartbreaking. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Boyz n the Hood - Os Donos da Rua" ("Boyz n the Hood – The Owners of the Street")
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Rick, it's the Nineties. Can't afford to be afraid of our own people anymore, man.
Spikeopath31 August 2009

"One out of every twenty-one Black American males will be murdered in their lifetime"

"Most will die at the hands of another Black male"

"Increase The Peace" is the closing message of John Singleton's powerful, intelligent and affecting call for calm in South Central Los Angeles. Often mistakenly presumed by those who haven't seen it to be a film that glamorises violence, Singleton's debut film takes us into South Central and holds us there by just shooting the story. No trickery or overtly moralistic posturing from the director {and writer}, just an unpretentious look at life in a modern ghetto.

The story follows three black teenagers as they ponder on what life holds for them as adulthood lurks from around the corner. Brothers Doughboy {Ice Cube} and Ricky Baker {Morris Chestnut} and best friend Tre Styles {Cuba Gooding Jr}, each have the usual worries that come with leaving the teenage years behind. Parents, girls, careers, not returning to the pen! But this is no ordinary coming of age drama, we have been party to this neighbourhood that these boys live in. This is a place where a trip to the store can get you killed in a drive by shooting. A place where those keen to learn, and do their homework have their muse shattered by the frequent sound of gunshots and sirens filling the South Central night.

Tho Singleton can be accused of painting some of his characters as too saintly, he should be forgiven since this is after all, a message movie. Besides which his portrait of this particular neighbourhood is done from honest memory since he himself be a former youth of South Central LA. There in lies one of Boyz's trump cards, Singleton, thru his own observations, asks of those in "The Hood" to take responsibility for what they do. Something that is potently given narrative credence courtesy of Tre's father's {a fabulous understated Laurence Fishburne} deep musings. Once the built up tension explodes with the inevitable tragedy that all should be ready for, the impact is like a sledgehammer hitting bone. Not in a blood letting for impact sake, but with it's aftermath as a family soaks up the situation. It gives 90s cinema one of its most affecting and damning scenes, one that once viewed is hard to fully shake out of the memory bank. Here Singleton could possibly have bowed out of the story, but he goes further, expanding the aftermath and taking us, along with the characters, to it's final "Increase The Peace" dénouement.

It's been called everything from an After School Special to the most important Black American movie made thus far. I agree with the last assessment. 9/10
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Tough and unflinching
preppy-329 January 2007
A movie that takes place in South Central Los Angeles in 1991. I don't know about now but, at that time, that area was crime ridden with drug deals and murders happening almost daily. Father Jason Styles (Larry Fishburne) tries to bring up his son Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) correctly despite all the violence around them. It also deals with two friends of Tre--Darin (Ice Cube) an angry young black man and his brother Ricky (Morris Chestnut) who wants to go to college. It all leads up to a truly harrowing ending.

Director John Singleton's first movie is incredibly powerful and still his best movie (so far). From what I've heard he captured exactly what it was like to grow up in that area. It's a little dated though--the guy sucking on the pacifier confuses some people but that was a big fad back in 1991. It's just unbelievable that kids grew up in an area like that and survived. The story itself is a little too simplistic (the good and bad brothers) and it's basically just the story of a teenager coming of age--but it still works. Singleton wisely doesn't accuse anyone of how the situation is and offers no solutions. He just presents it in a matter of fact way which makes this all the more powerful.

The acting is just great. Fishburne and Gooding play a father and son perfectly. Fishburne is just incredible--Gooding falters a few times (and it's obvious that he's no teenager) but he's still very good. Ice Cube is a little one note in his character (always angry and sullen) but it fits. Chestnut is just great.

People should be warned--there's tons of profanity (but that is how kids talk) and the ending gets very bloody and disturbing. I still remember people crying out loud in the audience back in 1991. A powerful film and well worth seeing.
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Boyz n the hood
VidSteh16 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the best dramas I've ever seen. I touched me emotionally in many ways, despite the fact I can't really talk about real life in the black ghetto. I think this movie is quite realistic, sad, brutal and depressing at the same time. The story about three friends living in the cruel nature of ghetto, full of drugs, violence, gang wars etc. is shown very realistic and without any judgment or statement at the end of the movie, because the movie doesn't need that. Boyz n the hood is family drama about nonsense of gang violence, but what I like the most is that the movie doesn't show stereotypical characters and environment of the ghetto. The characters in the movie are shown like a people, who are trying to escape from the cruel nature of the streets, where death awaits. The movie is dealing with a lot of controversial themes (racism, loss of good friend, gang violence, unexpected pregnancies, violence without any sense) and I think that most directors would make this movie cheesy and pathetic, but Singelton managed to put together everything together in a beautiful and sad drama about young lives lost in the battle of streets. The three main characters are shown really great, I like the fact that Ice Cubes character change his behavior after shooting another gang member - this shows that even the hard boiled gangster like him is thinking about meaning of violence and killing another black brother. That shows that the violence is really just a illusion to solve problems. This also shows that the movie is realistic and doesn't show a life in the ghetto in stereotypical way.

All the actors are great from Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne to Ice Cube. I simply love this movie despite the fact I never knew the real life in the ghetto. Masterpiece.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Excellent Movie
jmorrison-224 May 2002
Well-done movie by John Singleton, and very well-acted. Well-developed characters, and people you come to really care about. What's especially sad is we actually have areas of this country where the brutality and senselessness portrayed here is all too real. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is exceptional as a bright young man deperately trying to not get sucked into the endless rage and revenge life of his boyhood pals. Laurence Fishburne is tremendous as a father trying to steer his son through this minefield of a life, and on to better things.

One complaint, his "Don't trust the white man" speech has gotten ridiculously old. This attitude serves absolutely no one, and makes all of us, white and black, worse off because of it. It's time this ceased to be portrayed in movies.
32 out of 51 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Singleton's best
Newsense13 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Boyz In The Hood is embraced by most people for all the wrong reasons. Most people embrace for the portrayal of hood life but only a few people understand why Boyz N The Hood is one of the most important contributions to Black cinema. Boyz N The Hood had a social conscious that is missing from a lot of hood flicks that come out nowadays. John Singleton got a lot of acclaim for this movie and to tell you the truth he deserved it.

The story if you didn't know is about Tre'(Cuba Gooding Jr) being sent to live with his father after he gets in trouble in school. The rest of the film details his experience in South Central Los Angeles.

Laurence Fishburne is at his best here. I always thought that he was a great actor and his role here proves it. Furious Styles is a loving father but stern and wise enough to be observant about his surroundings. Cuba Gooding Jr is great as Tre': a somewhat confused but intelligent kid. Ice Cube's best performance next to Fudge in Higher Learning will always be "Doughboy". Angela Bassett shines as Tre's caring mother.

I like all the gems in this movie like Furious telling Tre' why Black men shouldn't join the army or Furious explaining to the neighborhood in Compton what Gentrification is(hell, most people don't even know what that is now). The stereotypes in this movie are all too real: The mother that loves one son over the other, the biased black cop, the confused black men and women and crack cocaine. All these things still exist in every ghetto in America that is why Boyz In The Hood is still relevant after all these years! I recommend this movie to the crowd that is smart enough to embrace it for the gems that are held within. All you hoity-toity suburbanites that spent your whole life in The Hamptons need not waste your time. Two thumbs up all the way.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Brilliant use of sound, engaging script and wonderful character development makes this film better than you think.
johnnyboyz12 June 2007
Boyz 'N the hood is a thoroughly fascinating and deeper than you think look at life in Los Angeles around the early 1980s to early 1990s; what the film actually does is look at a life in one of these Los Angeles 'ghettos' and uses it as the backdrop for a wonderful series of filmic events revolving around growing up, relations with family and friends, racism and the constant threat of violence.

The film has a certain aged charm about it; and with actors you'd easily recognise today looking very different in 1991, this adds to the feeling. These actors/celebrities are: Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Ice Cube. I was surprised at how everything in this film just managed to pool together and just work. The film doesn't really adopt a neo-realistic approach but what it does do is tie together an unpredictable and often heart-warming script, great character development and some genuinely entertaining situations that don't let your eyes off the screen.

Some examples of this can be when the main group of characters are out for revenge and stalk a rival group whilst they innocently have their meals on the pavement or when the father of then ten year old Tré (Gooding Jr.) is desperately trying to bring his child up well and teach him the right things he needs to learn whilst we are desperately longing him to listen. The way in which the four main characters in the group also progress; bouncing off one another in life and scraps as they try to find their way is not only compelling viewing but the attention to detail by including unnecessary dialogue and real life conversations in real life situations is remarkable. The life in which these people lead is also put across in a very disturbing and realistic way that makes you glad you're not part of what is going on. This is done thanks to visuals and background noise and sound effects. Often a police car siren will begin to wail; signalling there's probably been another shooting or crime that has happened; there will also be, what I presume, a police helicopter fly overhead every once in a while – forced into keeping an eye on things and events even though everything's probably fine. This feeling of being trapped and constantly in danger whilst being watched most of the time plays on the character's minds and is relayed onto us in an often effective manner.

In terms of visuals, there are constant threats and reminders that danger, literally, lurks around every corner. Tré attempts to take some food from one house and walk it about a hundred yards back to his own for his father but along the way is greeted by a car containing a few 'gang bangers' possessing a sawn off shotgun that is consequently aimed at him. He also manages to save a child that had escaped from its mother from getting run down in the road – it turns out the mother has just too many to deal with and very solemnly shuts the door on Tré without much of a 'thank you'. Not only this but the approaching sound of rap and R&B music as cars get closer when there are multiple unknown characters in a scene is heard; it can feel very threatening – especially if our heroes are out on foot and you do feel like they are in danger.

Boyz 'N the Hood is a fantastic debut film for John Singleton as many have already said. It combines multiple conventions and mixes them in well with one another as we see the lives progress of these four people we would never normally give five seconds of our time to.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
"Rick, it's the Nineties. Can't afford to be afraid of our own people anymore, man"
Benedict_Cumberbatch9 April 2010
John Singleton's first and most successful film to date (and, I'm positive, his best work too) is an honest account of three black friends (played, in their teens, by Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube and Morris Chestnut) growing up in a South Central LA ghetto.

Ice Cube's song "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted" partially inspired the story, which is also partially autobiographic. Like the protagonist Tre (Gooding Jr.), Singleton lived with his mother (played by Angela Bassett in the film) for his first years, and was sent to his father's (Laurence Fishburne) when she felt the place she was living in wasn't suitable for the 10 year-old, and it was about time his dad taught him "how to be a man". The other protagonists, Ricky (Chestnut) and Doughboy (Cube) are half brothers who couldn't be more different: Ricky is their mother's favorite, the athlete pursuing a football scholarship to USC and their mom's pride and joy, while Doughboy is the overweight, overlooked 17 year-old ex-con.

"Boyz N the Hood" starts with sad statistics: "One out of every 21 black males will die of murder, most of them at each other's hands". Singleton, who was only 23 when the film was made (he became not only the youngest ever Oscar nominee for Best Director, but also the first African American to be nominated in that category; only this year another African American would be nominated, Lee Daniels of "Precious", exactly 18 years later), told a story of how the reality of one's environment and upbringing are definitely huge factors in how one's personality and life choices are shaped and/or limited; yet, it still remains one's own struggle in the end. The rebellion here is the struggle to get out of a rotten environment you alone aren't strong enough to change, without being killed by it before then. It's a struggle only those who have been there know entirely, and for those of us who are fortunate enough to have been raised in better or at least not as violent environments, we can imagine and analyze through statistics, but not with an inner understanding of what living in such reality is like - lucky us. In that sense, Singleton's film reminds me of Fernando Meirelles's masterpiece "City of God" (2002), which presents an even tougher, scarier reality in Brazilian "favelas", which, as a Brazilian myself, I can tell you it's all true (sadly). The musical score is corny and easily the weakest link in the film, and some moments seem clichéd and contrived; but you can't deny the impact and overall honesty of this brutal effort from this young director. Not as multi-layered or even ambitious as Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing", but still a film that remains relevant in 2010. 8.5/10.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Performances Were Good, But To Me This Lacked Intensity
sddavis6330 August 2012
I appreciated the performances from Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding, Jr. in this. They were both very good. I would also give credit to director John Singleton. This was his first movie, and he coaxed good performances from the entire cast, making me a little bit surprised that he hasn't really directed much of note since then. The movie opens with captions offering a sobering look at life in "the hood", and then proceeds offer us a look at that life in this black neighbourhood of Los Angeles, where violence, drug addiction and a general feeling of hopelessness is an everyday reality. That look is offered mostly through the character of Tre (Gooding) - a young man who seems to keep out of trouble for the most part but watches as his friends and neighbours often get sucked in to what's going on around them.

Tre was perhaps too good for my liking. As the movie begins, Tre (as a young boy) is sent to live with his father (Fishburne) so that his mother can finish her education and his father can teach him how to be a man. Frankly, Tre seemed to me too easy to teach. He really didn't seem to be much of a challenge for his dad. Perhaps a bit more emphasis on the relationship between Tre and his dad would have given the movie a bit more intensity. That's what seemed to be basically lacking for me. Until quite near the end of the movie, I wasn't finding this especially intense. I found it sad - especially the brief glimpse of the drug addicted mother who let her baby wander into the streets and didn't really seem to care all that much - but not really intense. That does change near the end of the movie, especially with the story of Ricky (Morris Chestnut) - a talented young football player who has a chance to get out with a football scholarship to USC. But up to that last half hour or so, I wasn't really finding this movie especially powerful.

Perhaps the intensity was lacking because the movie is more than 20 years old and is a bit dated, or, more likely, perhaps as a white person I simply can't relate to the environment that was being depicted. Whatever the reason though that lack of intensity and personal connection with the movie and characters (in spite of the good performances) pulls this down a notch or two for me. (5/10)
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Gripping, never let's go of the audience
Kristine24 August 2008
I always thought that such films that were named like Boyz N the Hood, Hustle and Flow, and Menace 2 Society, normally titles like that are not promising to a good movie. But I have seen Hustle and Flow and Menace 2 Society which were both really good movies surprisingly and one movie that everyone recommends to me was Boyz N the Hood and just praising it, so I finally sat down and watched it the other day and this movie just got to me. This is one of the better acted movies with stories of the ghetto and the thing that I loved about this film was that it had a good strong positive message to never let go of your dreams and don't let stupid people get you down. I was really impressed mainly with the performances in this movie, who didn't have a great performance in this movie? But I think it was Lawerence Fishbourne and Cuba Gooding, Jr. that really steal the show and tell the story so well.

Tre is having a hard time in the city where he and his mother live, he gets in trouble at school and she sends him to live with his dad, Furious Styles for the summer to teach him how to be a man. Tre grows up, comes back for a summer, and lives with his dad, seeing old friends and reconnecting with an old flame, one problem, this is all happening in South Central where the shootings are frequent, drugs are being done 24/7, and you have a 98% chance of being a looser that will probably die. He and his two best friends learn how to deal with the possibility of being killed or doing something they can never take back.

Boyz N the Hood is a powerful movie that is very impressive, especially for a film that was made under a seven million dollar budget. I would recommend this movie, it is a bit violent and the swearing is persistent, but this is a film about the ghetto. But I felt like this film had a positive message that really made me smile and just kept rooting for these poor boys who had no say in their lives and just had to do the best the could to make it out of these deadly situations where they could die before even making it into an adult life. I really liked Boyz N the Hood, it's a good strong movie that will remind you to hold onto your dreams and don't let anyone get you down.

2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A Masterpice on The Truth About Urban Life
respectthelife18 December 2005
This Movie Was A Masterpiece, And Should Be Shown At Every School In Every Major City Showing What Can Happen If You Make The Wrong Choices. I Know It Would HAve Possibly Made A Impact On My Friends And Family If It Had Been Shown At School Or Something Like It. But It Is The Most Accurate Depiction Of Urban Life Of Any Film Or TV Show Even To Current Date. It Has Helped Me Cope With Urban Life And I Have Been Out Of Prison For 2 Years. I Have This Movie To Thank For That. It Showed Me What Will Happen If I Stayed On The Path I Was On. But Ice Cube Is At His Acting Best As Is Cuba Gooding Jr. Larry (Laurence) Fishburne And Morris Chestnut. There Still Has Yet To Be A Movie Like It. Or Even Close To It. In Closing Id Like TO Say You Should Watch This Movie If You Haven't Yet. Or Buy It If You Love It And Don't Already Own It. I Just Purchased It On Its Anneversary 2 Disc DVD Set And Love It. Thank For Reading This Hope It Was Useful And I Hope You Love The Movie Or Buy It. InCrease The Peace
10 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A classic film that SET the cliches for others to repeat
bob the moo25 July 2002
Tre is sent by his mother to go back into `da hood' to live with his father to `become a man'. He hooks back up with his friends - loser gangbanger Doughboy and athletic college hopeful Rick. Tre finds that the hood is full of traps for the young men therein and must decide how he wants to live his life with guidance and hindrance from his father and his friends.

It's hard to remember now, but this film was the one that created a series of copies and spoofs, some of which were better or more hard hitting, but they all suffered because they held to cliches that this film created. I.e. the babyfather trap, the college kid having his dreams crushed etc. The plot now suffers because we know it is all a cliché - but with fresh eyes it is powerful and realistic for many. Singleton may be a flash in the pan but this was his flash and he directs well - only occasionally going OTT dramatically with slowmo etc.

The young cast are all very good. Gooding Jr delivers a good, if naïve performance and Ice Cube proves that not all rappers have to be rubbish actors in poor `comedies'. Fishburne is as powerful as ever in a small role but Angela Bassett has little to do with her small role. Long is one of my favourite actresses and she's really good here. Many of the cast do fall into caricatures but it's best to ignore that as much as you can.

Overall a great film that suffers now because it has been copied so much that it looks like a cliché itself. However with fresh eyes this is a powerful film with only a few weaknesses.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Made for TV movie with sex, violence, and harsh language
w_irwin2622 September 2006
So this movie won an Oscar or something? That was a sign of the times. It was the first big release movie to spotlight violence among urban blacks and made by a black director and crew. That was also the time when political correctness became trendy. Today, this movie goes straight to BET.

The sequences are just as surface level as many made for TV movies, and while there are some bona fide stars in this movie, the supporting cast is full of bit players and people that will never be seen again.

Though there are many flaws, two moments in particular come to mind. First, Tre comes back from a night of hanging out and shows up at his girlfriend's house, has a nervous breakdown, and she instantly, without discussion, gives him what she had so vehemently denied him earlier in the movie. Do we have any idea why? That was just an excuse to add the one element of appeal that makes up for what the movie is lacking. It's the oldest trick in the book. Then, when the shooting occurs, the victim is dragged into the house and on sight of him, his girlfriend screams, but we're reminded of the attempts at acting that are characteristic of a low budget horror film. It was pretty weak.

Anyway, the morals, the premise, and some of the performances are pretty good, but overall, this movie is corny and satirical.
8 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Strong message, weak story
Everett Jones25 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Movies like this raise the question of whether movies are most important as arts of work on their own terms or as social statements made to have an impact on the world. Just by habit, I tend to lean towards the first view, and I would guess that most filmmakers do as well, since directors generally seem wary of discussing their work in terms of messages. But obviously not John Singleton; in the very first shot of Boyz n the Hood, the camera pushes towards a stop sign until it looms over the audience. This image sets the mood for the rest of the film, which has a strong impact that, as contradictory as this might seem, is somewhat blunted by the lack of subtlety. It belongs to that group of movies that probably stem most directly from Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets, a film that showed how talented young directors could make a splash with a debut set on their own home turf, particularly home turf far removed from the mainstream of American society. Not that Boyz n the Hood is anywhere as good as Mean Streets, but then I don't think that Singleton's main goal is to top Scorsese: he has a point to make. It's about the poverty and violence infesting South-Central L.A., with three main characters representing the basic options available to a young black man from that background. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Tre, whose father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne) is determined to raise him with the self-respect and discipline to avoid a life of crime and violence. His friend Ricky Baker (Morris Chestnut) isn't as smart but hopes to get into college on an athletic scholarship. Doughboy, meanwhile, is already immersed in gang life. The main performances are strong, particularly from Ice Cube, whose character is in man ways the most interesting, possessing the self-awareness his life is headed nowhere but not the will to do anything about it. At his strongest, Singleton creates a powerful, bleak portrait of a community under siege from guns, drugs, poverty, and general hopelessness, and he immerses you in this world as well, so that you share with the characters the same sense that all of the exits have been closed off. Whether or not you agree with all of the specific points that Singleton is trying to make, Boyz is unquestionably strong as a statement and a piece of reporting. It's far from a great piece of film-making; the music is intrusive and poorly done, and the story is overly melodramatic- it's not enough that one character has to be murdered to show the tragedy of gang violence, his friends then have to dump his bloody corpse in his living room so that we can see his mother's and his girlfriend's hysterical grief. But melodrama isn't really the main problem; it's more that Singleton's determination to get his message across frequently overwhelms his determination to tell a good story with believably individual characters. Too often the characters seem to be speaking to the audience instead of each other, sometimes to the extent that I expected them to turn towards the camera and issue a final warning. But for all of my criticisms of the movie, in the end I'm not sure how much they mean, because Singleton's focus, as I've already said, really doesn't seem to be on creating great art. If the success of a film is to be measured by whether it accomplishes what it sets out to do, rather than by one's enjoyment of it, than I think Boyz n the Hood would have to rate as a solid achievement.
5 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A movie that aged really well
ComedyFan201027 April 2018
The first movie by John Singleton it is also the first movie that clearly portrays the life in a poor black neighborhood. If it seems to you now like it includes some formula like parts, remember that this is the movie that created this "formula" by which many other hood movies got filmed.

It is done in a wonderful way. While some elements of this life are already very well known to the point that they may become a cliche in a movie, in this case the director manages to portray it all very realistic and easy to connect to the people in the movie. There is great acting and a special mention should be of Ice Cube for whom this was his acting debut. He portrays Dough in a brilliant way. He may be the guy who went the wrong road but we can see him being a good person and not having made these choices just on his own but being part of the system that pushed him into it. No wonder Ice Cube continued his acting career and is pretty successful.

Definitely a nice classic from the 90's that I recommend to people who want to watch a realistic and dramatic movie that makes one both think and feel
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Growing up with guns
paul2001sw-130 September 2017
John Singleton's 'Boyz n the Hood' tells a story of growing up young and black in America. It's less intense (and more mannered) than say, a Spike Lee film, and indeed, the world it shows us is in many respects a middle-class one. But drugs, and most fatally, guns, are pervasive in a way they might not be in a more privileged white community; and where guns are involved, things never turn out well. What the film lacks is a clear political stance: it doesn't show us why things are this way, and the most egregious display of racism comes from a black police officer. Still, it's an interesting look at a "hood" that is not a slum, but nonetheless has deep problems; and of how those problems make a good life a hard thing to live. Almost thirty years later, those same problems appear not to have been solved.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Great performances, a heartfelt story, a strong style
Christopher Reid31 January 2016
I enjoyed Boyz N the Hood on many levels. For instance, it's fun just as a film capturing a certain time and place. The culture of young black men in South Central Los Angeles. We also see the young women and older and wiser parents in their lives but the focus is on the boys that grew up to be men between 1984 to 1991. Or perhaps, as the title suggests, they still have a lot to learn before they are men. One character uses a dummy (or pacifier), one is in a wheel-chair and another seems to have a drinking problem. They don't appear to be employed or to have any serious plans about their futures.

People talk about "keeping yourself out of trouble". I guess they mean you need an active lifestyle as part of the community, doing good normal things. If you don't, you're at risk to get mixed up with the wrong people or to be drawn into a gangster lifestyle. But even if you're straight-laced, the streets are dangerous. Guns and alcohol are readily available and in fact Furious (Larry Fishburne) suggests that this is a deliberate ploy to encourage black youth to kill themselves. After all, you don't find so many gun and liquor stores in other neighbourhoods. But then, the guns are being bought and business is business so it's hard to be so sure. Either way, it's pretty disturbing. As you might guess, shootings are common and police helicopters are often flying overhead.

I really enjoyed the hip hop soundtrack. It was mostly songs I didn't recognise but I really liked them and it created a unique vibe. Not a collection of fad songs that now make the movie dated. It's what the characters probably would've liked, what they heard and grew up with.

The performances are so natural, it feels like the actors simply are those people. I guess the director (John Singleton) was able to trust that they know their character and give them the confidence to do whatever feels right to them. The cast is entirely black and there is no compromise in their language, nothing is translated into typical Hollywood dialogue, they just say what they're feeling. Some of the bluntness I found hilarious. But it's always clear what they mean and what they feel and that's what matters. This movie isn't about race but it is set within a black culture and it feels legitimate rather than forced or contrived.

Another strength of the film is that it only cares about its characters and its story. There are no convenient dramatic pay-offs, no major plot twists, practically no exposition. The movie never tells us what to think or feel (as at least 90% of movies try to). But there are shocking moments and surprises. There are emotional climaxes and tension when we're not sure what risks a character might take and whether they'll survive.

It has one of the most realistic and heart-breaking death scenes I've ever seen. There are so many different emotions on display. Hearing that raw pain, the sobs, the yells, the repeated phrases, the shock that a loved one has died and you can't or don't want to accept it. It shows that death isn't always poetic with a few final stuttered words followed by a profound screaming of "no", sometimes it's brutal and harsh and cuts through your soul. There are also details afterwards that add a venomous after-sting of grief to the death.

There is some inevitability to the violence that occurs and it's hardly a surprise that the movie veers in that direction. It's only a matter of time before someone you know is affected. But it's more knowing simply that some violence will occur, the specifics of who and where and how are quite random and the movie captures this. Tensions rise, misunderstandings turn into intimidation and assertions of later vengeance. In those heightened moments when people are running, hearts racing, guns firing, a split second can make all the difference. It's chaos and that makes it all the worse and harder to bear. But I guess it's always going to be like that with guns.

Cuba Gooding Jr. (Tre) stands out as the main character. He carries an inner-conflict within him. He is kind and caring but he's passionate and wants the violence to end. It tears him apart that he feels so powerless. What can he do? How can he fight the violence without turning to violence himself? How can he have a normal life when his friends take risks, he regularly encounters aggression and guns are everywhere? When I saw police arrive in one scene, I felt sure they would be racist white cops and I thought "here we go, another stereotype in another movie". One of them did seem racist, but he was also black. Pretty unexpected. He turns up late to answer a call, casually eating as he arrives. He seems convinced that these young men are as good as dead, he believes it's unavoidable and therefore deems them worthless.

In a way, it's Tre's love for his friends and family that is the biggest risk for him. He would do anything to save, protect or avenge them. If he was smart, maybe he'd abandon them and focus on his hopeful future. Gooding Jr. embodies this struggle very well. He never seems to fully smile or laugh freely. There's always some fear or apprehension lying behind it. And the supporting cast is incredible, every part. Ice Cube is understated, you feel a lot it going on in his mind. He seems consumed by anger for whatever reason.

Anyway, Boyz N the Hood is a great movie that really affected me. It's funny to reflect on the problems I have in my life and to see how mild they are compared to the ones in this film. Makes me realise how lucky I am.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An Excellent,Powerful And Unforgettable Classic From John Singleton.
jcbutthead8612 March 2014
Boyz N The Hood is an excellent,powerful and unforgettable classic that combines great direction,a wonderful cast,a terrific script and an intense and memorable score. All those elements make Boyz N The Hood not only one of the best films of the 1990s and a classic of not only Black cinema but cinema in general and is John Singleton's best film.

Set in South Central Los Angeles,California,Boyz N The Hood tells the story of Tre Styles(Cuba Gooding Jr.),a teenager who as a kid is sent by his Mother Reva(Angela Bassett)to live with his Father Furious Styles(Laurence Fishburne)who has been teaching Tre to grow up since Tre was a kid. Along with living with his Father,he is best friends with brothers Doughboy(Ice Cube),a criminal and Ricky Williams(Morris Chestnut),a star High School Football athlete and young Father. While living in their neighborhood,Tre,Doughboy and Ricky have to deal with violence,tragedy and coming of age in South Central.

Boyz N The Hood is a brilliant and groundbreaking film in many ways because it's the movie that gave birth to the 'Hood genre in the 1990s and is The Godfather of this genre paving the way for other Hood movies such as Menace II Society(1993)and Juice(1992). It was also the first film where director John Singleton was the first African-American to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar which was well-deserved. And while Singleton has made good films since Boyz N The Hood,none of his other films has matched the power of Singleton's film debut. Boyz N The Hood is an instant classic from the moment you watch it because it's a Hood movie,a morality tale and a coming of age film giving viewers a gritty film that never loses it's impact after many viewings. Boyz was also the film that gave movie goers a look into the world of South Central Los Angeles,showing the violence,tragedy and urban decay that was going on in 1991 and where there is danger and bullets in the air the kind of things that was being talked about on record by great Hip-Hop artists such as N.W.A,Ice-T and Ice Cube during the late 1980s and early 90s. The w There is many themes that are repeated in BNTH themes such as family,violence and growing up and the themes are presented in a harsh and realistic way that is in your face and unflinching and never sugarcoated with messages that will make an impact on viewers. The Coming Of Age genre has always been one of my favorite film genres and BNTH is one of the greatest and most realistic Coming Of Age films with the examination of the film's three main characters and best friends Tre,Doughboy and Ricky. Tre,Doughboy and Ricky are great characters in the Coming Of Age film genre because we as viewers see them as flawed individuals that we can relate to and we see all three of them have to deal with various issues and subjects:Tre and his relationships with his Father and girlfriend,Doughboy being out of jail and trying to survive on the streets and Ricky trying to get into College while being a teenage Father. The three of them are the best of friends but act like they are real brothers who are faced with living in a dark and harsh environment while still trying to be strong and survive on the mean streets of L.A. while growing up fast and quick. What is also interesting about Tre,Doughboy and Ricky is the differences in the three characters home lives because while Tre has his Father and a positive role model in his life,Doughboy and Ricky live with their Mother but with no Father or positive role model in their lives to give them guidance(Doughboy and Ricky are Half-Brothers)and lead them on the right path. With Tre having a Father around him you feel that there is hope for Tre but with no Father for Doughboy or Ricky you will feel sadness for the two of them. Tre,Doughboy and Ricky are characters that will stay with you because you will wonder will they survive the on the streets of South Central or will the streets get to them. The screenplay by John Singleton(which was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay)is impressive and powerful,with Singleton giving the characters dialog that is thoughtful and sends a message that makes you think. The ending of Boyz N The Hood is amazing,unforgettable and gives viewers a mixture of hope,tragedy and sadness that is bittersweet but matches the tone of the rest of the film. An incredible ending to a classic film.

The cast is wonderful. Cuba Gooding Jr. is excellent and memorable as Tre Styles,with Gooding Jr. bringing emotion and depth to the performance. Ice Cube(in his film debut)is brilliant and unforgettable as Doughboy,Tre's streetwise best friend,with Cube being iconic and charismatic. Laurence Fishburne is fantastic as Furious Styles,Tre's well-meaning Father. Morris Chestnut is great as Ricky,Tre's other best friend and Doughboy's brother. Nia Long is wonderful as Brandi,Tre's girlfriend. Angela Bassett is terrific as Reva,Tre's Mother. Tyra Ferrell does a fine job as Brenda Baker,Doughboy and Ricky's Mother. Regina King(Shalika),Raymond Turner(Ferris)and Jesse Ferguson(Officer Coffey)give good performances as well.

The direction by John Singleton is amazing,with Singleton bringing a simple but effective and realistic gritty style to the film. Great direction,Singleton.

The score by Stanley Clarke is outstanding,powerful and intense and truly adds to the movie's tone. A terrific score by Clarke. There is also a great song called How To Survive In South Central by Ice Cube that plays at the end of the film. A wonderful song.

In final word,if you love John Singleton,Hood Movies,urban films or cinema in general,I highly suggest you see Boyz N The Hood,an excellent,powerful and unforgettable classic that will stay with you after you watch it. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews