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Film: Boyz n the Hood

Increase The Peace

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 crime / drama film, and John Singleton's directorial debut. It enjoyed widespread critical acclaim from critics and the public alike, and helped jump-start the "urban crime drama" genre. It also received two Academy Award nominations (for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay), making Singleton the youngest person (at 23 years old) and the first African-American to be nominated for the Best Director award. Often praised as the best 'hood film ever made.

Crenshaw, a neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, is a place where drive-by shootings and unemployment are rampant. But it is also a place where harmony coexists with adversity, especially for three young men growing up there: Darren "Doughboy" Baker (Ice Cube), an unambitious drug dealer; his half-brother Ricky (Morris Chestnut), a college-bound teenage father; and Ricky's best friend Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), who aspires to a brighter future. In a world where a trip to the store can end in death, the friends have diverse reactions to their bleak surroundings. Tre's resolve is strengthened by a strong father (Laurence Fishburne) who does his best to keep him on the right track, but the lessons Tre learns are put to the test when tragedy strikes close to home, and violence seems like the only recourse.


This film provides examples of:

  • Awesome Mccoolname: Tre's dad, Jason "Furious" Styles, played by Laurence Fishburne.
  • Black and Grey Morality
  • Boomerang Bigot: Officer Coffey is a black policeman who shows apathy and hostility to blacks.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Part of Tre's attraction to Brandi is that she's Catholic. Brandi herself subverts this trope, wanting to wait until marriage as her faith dictates. She changes her mind and she and Tre have Their First Time after he's harassed by Officer Coffey.
  • Cluster F-Bomb
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Though never directly stated, it is implied that Doughboy and his friends (who are frequently shown wearing blue clothing) are members of the Crips, while Ferris and his crew (who wear red clothes and drive a red car) are Bloods.
  • Crapsack World: The ghetto.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Played for Drama.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Doughboy, Monster, and Dooky take revenge on Ferris and his cronies for murdering Doughboy's brother (Tre intends to take part at first but ends up bailing out beforehand). Weeks later, Doughboy is murdered in turn.
  • Dad the Veteran: Furious served in Vietnam so he could avoid the criminal lifestyle and be someone Tre looks up to. The only time he mentions it is when he warns Tre about the army, but given his stern and disciplined nature (not to mention his unwillingness to shoot an intruder) shades of it do show through.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ricky and Doughboy have different fathers, yet neither is around. In fact, Furious is the only father in the neighbourhood. And Ricky becomes one to his son after getting gunned down.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Ricky and Doughboy are both murdered, but Tre and Brandi make it out of the 'hood and go on to college.
  • Follow the Leader: This film popularized the urban crime drama.
  • Formerly Fat: Not as drastic as some examples, but Doughboy used to be quite tubby (hence the nickname). After the Time Skip, though, he's stout and muscular. In fact, an early scene shows Ice Cube lifting weights in his yard.
  • Glasses Pull:
    Furious: Come with me, I want to show you something.
    Tre: Do we [Tre and Ricky] have a choice?
    Furious: (calmly takes off his reading glasses) No.
  • Hollywood California: To be specific, Crenshaw.
  • The Nineties: One of the decade's defining movies, recognized as such by even the Library of Congress, and preserved in its National Film Registry.
  • N-Word Privileges: Subverted. The black police officer Coffey uses the N-word freely... because he's a terrifying Boomerang Bigot who hates other blacks. When he uses it, it's with genuine malintent.
  • Opt Out: Furious convinces Tre not to take part in the final fight against Ferris. This turns out to be the right choice.
  • Parental Favoritism: Strongly implied that between Ricky and Doughboy, their mother preferred the former.
    • Not just strongly implied-Doughboy straight out says that their mother always loved Ricky best.
  • Pet the Dog: Early in the film some hoods steal Ricky's football. After trying and failing to get it back (getting Doughboy knocked down and kicked) they give up and walk away. One of the hoods sees how upset Ricky is, takes the ball from the guy who took it and throws it to Ricky.
  • Police Brutality: Officer Coffey is a black policeman who shows racism towards other blacks because he thinks they're all criminals. When he and his partner question Tre and Ricky, Coffey shoves a gun in Tre's face to see him scared for his life and explains that he signed up specifically to rough up those he hates.
  • Police Are Useless: When the police arrived for the robbery, they dismissed it as trivial because there was nothing taken and the robber escaped unharmed. Officer Coffee wishes Furious had killed the man.
  • Precision F-Strike: Furious drops one near the end when reasoning with Tre:
    Furious: Give me the motherfucking gun, Tre!
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Furious Styles's .357 Magnum.
  • Too Dumb to Live: As they run away after narrowly avoiding a drive-by shooting, Ricky stops to take a leak and then after unwisely suggesting they split up, instead of keeping his wits about him, he casually strolls along doing another lottery scratchcard. He soon gets spotted and killed by the drive-by shooters
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Check out all the late '80s/early '90s fashions, hairdos, music, video games and styles.
  • Villain Protagonist: Doughboy isn't exactly one of God's best children, what with being a killer and a dope dealer... but to his defense he didn't make the ghetto, the ghetto made Doughboy.
  • Villains Out Shopping: After Ricky is murdered, Doughboy and his friends set out to find the killers, who are... eating and having casual conversation at a fast-food joint. Cue drive-by.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Look at the title.

Bottle RocketCreator/The Criterion CollectionBram Stoker's Dracula
Beauty and the BeastNational Film RegistryPrincess Nicotine
Blood Sucking Pharaohs In PittsburghFilms of the 1990sBrown Bears Wedding

alternative title(s): Boyz N The Hood
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