''Colors'' is a 1988 [[MysteryAndDetectiveFilms police drama]] directed by Creator/DennisHopper, which follows two officers as they work to combat gang violence in UsefulNotes/LosAngeles.

Bob Hodges (Creator/RobertDuvall) is a career veteran who works for the [[FunWithAcronyms C.R.A.S.H.]] (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) division, and is greatly respected by his peers and the community. As the film begins, he is [[OldCopYoungCop paired with an upstart rookie]] named Danny [=McGavin=] (Creator/SeanPenn), who is brash and aggressive towards the local residents.

They are both thrown into conflict when the murder of one of a hoodlum causes racial tensions to boil over, and both cops are caught in the middle of a war between the Bloods, Crips, and Barrio gangs. Both Hodges and [=McGavin=] have to work together to stop the conflict on the streets and deal with pressures both outside and within their own department. [=McGavin=] is also conflicted about his relationship with Louisa (Creator/MariaConchitaAlonso), a Latino waitress who is bothered by his attitude towards the gangs.

The film was the first directorial work by Hopper in 18 years, and was notable for its RealLifeWritesThePlot elements (which included, among other things, real gang members being hired as extras). The film also caused controversy due to Penn's antics during filming -- he was arrested and sentenced to 39 days in jail for punching an extra on set.

!!! "Tropes. The War Is Here. The War is Now.:"

* AndTheAdventureContinues: The film ends with [=McGavin=] and his new partner going back on patrol.
* BookEnds: [=McGavin=] begins training a rookie who acts much him at the end of the film, just like Hodges did with [=McGavin=] at its beginning.
%%* ByTheBookCop: Hodges.
%%* ChaseScene: With cars and motorcycles.
* ClusterFBomb: [=McGavin=] does this frequently.
* CowboyCop: [=McGavin=]. He eventually mellows out later in the film, though.
* DestinationDefenestration: A character is thrown through a window.
* FamilyUnfriendlyViolence: Thrown through a window, shot and killed during sex, gang violence, etc.
* {{Fanservice}}: A sex scene between Penn and Alonso.
* FanserviceExtra: A naked woman is among those arrested when the police raid a drug house. She does absolutely nothing in the scene -- or for the scene -- except be the subject of Penn's MaleGaze. The actress is even uncredited.
* {{Gangbangers}}: The film deals with the ongoing threat of gang warfare in L.A.
* GanglandDriveBy: Naturally for a urban crime drama set in L.A., (the city that popularized the drive by shooting) they show up.
* GangstaRap: Music/{{IceT}} did the theme song.
* HeroicBSOD: [=McGavin=] gets it after [[spoiler:Hodges dies at the end of the film]].
* MirandaRights: It's a cops and criminals film, after all.
* OldCopYoungCop: Hodges and [=McGavin=]. At the end of the film, [=McGavin=] assumes the senior role and begins teaching a young recruit himself.
%%* PoliceBrutality
* RealityIsUnrealistic: Critics thought the scene of the gang gunfire interrupting the funeral wasn't realistic. Shortly after the scene wrapped, an actual church service a short distance away was in fact interrupted by gang gunfire.
* RedOniBlueOni: Hodges (the "blue" seasoned veteran, who stresses a by-the-book approach and friendly relations with the people he meets) is paired with [=McGavin=] (the "red" hot-headed recruit who offends everyone he comes in contact with).
* ScaryBlackMan: Rocket. Many of the characters in the film are gangbangers and cold blooded killers. However most have a personality and a "live for today since I may not be here tomorrow" attitude. But Rocket spends virtually the whole movie just sitting and listening to 80's era gangsta rap with a blank expression on his face. It's obvious even other members of his own gang are terrified of him.
* TakingTheBullet: [[spoiler:Hodges takes the bullet meant for [=McGavin=] when the gunman hired by the Crips tries to shoot the latter, and dies as a result]].