Boyz n the Hood

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This article is about the 1991 film. For works with similar titles, see Boyz n da Hood (disambiguation).
For the Eazy-E song, see Boyz-n-the-Hood.
Boyz n the Hood
Boyz n the hood poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Singleton
Produced by Steve Nicolaides
Written by John Singleton
Music by Stanley Clarke
Cinematography Charles Mills
Edited by Bruce Cannon
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • July 2, 1991 (1991-07-02) (Los Angeles)
  • July 12, 1991 (1991-07-12) (United States)
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6.5 million[1]
Box office $57.5 million (North America)[1]

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American teen hood drama film written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long and Angela Bassett. This was the film debut for both Ice Cube and Morris Chestnut.

Boyz n the Hood was filmed in (then called) South Central Los Angeles, California from October 1 to November 28, 1990 and released in the United States on July 12, 1991. It was nominated for both Best Director and Best Original Screenplay during the 64th Academy Awards, making Singleton the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director and the first African-American to be nominated for the award.

The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.[2] In 2002, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.[3]


In 1984, Tre Styles lives with his divorced single mother, Reva in Watts, Los Angeles. After Tre gets in a fight at school, his teacher informs Reva that Tre is highly intelligent but has a volatile temper and lacks respect. Worried about Tre's future, Reva sends him to live in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles with his father, Furious Styles, from whom she hopes Tre will learn valuable life lessons and how to be a man. In Crenshaw, Tre reunites with his friends, Darrin "Doughboy" Baker, Doughboy's maternal half-brother Ricky, and Chris, their mutual friend. That night, Tre hears his father shooting at a burglar who tried to steal from the house. Two policemen arrive an hour later, and while the white officer is civil, the black officer treats Furious with disrespect and contempt. The next day, Tre and his friends go out with Chris who shows them a dead body. While there, a group of older Watts Crip gang members steal Ricky's football and Doughboy aggressively tries to get it back but is easily defeated. While the boys walk away, one of the members gives Ricky back his ball and a frustrated Doughboy says he is going with Chris to the store. Later in the day, Furious spends quality time with Tre, taking him to the seaside for fishing and telling the boy more about his life story, including the time that he even went to Vietnam in hopes of making his boy proud of him. He concludes by advising Tre to never join the army, stating that the black man has no place in the army. While returning home, they see Doughboy and Chris getting arrested for stealing something at the store, while Ricky and Tre look on.

The film then jumps forward to seven years later. At a backyard party, Doughboy is now a Crip and is celebrating his recent release from jail, along with most of his friends, including Chris, who is now in a wheelchair from a gunshot wound, and new friends Dooky and Monster, also Crips. Ricky, now a star running back for Crenshaw High School, lives with his mother Brenda, girlfriend Shanice, and their infant son. Tre has grown into a mature and responsible teenager, works at a clothing store at the Fox Hills Mall, and hopes to attend college with his girlfriend, Brandi.

Ricky hopes to win a scholarship from USC, but the recruiter tells him he must score a 700 or higher on the SATs in order to qualify. After the test, Furious takes Tre and Ricky to Compton to talk about the dangers of decreasing property values in the black community. That night, during a local street racing gathering, Ricky is provoked by Ferris, a member of the Bloods. In response, Doughboy brandishes his handgun, leading to a brief argument between the two gangs. When the two gangs are done arguing, Ferris fires his gun in the air to signal everyone to leave. While Tre talks about leaving Los Angeles, he and Ricky are pulled over by the police. The lead officer, the same one who was disrespectful to Furious seven years earlier, intimidates and threatens Tre with his gun, knowing he can't do anything. Distraught, Tre goes to Brandi's house, where he finally breaks down. After she consoles him, they have sex for the first time.

The next day, Ricky has a fight with Doughboy, with Brenda quickly taking Ricky's side and berating Doughboy. While Ricky and Tre walk to a nearby store, they see Ferris and his gang driving around the neighborhood and to avoid them, cut through back alleys and separate. Ferris's car closes in on Ricky, and one of Ferris's gang members guns Ricky down, killing him almost instantly. Doughboy and his gang, who had sensed that Tre and Ricky were in danger, catch up to the location of the shooting but are too late. Devastated and helpless, the boys carry Ricky's lifeless body back home. When Brenda and Shanice see Ricky's corpse, they hysterically blame Doughboy, who unsuccessfully tries to comfort them. That night, Brenda reads Ricky's SAT results, discovering he scored a 710, just enough to qualify for the USC scholarship he wanted.

The remaining boys vow vengeance on Ferris and his group. Furious finds Tre preparing to take Furious's revolver, but convinces Tre to abandon his plans for revenge. However, Brandi and Furious catch Tre sneaking out of his bedroom window to join Doughboy. That night, as the gang drives around the city, Tre asks to be let out of the car and returns home, realizing that his father was right to keep him from falling into a cycle of violence. When Tre gets back, Furious is waiting for him; they look at each other without saying a word, and then Furious retreats to his bedroom. Doughboy finds Ferris's gang at a local fast food restaurant, and Monster opens fire on them, killing one and wounding the other two. Doughboy gets out and personally executes the other wounded gang member and Ferris, avenging Ricky's death.

The next day, Doughboy visits Tre, now understanding Tre's reasons for abandoning the gang. Doughboy knows that he will soon face retaliation for Ferris' death, and accepts the consequences of his crime-ridden life. He plaintively questions why America "don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood". He sorrowfully says that he has no family left now after Ricky's death and Brenda's disownment of him, but is embraced by Tre, who says to Doughboy "You still got one brother left."

The epilogue reveals that Doughboy saw Ricky buried the next day and was murdered two weeks later. Tre and Brandi resume their relationship, and go on to attend Morehouse and Spelman Colleges in Atlanta, respectively. This closes the film.



Critical response[edit]

Boyz n the Hood received universal acclaim. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 96% based on 61 reviews, with an average score of 8.3/10, making the film a "Certified Fresh" on the website's rating system.[4] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 73 out of 100, based on 18 reviews, which indicates "Generally favorable reviews".[5]

Cultural impact[edit]

The film has been referenced innumerable times in other works, including works by Lupe Fiasco, Game, and Ice Cube himself. In 1994, British jungle DJ duo Remarc and Lewi produced a song titled "Ricky". The song itself is built up of various sound bites from the movie, particularly the scene where Ricky is murdered. Ice Cube's song, "Check Yo Self", also references the film.

On the July 12, 2011 episode of her self-titled talk show, Mo'Nique celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Boyz n the Hood with director John Singleton, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Yo-Yo, and Regina King.

In Vince Staple's hit song "Norf Norf" (2016), Staples references the scene where Ricky gets shot in the back, letting the listener know how much of an impact the movie was on his upbringing.

Awards and accolades[edit]

Academy Awards: 1992

  • Nominee, Best Director, John Singleton
  • Nominee, Best Original Screenplay, John Singleton

BMI Film Music Award: 1992

Image Award: 1993

  • Winner, Outstanding Motion Picture, Boyz n the Hood

MTV Movie Award: 1992

  • Nominee, Best Movie, Boyz n the Hood
  • Winner, Best New Filmmaker, John Singleton

National Film Preservation Board, USA: 2002

  • National Film Registry, Boyz n the Hood

New York Film Critics Circle Award: 1991

  • Winner, Best New Director, John Singleton

Political Film Society, USA: 1992

  • Winner, PFS Award, Peace
  • Nominee, PFS Award, Exposé
  • Nominee, PFS Award, Human Rights

Writers Guild of America, USA: 1992

  • Nominee, WGA Award (Screen), Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, John Singleton

Young Artist Awards: 1992[6]

  • Winner, Young Artist Award, Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture

In 2007, Boyz n the Hood was selected as one of the 50 Films To See in your lifetime by Channel 4.

American Film Institute Lists


Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
U.S. U.S. R&B
1991 Boyz n the Hood 12 1
  • US: Gold


  1. ^ a b "Boyz N the Hood (1991)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Boyz n the Hood". Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  3. ^ "Films Selected to The National Film Registry, Library of Congress 1989–2008". Loc. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Boyz n the Hood". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Boyz n the Hood Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ "13th Annual Awards". Retrieved 2010-10-06. 

External links[edit]