Juice (1992 film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byErnest R. Dickerson
Screenplay by
  • Gerard Brown
  • Ernest R. Dickerson
Story byErnest R. Dickerson
Produced by
CinematographyLarry Banks
Edited by
Music byHank Shocklee and The Bomb Squad
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • January 17, 1992 (1992-01-17)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million[1]
Box office$20.1 million[2]

Juice is a 1992 American crime drama thriller film directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, and written by Dickerson and Gerard Brown. It stars Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Jermaine Hopkins and Khalil Kain. The film touches on the lives of four black youths growing up in Harlem, following their day-to-day activities, their struggles with police harassment, rival neighborhood gangs and their families.[3]

The film is the writing and directing debut of Dickerson and features Shakur in his acting debut. The film was shot in New York City, mainly in the Harlem area, in 1991.[4]


Roland Bishop, Quincy "Q" Powell, Raheem Porter, and Eric "Steel" Thurman are four teenage African-American friends growing up together in Harlem. They regularly skip school, instead spending their days hanging out at Steel's apartment, at a neighborhood arcade, and also a record store where they steal LPs for Q's DJ interests. They are also harassed daily by the police and a Puerto Rican gang led by Radames.

Fed up with the harassment he and his friends have endured, Bishop decides that the group must go on to do bigger things in order to win respect. However, Q is unsure if he wants to become involved in a life of crime. One night, under Bishop's persistence, the friends decide to rob a local convenience store owned by Fernando Quiles.

However, Q is unsure of the plan, and also fears that it will affect his chances of participating in a DJ competition which he has yearned to compete in for years, although he is eventually pressured by his friends. During the robbery, Bishop fatally shoots Quiles in the head, and the group flees the scene.

The four then gather in an abandoned building where they argue over the evening's events; Q, Raheem and Steel are angry at Bishop for killing Quiles, and Raheem demands that Bishop give the gun to him. However, Bishop resists, and a struggle ensues before Bishop shoots Raheem dead. Panicking, Bishop, Q and Steel flee to another building, where Bishop threatens to kill Q and Steel if they reveal to anybody that he murdered Raheem. The detectives question and interrogate Q, Bishop and Steel about the murder of Quiles and Raheem, Bishop lies and tells the detectives that Radames killed Raheem.

Q and Steel realize that Bishop is beginning to become addicted to the thrill of killing, and they agree to give Bishop as wide a berth as possible. However, while attending Raheem's funeral, they find Bishop there, who goes as far as to comfort Raheem's mother and promises to find his killer. While Q and Steel are mostly able to avoid Bishop, he eventually finds and confronts them, questioning their loyalty. Radames and his gang confronts and attacks Bishop.

Later, Bishop confronts and kills Radames, then plans to frame Q for his murders in order to cover his tracks. Fearful of Bishop, Q resorts to buying a gun for his own protection. Meanwhile, Bishop confronts Steel in an alley, accusing him of disloyalty, and shoots him. However, Steel survives the attack and is rushed to the hospital, where he informs Q's girlfriend Yolanda about Bishop and his plan to frame Q. Frustrated with the troubles brought upon him, Q throws his gun into the river and decides to confront Bishop unarmed. Q and Bishop meet, where a fight and a chase ensue when Bishop shoots Q in the left arm.

Q is subsequently chased into a building where a party is being held, where Bishop begins firing into a group of partygoers in an attempt to hit Q, The partygoers push Bishop out of the elevator, but Q escapes while still harmed from earlier in the chase. Q manages to disarm Bishop while he is distracted and One of the partygoers grab the gun that Bishop used to shoot Q. He pursues Bishop to a roof of a high-rise building. As the two get into a physical altercation, Bishop eventually falls off the ledge, but is caught by Q. Bishop begs Q not to let go, but Q eventually loses his grip instead, and Bishop falls to his death.

As Q is leaving the rooftop, a crowd from the party gathers to see what happened. An acquaintance in the crowd turns to Q and says, "Yo, you got the juice now, man." Q turns to look at him, shakes his head in disgust, and walks away.

The final scene of the movie flashes back to Bishop, Q, Raheem, and Steel in happier times.

Alternate ending[edit]

In the alternate ending, instead of Bishop accidentally falling to his death, he purposely decides to let go after hearing approaching police sirens.[5]




The movie was filmed between March and April 1991. Daryl Mitchell, Treach, Money-B, and Donald Faison had auditioned for the role of Roland Bishop, but none were considered right for the role. Tupac Shakur accompanied Money-B to the audition and asked producer Neal H. Moritz to read. He was given 15 minutes to rehearse before his audition, and ultimately secured the role of Roland Bishop.[6] Treach and Faison landed cameo roles as a rival gang member and a high school student, respectively.


The film received generally positive reviews.[7] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, praising the film as "one of those stories with the quality of a nightmare, in which foolish young men try to out-macho one another until they get trapped in a violent situation which will forever alter their lives.".[8] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grading, based on how it depicts four young characters who try to gain complete self-control over their surroundings.[9]

The film is an inflammatory morality play shot through with rage and despair. Like Boyz n the Hood and Straight Out of Brooklyn, it asks: When every aspect of your environment is defined by violence, is it possible to avoid getting sucked into the maelstrom?[9]

Dickerson also received praise for his directorial skills:

Coming out from behind Spike Lee's camera, Ernest Dickerson has instantly arrived at the forefront of the new wave of black directors. His film aims for the gut, and hits it.[9]

Juice holds a rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 6.4/10.[10] On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 60 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11]


Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
U.S. U.S. R&B
1991 Juice
  • Released: December 31, 1991
  • Label: MCA
17 3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gregory, Deborah (January 24, 1992). "The making of "Juice"". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  2. ^ "Juice (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. 1992-03-03. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  3. ^ Fox, David J. (1992-01-13). "'Juice' Ads Raise Fears of Violence". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02.
  4. ^ Gregory, Deborah (1992-01-24). "New York Story". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
  5. ^ "The Alternate Ending of 'Juice' is Even Better Than the Original". 12 June 2017.
  6. ^ "The MVP Winner With Joe House and the History of the 'Fast & Furious' With Neal Moritz (Ep. 199)". The Bill Simmons Podcast (Podcast). April 11, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  7. ^ Turan, Kenneth (1992-01-17). "Is This 'Juice' Fresh?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 17, 1992). "Juice". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
  9. ^ a b c Gleiberman, Owen (1992-01-24). "News Review: Juice". Entertainment Weekly.
  10. ^ "Juice (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 November 2023.
  11. ^ "Juice (1992)". Metacritic. Retrieved January 29, 2024.

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