Boyz n the Hood (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Boyz n the Hood (1991)



Critic Consensus: Well-acted and thematically rich, Boyz N the Hood observes urban America with far more depth and compassion than many of the like-minded films its success inspired.

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Movie Info

Director John Singleton's debut chronicles the trials and tribulations of three young African-American males growing up in South Central Los Angeles. When young Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a bright underachiever, begins to show signs of trouble, his struggling professional mother (Angela Basset) sends him to live with his father (Lawrence Fishburne), a hard-nosed, no-nonsense disciplinarian. There he befriends Ricky (Morris Chestnut), a burgeoning football star, and Doughboy (Ice Cube, in a standout performance), a would-be gang banger. Over the years, each chooses his own path: Tre seems bound for college; Ricky is a blue-chip running back with his pick of schools; Doughboy is a dope dealer and bona fide gangster who drifts in and out of the county juvenile facility. All is well until, without warning, a rival gang chases down Tre and Ricky with tragic results. Doughboy immediately prepares for revenge, forcing Tre to decide whether to jeopardize his future and, perhaps, his life for the price of revenge and self-respect. Sometimes riveting, Boyz'N the Hood is not without its problems. The film tries to cram every single issue facing the black community into an hour and a half of screen time, making the film seem at times forced. The symbolism seems forced as well, and the film is often unbearably heavy-handed. Also, the characterization often relies on cardboard cut-outs; every white character in the film is a one-dimensional bigot, and the black police officer with whom Tre and his father deal is even worse than his Caucasian counterparts. Still, the unevenness of the film is redeemed by some moments of true brilliance. ~ Jeremy Beday, Rovi

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Ice Cube
as Doughboy
Cuba Gooding Jr.
as Tre Styles
Morris Chestnut
as Ricky Baker
Laurence Fishburne
as Furious Styles
Nia Long
as Brandi
Tyra Ferrell
as Mrs. Baker
Angela Bassett
as Reva Styles
Desi Arnez Hines II
as Tre (age 10)
Kenneth A. Brown
as Little Chris
Meta King
as Brandi's Mom
Whitman Mayo
as The Old Man
Lloyd Avery II
as 2nd Knucklehead
Mia Bell
as Female Club Member
Nicole Brown
as Brandi (age 10)
as Sheryl
John Cothran Jr.
as Lewis Crump
Susan Falcon
as Mrs. Olaf
Valentino Harrison
as Bobby (age 10)
Baha Jackson
as Doughboy (age 10)
Kareem J. Grimes
as Ice Cream Truck Kid
Kirk Kinder
as Officer Graham
Regina King
as Shalika
Leanear Lane
as 2nd Gangster
Donovan McCrary
as Ricky (age 10)
Don Nelson
as 1st Gangster
Malcolm Norrington
as 1st Knucklehead
Esther Scott
as Tisha's Grandmother
Vonte Sweet
as Ric Rock
as Yo Yo
John Singleton
as Mailman (uncredited)
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News & Interviews for Boyz n the Hood

Critic Reviews for Boyz n the Hood

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (17)

It seems as box-fresh as a pair of white high-tops and as powerful and funny today as it was in 1991.

October 28, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Boyz N the Hood is a passionate drama shot with fluency and style, a study of what amounts to life during wartime, with people grimly used to gunfire and helicopters thudding overhead.

October 27, 2016 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

It feels like it should be cheesy and manipulative, but the utter sincerity lifts it immeasurable.

October 26, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's always risky to proclaim a new force in film based upon just one film, but Boyz N the Hood is good enough to suggest that John Singleton is going to be a major player for a long time.

August 1, 2016 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Like a jazz ensemble, Singleton and his actors slowly involve us in an almost sensual melange of moods, images and situations that take us inside the ghetto in a way mainstream films almost never do.

August 1, 2016 | Full Review…

Singleton sometimes displays his youthful inexperience in melodramatic emphasis and rhetorical flourishes, but he has created a deeply troubling film about responsibility.

August 1, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Boyz n the Hood


An unpretentious portrait of a neighborhood dominated by violence, police abuse and even misogyny, and, while it does have some funny moments, it is a serious, realistic look at a slice of American society at constant odds with limited opportunities and public indifference.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Powerful in performance and message. John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood tackles this dangerous subject with sleek direction and emotional drive. The script is intangible to any other in its genre or subject and with the aid of Gooding, Jr., Ice Cube, Fishburne and casts makes for a masterful picture. 4.5/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

A heartbreaking, exceptionally acted look at violence in America. Thoughtful, current, and necessary.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

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