12 Best Movies About the Hood

Movies give us an insight into the different types of lives people lead, the obstacles they go through, the landscapes they gaze at, the hands they shake or cheeks they kiss. As we all know, societies tend to be divided into leveled sections of citizens, a phenomenon that started way back in time and that keeps shaping people’s lives on and on. Almost every city has a richer neighbourhood and a poorer neighbourhood and we often call these outcasted areas where the lives of people are harder, tougher and usually involved with drugs, violence and crime, “the hood”. Some suffer an unfortunate fate, others manage to move on and lead a better life while others even find fame and make history. There’s a lot more to that when examining the life on the streets or in the hood and that’s what these movies are here to do. Having that said, let me start the countdown and introduce the list of 12 best movies about hood life.


12. Friday (1995)

Rapper Ice Cube and comedian Chris Tucker lead the way into this comedic and straightforward film that takes a light and humorous approach on the ghetto life and the conflict one can face. Most commonly known as the top “stoner film”, it contains a handful of hilarious characters and even gives space for some good advice and some moral lessons to take in mind. Craig Jones has recently become unemployed and his friend Smokey insouciantly works as a drug dealer, selling weed from the“big boss”. Having nothing better to do with their time, they spend the day sitting on the front porch commenting on the neighbourhood’s passersby. However Smokey has been smoking the products he’s supposed to sell and after confronted by his boss and entangling Craig into the situation, only one chance is given to them in order to save themselves from this mess : find 200 dollars by 10pm that same night to pay back the smoked merchandise.


11. Notorious (2009)

Alongside Tupac and others, once cannot disagree with the fact that “The Notorious B.I.G” or also called “Biggie Smalls”, was and still remains one of the biggest and widely known artists from the rap industry. Just like many other black American men who rose to prominence in the music sector, he also grew up in a drug-involved neighbourhood (Brooklyn), which he quickly became associated to when starting to deal drugs at an early age. The film relates the life and death of this iconic figure, highlighting the struggles and violence that stuck to the character, even when achieving fame and success. This naturally includes the East Cost-West Coast rivalry and the conflictual relationship with Tupac, not to mention the various romantic relationships with women he carelessly started and ended. A great depiction of this rap genius as a person living in a world where much is still to be changed.


10. City of Men (2007)

From the same producers of “City of God”, emerged “City of Men”, another great tale of friendship, life choices and survival in a violent and drug-ruled “favela” of the Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro.  Taking us right into the root of these poverty based hoods, we are faced with the chaos of aggressive rivalry that quickly builds up into a gang clash, something that unfortunately develops quite rapidly when everybody in the place owns several guns, is consumed by hate and power and isn’t afraid of death. In this atmosphere we’re introduced to two young teenager best friends named Acerola and Laranjinha, who’s fathers have been absent their entire life. As the hood war becomes risky and tumultuous, so does their friendship when they start assembling information about their fathers’ pasts.


9. Training Day (2001)

“Training Day” gives us the perspective of the functionality of the “hood” from the position of police officers, however we’ll soon realise that these often take a big part in the violence existing in the first place and are frequently not better than the “gangsters” themselves. Officer Jake Hoyt must pass an evaluation day with detective Alonzo Harris (incredibly performed by Denzel Washington) in order to be accepted in the narcotics division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Their journey will bring them into the depths of the “streets” and will take a twist for the worse when understood the immensity of Harris’ corrupt, selfish and aggressive behaviour. Perhaps a very big critique on the dishonesty and money-hunger of some individuals working for the authorities, which really shows the dimension of the problem these neighbourhoods are facing.


8. Menace II Society (1993)

A rather unfortunate story in which the protagonists ends up entangled into a life of crime and violence he was warned not to enter. This film is another excellent examination of the difficulty of being a black man living a life in the impoverished and dangerous neighbourhoods of America. Caine Lawson lives in Watts, a Los Angeles area, and signs up into teenage crime just like many others of his friends have, although trying at first to resist this life that predicts loud and clear an unsafe future for the one living it and the ones around. Not being just another typical film of this genre, it is one that truly backs up a message of the reality many people face and that is still nowadays very much alive. Don’t be fooled by the perhaps unserious-looking title but rather dive into it with open arms and enjoy the greatness of this production.


7. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

N.W.A (Nigazz Wit Attitudes) was an iconic and highly influential hip hop group who made gangster rap popular and who’s opinions and experiences growing up in the hood materialised into controversial and explicit lyrics accusing and exposing several issues, in particular related to police violence and racism. Its rise and fall is shown and explained in this provocative biographical film, where Eazy-E, Ice Cube and Dr.Dre are portrayed by a strong and confident cast, from which the second is played by his own son O’Shea Jackson Jr., and where the music feels like the best help to bring out the atmosphere and success it was at the time of its release. A combination that works and that gives the best possible perspective onto this unstable world where even fame won’t solve the problems its battling against.

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