20 Best Hood Movies Worth Watching

Not sure what movies to add to fill in the empty spaces on your watch list? Well, maybe we can interest you with some hood movies then!

Today, let us show you our list of the 20 best hood movies. If you have never heard of the genre before, it might be the best time to watch one or binge-watch a few then! Without further delay, action!

What Are Hood Movies?

First thing, first. Let us briefly discuss what hood movies are in the first place.

Hood movies or hood films are movies and films that tackle various topics. It could be about things as light as hip-hop music. However, it often deals with much serious matters like racism, gangs and gang violence, and all sorts of problems that relate to poverty.

A defining characteristic of this genre is it focuses on the urban culture of African and Latino Americans. We now have the basics of hood movies and films down. Next, let us get to know some of the best movies in this genre!

The 20 Best Hood Movies

We have quite a few films to go through today. So, let us get on with the show immediately!

1. Menace II Society (1993)

English 1h 37m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Menace II Society (1993)

Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Stars: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu

Our first film follows Kaydee Lawson (Caine), his friends, and their search for a better life. It has received praise and recognition for its realistic portrayal of the problems those in the urban neighborhood face.

One thing that sets hood movies apart from other genres is how it gives the viewers a glimpse or insight of another side of American culture rarely seen. If that is what you are looking for, our first film is a film you might want to consider.

2. Set It Off (1996)

English 2h 3m IMDb

Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Set It Off (1996)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Stars: Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox

This film focuses on four close friends that poverty has caused to succumb to a life of crime. Due to tragedies, the four end up giving in to such a life and start robbing banks.

Most of the robberies go well until they decide to do a last one with the intention of leaving the town the next day. However, things start to go south for the group, and they find themselves in much worse situations than when they first started.

Whether you want a film that moves or will move you, this one is one to check out.

3. New Jack City (1991)

English 1h 37m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching New Jack City (1991)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Stars: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne

This film is about Nino Brown, a drug lord set on rising to power, and Scotty Appleton, a police set on bringing him down.

Being filled with all kinds of lefts and turns, this movie will surprise its viewers in more ways than one. The whole film is like a tug of war between its two leads. It will keep the audience guessing who or which side will get the last laugh.

4. Fresh (1994)

English 1h 54m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Fresh (1994)

Director: Boaz Yakin

Stars: Sean Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson

There are themes that hood films talk of often. One of those is drugs. While we have just discussed a film that deals with this issue, Fresh offers another side to this topic.

Entering dangerous territory is easy. Getting out, on the other hand, is not. The film focuses on Fresh, a boy running drugs for gangsters, and his brilliant plan to escape the dangerous life he entered and has been living.

5. Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)

English 1h 56m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Ghost Dog The Way of the Samurai (1999)

Director: Jim Jarmusch

Stars: Forest Whitaker, Henry Silva, John Tormey

The film follows a hitman that goes by the name Ghost Dog. It centers on his following of the Hagakure and his deep connections to the people in his life.

The movie is a blend of the gangster and samurai lifestyles. If you are a fan of Japanese culture, you might want to give this film a shot. Aside from the Hagakure, there are other Japanese elements in this film that you might enjoy seeing.

6. American Me (1992)

English 2h 5m IMDb Best Hood Movies Worth Watching American Me (1992)

Director: Edward James Olmos

Stars: Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Sal Lopez

Are you familiar with the name Rodolfo Cadena? Does the name ring a bell? If so, you might want to give our next film a shot. Let us talk about American Me, a film that takes inspiration from the life of this mob boss.

A mafia or any organization is not simply found, nor does it just rise. While not the actual account, this film gives the viewers an idea of how societies such as the Mexican Mafia form. This film is one to consider if you are interested in mafias and mob bosses.

7. Hustle & Flow (2005)

English 1h 56m IMDb

Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Hustle & Flow (2005)

Director: Craig Brewer

Stars: Terrence Howard, Ludacris, Anthony Anderson

This film centers on DJay and hip-hop music. Discontent with his life and all the problems and struggles in it, he decides to make some music with hopes of making it out there. However, crafting music and getting it out proves to be equally hard in more ways than one.

Usually, dance moves are the only action you would expect from a film dealing with music. Not this film, though. Give this movie a try if you want your music films with a little more footwork.

8. Dangerous Minds (1995)

English 1h 39m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Dangerous Minds (1995)

Director: John N. Smith

Stars: Michelle Pfeiffer, George Dzundza, Courtney B. Vance

This next film took inspiration from the autobiography of LouAnne Johnson. It centers on the events that took place as she began teaching at a high school where most of her students are African and Latino Americans.

Due to the different struggles her students faced daily, Johnson was faced with a tough crowd. However, Johnson was also a tough guy who was ready to take on the challenge of committing to her class.

If you are a teacher or someone who teaches, you might want to give this film a good look.

9. Do the Right Thing (1989)

English 2h IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Do the Right Thing (1989)

Director: Spike Lee

Stars: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee

Do you want something a little lighter? Well, this next one might be the answer. Let us talk about Do the Right Thing.

This film is a comedy-drama. It centers on the happenings in a pizzeria and the African-American neighborhood where it resides. The movie deals with topics of racism. While it is a comedy and lighter than many other hood films, you do not have to worry. It does not miss its point. It still deals with and talks about serious themes.

10. Friday (1995)

English 1h 31m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Friday (1995)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Stars: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long

We already talked about a comedy, so why not add another one. Right? If you like the genre, you might also want to give this next film a shot. Let us talk about Friday. This film follows two friends trying to pay off a debt to a local drug dealer. With their lives on the line, the two set out numerous plans to get the sum they need.

If you liked this one, you are in for a treat. This movie is only the first installment of the Friday franchise. Check out the other installments for more laughs and gags!

11. Juice (1992)

English 1h 35m IMDb Hood Movies Worth Watching Juice (1992)

Director: Ernest R. Dickerson

Stars: Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Jermaine Hopkins

Did you like Set It Off? Well, we have another film that has a similar ring. Let us talk about Juice.

This next film centers on four African-American friends and the many troubles and struggles they face daily. Tough times are said to bring friends closer. However, sometimes, it does not.

This film shows how these friends try to get out of their troubles together but end up otherwise. Surrounded by problems and difficulties on every side, it is not hard to succumb to them.

12. 8 Mile (2002)

English 1h 50m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching 8 Mile (2002)

Director: Curtis Hanson

Stars: Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger

This next one takes inspiration from some elements of Eminem’s life. Let us talk about 8 Mile. This film follows Jimmy Smith Jr., the struggles he faces in his daily life, and his ambition to make it into the hip-hop world.

If you like hip-hop, hood films, and Eminem, you might want to check this film out. It did not only take inspiration from Eminem’s life. The man himself played the lead!

13. La Haine (1995)

English 1h 38m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching La Haine (1995)

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

Stars: Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé, Saïd Taghmaoui

Have you ever heard of the line all’s well that ends well? If it has an antithesis, this film might be it. The story follows the lives of three friends after a violent incident involving their friend.

While the film only lasts around an hour and a half, it depicts following them for 24 hours. The story does not start pretty. After all, the three do not know if their friend will survive the brutality he faced. However, just when you think things are turning for the better, it does not.

14. South Central (1992)

English 1h 38m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching South Central (1992)

Director: Stephen Milburn Anderson

Stars: Glenn Plummer, Byron Minns, Lexie Bigham

Our next film took inspiration from a book by Donald Bakeer. This film focuses on a father and son. As we have said earlier, getting into trouble is easy. Sometimes, all it takes is a single mistake in a single second.

However, getting out of it is a different story. The film follows the father and son as they try to restart their lives and start afresh. Can this father and son duo do it, though?

15. Straight Outta Compton (2015)

English 2h 27m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Stars: O’Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell

Over here, we have a biographical drama. This film focuses on the hip-hop group N.W.A. It talks of their rise, their fall, and the eventual individual rise and fall of its members.

If you are a fan of the group, its members, and hip-hop music, this film is one to check out. This movie does not only feature music from the group or talk about them. The living members of the group helped in making this film!

16. Colors (1988)

English 2h IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Colors (1988)

Director: Dennis Hopper

Stars: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso

Colors is a film that centers on an experienced cop and a rookie as they try to stop gang violence on the streets of East Los Angeles.

While the experienced cop (Uncle Bob) does help with keeping the peace, the lesser experienced rookie (McGavin) incites more trouble than help. The film ends on a bittersweet note where the viewers will be left wondering if things turned out for the better or not.

17. Poetic Justice (1993)

English 1h 49m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Poetic Justice (1993)

Director: John Singleton

Stars: Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Regina King

Many of the films we discussed above did have some romance in them. However, it was mostly only touched on the surface. If you want some romance in your hood film, you might want to give this next one a shot.

This film follows Justice and Lucky. It centers on how they both try to overcome their problems, the former with her dead lover and the latter with his child and former flame.

18. Above the Rim (1994)

English 1h 36m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Above the Rim (1994)

Director: Jeff Pollack

Stars: Duane Martin, Tupac Shakur, Leon

Are you a big fan of sports? Well, this next one might tickle your fancy.

Our next film follows Kyle Watson. It centers on his dilemma springing from supposedly a simple game of playground basketball. Who knew basketball could be deadly? Well, if you are playing with a drug dealer, it could!

The movie might center on a simple game of basketball, but it is a good example to show how hard life could be for our friends.

19. Training Day (2001)

English 2h 2m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Training Day (2001)

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Stars: Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Scott Glenn

Did you like Colors? If so, you might also want to check out our next film. Let us talk about Training Day.

This film centers on two officers. Again, we have a senior and a rookie here. However, it is a different take on the dynamic. Our senior officer does not appear to be who he is, and our rookie is left to fend for himself against the bad guys and the supposedly good guy on his side.

20. Boyz N Da Hood (1991)

English 1h 52m IMDb
Best Hood Movies Worth Watching Boyz N Da Hood (1991)

Director: John Singleton

Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir

We come to our last film, Boyz N the Hood. If we are talking about hood films, many will agree that no hood films list will be complete without mentioning this movie.

The film follows Tres Styles and his life in a place surrounded by gang culture. This one has a happy ending. Although, it probably is not how one usually pictures happy endings. However, sometimes, it is the closest to one our friends could get.


Final Words

Cut! That’s 20 best hood movies! Whether you are only curious about the genre or looking to fill your watch list with hood films, we hope this list got to help you. Is your watch list still missing a few spaces or spots? For more movie suggestions, feel free to check out our other discussions.

Hood Movies Worth Watching

Leave a Comment