Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Morris Chestnut, Ice CubeLaurence FishburneNia Long and Angela Bassett, depicting life in the South Central Los Angeles. This was Ice Cube and Morris Chestnut's film debut.

Boyz n the Hood was filmed from October 1 to November 28, 1990 and released on July 12, 1991. It was nominated for both Best Director and Original Screenplay during the 1991 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 StatesLibrary of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.[3]


 [hide*1 Plot



Ten-year-old Tre Styles (Desi Arnez Hines II) lives with his single mother Reva Devereaux (Angela Bassett) in Inglewood, California. After Tre gets involved in a fight at school, his teacher calls Reva and informs her that although Tre is rather intelligent, he is immature, aggressive, and lacks respect for classmates and adults alike. Frightened about the future of her child, Reva sends him to live in the Crenshaw neighborhood of South Central with his 27-year-old father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne), from whom she hopes Tre will learn valuable life lessons.

On the night of Tre's arrival, he hears his father shooting at a burglar who tried to rob the house. LAPD officers arrive more than an hour later, and eventually decide the crime is unimportant because nothing was taken and the burglar escaped completely unharmed. The police, particularly the African American officer, treat Furious with disrespect and contempt. The following day, Tre reunites with childhood friends Darrin "Doughboy" Baker, Doughboy's maternal half-brother Ricky, and Chris, their mutual friend. While Ricky is naïve and trusting, Doughboy is aggressive and street-smart.

The next day, Chris takes the group into another neighborhood to view the decaying corpse of a murdered gang member. A Crip gang member tricks Ricky into giving up his football, prompting Doughboy to confront him to get it back. Doughboy is beaten up, but the ball is returned to him by another Crip member.

Furious, who appears to be the only father present in the neighborhood, takes Tre on a fishing trip. While on the trip, he advises Tre never to join the Army (as Furious himself served in Vietnam when he was only 17), to act mature, and to be responsible, especially if he is going to be a father. The pair return to Crenshaw, where they witness Doughboy and Chris being led by police officers into a squad car after having been caught shoplifting in the local drugstore. The two end up going to juvenile hall.

Seven years later[edit]Edit

Seven years later, a "welcome home" party is being held in the Baker home. Doughboy (Ice Cube) who has just been released from prison and lost a lot of weight, sits at a table playing dominoes with Chris (Redge Green), now in a wheelchair from a gunshot wound, "Dookie" (Dedrick D. Gobert), and "Monster". Ricky (Morris Chestnut), now a star running-back for Crenshaw High School, lives at home with his mother Brenda (Tyra Ferrell), girlfriend Shanice (Alysia Rogers), and their toddler son. Meanwhile, Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) has grown into a mature and responsible teenager, who works as a clothing store clerk at the Fox Hills Mall and excels in school. He hopes to attend college with his girlfriend, Brandi (Nia Long), who attends catholic school and plans on waiting till she is married to have sex. Her desire to remain abstinent is a source of tension between them.

On the way home, Tre encounters a group of Bloods gang members, who threateningly tease Tre by pointing a double-barreled shotgun at him. When Tre gets home, he gets a haircut from Furious, lying to him about losing his virginity. Furious seems amused at first, but then sternly asks if Tre used a condom, warning against the dangers of contacting a sexually transmitted disease and of becoming a father at a young age (using himself as an example, as he was 17 when Tre was born). One night, a college recruiter from the USC comes to interview Ricky. Ricky hopes to earn a scholarship to USC, but is daunted by the requirement that he must earn a 700 on his SAT to pass.

Later, during a local street racing gathering, Ricky is provoked by Ferris (Raymond Turner), a Bloods member. In defense of Ricky, Doughboy, now a Crips member himself, brandishes his .45 ACP handgun and cocks it to frighten Ferris. Ferris fires his MAC-10 into the air, causing everyone to speed away from the scene. Tre and Ricky are pulled over by an LAPD patrol; the lead officer turns out to be the same one who responded to the burglary call made by Furious seven years earlier. The officer shoves a gun in Tre's neck and taunts him, asking what he will do about it. Tre arrives late to Brandi's house and breaks down crying. Later that night, they have sex for the first time.

The next afternoon, Ricky, annoyed by his girlfriend, has a fight with Doughboy. Brenda rushes to Ricky's aid while berating Doughboy. Ricky leaves the house just as the mailman delivers a letter with his SAT results. Ricky and Tre see Ferris and the Bloods driving around the neighborhood and cut through back alleys and separate to avoid them. Meanwhile, Doughboy realizes that Ricky and Tre are in trouble and rushes to their defense. The Bloods find Ricky and kill him, merely seconds before Doughboy arrives. Tre and Doughboy cradle Ricky's corpse as they mourn his death. The boys then take Ricky's body home where Brenda and Shanice hysterically blame Doughboy, who unsuccessfully tries to comfort them. Later that night, Brenda sobs over Ricky's test results, discovering he earned a 710, just enough to qualify for a USC scholarship.

Angered and distraught, the remaining boys vow revenge on the Bloods. Furious finds Tre preparing to take his .357 Magnum pistol, but eventually convinces him to abandon his plans for revenge. However, Brandi and Furious catch Tre sneaking out of his bedroom window to join Doughboy and the Crips. Later that night, as the gang drives around the city, Tre asks to be let out of the car. Doughboy pulls over and lets Tre out at a bus stop.

Tre returns home, realizing that his father was right to keep him from falling into the cycle of violence. Doughboy finds the Bloods eating at a fast-food restaurant, and Monster opens fire on them with a Type 56 assault rifle in a drive-by shooting through an empty parking lot. Despite both Monster and Dookie's pleas to flee the scene, Doughboy gets out of his car and personally kills Ferris and the other wounded gang member while Ferris begs for his life, avenging Ricky's death.

The next morning, Doughboy visits Tre, now understanding Tre's reasons for abandoning the gang. Doughboy — having killed three men — 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 brothers left now after Ricky's death, but is embraced by Tre, who says Doughboy still has "still got one brother left." Doughboy then walks away, pouring out his malt liquor.

In the epilogue text, it is revealed that Doughboy is murdered two weeks later. Tre and Brandi resume their relationship, and go on to attend Morehouse and Spelman in Atlanta, respectively.


  • Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Desi Arnez Hines II, young) as Tre Styles, son of Furious and Crenshaw High School senior. Under his father, Furious, he became a responsible adult and works at the Fox Hills Mall and has a girlfriend, Brandi. He is hoping to attend college to have a normal life.
  • Morris Chestnut (Donovan McCrary, young) as Ricky Baker, maternal half-brother of Doughboy and all-star football player at Crenshaw High School, Tre's best friend. He is naive and mostly under Doughboy's shadow. He hopes to attend college as well, by getting a sports football scholarship at USC.
  • Ice Cube (Baha Jackson, young) as Darrin "Doughboy" Baker, maternal half-brother of Ricky, and one of Tre's closest friends. He is a high-school dropout and a juvenile delinquent who never knew his father, and lives with his uncaring mother who clearly favors Ricky over him. He is street-smart, but aggressive. He earned his nickname for being overweight when he was little and is a Crips member.
  • Laurence Fishburne (then known as Larry Fishburne) as Jason "Furious" Styles, father of Tre. He was dating Reva in his teens, and when she got pregnant, Furious was drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. He was briefly married to her, but they divorced and Furious moved to Crenshaw. He is an intelligent young man and hopes to teach Tre life lessons and to raise him fairly and teach him to avoid making the same mistakes that he made when he was his age.
  • Nia Long as Brandi, Tre's girlfriend. She attends a private catholic school and started dating Tre at 16, and liked his maturity and wish to go to college, which she wishes herself. However, she wanted to remain in a clear non-sexual relationship due to her catholic faith, but Tre, who was going through puberty, didn't. However, they lose their virginity together. They later move to Atlanta and both attend college.
  • Angela Bassett as Reva Devereaux, mother of Tre. She had a hard time raising him, since she was only 17 when Tre was born. While she couldn't handle living with Furious, she still saw him as a man with a good heart and sent Tre to live with him, since she was sure that Furious would treat him right and teach him good life lessons.
  • Tyra Ferrell as Brenda Baker, mother of Doughboy and Ricky. She favors Ricky, and despises Doughboy which causes him to feel unloved and ignored.
  • Redge Green (Kenneth A. Brown, young) as Chris.
  • Dedrick D. Gobert as Dookie.
  • Baldwin C. Sykes as Monster.
  • Tracey Lewis-Sinclair as Shaniqua.
  • Alysia Rogers as Shanice, Ricky's girlfriend and the mother of his son.
  • Regina King as Shalika.
  • Lexie Bigham as Mad Dog.
  • Raymond Turner as Ferris.
  • Lloyd Avery II as Thug #2, Ricky's shooter
  • Tammy Hansen Grady as Rosa.
  • Mia Bell as female gang member.
  • Duncan Ferris as furious drug dealer.


Critical response[edit]Edit

Boyz n the Hood has received universal acclaim. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 96% based on 49 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%, based on 18 reviews, which indicates "Generally favorable reviews".[5]

Cultural impact[edit]Edit

The film has been referenced innumerable times in other works, including works by Lupe FiascoGame and by 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, It Was a Good Day, also slightly references the film.

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

Awards and accolades[edit]Edit

Academy Awards: 1992

  • Nominee, Best Director, John Singleton
  • Nominee, Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, 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 RegistryBoyz 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.


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