When it comes to describing 90s black gangster movies, there’s nothing better than witnessing some rough scenes from the hood filled with trailblazing action and bodies all over the place!
Hollywood has gone on to produce some marvellous films under this genre which has left audiences thoroughly entertained and wanting more of that cool hood stuff!
Here’s presenting to you our list of top 15 90s black gangster movies which will make you feel the exhilarating action from the hood!
15 90s Black Gangster Movies
1. Friday (1995)
Cast: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, John Witherspoon
IMDb Rating: 7.3/10
Looking for some out-of-the-box hood action? Then, simply indulge on Friday! This film is about two local dudes named Craig and Smokey who are habitual daydreamers and wish that their lives got better. They decide to borrow some money from a local drug peddler which initiates all the chaos.
They realise that they’ve exceeded the deadline and are unable to pay the cash now. As time passes, they engage in high-octane escapades, shootouts, go head-on with gangsters and all of this taking place on a fateful Friday!
Friday is the perfect definition of what you call a pulsating film. It is filled with high-octane action and the regular chase scenes between the gangsters and Craig and Smokey keep this film high on entertainment.
Armed with a scintillating plot and some superb performances, Friday is the perfect gangster flick to indulge in on a Friday night!
Watch Friday on Amazon Prime!
2. Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Cast: Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr, Laurence Fishburne
IMDb Rating: 7.8/10
Are you the cool kid who loves a typical gangster plot with some rough hood action? If yes, Boyz n the Hood is simply perfect for you! This 1991 release describes the story of three friends namely- Darrin, Tre, and Ricky who struggle to adapt to the notorious and perilous environment of the hood in Los Angeles and how their lives go on to be impacted due to the exposure to this rough environment.
Boyz n the Hood goes on to question a lot of things, especially on race, relationships, and the impact of violence on humans. While the content may be slightly graphic to watch, that shouldn’t take away much from a film that neatly describes the harsh realities of the ‘hood’.
Watch Boyz n the Hood on Amazon Prime!
3. Menace II Society (1993)
Cast: Larenz Tate, Tyrin Turner, Jada Pinkett Smith
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
If you’re the person who loves the bad stuff, this is a film which you shouldn’t be missing! The film deals with the life of Caine, a drug dealer who is banished from his grandparents’ house due to his criminal activities and is left with no roof over his head.
That isn’t the end of his list of troubles as he is accused of murdering a Korean grocer and the police are on the lookout to capture him. And while he tries to plan an escape with the help of his teacher and girlfriend, he knows that things are not going to be easy while doing so.
Menace II Society is a realistic portrayal of life in the rough hood and how one must do anything to survive, regardless of ethics and morality. It also teaches you the importance of karma and how bad karma goes on to hit you hard later in life.
Don’t consider all the bad stuff as horrible, sometimes they can end up teaching you some good things and this film does exactly that!
Watch Menace II Society on Amazon Prime !
4. Juice (1992)
Cast: Tupac Shakur, Khalil Kain, Omar Epps
IMDb Rating: 7.1/10
Featuring at number four in our list of 90s black gangster movies is this 1992 release titled Juice. This movie deals with the lives of four Harlem gangsters who decide to loot a bodega to gain some much-needed respect and dominance in the hood.
Their plans go haywire when one of the members loses his cool and shoots down the store owner during the gunfight. This alarms the cops and thus begins a fight for survival with the heat turned on them.
The film projects a tough-guy, macho attitude amongst the boys who can go to any extent to dominate the environment. It portrays a well-directed and crisp narration of the Harlem group and their failure to control their own destinies.
With strong performances and raw action to up the ante, Juice is well worth the squeeze in this genre!
Watch Juice on Amazon Prime!
5. Above the Rim (1994)
Cast: Tupac Shakur, Duane Martin, Marlon Wayans
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Do you want to witness some badass action with a sporty background to it? You might as well do it when you watch Above the Rim. This flick depicts the tale of Kyle, a young high-school basketball player who has the potential to make a big name for himself in the basketball arena.
However, he is approached by one of the local drug cartels to play basketball for them and is threatened of adverse consequences on declining the offer. His mind is now in two states as to whether he should represent his school team or play for the druggies downtown?
Above the Rim portrays a grim narrative of how life can produce hostile situations in your life, even though the fault is not yours. It is a battle within Kyle’s head whether to fulfil his dreams or to save his life which makes this story even more interesting.
Above the Rim is one of those rare films with a cool mafia plot and a heartwarming emotional connect and the blend of it will keep you thoroughly entertained!
Watch Above the Rim on Hulu!
6. New Jack City (1991)
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Allen Payne, Mario Van Peebles
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Looking for traditional good guys vs the bad guys’ story? This Wesley Snipes starrer is perfect for you! This movie deals with the ascent of a drug lord after raking in a huge moolah engaging in illicit activities for a long period of time.
But two determined cops make it their mission to bring an end to his so-called legacy and decide to hunt him down till the time he is killed.
New Jack City’s biggest USP is a well-written script and the chase between the cops and Nino. It is a film packed with tons of gory crime and how the cops succeed despite playing by Nino’s rules and getting under his skin on multiple occasions.
Filled with action and a series of twists and turns, this film scores really high on the gangster quotient thereby leaving its viewers on the edge of their seats!
Watch New Jack City on Amazon Prime!
7. Malcolm X (1992)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Angela Bassett
IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
Coming in at number seven in this listicle on 90s black gangster movies is this biography flick titled Malcolm X. Based on the real-life of a black rights activist, it narrates his tale of imprisonment in the 50s and how that inspired him to make his fight his ultimate mission in life.
He decides to convert to Islam and become the leader of the Nation of Islam, a Muslim political party. He continues to advocate for his rights until his assassination in 1965 brings an end to his hard-fought battle.
Malcolm X is a tale of survival, grit, and determination to fight until the very end, even though the odds are against you. It perfectly captures the raw side of Malcolm and how embracing Islam provides a sort of solace. It also depicts how he wouldn’t rest till his brothers and sisters have got justice, thereby making him a revolutionary leader.
Filled with tons of motivation and inspiration, this flick will leave you inspired to fight for what you want and get it at all costs!
Watch Malcolm X on Amazon Prime!
8. Dead Presidents (1995)
Cast: Larenz Tate, Chris Tucker, Keith David
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Directed by Allen and Albert Hughes, Dead Presidents depicts the plight of Anthony, a homeless and jobless man trying to steer his life in the right direction. And that’s when the evil settles in his head and he decides to take the wrong route to earn the big bucks.
Now a dejected bloke, he decides to gang up with his friends and loot an armoured truck carrying cash. What happens after that is beyond Anthony and Co.’s imagination!
Dead Presidents comes with a bit of a moral undertone to its naïve gangster plot. It teaches you how to stick to your ethics regardless of the situation and manages to keep it realistic courtesy some good direction from the Hughes brothers.
A good storyline and plenty of entertainment, what more do you need for you to give this film a watch?
Watch Dead Presidents on Amazon Prime!
9. He Got Game (1998)
Cast: Ray Allen, Denzel Washington, Rosario Dawson
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
After reading the African-American lingo of the title, you must have understood what this film is all about. In case if you didn’t, let us explain it to you. This film is the story of Jake Shuttlesworth who is a superstar in the NBA and is the best in the business.
His estranged father, now a prison convict, emerges out of the blue and tries to convince his son to go to college in exchange for a reduced prison term. Will he accept the offer or will he follow his selfish instinct is what the rest of the film is about.
He Got Game definitely has the game when it comes to depicting the bitter relationship between the father-son duo. The film crisply captures his father’s gruesome past and how the son is left in an emotional turmoil to be selfless or selfish.
It may not be your typical gangster flick, but this one experiments just enough to provide what the audience needs!
Watch He Got Game on Netflix!
9. South Central (1992)
Cast: Glen Plummer, Byron Minns, Vincent Craig Dupree
IMDb Rating: 6.8/10
Occupying the ninth position in our featurette on 90s black gangster movies is this classic from 1992. The story of the film revolves around Bobby Johnson who is sentenced to a 10-year prison term for the murder of a South Central Los Angeles gang leader. He finds solace in the form of religion taught to him by his inmate Ali.
Upon his release, he finds out that his son Jimmie has joined hands with his previous gang Deuces and tries to convince him to leave that gang immediately. However, things are tough for that gang was Jimmie’s family during his father’s time in the prison.
The film touches upon a phoenix rising from the ashes concept where the father tries to live a clean life and asks his son to do so. While it does capture the shady areas of gang wars and murders, it manages to add a subtle emotional bond that resonates well with the audience.
With a perfect capture of emotions and the graphic content of murders, this film will leave a lasting impression on your mind for a long time to come.
Watch South Central on Google Play Movies!
10. Gridlock’d (1997)
Cast: Tupac Shakur, Tim Roth, Thandiwe Newton
IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
If you are someone who believes in the phoenix rising from its ashes philosophy, this film is tailor-made for you. This movie is about three drug dealers who are hardcore heroin addicts and sell heroin around the streets of their neighbourhood. The death of one among the trio leaves the other two in shock and grief.
They realise the importance of life and decide to live a clean lifestyle. A chain of events makes them follow the right path, thus leading to them quitting heroin addiction for good.
The film beautifully captures how circumstances led them to enter into the business but how their source of livelihood turned out to ruin their lives. Their journey from drug addicts to clean people has been amazingly described and shot, thereby inspiring many drug addicts to quit this nasty addiction.
While the film may deal with plenty of drugs, its emotional narrative will surely send a few tears rolling down your eyes!
Watch Gridlock’d on Netflix!
11. Clockers (1995)
Cast: Mekhi Phifer, Spike Lee, Delroy Lindo
IMDb Rating: 7/10
Filled with tons of drug abuse and action-packed chase, Clockers is the tale of “Strike” Dunham who is a small-time druggie for Rodney Little. Little asks Dunham to kill a man who had stolen drugs from him. The man is killed and Strike automatically comes under the radar of the cops.
Just when Strike decides to confess his crime, his brother Victor emerges and confesses the crime on his behalf. However, the detectives spot something fishy and decide to rerun the entire investigation to find evidence against Strike.
This movie is an amazing representation of the rough life in the hood and how druggies live on the edge for survival. Victor’s confession leaving the detectives confused is the highlight of this film.
The film received mixed reviews from critics but managed to bring in a good amount of cash from the box office.
Watch Clockers on Amazon Prime!
12. One Eight Seven (1997)
Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Clifton Collins Jr, Kelly Rowan
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Filling in at number 12 in our collection of 90s black gangster movies is this Kevin Reynolds directorial. The film is about the frightening tale of Trevor who writes 187, a homicide code in his teacher’s textbook and feels so threatened that he informs this to the principal. However, all his efforts go in vain.
He is brutally stabbed and is mentally and physically scarred. 15 months later, he switches schools only for him to realise that this new school is more dangerous and one student in particular drives Trevor to craziness.
One Eight Seven is filled with tons of suspense and bloodshed and describes how blacks are being attacked without any reason. Viewers will be stuck to their seats as it has an invigorating plot and a thrill to finding out the mysterious stabber.
Love watching gruesome things with a hint of suspense, then this flick is your best bet!
Watch One Eight Seven on Amazon Prime!
13. Belly (1998)
Cast: DMX, Taral Hicks, Tyrin Turner
IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
Featuring next in our list of 90s black gangster movies is Belly. It deals with the rough lives of Sincere and Buns who live life on the edge and do everything they can to survive. Once they grow up, they build a drug empire of their own and become the biggest drug lords in town.
Sincere decides to break away and live a clean lifestyle by joining a Muslim group as its leader while Buns sinks further into the pothole and gets caught. The cops are willing to release him on one condition and that is by killing the Muslim leader.
This film touches upon many topics such as friendship, trust, faith, and betrayal. The barbaric display of crime and the gut-wrenching decision of killing his best friend leaves the audiences wanting for more.
With so many themes and some serious bloodshed in its arsenal, Belly will definitely give you the churns in your belly!
Watch Belly on Amazon Prime!
14. Hoodlum (1997)
Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Tim Roth, Cicely Tyson
IMDb Rating: 6.3/10
It’s time for you to be taken into an exciting gang war through Hoodlum. This crime drama is about two gangs, one headed by a black man, Bumpy Johnson, the other, by a white one named Dutch Schultz.
They both fight over the occupation of Harlem, the hub for illegal businesses. The ongoing war and the mass killings to own Harlem leads to a bloody chain of events.
While Hoodlum is a classic gang-war example, it briefly touches upon the disturbing theme of racism where it is a war between the blacks and the whites to gain supremacy over a piece of land.
A strong action film packed with violent gangsters makes this flick a must watch at all costs!
Watch Hoodlum on Google Play Movies!
15. Original Gangstas (1996)
Cast: Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, Pam Grier
IMDb Rating: 5.7/10
Ever witnessed a bunch of OG’s? Well, you will get to know them once you watch this exciting film. The movie revolves around the life of successful football coach John Brookman who returns home only to find his father dead. He realises that his hometown is filled with plenty of violent gangs causing a menace.
He further finds out that his father was killed by a gang that he had founded in his early days. He gangs up with his neighbours to take these notorious gangs head-on and save the town from misery.
This film is filled with plenty of violence and blood as it involves a lot of murders and graphic content. However, John and his team’s fight against the local gangs further up the ante in this action crime flick.
Have a mood to watch something violent tonight? Then, this movie is the perfect choice for your craving for something wild tonight!
Watch Original Gangstas on Amazon Prime!
Now that you have got the list of the top 15 90s black gangster movies, go and pick one among them and witness some wild and gory hood action now!