15 Best 90s Urban Movies to Watch [Updated 2023]

Urban Movies are the ones that describe the outlook of city-scapes or at least the influence and impact of it on various aspects. Began around the 90s, it focused upon action, drama and injustices, hip-hop culture, and particularly the socio-economic factors that influenced society.

Here is the list of best movies about urbanism that might enlighten your facts about 90s culture and society!

Best 90s Urban Movies

1. Metropolis (1927)

  • Cast: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich.
  • IMDb Ratings: 8.3/10

Released in 1927, this movie depicts the urban future of a city named Metropolis, where the city is sharply divided into two – the wealthy residents who lived carefreely and the working class who lived underground to run the world above regulating.

The story of a wealthy resident, who is also apparently the son of the city’s creator, falls in love with an underground worker. Discovering the truth about how things work in the city, he tries to stop the injustice and ill-treatment by going against his father.

This movie is more of an expected idea (during the 90s) of what the world might turn into with the further advancement of machinery.

2. Do The Right Thing (1989)

  • Cast: Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee.
  • IMDb Ratings: 8/10

Sal, an Italian-American owner owns his pizza shop at Stuyvesant Avenue (which is mostly filled with black people). Sal got asked about his ‘Wall of Fame’ and a series of events follow.

The movie is based on how discrimination and jealousy result in violence and outbreak pretty easily. The 90s have seen some massive events of urban racial conflict popping out almost everywhere.

Recommended Read: Engrossing 90s Black Gangster Movies.

3. The Color Purple (1985)

  • Cast: Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.8/10

The story starts with Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) writing letters to God about how her father used to abuse her, rape her, and also snatched the children from her. Her only peace of mind was her younger sister, Nettie (Akosua Busia).

The Color Purple revolves around the emotional story of Celie’s search for salvation throughout her life. We are shown how many hardships she faced for almost four decades and finally finding a little peace with her sister at the end.

4. Boyz N The Hood (1991)

  • Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Hudhail Al-Amir.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.8/10

The life of the three main characters – Half-brothers Doughboy (Ice Cube), Ricky Baker (Morris Chestnut), and their friend Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is well depicted here with their different personalities and beliefs. The story mainly involves the social problems of each of them and how they take a stand on them.

Ricky Baker is an all-rounder athlete who was only focused on his sports to improve his career and avail a scholarship whereas, his half-brother was kind of a thug but had a strong sense of pride and honor. Their friend Tre Styles was always guided by his father for being responsible and honest in life.

5. Glory (1989)

  • Cast: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.8/10

Glory is really a motivational story of a character named, Shaw who led the first U.S. Civil War’s all-black volunteer company. The disputes with the administration were clearly highlighted in this movie.

We witness the formation of a strong regiment, the participation of the volunteers, and also their extensive training to work towards their goal of attacking Fort Wagner. The journey of their hardships and

Recommended Read: Thrilling 90s Gangster Movies you can’t Miss.

6. Fresh (1994)

  • Cast: Sean Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.6/10

It is a unique story where Fresh (Sean Nelson) was involved in drug dealing due to their poverty. He and his sister were caught up in this corruption and racial tension in Brooklyn, New York.

But Fresh wanted to leave this behind, so he called upon his chess skills and with the speed-chess champion Sam (Samuel L. Jackson) planned to get freed from the world of poverty and narcotics.

7. The Five Heartbeats (1991)

  • Cast: Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.6/10

An interesting story about the African American vocal band – The Five Heartbeats, how they started their way out to be one of the renowned vocal band of the America.

The five musical talents worked their way from the very bottom around the 1960s, gained a lot of popularity which went into their heads. We witness the rise and fall of the legends, and most importantly how fame, greed, and jealousy change the aspect of a popular lifestyle.

Recommended Read: Best Movies about Culture and Society.

8. Menace II Society (1993)

  • Cast: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.5/10

Caine Lawson (Tyrin Turner) has been leading the gangster life throughout his childhood. Everybody around him has fallen into the paws of addiction and poverty.

But with the help of his lovely girlfriend and mentor, he wants to leave the temptations as well as the city for good. But certain events follow which proved that it’s not easy to stray away from the path of childhood.

Recommended Read: 15 Best Black Romance Movies Everyone Should Watch Once.

9. Love Jones (1997)

  • Cast: Larenz Tate, Nia Long, Isaiah Washington.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.5/10

It’s an urban love story of an aspiring writer, Darius (Larenz Tate), and the photographer, Nina (Nia Long). The two shared instant chemistry from the first day they met and soon became inseparable love birds.

Things went smoothly until Mina decides to get back to her ex-husband, and Darius is heartbroken by the fact. This movie really sets off the romantic mood in you, but the suspense will also keep you on edge. A perfect combo!

Watch Love Jones officially on iTunes, Amazon Prime.

10. Friday (1995)

  • Cast: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.3/10

A comedy-drama movie where Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has been fired for stealing cardboard boxes, and along with his best friend, Smokey (Chris Tucker), they owe the local supplier $200. It has to be paid by lunchtime, or they will be dead by tomorrow.

The manner of collection, despite the troubles they faced (like shootouts), is indeed hilarious. Ice Cube and Chris Tucker did a good job of covering their roles, and most importantly, their act will keep you entertained throughout the movie.

Watch Friday officially on Netflix!

11. What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993)

  • Cast: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, RaéVen Kelly.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.3/10

A biographical movie about Tina Turner (Angela Bassett), the legendary soul singer. After playing in the band of Turner’s, Ike and Tina hit it off as a couple and soon get married. But the dominating and abusiveness by Ike made her life miserable and almost impossible.

This movie will give you the chills, especially where she endured all the pain and still went on. But the silver lining is, she had the courage of leaving him and eventually becoming the successful solo artist she always dreamt of.

Recommended Read: Must watch Movies for Teenage Girls.

12. Eve’s Bayou (1997)

  • Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Jurnee Smollett, Meagan Good.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.3/10

Louis Batiste (Samuel L. Jackson) is a doctor but also secretly a womanizer, and soon it surfaces the truth as the younger child of the family, Eve (Jurnee Smollett), witnesses her father’s infidelities.

Unable to understand the events she had seen, she narrated it to her older sister and aunt. Ultimately, she took everything on her hands as she couldn’t process the events she saw that day. A twisted erotic thriller that will make your eyes glued to the screen!

13. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

  • Cast: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7.3/10

Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) and his wife (Myrna Loy) moves to a house in the countryside, Connecticut. This movie highlights how expensive urban life was around that time, and they had to face a lot of difficulties adjusting to the new lifestyle.

Soon they were filled with bills and charges for things like construction and repair bills. To cover the debt and live smoothly, Jim needs to succeed in his jingle business. A perfect transitional movie about moving in an urban place and the untold problems we may face in the process.

Recommended Read: Thriller Movies that are based on True Events.

14. King of New York (1990)

  • Cast: Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7/10

Frank White (Christopher Walken) is introduced as an underground kingpin who was recently released from prison, planning to reestablish his empire in New York.

Though all of his works were considered to be illegal, he did all that in the name of helping poor people -which will surely question your judgment. This story will lead you into a deeper meaning of the plot as what do you cheer for gets questioned thoroughly.

15. Crooklyn (1994)

  • Cast: Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo, David Patrick Kelly, Zelda Harris.
  • IMDb Ratings: 7/10

A semi-autobiographical depiction of the school teacher, Carolyn (Alfre Woodard) who lived with her jazz-loving husband and five of his kids in Brooklyn. The large family follows its backlash on shortage of money.

But things took a sharp turn when Carolyn gets diagnosed with cancer, and the financial condition gets even more worsened, as she was the primary earner of the family. The primary focus is on Troy (Zelda Harris) and how she reacts and matures from the events that take place around her.

Situations make you stronger despite the age!

Recommended Read: Movies about Black People Everyone Must See.

FAQs on 90s Urban Movies

1. What are some of the 90s Black Movies?

Some of the 90s Black Movies include:
– Malcolm X.
– Friday.
– Boyz N The Hood.
– The Color Purple.
– Do The Right Thing.

2. Name some of the Black Gangster Movies.

Some of the Black Gangster Movies are:
– Menace II Society.
– Juice.
– Above The Rim.
– New Jack City.
– Dead Presidents.

3. Name some of the Hood Movies on Netflix.

Best Hood Movies on Netflix are:
– American Gangster.
– 8 Mile.
– Burning Sands.
– Brooklyn’s Finest.
– Fresh.