Entertainment

The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood  

Ranker Film
299 votes 96 voters 8.6k views 13 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite gang films that were released in the 1980s

This list of the best ‘80s hood movies includes some influential films and at least one masterpiece. These 1980s hood films reflect the urban experience and each offers something unique, but they were all also overshadowed when the sub-genre exploded in the early 1990s. Still, several important hood movies were released in the '80s, depicting street life, drugs, gangs, music, violence, and a host of other topics.


No discussion of top ‘80s hood movies would be complete without Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. This 1989 hit influenced all subsequent hood movies, and it is even more relevant more than 25 years later. Another important ‘80s hood film is Stand and Deliver, starring Edward James Olmos as an inner-city teacher attempting to reach his students through calculus. While those '80s movies about the hood are serious dramas, this list of 1980s hood movies also includes Coming to America, the seminal comedy about an African prince looking for love in Queens, New York.
 

Here you’ll also find hip-hop-influenced films like Breakin’ and Krush Groove. So what are your favorite ‘80s hood movies? Help us rank this list however you want by voting up your favorites. Don’t forget to check out the list of the best ‘90s hood movies to see how the genre progressed, then check out our list of funny hood movies.

list ordered by
1
Coming to America is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones
Coming to America is a 1988 American comedy film directed by John Landis, and based on a story originally created by Eddie Murphy, who also starred in the lead role. The film also co-stars ...more

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#3 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #130 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing After A Contentious Six-Month Production, It's A Miracle 'Coming To America' Even Exists

2
Lean on Me is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd, Regina Taylor
Lean on Me is a 1989 dramatized biographical film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Morgan Freeman. Lean on Me is loosely based on the story of Joe Louis ...more

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#21 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #116 of 186 The Best Movies for Tweens #37 of 241 The Most Inspirational Movies Ever

3
Bad Boys is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Sean Penn, Ally Sheedy, Clancy Brown
Bad Boys is a 1983 drama film written by Richard Di Lello and directed by Rick Rosenthal.

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#18 of 27 The Best Brat Pack Movies #48 of 314 The Greatest Teen Movies of the 1980s #32 of 135 The Best Prison Movies

4
Colors is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Don Cheadle
Colors is a 1988 American police procedural action film starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, and directed by Dennis Hopper. The film takes place in the gang ridden neighborhoods of South ...more

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#486 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #54 of 144 The Best Films Directed by Famous Actors #106 of 144 The Best Movies With The Most F-Bombs

5
Boyz n the Hood is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
quimby added Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr.
Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia ...more

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#123 of 304 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #1 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #140 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

6
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka ... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Chris Rock, Jim Brown, Damon Wayans
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka is a 1988 parody film of blaxploitation movies written, directed by, and starring Keenen Ivory Wayans. Featured in the film are several noteworthy African American actors ...more

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#82 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #245 of 1,204 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #181 of 440 The Funniest '80s Movies

7
Stand and Deliver is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos, Lou Diamond Phillips
Stand and Deliver is a 1988 American drama film based on the true story of high school math teacher Jaime Escalante. Edward James Olmos portrayed Escalante in the film and received a nomination ...more

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#76 of 241 The Most Inspirational Movies Ever #26 of 55 The Best Movies Ever to Come Out in March #132 of 285 The Best Teen Movies of All Time

8
Do the Right Thing is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Spike Lee
Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama hood film produced, written, and directed by Spike Lee, who also played the part of Mookie in the film. Other members of the cast include Danny ...more

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#291 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #9 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

9
Beat Street is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Rae Dawn Chong, Mary Alice, Kadeem Hardison
Beat Street is an American 1984 drama film featuring New York City hip hop culture of the early 1980s; breakdancing, DJing, and graffiti. It began with a script written by Steven Hager titled ...more

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#474 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #291 of 376 The Greatest Movie Themes #57 of 100 The Best Dance Movies Ever Made

10
Breakin' is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ice-T, Christopher McDonald
Breakin', released as Breakdance: The Movie or Break Street '84 in some countries, is a 1984 breakdancing-themed film directed by Joel Silberg. The film setting was inspired by a 1983 German ...more

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#328 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #482 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #225 of 319 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

11
South Central is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
quimby added Glenn Plummer, Carl Lumbly, Byron Minns
South Central is a 1992 American crime drama film, written and directed by Stephen Milburn Anderson. This film is an adaptation of the 1987 novel Crips by Donald Bakeer, a former high school ...more

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#321 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #91 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #33 of 74 The Best Gangster Movies of the 1990s

12
Krush Groove is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Chris Rock, LL Cool J, Bobby Brown
Krush Groove is a 1985 Warner Bros. film that was written by Ralph Farquhar and directed by Michael Schultz. This film is based on the early days of Def Jam Recordings and up-and-coming record ...more
13
Babylon is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '80s Movies About Life in the 'Hood
Mel Smith, Maggie Steed, Brian Bovell
Babylon is a 1980 British film co-written by Martin Stellman and Franco Rosso, who also directed it. Produced by Gavrik Losey and the National Film Finance Corporation, the film is regarded as a ...more