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

Updated October 8, 2019 458 votes 105 voters 10.0k views13 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • Stand and Deliver1
    28
    9

    Stand and Deliver

    Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos

    Released1988

    Directed byRamón Menéndez

    Stand and Deliver is a 1988 American drama film based on the true story of high school math...  more

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  • Coming to America2
    37
    20

    Coming to America

    Eddie Murphy, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1988

    Directed byJohn Landis

    Coming to America is a 1988 American comedy film directed by John Landis, and based on a story...  more

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  • Lean on Me3
    25
    14

    Lean on Me

    Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    Lean on Me is a 1989 dramatized biographical film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by...  more

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  • Boyz n the Hood4
    10
    0

    Boyz n the Hood

    Ice Cube, Angela Bassett

    Released1991

    Directed byJohn Singleton

    Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama film directed by John Singleton. Three young men...  more

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  • Beat Street5
    24
    23

    Beat Street

    Rae Dawn Chong, Mary Alice

    Released1984

    Directed byStan Lathan

    Beat Street is an American 1984 drama film featuring New York City hip hop culture of the...  more
  • Bad Boys6
    19
    18

    Bad Boys

    Sean Penn, Ally Sheedy

    Released1983

    Directed byRick Rosenthal

    Bad Boys is a 1983 drama film written by Richard Di Lello and directed by Rick Rosenthal....  more

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  • Do the Right Thing7
    14
    14

    Do the Right Thing

    Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence

    Released1989

    Directed bySpike Lee

    Do the Right Thing is a 1989 American comedy-drama hood film produced, written, and directed...  more

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  • South Central8
    9
    0

    South Central

    Glenn Plummer, Carl Lumbly

    Released1992

    Directed byStephen Milburn Anderson

    South Central is a 1992 American crime drama film, written and directed by Stephen Milburn...  more

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  • Krush Groove9
    22
    26

    Krush Groove

    Chris Rock, LL Cool J

    Released1985

    Directed byMichael Schultz

    Krush Groove is a 1985 Warner Bros. film that was written by Ralph Farquhar and directed by...  more
  • Colors10
    21
    25

    Colors

    Sean Penn, Robert Duvall

    Released1988

    Directed byDennis Hopper

    Colors is a 1988 American police procedural action film starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall,...  more

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  • Babylon11
    11
    12

    Babylon

    Mel Smith, Maggie Steed

    Released1981

    Directed byFranco Rosso

    Babylon is a 1980 British film co-written by Martin Stellman and Franco Rosso, who also...  more
  • I'm Gonna Git You Sucka12
    16
    28

    I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

    Chris Rock, Jim Brown

    Released1988

    Directed byKeenen Ivory Wayans

    I'm Gonna Git You Sucka is a 1988 parody film of blaxploitation movies written, directed by,...  more

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  • Breakin'13
    11
    22

    Breakin'

    Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ice-T

    Released1984

    Directed byJoel Silberg

    Breakin', released as Breakdance: The Movie or Break Street '84 in some countries, is a 1984...  more