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30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens 

Ranker Film
Updated February 21, 2020 993 votes 159 voters 9.4k views 36 items

Urban teen movies amplify all of the struggles of adolescence with the added pressure of a sometimes unstable environment. The top urban teen movies feature stories about friendship, relationships, and becoming adults. This is a list of the top movies about inner city teenagers, featuring everything from Do the Right Thing to Kids to Save the Last Dance.

What movies will you find on this list of films focusing on urban teens? You might vote Boyz n the Hood up to the very top. John Singleton's 1991 classic follows a group of friends growing up in South Central Los Angeles as they make plans for their futures. Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lawrence Fishburne, Nia Long, Ice Cube, and many more talented actors appeared in this groundbreaking movie. Dope is another good film featuring urban teenagers.

Young men are often the stars of urban teen films, but in Thirteen, Evan Rachel Wood and Nikki Reed took the spotlight. Other good movies featured on this list of films about inner city teenagers include Harsh Times, Menace II Society, and Higher Learning.

Which urban teen movie deserves the top spot on this list? Decide by giving your favorites a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

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1
Boyz n the Hood is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding

Released: 1991

Directed by: John Singleton

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama film directed by John Singleton. Three young men weave in and out of violence, relationships, and racial issues in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los

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2
Juice is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah

Released: 1992

Directed by: Ernest R. Dickerson

Juice is a 1992 American drama thriller directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, written by Ernest R. Dickerson and Gerard Brown. It stars rapper Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps. Additional cast members ...more

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3
Kids is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Rosario Dawson, Chloë Sevigny, Harmony Korine

Released: 1995

Directed by: Larry Clark

Kids is a 1995 American drama film written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark. It features Chloë Sevigny, Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, and Rosario Dawson, all in their film ...more

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4
Love & Basketball is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan

Released: 2000

Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Love & Basketball is a 2000 American romantic drama film starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. The film tells the story of Quincy McCall and Monica Wright, two next-door neighbors in Los ...more

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5
Dope is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Dope Rakim Mayers, Blake Anderson, Bruce Beatty

Released: 2015

Directed by: Rick Famuyiwa

Dope is a 2015 American comedy-drama coming-of-age film directed by Rick Famuyiwa. After being invited to an underground party, a geek (Shameik Moore) and his two friends are pulled into an ...more

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6
Menace II Society is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Charles S. Dutton

Released: 1993

Directed by: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Menace II Society is a 1993 drama/hood film and the directorial debut of twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes. Set in South Central Los Angeles, the film follows the life of a hoodlum named ...more

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7
Straight Outta Compton ... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell

Released: 2015

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and ...more

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8
Save the Last Dance is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Kerry Washington, Julia Stiles, Bianca Lawson

Released: 2001

Directed by: Thomas Carter

Save the Last Dance is a 2001 American film produced by MTV Films, directed by Thomas Carter and released by Paramount Pictures on January 12, 2001. The film stars Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick ...more

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9
Do the Right Thing is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Spike Lee

Released: 1989

Directed by: 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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10
The Basketball Diaries ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
bigcraig added Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Juliette Lewis

Released: 1995

Directed by: Scott Kalvert

The Basketball Diaries is a 1995 American drama film directed by Scott Kalvert, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, James Madio, and Mark Wahlberg from the non-fiction work of the same ...more

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11
Coach Carter is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, Ashanti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Thomas Carter

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter, based on the true story of the Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter. Controversy ...more

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12
Thirteen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Vanessa Hudgens, Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter

Released: 2003

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Thirteen is a 2003 semi-autobiographical American drama film directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and written by Hardwicke and Nikki Reed based on events in Reed's life at age twelve and thirteen. ...more

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13
Fresh is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Samuel L. Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito, N'Bushe Wright

Released: 1994

Directed by: Boaz Yakin

Fresh is a 1994 film written and directed by Boaz Yakin in his film directorial debut, also produced by Randy Oslow and Lawrence Bender. It was scored by Stewart Copeland, a member of The ...more

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14
Higher Learning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly, Tyra Banks

Released: 1995

Directed by: John Singleton

Higher Learning is a 1995 American romantic drama film, directed by John Singleton, and starring an ensemble cast. The film follows the changing lives of three incoming freshmen at the fictional ...more

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15
Sister Act 2: Back in th... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauryn Hill, Maggie Smith

Released: 1993

Directed by: Bill Duke

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is a 1993 American comedy film loosely based on the life of Crenshaw High School choir instructor Iris Stevenson, and starring Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Bill ...more

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16
Crooklyn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
RuPaul, Spike Lee, Alfre Woodard

Released: 1994

Directed by: Spike Lee

Crooklyn is a 1994 semi-autobiographical film co-written and directed by Spike Lee. The film takes place in Brooklyn, New York and the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant during the summer of ...more

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17
The Hate U Give is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie

Released: 2018

Directed by: George Tillman Jr.

The Hate U Give is a 2018 American drama thriller film directed by George Tillman Jr., based on the novel by Angie Thomas. Constantly switching between the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where ...more
18
Goldie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Slick Woods, George Sample III, Danny Hoch

Released: 2020

Directed by: Sam de Jong

Goldie is a 2020 American drama film directed by Sam de Jong. Goldie (Slick Woods) is a teenager in a family shelter that fights the foster system to keep her sisters together while she pursues ...more
19
Freedom Writers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
amyg added Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Imelda Staunton

Released: 2007

Directed by: Richard LaGravenese

Freedom Writers is a 2007 drama film starring Hilary Swank, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton and Patrick Dempsey. It is based on the book The Freedom Writers Diary by teacher Erin Gruwell who wrote ...more

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20
Above the Rim is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Tupac Shakur, Bernie Mac, Marlon Wayans

Released: 1994

Directed by: Jeff Pollack

Above the Rim is a 1994 American drama directed by Jeff Pollack. The screenplay was written by Pollack and screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper, from a story by Pollack and Benny Medina. Starring ...more

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21
Dangerous Minds is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Michelle Pfeiffer, Andy Garcia, Paula Garcés

Released: 1995

Directed by: John N. Smith

Dangerous Minds is a 1995 American drama film directed by John N. Smith, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. It is based on the autobiography My Posse Don't Do Homework by retired ...more

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22
ATL is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
T.I., Lauren London, Big Boi

Released: 2006

Directed by: Chris Robinson

ATL is a 2006 American drama film, and the feature film directorial debut of music video director Chris Robinson. The screenplay was written by Tina Gordon Chism from an original story by ...more

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23
Get Rich or Die Tryin' ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
50 Cent, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard

Released: 2005

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

This film​ is a 2005 American hip-hop biopic crime film starring 50 Cent. It is 50 Cent's first film as an actor. It was released on November 9, 2005, and was known as Locked and Loaded during ...more

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24
Gridiron Gang is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Dwayne Johnson, Xzibit, Jurnee Smollett

Released: 2006

Directed by: Phil Joanou

Gridiron Gang is a 2006 American sports drama film directed by Phil Joanou, and starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Xzibit, L. Scott Caldwell and Kevin Dunn. It is loosely based on the ...more

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25
New Jersey Drive is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens
Christine Baranski, Heavy D, Donald Faison

Released: 1995

Directed by: Nick Gomez

New Jersey Drive is a 1995 film about joy riding working class teenagers in 1990s Newark, New Jersey, the former "car theft capital of the world". Their favorite pastime is that of ...more

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