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30+ Great Movies About Urban Teens

Updated February 21, 2020 1.2k votes 162 voters 10.1k views36 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
    46
    13

    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 on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Menace II Society
    32
    11

    Menace II Society

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jada Pinkett Smith

    Released1993

    Directed byAlbert Hughes, Allen Hughes

    Menace II Society is a 1993 drama/hood film and the directorial debut of twin brothers Allen... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Juice
    37
    16

    Juice

    Tupac Shakur, Samuel L. Jackson

    Released1992

    Directed byErnest R. Dickerson

    Juice is a 1992 American drama thriller directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, written by Ernest R.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Love & Basketball
    36
    16

    Love & Basketball

    Tyra Banks, Gabrielle Union

    Released2000

    Directed byGina Prince-Bythewood

    Love & Basketball is a 2000 American romantic drama film starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Dope
    36
    17

    Dope

    Rakim Mayers, Blake Anderson

    Released2015

    Directed byRick Famuyiwa

    Dope is a 2015 American comedy-drama coming-of-age film directed by Rick Famuyiwa. After being... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Kids
    36
    18

    Kids

    Rosario Dawson, Chloë Sevigny

    Released1995

    Directed byLarry Clark

    Kids is a 1995 American drama film written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark. It... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Straight Outta Compton
    33
    15

    Straight Outta Compton

    O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins

    Released2015

    Directed byF. Gary Gray

    Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    The Basketball Diaries
    23
    9

    The Basketball Diaries

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg

    Released1995

    Directed byScott Kalvert

    The Basketball Diaries is a 1995 American drama film directed by Scott Kalvert, starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • 9
    Save the Last Dance
    29
    19

    Save the Last Dance

    Kerry Washington, Julia Stiles

    Released2001

    Directed byThomas Carter

    Save the Last Dance is a 2001 American film produced by MTV Films, directed by Thomas Carter... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Fresh
    20
    10

    Fresh

    Samuel L. Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito

    Released1994

    Directed byBoaz Yakin

    Fresh is a 1994 film written and directed by Boaz Yakin in his film directorial debut, also... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Coach Carter
    21
    11

    Coach Carter

    Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum

    Released2005

    Directed byThomas Carter

    Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical teen sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 12
    The Hate U Give
    12
    1

    The Hate U Give

    Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall

    Released2018

    Directed byGeorge Tillman Jr.

    The Hate U Give is a 2018 American drama thriller film directed by George Tillman Jr., based... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    High School High
    22
    14

    High School High

    Tia Carrere, Jon Lovitz

    Released1996

    Directed byHart Bochner

    High School High is a 1996 comedy film about an inner city high school in the Los Angeles,... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit
    21
    13

    Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

    Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauryn Hill

    Released1993

    Directed byBill Duke

    Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is a 1993 American comedy film loosely based on the life of... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Higher Learning
    19
    11

    Higher Learning

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Connelly

    Released1995

    Directed byJohn Singleton

    Higher Learning is a 1995 American romantic drama film, directed by John Singleton, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Kidulthood
    22
    14

    Kidulthood

    Nicholas Hoult, Jaime Winstone

    Released2006

    Directed byMenhaj Huda

    Kidulthood is a 2006 British drama film about the life of several teenagers in Ladbroke Grove... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Crooklyn
    17
    10

    Crooklyn

    RuPaul, Spike Lee

    Released1994

    Directed bySpike Lee

    Crooklyn is a 1994 semi-autobiographical film co-written and directed by Spike Lee. The film... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Goldie
    4
    1

    Goldie

    Slick Woods, George Sample III

    Released2020

    Directed bySam de Jong

    Goldie is a 2020 American drama film directed by Sam de Jong. Goldie (Slick Woods) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    City of Men
    19
    12

    City of Men

    Douglas Silva, Darlan Cunha

    Released2007

    Directed byPaulo Morelli

    City of Men is a 2007 Brazilian drama film directed by Paulo Morelli. The screenplay was... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Freedom Writers
    14
    7

    Freedom Writers

    Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey

    Released2007

    Directed byRichard LaGravenese

    Freedom Writers is a 2007 drama film starring Hilary Swank, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton and... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Maria Full of Grace
    16
    11

    Maria Full of Grace

    Catalina Sandino Moreno, Patricia Rae

    Released2004

    Directed byJoshua Marston

    Maria Full of Grace is a 2004 joint film production between Colombia and the U.S. written and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Thirteen
    25
    23

    Thirteen

    Vanessa Hudgens, Evan Rachel Wood

    Released2003

    Directed byCatherine Hardwicke

    Thirteen is a 2003 semi-autobiographical American drama film directed by Catherine Hardwicke,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    Dangerous Minds
    15
    10

    Dangerous Minds

    Michelle Pfeiffer, Andy Garcia

    Released1995

    Directed byJohn N. Smith

    Dangerous Minds is a 1995 American drama film directed by John N. Smith, and produced by Don... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Harsh Times
    17
    14

    Harsh Times

    Eva Longoria, Christian Bale

    Released2005

    Directed byDavid Ayer

    Harsh Times is a 2005 American crime film set in South Los Angeles. The film stars Christian... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    ATL
    15
    13

    ATL

    T.I., Lauren London

    Released2006

    Directed byChris Robinson

    ATL is a 2006 American drama film, and the feature film directorial debut of music video... more on Wikipedia

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