Classic Urban Films We Should Rewatch Every Year
From pictures starring rappers to biopic pieces, there are a lot of classic urban films out there. Here’s our list of some of the best representations of urban life on film.
Co-written by Ice Cube, Friday follows Cube’s character Craig Jones over the course of a day. The film finds humour in representing both the good and the bad of life in South Central L.A.
Do The Right Thing
Spike Lee wrote, directed and starred in this film about the powder keg of racial tension in Brooklyn, New York in the 80s. Like Friday it covers the events and goings on in a community over the course of one day. Funny, insightful and tragic, the film left a legacy for Spike Lee than even he couldn’t ruin. Despite his attempts with recent pictures.
Boyz n The Hood
First time director John Singleton earned nominations for his screenplay and direction for Boyz n The Hood. Solid performances, make this one of the high points when it come to classic urban films. The film focuses on the difficulties of the teenage main characters and the limited options they have coming into adulthood. Do you try to go to college, play sports or stay trapped in the hood?
Attack the Block
Attack the Block follows a group of teens living in a london tower block as they struggle to navigate relationships, school, money and drugs. It’s all made much harder to deal with when the tower block becomes the site of an alien invasion. The film introduced audiences to everyone’s favourite Stormtrooper, John Boyega. It’s top notch sci fi that doesn’t avoid getting real when it needs to. It’s pretty recent but earns a spot as a classic urban film for bringing something new to the genre.
Menace II Society
With the tagline ‘This is the truth. This is what’s real.’ Menace II Society sets out to show the bleak reality of violence in the hood. It goes further than a lot of films to show how easy it is to glamourize the lifestyle and cleaned up at film festivals because of it.
Though it plays out a lot like a mob film, American Gangster is at its core a hood flick. Following New York gangster Frank Lucas it takes the urban gangster film away from the streets and puts it next to stories of affluence like Scarface and Wolf of Wall Street.
South Central reads like a sequel to films like Menace II Society. It focusing on the consequences of violence years after the fact. A story about a father struggling to fix his own life to fix his son’s life, it’s a powerful piece about how fragile family can be.
City Of God
Moving away from the more typical setting of American hoods, City of God is one of the biggest films to come out of Brazil. As classic urban films go, it’s one of the best and most important. It charts the growth of a drug empire in Rio De Janeiro. City of God is like the Ben Hur of hood films, an epic picture set over nearly two decades. It covers perspectives from all over the Cidade de Deus suburb with a scope few films match.
Kidulthood set the stage early on for British hood films. A focus on the gritty reality of life it’s less flashy than most American counterparts. Another ‘life in a day’ film, it’s bleak, honest and important.