Boyz n the Hood

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Boyz n the Hood Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Powerful, old-school look at life surrounded by violence.
  • R
  • 1991
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A lot of media focus on violence overseas, while no one seems to care about the violence in neighborhoods in the United States. Tre's father Furious instills positive messages about responsibility, safe sex, drugs, and African Americans supporting their own communities.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tre, his parents, his girlfriend Brandi, and friend Ricky are all positive role models for the importance of responsibility; education; and avoiding sex, drugs, and alcohol. Other friends and neighbors drink excessively, probably use drugs, and spend most of their time just hanging out with each other. They're shown as good people who, for lack of good role models and opportunities for themselves, can't overcome the harsh realities around them and eventually succumb to violence.


Several shootings. The shooters' rifles and handguns are shown being fired, the victims are shown being hit with bullets, falling to the ground, and the bloody wounds are shown. One incident shows a lot of blood on the victim, those who come to his aid, and a large pool of blood on the ground. A man approaches a victim lying on the ground and shoots him at point-blank range with a hand gun. Gunfire, sirens, screams, babies crying, and helicopters are heard in the background frequently. Handguns and rifles shown being loaded, brandished, aimed, and fired. A police officer holds a gun to an innocent suspect's head, threatens, and taunts with verbal abuse. Several fights show punching, slapping, and kicking victims who are on the ground. Important characters die.


A few deep kisses, one between teens on a bed with open shirts and bra visible. Two sex scenes (one is a fantasy), each showing moving around under covers, a bare back, and a woman's bare breast; the fantasy scene shows simulated sex covered from the hips down. Teens and young adults frequently talk about sex, often with crude profanity and exclusively referring to women as "bitches," "hos," or "hoochies." A father and son talk about sex and responsible condom use to prevent pregnancy and STD transmission. Teen boys talk about whether you can get AIDS from receiving oral sex. A boyfriend and girlfriend talk several times about premarital sex; the boy consistently pressures the girl to have sex, but also listens to her arguments and feelings against it. Men openly leer at women and comment on their appearance. Young kids talk about sex involving putting their "dingaling in her." An addict offers oral sex in exchange for drugs.


Nonstop and no holds barred.  "S--t," the "N" word, "damn," "hell," "ass," "bitch," "f--k" and variations, "faggot," "dick" (body part), "p---y," "t--ties," "bulls--t," and "Goddamn." Several middle-finger gestures. Women almost exclusively referred to as "bitch," "ho," or "hoochie," and when a woman asks a man why, he responds that it's because that's what they are. Many songs in the soundtrack have equally strong language. Lots of verbal abuse, hostility, and name-calling.


Bottles of Olde English malt liquor frequently seen, though only occasionally with labels clearly visible. A bag of Doritos has the name partly obscured. Coke cups clearly visible at a fast-food restaurant.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Central group of older teens almost always shown drinking from or holding 40-oz. bottles of Olde English malt liquor. Alcoholics hanging out in front of liquor stores mentioned, as well as liquor stores on every corner being a big problem in poor neighborhoods. An addict neighbor asks for "rock" or "blow" a couple of times. A minor character is always sucking a pacifier. Brief depiction of Doughboy buying drugs. Many background characters smoking. Tre's father smokes frequently.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Boyz n the Hood is the 1991 directing debut from John Singleton. Violence permeates almost every aspect of life in South Central Los Angeles. Guns are prominent, and several shootings are shown with blood and bloody wounds but not much other gore. Profanity is almost nonstop, with "f--k," the "N" word, "s--t," and sexist slurs are frequent (women are constantly referred to as "bitches," "hos," and "hoochies"). A couple of sex scenes show a single breast, otherwise there are a few deep kisses, one with tops open. Characters are almost always shown holding large bottles of malt liquor. Many background characters smoke, and Tre's father smokes frequently. Doughboy buys drugs and a minor character almost always has a pacifier. The success and panache of N.W.A. and a young Ice Cube may spark teen interest, and parents may be concerned that Boyz glorifies a "gangsta" lifestyle. It doesn’t, but it will spark a lot of thought in older teens ready to tackle some of society’s biggest problems.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byWalter White February 10, 2021
Written byAnonymous June 18, 2020

A well-made morally misguided ghetto flick

During an iconic scene in which Fishburne's character Styles describes the gentrification of Black American communities in the United States, it is on the... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bydisneygirl360 March 27, 2020

It’s really good just don’t watch it with ur parents

This is SUCH A GOOD MOVIE!!! However it is VERY violent and sexy but ya know, it’s part of what makes it GREAT!!
Teen, 13 years old Written byArne1 February 10, 2021

What's the story?

BOYZ N THE HOOD starts out in 1984, when 10-year-old Tre gets suspended from school for fighting. His mother decides to send him to live with his father in another part of South Central Los Angeles, where hopefully a better school and a role model for responsibility will keep him from further trouble. Fast forward to 1991, and Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and his friends Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky (Morris Chestnut) are looking toward the future while just barely holding on in the middle of a violent world riddled with drugs and alcohol. Will football be Ricky's ticket out? What about college for Tre? And will Doughboy's code of loyalty bring justice to a tragic loss, or will it trap him in an endless cycle of violence?

Is it any good?

John Singleton takes a powerfully unflinching and intimate look at the many problems facing America's inner cities. Race, economic opportunity, access to education, violence, drugs, society's indifference, and more form the kaleidoscopic, chaotic backdrop to examining how three young men adopt different strategies to cope with day-to-day struggles. The cast is fantastic (especially Ice Cube, who was a revelation at the time in a break-out role). The characters are compelling, and Singleton ably brings the audience to the breaking point right along with them.

The pace falters a bit when the movie pauses a couple of times to put the issues these kids face into a broader context, becoming a little stilted and preachy. But it's a sermon we should all hear. Older teens who can put the mature and graphic content and negative examples in context, and who are ready to take on some of society's biggest problems, will find a lot of food for thought here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the strong language in Boyz n the Hood, especially the "N" word, and the way women are referred to. What do you think those words mean to the characters who use them? When is it OK, or not OK, to have profanity in movies?

  • Many characters are almost always shown with a bottle of malt liquor in their hands. Why do they drink so much? How does alcohol (and drugs and smoking) contribute to problems in areas like South Central?

  • Why doesn't Tre fall into the same cycle of violence as Doughboy? What can we do as a society to help put an end to it?

  • How are the movie's themes still relevant today?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

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