1. Fresh


Year: August 31, 1994
Rating: 4 Stars

Quote: “This is not an action film, not a clever, superficial thriller, but a story of depth and power, in which the dangerous streets are seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old who reacts with the objectivity he has learned from chess, and the anger taught to him by his life.”

2. Boyz In The Hood

Boyz In The Hood

Year: July 12, 1991
Rating: 4 Stars

Quote: “The movie is a thoughtful, realistic look at a young man’s coming of age, and also a human drama of rare power – Academy Award material.”

3. Menace II Society

Menace II Society

Year: May 26, 1993
Rating: 4 stars

Quote: “Anyone who views this film thoughtfully must ask why our society makes guns easier to obtain and use than does any other country in the civilized world.”

4. Clockers


Year: September 13, 1995
Rating: 3 1/2 stars

“Although “Clockers” is, as I suggested, a murder mystery, in solving its murder, it doesn’t even begin to find a solution to the system that led to the murder. That is the point.”

5. Poetic Justice

Poetic Justice

Year: July 23, 1993
Rating: 3 stars

Quote: “Janet Jackson provides a lovable center for it, and by the time it’s over we can see more clearly how “Boyz” presented only part of the South Central reality.”

6. Pariah


Year: January 4, 2012
Rating: 3 1/2

Quote: “Alike lives in a world where homosexuality is far from unknown, and her problems will grow smaller in a few years as she moves away from home. This story, so tellingly written and acted, is about the painful awkwardness of that process.”

7. City Of God

City Of God

Year: January 24, 2003
Rating: 4 Stars

Quote: “City of God” does not exploit or condescend, does not pump up its stories for contrived effect, does not contain silly and reassuring romantic sidebars, but simply looks, with a passionately knowing eye, at what it knows.”

8. Do The Right Thing

Do The Right Thing

Year: June 30, 1989
Raring: 4 Stars

Quote: “I believe that any good-hearted person, white or black, will come out of this movie with sympathy for all of the characters. Lee does not ask us to forgive them, or even to understand everything they do, but he wants us to identify with their fears and frustrations.

9. Baby Boy

Baby Boy

Year: June 27, 2001
Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Quote: “Baby Boy” doesn’t fall back on easy liberal finger-pointing. There are no white people in this movie, no simplistic blaming of others; the adults in Jody?s life blame him for his own troubles, and they should.

10. Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Beasts Of The Southern Wild

Year: July 4, 2012
Rating: 4 Stars

Quote: This film is a remarkable creation, imagining a self-reliant community without the safety nets of the industrialized world.

11. New Jack City

New Jack City

Year: May 1, 1991
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Quote: The movie isn’t a comic book that’s been assembled out of the spare parts from other crime movies; it’s an original, in-depth look at this world, written and directed with concern—apparently after a lot of research and inside information.

12. New Jersey Drive

New Jersey Drive

Year: April 19, 1995
Rating: 3 stars

Quote: (Gomez) wants to look at how an empty lifestyle leads to trouble. If the only choices you can imagine in life are stealing cars or standing around looking at other people driving stolen cars, how long are you gonna stand around?

13. Love Jones

Love Jones

Year: March 14, 1997
Rating: 3 Stars

Quote: As the characters move from coffee bars to record stores to restaurants to the Sanctuary, we realize how painfully limited the media vision of urban black life is. Why do the movies give us so many homeboys and gangstas and druggies and so few photographers, poets and teachers?

14. Love And Basketball

Love And Basketball

Year: April 21, 2000
Rating: 3 Stars

Quote: it is a sports film seen mostly from the woman’s point of view. It’s honest and perceptive about love and sex, with no phony drama and a certain quiet maturity.

15. Get On The Bus

Get On The Bus

Year: October 18, 1996
Rating: 4 Stars

Quote: Spike Lee’s “Get on the Bus” is a movie made in haste and passion, and that may account for its uncanny effect: We feel close to the real, often unspoken, issues involving race in America, without the distance that more time and money might have provided.