The 90’s was a great decade for movies and music. Before Tyler Perry’s controversial films with Kim Kardashian and Madea, Spike Lee and John Singleton took Black problems and tastefully displayed them for the world to evaluate and change.
We channeled our lives and situations through these flicks. Whether you were rocking Poetic Justice braids or looking for your brother of the night, you can’t deny that the 90’s was the best era for movies. The 90’s produced the classics. No matter how many times we watch them, they never get old and they always bring us back to the days when life was much easier.
Flip the page to see our favorites.
31. B.A.P.s (1997)
“Livin’ large and takin’ charge!”
If you ever wondered where “ratchet” stemmed from you can thank Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle for their wild hair, long nails, outrageous outfits, and gold teeth. These tacky dancers flipped an elderly man’s last days into his best days and became Black American Princesses (B.A.Ps). This hilarious comedy, makes you forget that one of the most lustable woman portrayed the most ratchet woman.
Photo Credit: Halle Berry Fan
30. 5 Heartbeats (1991)
This was a great 90’s film because it told the story of former male stars through a fictitious group, the 5 Heartbeats. Told through the eyes of Robert Townsend’s character, it touches on the ups and downs of a group as they deal with fast fame, dishonesty in record companies, and drugs. Through their story we were able to understand the trials and tribulations of Frankie Lymon, The Dells, The Temptations, and other groups and artist of that time.
Photo Credit: Peliculas Films
29. Why Do Fools Fall in Love (1998)
The 90’s was truly Larenz Tate’s year. Telling the story of Frankie Lymon’s struggle with romance, drugs, and his career through the bitter battle of his estate, Larenz gave a compelling and adorned performance in Why Do Fools Fall in Love.
Photo Credit: Madamenoire
28. Bad Boys (1995)
“We ride together, we die together, bad boys for life.”
Martin Lawrence and Will Smith came together to portray narotic cops fighting the Miami drug world. Martin played the family guy while Will, aka Mike Lowry, was the lover and flashy guy. Although they fought every step of the way, they had each others back while keeping us on the edge of our seats and doubled-over with laughter. It would be eight more years until the release of the sequel but it was worth the wait.
Photo Credit: Review TM
27. Don’t Be a Menace in South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)
It may not have been the first parody, but it’s definitely is one of the most memorable ones. This Wayans-produced movie took aspects from various Black classics—Menace to Society, Juice, Boys in the Hood, Higher Learning—to create another day in the ghetto.
Photo Credit: Blu-Ray
26. CB4 (1993)
CB4 poked fun of the hip-hop community and we loved every bit of it. This comedic movie starring Chris Rock is about three kids who want a fast break into the music industry. Stealing the criminal background and identity of the kingpin Gusto, the trio formed “CB4” (cell block 4). If you want a laugh, CB4 is a must-see.
Photo Credit: 1994 HipHop
25. Higher Learning (1995)
Remember the days when Tyra was an actress, Omar Epps was the sexiest man on TV, and Busta had dreads? Well reminisce with Higher Learning. Based on real life racial issues at Columbia University, the director heightened the depiction of skinheads and black power’s turmoil.
Photo Credit: Moo Vid Ab
24. Strictly Business (1991)
A mail clerk (Tommy Lee Davidson) trying to move up the corporate ladder insisted on the help of his best friend (Joseph Phillips) and future partner of a big firm. But in order for everything to work out, they have to change their images. Strictly Business is a must see especially if you work in the corporate world.
Photo Credit: Silver Business
23. Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996)
Brandy (Lynn Whitfield) told crazy women how to get their revenge as she taught Darnell (Martin Lawrence) the negatives of “hit it and quit it”. Although men still haven’t learned, when this movie premiered she definitely shook up players everywhere.
Photo Credit: Photo Bucket
22. Booty Call (1997)
Before Jamie Foxx turned into Ray and Vivica Fox dated 50 cent, they engaged in a booty call. When Rushon (Tommy Lee Davidson) and his girlfriend Nikki (Tamala Jones) hooked up Lysterine (Vivica Foxx) with bad boy Bunz (Jamie Foxx), comedy ensued. The funny movie taught the importance of safe sex as both guys went on an adventure of a lifetime to find condoms.
Photo Credit: Mov Pins
21. Menace to Society (1993)
“In the end it all catches up to you!”
Menace to Society questions whether you care about living or dying as two friends Caine and O-Dog live on the edge just trying to survive in the hood.
Photo Credit: Ambrosia for Heads
20. Players Club (1998)
Even if Lisa Raye ever regrets doing this movie, it’s still a classic. Before she began wearing white she taught us the fundamental rule in life: “Make that money, don’t let that money make you.” Players Club was the first and only black movie of its kind to deal with the life of a stripper. It showed all aspects of stripping, and the ugly side of rape, drugs, and abuse.
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema
19. Crooklyn (1996)
Inspired by the memories of growing up in a brownstone in Brooklyn in the 1970’s, Crooklyn was a Spike Lee joint that focused on the life of Troy Carmichael, the only female in her family of four brothers. It’s a touching and entertaining film that depicts one family’s growth while reminding us that every family has problems.
Photo Credit: A Fistful of Soundtracks
18. Malcolm X (1992)
Denzel Washington deserved an Oscar for his role in this biopic film. This Spike Lee directed film goes from the days when Malcolm permed his hair, until he became one of the biggest leaders in the civil rights movement leading to his untimely death.
Photo Credit: Very Aware
17. Losing Isaiah (1995)
A drugged out Halle Berry gave a compelling story of one mother’s fight to get her child back despite her wayward past. Berry played a drug addict who discarded her newborn in the dumpster. After finally getting her life back, she finds out her son isn’t dead but adopted by a white social worker.
Photo Credit: Star Warped
17. Juice (1992)
This movie evaluates what happens with power gets in the wrong hands. Would it be a stretch to say Tupac deserved more praise for his role as temperamental, gun slinging, and friend killing character Bishop? We don’t think so.
Photo Credit: Madamenoire
16. Boomerang (1992)
Give men a taste of their own medicine? Sure why not. Sweet talking Marcus Graham (Eddie Murphy) is a wolf in a well-tailored Italian suit. He’s the cat’s meow until he meets his match, Jacqueline (Robin Givens), and karma turns ugly. It takes the help of a special lady for Marcus to finally learn his lesson.
Photo Credit: Pod Napisi
Jada Pinkett stars in our 2nd favorite role of her 90’s career: Jason’s Lyric. In it, she plays a no-nonsense girl with dreams of getting far away from the hood.
Photo Credit: Marcelo Black Music
14. Sister Act II (1993)
Despite the original being lack luster, Whoopi Goldberg came back with a better version starring Lauryn Hill. Before Fighting Temptations and Joyful Noise, Sister Mary Clarence made you “dance til’ you feel better.”
Photo Credit: CDC We Three
13. House Party 1 and 2 (1990-1991)
These movies captured the essence of a true house party. Before sex, drugs, and alcohol was a major concern at house parties, there was DJing, dance and rap battles. If we could take it back to the days of a real party, we’d be set.
Photo Credit: Up North
12. Mo’ Better Blues (1990)
Gilliam may be an amazing musician but his business partner and friend tends to be the down fall of his promising career. Along the way, this sweet talking jazz player tries to keep two women happy.
Photo Credit: BET
11. Soul Food (1997)
Before This Christmas there was Soulfood, a movie that showcased a family’s struggle after the death of their matriarch. This movie reminded us all about the importance of family belonging.
Photo Credit: Cooking with the Movies
10. Boyz N The Hood (1990)
Boyz N The Hood had a clear message: “It takes a man to raise a boy.” This movie was John Singleton’s college thesis that emphasized that a boy should never grow up without a father.
Photo Credit: Tumblr
9. Friday (1995)
The hilarious duo of Smokey (Chris Tucker) and Craig (Ice Cube) set the trend of other movies to follow in its footsteps like Method Man and Redman in How High.
Photo Credit: Smoking Section
8. Waiting to Exhale (1995)
When everything in life tries to tear you down, it’s friendships that build you up. Four women all faced with men issues rely on each other to get through them. Grab your close female friends, favorite bottle of wine, and press play to relive the times when life may have been bad, but you made it through.
Photo Credit: Dispatch Blogs
7. The Wood (1999)
Sometimes when life takes you in different directions and you start to lose your way, you need to rely on your friends to take you back to where it all began. The Wood is the younger male version of Waiting to Exhale. Two best friends take their drunk friend who has second thoughts on getting married, down memory lane.
Photo Credit: Sony Movie Channel
5. Poetic Justice (1993)
Making her film debut, as Justice, Janet Jackson alongside Lucky (Tupac) gave a compelling story of finding love when you aren’t looking for it.
Photo Credit: Fan Pop
“Now you’re gonna shoot my pinky toe?”
One of our best and memorable acting moments of Della Reese was in Harlem Nights. The depiction of Harlem in the 80’s definitely made us want to back to the Harlem Renaissance and enjoy gambling and being an honest hoe.
Photo Credit: Mov Pins
3. New Jack City (1991)
“Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes I am.”
This movie had you questioning all your allies in your circle, while every wanna-be boss renamed themselves Nino Brown.
1. Love Jones (1997)
“Who am I? Well, they call me Brother to the night. And right now I’m the blues in your left thigh… trying to become the funk in your right.”
Darius and Nina had a love that was so pure, complicated, and passionate that we overlooked the fact that they followed none of the rules in the “Think Like a Man” manual. The chemistry between Larenz Tate and Nia Long extended past Love Jones. “My relationship with Nia is an incredible,” Tate dished in a recent Vixen interview on reconnecting with his former co-star on House of Lies. “We spend more time laughing at ourselves and enjoying the fact that people want to see more of us together.”