This debut offering from twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes was one of the most critically-acclaimed urban crime films to appear in the wake of John Singleton's influential Boyz N the Hood. Set in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, the film is narrated by 18-year-old Caine (Tyrin Turner), a drug dealer and car thief who lives with his religious grandparents. After graduating from high school, Caine shows no ambition beyond hanging out with his friends, so his grandparents kick him out. Among his other troubles are his best friend O-Dog (Larenz Tate), a vicious thug hunted by the police, and the friends and family of the girl Caine got pregnant and then turned his back on. Perhaps the lone positive influence in his sphere is Ronnie (Jada Pinkett), a single parent struggling to raise her young son without the boy falling prey to the 'hood mentality. When their friendship becomes a love affair, Ronnie tries desperately to convince Caine to move with her to Atlanta; soon afterward, he is shot and nearly dies. After recovering, he accepts Ronnie's offer, but tragedy strikes as they pack their van in preparation to leave.
    Tyrin Turner - Caine Lawson
    Jada Pinkett Smith - Ronnie
    Vonte Sweet - Sharif
    Larenz Tate - O-Dog
    Ryan Williams - Stacy
    Samuel L. Jackson - Tat Lawson
    Charles S. Dutton - Mr. Butler
    Glenn Plummer - Pernell
    Bill Duke - Detective
    Tony Valentino - Vato3
    Toshi Toda - Grocery Store Man
    Rolando Molina - Vato 1
    Reginald Ballard - Clyde
    Nancy Cheryl Davis - Teacher
    Yo-Yo - Girl at Party
    Brandon Hammond - Five year old Caine
    Eugene Lee - Man 1
    Chad Dowdell - White Guy in Street (uncredited)
    Marilyn Coleman - Grandmama
    Julian Roy Doster - Anthony
    Robert Gonzales - Car Dealer
    Christopher M. Brown - Lloyd
    Khandi Alexander - Karen Lawson
    Clifton Powell - Chauncey
    Michael Kelly - Officer Gadd
    James Pickens, Jr. - Man
    Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez - Vato 2
    Arnold Johnson - Grandpapa
    Anthony Johnson - Tony