Writer-director John Singleton (Poetic Justice, Higher Learning and Shaft), who died at age 51 on April 28, made his directorial debut with this gritty drama that chronicles the lives of three childhood friends growing up in the deadly Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles. The story is based on Singleton’s own life and observations growing up in the inner city. The original version of the screenplay was used as part of his application to the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Singleton became the youngest person to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards in 1992, where he also was nominated for his screenplay. The film drew wide criticism from law-enforcement officials in some cities due to violence that ensued between rival gangs during its run. It was preserved in the National Film Registry in 2002.
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