The best urban drama movies shows the difficulties on living on the street in a way that both effects and entertains the audience. These movies normally fall into the problems with gangs and drug abuse but some tell urban stories without getting trapped in the stereotype.

  1. “Training Day” Denzel Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor in this, one of the best urban drama movies. Washington plays Detective Alonzo Harris, a crooked cop who takes a new young hotshot as a partner in Los Angeles. The film shows the temptations the younger cop faced on the streets.

  2. “Taxi Driver” Martin Scorsese directed this gritty film, one of the best urban drama movies ever made. Robert De Niro plays a cab driver with mental issues. When the cabbie meets a 12-year-old prostitute and develops feelings for a campaign worker, he slowly becomes a ticking time bomb.

  3. “American History X” Ed Norton stars in this movie about racism on the streets. In one of the best urban drama movies, Norton’s character ends up in jail where he changes his outlook on life. When he gets out, he learns his kid brother is following in his destructive footsteps.

  4. “Do the Right Thing” Spike Lee made his name with this urban drama movie about a group of people in a diverse neighborhood on a very hot day. The film follows various individuals in the neighborhood as they begin to break down until all that remains is violence.

  5. “Mean Streets” Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel began their rise to stardom with this, one of cinema’s best urban drama movies. The film follows neighborhood friends who work for the local mafia. When one of the friends becomes unreliable the others have to find a way to distance themselves to survive.

  6. “Mystic River” Sean Penn won Best Actor while Tim Robbins won Best Supporting Actor for this, one of the best urban drama movies ever made. The film follows three childhood friends who find themselves involved in a crime when one of them is accused of killing another’s daughter while the third is the cop sent in to investigate the case.

  7. “Boys ‘N the Hood” John Singleton received an Oscar nomination for directing one of the best urban drama movies of all time. The film follows childhood friends growing up on the streets of East Birmingham. Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube star in the movie that shows not everyone will make it out of the hood alive.

  8. “Hustle & Flow” Terrance Howard stars as a pimp and drug dealer who discovers he has a chance to make music and make something more of himself. Howard received an Oscar nomination for his performance in this, one of the best urban drama movies of all time.

  9. “8 Mile” Eminem made the transition from a rap musician into an actor in this movie based loosely on his life. In one of the best urban drama movies ever made, “8 Mile” won Eminem an Oscar for Best Original Song and the rap superstar proved he can have a solid career in movies if he chooses to.

  10. “New Jack City” In one of the best urban drama movies of all time, Mario Van Peebles directs this film about a police force and their war on crime, specifically a drug lord played by Wesley Snipes. The movie is unique in that it provides equal screen time to the villains, who we get to know as much as the cops.