One of the most of popular sub-genres is drug wars movies from the 90’s. The realism, action, and seemingly glamorous lifestyle of the drug lords still attract viewers decades later.

  1. "New Jack City" (1991). Who doesn’t remember Nino Brown, Gee-Money and the rest of the Cash Mone Brothers? Starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Judd Nelson and directed by Mario Van Peebles (his first theatrically released film) this is the film that launched Chris Rock’s career. Plus a cameo from Flavor Flav at the height of his popularity! Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three and a half stars of four.

  2. "Belly" (1998). The film directorial debut of music video director Hype Williams stars Nas, DMX and lots of rappers and singers. It looks like a music video but is actually a powerful story of spiritual growth that ended up a cult classic.

  3.  "Gang Related" (1997). "Gang Related" stars James Belushi, Kool Moe Dee, Dennis Quaid, James Earl Jones, Lela Rochon, and Tupac Shakur (in what would turn out to be his last movie). Two cops kill an undercover DEA agent over drugs, and frantically try to cover their tracks by framing a homeless man for the crime.

  4. "Sugar Hill" (1993). Dealer Roemello Skuggs tries to retire from the drug game only to learn it’s never as easy to get out as it is to get in. Excellent performances from Wesley Snipes, Theresa Randle, and Clarence Williams, III.

  5. "Deep Cover" (1992).Laurence Fishburne turns in an amazing performance as an undercover cop and Bill Duke directs. This is a gritty film that explores the darker side of the criminal underworld as well as the justice system.

  6. "Fresh" (1994). Samuel L. Jackson, Giancarlo Esposito, and Sean Nelson star in a thriller about a 12-year-old drug dealer who manipulates big time dealers like pawns on a chess board as he tries to find a way out of the drug game.

  7. "Carlito’s Way" (1993). Cahiers du Cinema named it the best film of the Nineties. Brian De Palma directs Pacino and John Leguizamo in a classic movie about Carlito Brigante, a notorious heroin dealer who wants to escape the criminal underworld (“Getting out of the game” is a reoccurring thematic device in many drug wars movies from the 90’s). 

  8. "Drug Wars: The Camarena Story" (1990). Based on a true story, "Drug Wars" follows undercover DEA agent Enrique Camarena through Guadalajara as he discovers a huge marijuana operation that eventually leads to his death and an intense investigation of corruption within the Mexican government.

  9. "King of New York" (1990). No description can do this classic justice. Christopher Walken, David Caruso, Laurence Fishburne, Wesley Snipes, Giancarlo Esposito, Steve Buscemi, and Theresa Randle star in thi Robin Hood reboot about a drug lord who decides to eliminate all his rivals and help the poor. There’s even a cameo by Freddie Jackson.

  10. "Rush" (1991). Two undercover cops in a rural community in Texas try to apprehend a major drug dealer but end up victims of the drug culture. Falling in love with each other and getting high obviously compromises their assignment.

-Anthony Sills