Where to Stream the ’90s Black Film Boom

Thirty years ago this month, Spike Lee’s hit 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” helped bring attention to a then emerging generation of black directors in Hollywood. Recently, The New York Times convened a discussion of six filmmakers — Julie Dash, Ernest Dickerson, Leslie Harris, Darnell Martin, Matty Rich and Theodore Witcher — who were at the center of a black film boom that followed, and who lived with the consequences after it went bust.

Here is where to find some of the films that they made, as well as 10 others that defined the era.

Julie Dash

“Daughters of the Dust” (1991)

Three generations of Gullah women, descendants of slaves brought to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, grapple with the weight of heritage and the prospect of leaving it all behind.

Stream it on Netflix or rent it on Amazon.

Ernest Dickerson

“Juice” (1992)

Four friends in Harlem (one played by Tupac Shakur) have their lives turned upside down after deciding to rob a convenience store.

Rent it on Amazon or YouTube.

“Surviving the Game” (1994)

A homeless man (Ice-T) is hunted for sport by a cabal of bloodthirsty one-percenters.

Stream: Vudu | Rent: Amazon, YouTube

“Tales from the Crypt Presents: Demon Knight” (1995)

In a spinoff of the horror anthology series, an evil demon played by Billy Zane pursues a war veteran — and the key to limitless power.

Rent: Amazon, YouTube

“Bulletproof” (1996)

Adam Sandler and Damon Wayans star in this buddy comedy about an undercover cop and a small-time thief who get stuck together on a cross-country road trip.

Stream: Starz | Rent: Amazon, YouTube

“Bones” (2001)

Snoop Dogg stars as a vengeful ghost who returns to his neighborhood 20 years after his murder.

Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Leslie Harris

“Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.” (1993)

An effervescent young woman is determined to escape her Brooklyn housing project — and parochial life — at all costs.

Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Darnell Martin

“I Like it Like That” (1994)

One hot summer in the Bronx, a husband and wife struggle to keep their family together after he gets arrested and she gets a new job.

Rent: Amazon, YouTube

“Prison Song” (2001)

A hip-hop opera about the prison system, and those it ensnares, starring Q-Tip and Mary J. Blige, in her first film role.

Stream: Vudu

“Cadillac Records” (2008)

The story of rock 'n' roll as pioneered by the artists of Chess Records, starring Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters and Beyoncé as Etta James.

Stream: Crackle | Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Matty Rich

“The Inkwell” (1994)

In Rich’s ambitious follow-up to “Straight Out of Brooklyn” (not streaming), Larenz Tate stars as a teenage boy experiencing life and first love on Martha’s Vineyard in 1976.

Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Theodore Witcher

“Love Jones” (1997)

Larenz Tate and Nia Long star as an idealistic poet and jaded photographer falling in and out of love in black bohemian Chicago.

Rent: Amazon, YouTube

More of the 1990s Black Film Boom

Boyz N’ the Hood” (1991), directed by John Singleton. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Devil in a Blue Dress” (1995), directed by Carl Franklin. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Eve’s Bayou” (1997), directed by Kasi Lemmons. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

The Five Heartbeats” (1991), directed by Robert Townsend. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Friday” (1995), directed by F. Gary Gray. Stream: Cinemax | Rent: Amazon, YouTube

House Party” (1990), directed by Reginald Hudlin. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Malcolm X” (1992), directed by Spike Lee. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Menace II Society” (1993), directed by the Hughes Brothers. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

New Jack City” (1991), directed by Mario Van Peebles. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

True Identity” (1991), directed by Charles Lane. Rent: Amazon, YouTube

Reggie Ugwu is a pop culture reporter covering a range of subjects, including film, television, music and internet culture. Before joining The Times in 2017, he was a reporter for BuzzFeed News and Billboard magazine. @uugwuu

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