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All John Singleton Movies Ranked

With Boyz n the Hood, John Singleton fashioned a riveting, truthful document of turbulent inner city life within South Central Los Angeles, gave image and power to a class of people previously ignored in mainstream cinema, and became the youngest person to be Oscar-nominated for Best Director at age 24. And the first African-American ever.

It was just about as auspicious a debut as any director has had, and Singleton carried the torch with more propulsive dramas: the lyrical Poetic Justice starring Janet Jackson, and the university-set Higher Learning. Neither were able to achieve the same high marks with critics back in the day, though they connected with their intended targets if the Audience Scores are anything to be reckoned with. Rosewood, about the 1923 Florida massacre, could be seen something of a return to form.

Singleton formally entered his Hollywood era with the new century, delivering the sly Shaft remake starring Samuel L. Jackson and the first Fast and Furious franchise sequel. After 2011’s Abduction with Taylor Lautner fizzled, Singleton turned to television, directing episodes of The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story and Empire, and creating drug crime serial Snowfall for FX. In April 2019, Singleton passed away at the age of 51 after lapsing into a coma due to a stroke he suffered two weeks earlier. As the movie industry deals with the loss of a pioneering talent and trailblazing voice, we celebrate his life by looking back on all of John Singleton’s movies.

#1

Boyz N the Hood (1991)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 99921%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted and thematically rich, Boyz N the Hood observes Black America with far more depth and compassion than many of the like-minded films its success inspired.
Synopsis: Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent to live with his father, Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), in tough South Central Los... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#2

Rosewood (1997)
87%

#2
Adjusted Score: 89881%
Critics Consensus: In some respects, Rosewood struggles to present a full picture of the real-life tragedy it dramatizes, but it remains a harrowing depiction of racial violence.
Synopsis: Rosewood, Florida, is a small, peaceful town with an almost entirely African-American population of middle-class homeowners, until New Year's Day... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#3

Baby Boy (2001)
71%

#3
Adjusted Score: 73266%
Critics Consensus: Preachy and repetitive in parts, Baby Boy still manages to exude authenticity, thanks to its competent cast.
Synopsis: The story of Jody (Tyrese Gibson), a misguided, 20-year-old African-American who is really just a baby boy finally forced-kicking and... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#4

Shaft (2000)
67%

#4
Adjusted Score: 70017%
Critics Consensus: With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons.
Synopsis: Crooked cops on the take -- small-time drug lords -- sleazy informers and sadistic rich kids ready to kill ---... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#5

Four Brothers (2005)
52%

#5
Adjusted Score: 56418%
Critics Consensus: Despite striking a believable rapport among its principal actors, Four Brothers overwhelms with ultra-violent, vigilante-glorifying action and devolves into too many fractured, insubstantial thematic directions.
Synopsis: When an inner-city Detroit foster mother (Fionnula Flanagan) is murdered in a botched holdup, four of her now-grown adopted children... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#6

Higher Learning (1995)
45%

#6
Adjusted Score: 47079%
Critics Consensus: It's hard to fault Higher Learning's goals; unfortunately, writer-director John Singleton too often struggles to fit his themes within a consistently engaging story.
Synopsis: In John Singleton's powerful portrait of college life in the 1990s, a group of incoming freshmen at Columbus University --... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#7

Poetic Justice (1993)
34%

#7
Adjusted Score: 36042%
Critics Consensus: Poetic Justice is commendably ambitious and boasts a pair of appealing stars, but they're undermined by writer-director John Singleton's frustrating lack of discipline.
Synopsis: Still grieving after the murder of her boyfriend, hairdresser Justice (Janet Jackson) writes poetry to deal with the pain of... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#8

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
36%

#8
Adjusted Score: 40722%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful people and beautiful cars in a movie that won't tax the brain cells.
Synopsis: This sequel focuses on ex-police officer Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), who relocates from Los Angeles to Miami to start over.... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#9

Abduction (2011)
5%

#9
Adjusted Score: 7916%
Critics Consensus: A soulless and incompetent action/thriller not even a veteran lead actor could save, let alone Taylor Lautner.
Synopsis: For many years, Nathan Harper (Taylor Lautner) has had the uneasy feeling that life with his family isn't quite what... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

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