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These Classic Films Featuring POC Celebrated Their 25th Anniversaries

Sure, 2018 might be behind us, but we can’t help but still look back at the sparkly moments that made the year memorable and a bit more bearable. There’s nothing like a little bit of nostalgia to warm the heart and make us smile. Last year, many classic movies of the 1990s celebrated anniversaries. These were the ’90s films that we watched 100 times, that we know the lines of, and that have informed us. These movies also helped put POC faces on the big screen, allowing other films to follow suit. Here are some films of 1993 that celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2018.

Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)


Mi Vida Loca is a classic. Based on a true story, it follows a group of Chicana friends in Echo Park, L.A., as they navigate life, love, and being in a gang. It is the quintessential chola film, launching endless memes, T-shirts, and other pop culture references.

Blood In Blood Out/Bound by Honor


Another film that looks at the consequences of gang life is Blood In Blood Out, whose title was later changed to Bound by Honor. It follows three family members from East L.A., who decide to take different paths in life, after having been in the same gang. Bound by Honor is also widely regarded as a classic Chicano/Latino/cholo movie.

Poetic Justice

Poetic Justice is also celebrating its 25th anniversary. The classic stars Janet Jackson, Tupac Shakur, and Regina King; it follows Justice (Jackson) and Lucky (Shakur), who bond over the tragedies they have both experienced in life. Poetry in the film was written by Maya Angelou, Janet Jackson scored Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Song (“Again”), and the movie still has girls asking for Poetic Justice braids (box braids).

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

Chinese-American Bruce Lee remains karate legend, arguably the best martial artist of all time. The film, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, is about the icon’s life, including how he brought martial arts to the masses in America.

Carlito’s Way


An Italian (Al Pacino) might have played Puerto Rican Carlos Brigante, but Carlito’s Way is a Latino film. The novel it is based on was written by Nuyorican Judge Edwin Torres, and the movie features Latino actors John Leguizamo, John Ortiz, Jorge Porcel, and Luis Guzman (among other Latinxs in the cast). The story follows Brigante, as he is released from prison, tries to avoid a life of crime, and gets pulled right back in.

Menace II Society

Menace II Society is another classic released in 1993, and the first film directed by the Hughes Brothers. It tells the tale of Caine Lawson, who wants to leave Watts for a new life. His friends, and the violence in his environment prove to be a much stronger force than Caine’s dreams.


Posse is a western featuring a mostly African-American cast (Mario van Peebles, Big Daddy Kane, Blair Underwood, Tone Loc, Charles Lane, Tiny Lister, Melvin van Peebles, Isaac Hayes, Pam Grier, and more). It tells the tale of a group of African-American soldiers in Cuba during the Spanish-American war.

The Joy Luck Club

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Woke up so puffy from crying for 3 hours straight last night. I attended a special 25th anniversary screening of #TheJoyLuckClub and wept even before the film stared during a panel discussion with #WayneWang, @amytanwriter, @janetyang1, #RonaldBass and some of the beautiful cast: @thekieuchinh , @mingna_wen, #TsaiChin, @tamlyn_tomita, #FranceNuyen and @laurentom9000. Missing from the panel was my friend #RosalindChao and #LisaLu. What an epic, extraordinary and stunning film that holds up beautifully after 25 years. If you’ve never seen it, you’ve missed out—it is a must. Those of us who are children of immigrants have likely experienced some similar roadblocks in our relationships with our parents. This film truly propelled me take the time to better understand my own mother and her relationship to her mother. And I forgot how magnificent the scenes of the mothers as children were. The supporting cast was as amazing as the main cast. And speaking of whom, the third pic is of a few of us with the man I call “the original,” @russellwong88. He’s such a jerk of a husband in this film, but deliciously so. #trueclassic. #ISeeYou

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The Joy Luck Club, based on Amy Tan’s novel of the same name, was the first Hollywood film featuring an Asian cast. It follows four Chinese women in San Francisco, and tells their stories, as well as the stories of their daughters.

Who’s the Man?

Also released in 1993 is Who’s the Man? It is a thriller comedy, starring Ed Lover and Doctor Dre as barbers-turned-cops, and featuring a who’s who of Hip Hop: Cheryl “Salt” James, B-Real, Queen Latifah, Eric B, Busta Rhymes, Bushwick Bill, Run D.M.C., KRS-One, and more.