Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson
Produced by David Heyman
Gerard Brown
James Bigwood
Neal H. Moritz
Peter Frankfurt
Preston L. Holmes
Ralph McDaniels
Written by Ernest R. Dickerson
Gerard Brown
Starring Eminem
Tupac Shakur
Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins
Khalil Kain
Samuel L. Jackson
Cindy Herron
Queen Latifah
Vincent Laresca
Music by Gary G-Wiz
Cinematography Larry Banks
Editing by Brunilda Torres
Sam Pollard
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Fox Video (UK) (VHS)
Release date(s) January 17, 1992 (U.S.) 28 August 1992 (U.K.)
Running time 100 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $20,146,880

Juice is a 1992 American crime drama film that stars rapper Tupac Shakur and Omar Epps. Additional cast members include Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins, Khalil Kain, and Samuel L. Jackson; the film features cameo appearances by Queen Latifah, EPMD, Special Ed, Ed Lover, Doctor Dré, Flex Alexander, Fab Five Freddy, and Treach. The film was directed by cinematographer Ernest R. Dickerson who has directed and written other Hollywood films such as Surviving the Game and Bulletproof as well as some television series such as ER and The Wire.

The film touches on the lives of four black youths growing up in Harlem. It follows the day to day activities in the young men's lives starting out as innocent mischief but growing more serious as time passes by. It also focuses on the struggles that these young men must go through everyday as well such as police, harassment, and their families.

The film was shot on location in New York City mainly in the Harlem area.


Bishop (Shakur), Q (Epps), Raheem (Kain) and Steel (Hopkins), who refer to themselves as "The Wrecking Crew," are four friends growing up in Harlem. They regularly skip school, instead spending their days hanging out at Steel's apartment, at a neighborhood arcade and also a record store where they steal LPs for Q's local DJ interests. Generally, they are harassed daily by the police or a Puerto Rican gang led by a knife carrying thug named Radames. After witnessing a robbery at the local bar, an aggravated Bishop becomes entralled at the "juice" and the audacity of crime life. He boasts on, about tiring of the harassment by police, gangs and a local bodega owner and decides that the group must scheme on a plan to win respect. Q, however, is unsure if he wants to become involved in a life of crime, stating respect is earned. One Saturday night, under Bishop's persistence, the friends decide to rob a local bodega to teach the owner, Fernando Quiles, a lesson. Q is hesitant to go through with the crime, unsure whether it will be a success; he also fears it will affect his chances of participating in a DJ competition in which he has yearned to compete for years. After being pressured by fellow crew members he decides to join them. During the heist, for no apparent reason, Bishop shoots the owner in the head killing him.

After fleeing the scene, the four gather in an abandoned building where they argue over the evening's events. Q, Raheem and Steel become angry at Bishop for killing Quiles, and Raheem demands that Bishop give the gun to him; Bishop resists, and a struggle ensues between the two, ending when Bishop retorts by shooting Raheem dead. Panicked, Bishop, Q and Steel run to another building, where Bishop stashes the murder weapon and threatens to kill Q and Steel if they reveal to anybody that what has transpired. Soon thereafter the trio are picked up and questioned by Police. Without any concrete evidence, they are all soon released.

Days later, Q and Steel realize that Bishop is fracturing, breaking down into both friend and threat while becoming addicted to the thrill of "juice". They agree to give Bishop as wide a berth as possible. However, while attending Raheem's funeral, the two see Bishop there. Bishop subverts his betrayal, but even goes as far as to hug Raheem's mother and promise to find his killer. Afterwards, Q and Steel are mostly able to avoid Bishop, but he eventually finds them and confronts them one at a time, questioning their loyalty.

One day, after a scuffle with the Puerto Rican gang, Bishop kills their leader Radames. In bloodlust, Bishop wields his newfound ego with authority but rethinks his position. In order to cover his tracks, he begins a plan to frame Q for the murders of Quiles, Raheem and Radames. Fearful of Bishop, Q resorts to buying a gun of his own for protection. Meanwhile, Bishop confronts Steel and leads him into an empty alley, where he shoots him, suspecting him of disloyalty. Steel survives the initial attack and is able to make it to the hospital, where he informs Q's girlfriend Yolanda (Cindy Herron) that he has been framed by Bishop. Fed up with the sudden tension and fears that guns have brought him, Q throws his own gun into the river and decides to confront Bishop unarmed, as a man.

That night, Q and Bishop meet nearby, where a fist fight ensues. Q flees and Bishop gives chase, firing wild and shoots Q in the arm. The youth is subsequently chased into a high-rise building, where he runs into a crowded elevator. Bishop follows, firing the gun and is swarmed by a group of party-goers, losing his weapon in the commotion. Q stumbles into the party, following a fleeing Bishop, who lures him, ducking outside a window to the rooftop. Bishop and Q finally confront each other face to face with Q gaining the upper hand and sucker punching Bishop, who falls over the ledge. Bishop calls out for Q as he grabs his hand, struggling to hold onto him. Tired and wounded, Q loses his grip and Bishop falls to his death.

As Q turns to leave, he looks back to see a large crowd from the party gathered behind him. One of the kids in the crowd looks to Q and says, "Yo, you got the juice now, man." Q stares at him, shakes his head in disgust and starts off. The film ends with a flashback of the four friends together in happier times as Bishop yells, "Wreckin' Crew!"


  • Tupac Shakur as Roland Bishop
  • Khalil Kain as Raheem Porter
  • Omar Epps as Quincy 'Q' Powell
  • Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins as Eric 'Steel' Thurman
  • Cindy Herron as Yolonda
  • Vincent Laresca as Radames
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Trip
  • Queen Latifah as Ruffhouse M.C.
  • Bruklin Harris as Keesha
  • Roderick "DJ Majesty" Wiggins as Battle DJ (Middle Finger)


Overall, the film received generally positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 83% "fresh" rating based on 18 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, praising how the film is, "one of those stories with the quality of a nightmare, in which foolish young men try to out-macho one another until they get trapped in a violent situation which will forever alter their lives.". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grading, based on how it depicts four young characters who try to gain complete self-control over their surroundings.

The film is an inflammatory morality play shot through with rage and despair. Like Boyz N the Hood and Straight Out of Brooklyn, it asks: When every aspect of your environment is defined by violence, is it possible to avoid getting sucked into the maelstrom?

Dickerson also received praised for his directorial skills:

Coming out from behind Spike Lee's camera, Ernest Dickerson has instantly arrived at the forefront of the new wave of black directors. His film aims for the gut, and hits it.


  • Omar Epps as Quincy "Q" Powell. A member of The Wrecking Crew and the most sensible of the four. Unlike his friends, he knows right from wrong. He tries out for a DJ audition and makes it, followed by a robbing he was not aware of until last minute. When Bishop kills Raheem, Q is horrified as he and Bishop have been friends since second grade. At the climax of the movie, he is the only one untouched by Bishop and demands that he meets him to settle things, as Bishop has framed him for the killings of characters throughout the movie.
  • Tupac Shakur as Roland Bishop, the main antagonist of the film. A member of The Wrecking Crew and the most violent of the four. He is usually seen smoking. He wants mostly respect, as he and his friends are regularly harassed by authorities. After killing a convenience store owner named Quiles, he starts to spiral into darkness, first by killing Raheem, and then gang leader Radames. He quickly realizes that he must kill the witnesses to his crimes, who just so happen to be the remaining members of his crew. After he kills Radames, he attempts to kill Steel, but Steel survives. At the climax of the movie, Bishop confronts Q which ensues in a chase between the two. In the end, after a fight on the roof, Q grabs Bishop after he almost falls, but is unable to hold him.
  • Khalil Kain as Raheem Porter. A member of The Wrecking Crew and presumably the leader. He usually takes it upon himself to protect his friends, as depicted earlier in the movie, when he breaks up a potential fight between them and Radames, and when he stops Bishop from taking part in a friend's robbery which resulted in the friend's death. After robbing Quiles's store with his friends, he declares they must get rid of the gun, but is killed by Bishop after trying to take the gun from him.
  • Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins as Eric "Steel" Thurman. A member of The Wrecking Crew and the most sensitive of the four. He is usually ridiculed because of his weight, usually called "Big Chops" by Bishop. After the death of Raheem at Bishop's hands, he and Q decide to stay as far away from him as possible, but Bishop sees him in the hallway in his building. Steel makes a phone call from Trips's store asking Q for help, but Bishop finds out and shoots him in the back alley. Steel narrowly survives the shot and makes it to the hospital where he tells Q's girlfriend that Q is being framed by Bishop.
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Trip, the local store owner. The Wrecking Crew is usually seen in his store either playing video games, smoking, or just talking. Bishop lies to him, framing Q for the murders throughout the movie. Trip plays a role in the final showdown, as Q asks Trip to let Bishop know Q wants to see him.


In the original artwork for the promotional poster of the movie, Tupac Shakur, who portrayed one of the leads in the film, was shown prominently while holding a pistol (see film poster, above). This stirred up controversy at the time; some[who?] feared the advertisements might lead to violence, while others[who?] felt the issue itself showed a large double-standard towards young black youth, and hip hop culture as a whole, with other films of the time being advertised with even more violent content. Either way, Paramount was eventually swayed, and the gun was airbrushed out of all of the advertisements and promotional artwork for the film, including the covers of its VHS and DVD releases.

Release on DVD & HDEdit

  • In 2001 it was released on DVD.
  • In 2010 it was digitized in High Definition (1080i) and broadcasted on MGM HD.
  • 2012 Released on Netflix.


Year Title Chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
U.S. U.S. R&B
1991 Juice
  • Released: December 31, 1991
  • Label: MCA
17 3


See AlsoEdit

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