New Jack City

New Jack City Information

New Jack City is a 1991 American crime film directed by Mario Van Peebles making his directorial debut, and starring Van Peebles, Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Judd Nelson, Allen Payne and Chris Rock.

Snipes stars as Nino Brown, a rising drug dealer and crime lord in New York City during the crack epidemic. Ice-T plays a detective who vows to stop Nino's criminal activity by going undercover to work for Nino's gang.


New Jack City is a film based on the crack cocaine war in the USA. It was the first theatrically released film for director and co-star Mario Van Peebles. The film was based upon an original story and screenplay written by Thomas Lee Wright who had previously penned a draft of The Godfather Part III and would go on to write, direct and produce a seminal documentary of American gang life, Eight-Tray Gangster: The Making of a Crip.

The screenplay was co-written by journalist-turned-screenwriter Barry Michael Cooper, who also scripted 1994's Above the Rim, and Sugar Hill, which also starred Snipes. Cooper is the first black American screenwriter in history to have two films produced in one year: Sugar Hill was released on February 25, 1994 by Beacon-20th Century Fox Pictures, and Above The Rim was released on March 23, 1994 by New Line Cinema.

Barry Michael Cooper's rewrite was based on a December 1987 The Village Voice cover story written by Cooper titled "Kids Killing Kids: New Jack City Eats Its Young". The story revolved around the 20th anniversary of the 1967 riots in Detroit, and in its wake, the rise of crack cocaine gangs in the mid-to-late 1980s, such as Young Boys Inc., and the Chambers Brothers.


Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes) and his gang, the Cash Money Brothers, become the dominant drug ring within New York City when crack cocaine is introduced to the city streets during the mid and late 1980s. Meanwhile, Scotty Appleton (Ice-T) has a deal with stick-up kid Pookie (Chris Rock). The deal goes wrong when Pookie takes the money and runs. Scotty chases and eventually shoots Pookie in the foot. He attempts to arrest him but the police let Pookie go. The CMB then convert an entire apartment complex (real-life Graham Court, known in the film as the "Carter") into a crack house, with assistance from his Nino's right hand man Gee Money (Allen Payne) and enforcer Duh Duh Man (Bill Nunn).

Scotty Appleton volunteers to go undercover and infiltrate Nino's gang. He is partnered with Nick Peretti (Judd Nelson) and together they seek evidence of the drug trafficking. Spying on the CMB, who are giving food to the poor, they observe a crack addicted Pookie soliciting for more of the food. Scotty manages to get Pookie into recovery for his drug addiction. Afterward, he recruits a rehabilitated Pookie to work undercover at the Carter to gather incriminating evidence against Nino and the Cash Money Brothers.

Unable to resist the crack cocaine surrounding him, Pookie ends up relapsing. High and acting erratically, Pookie is discovered by Gee Money to be wired. The CMB abandon and burn the Carter complex including any evidence of their activities with crack-addicted residents inside. Later, while searching for Pookie, Scotty and Nick find his bloodied corpse tied to a bomb set to detonate. Nick manages to defuse the bomb in time. Nino discovers that Gee Money ordered the Carter to be destroyed, and in a fit of rage, threatens Gee Money that if he blows his assignments again, he will kill him.

After Pookie's funeral, Scotty goes undercover and infiltrates the CMB, thanks in part to the ambitions (and increasing drug use) of Gee Money. They bribe a mobster named Frankie Needles, who has connections with the CMB from his boss, Don Armeteo.

On their first encounter, Nino tells Scotty how he murdered a woman as a part of his initiation into the L.A. Boyz as a youth. When questioned by Scotty if the murder was personal or business, Nino explains: "My brother, it's always business. Never personal." Scotty further gains the trust of Nino after "saving" him from a gun-toting old man and by revealing information about Gee Money's side-deal.

Nino, Scotty and the rest of the CMB attend a wedding as Nick sneaks in Nino's mansion to collect files from the Carter drug operations. As the wedding concludes, assassins sent by Don Armeteo make an attempt on Nino's life. The hitman fails to assassinate him but does kill a member of the CMB, Keisha (Vanessa A. Williams). Later, Selina berates Nino for using a little girl as a human shield and his murderous activities. Nino throws her out and ends his relationship with her. Don Armeteo calls Nino about giving everything to Nino. Nino responds in anger and the Don hangs up. In retribution, Nino sends motorcycle assassins to the Don's hideout, where Don Armeteo and his henchman are murdered.

Nino's megalomania alienates the crime lord from his gang and provides a catalyst for the CMB's downfall. Scotty's cover is blown during another police sting when one of Nino's fellow gang members Kareem Akbar (Christopher Williams) remembers him from when he shot Pookie in the foot. A panicked shootout ensues and several police officers as well as Duh Duh Man are killed. On a pier, Nino confronts Gee Money on his act of betrayal, and tearfully shoots Gee Money in the head. After the gang's collapse, Nino holes up in an apartment to continue his crime empire.

Eventually, Nino is apprehended by undercover cops. Scotty confronts Nino in his apartment as Nick kills a bodyguard outside. Scotty brutally beats Nino on a public street for his crimes against the community and as retribution for the mother's murder. In a rage, he points his gun at Nino with intent to kill. Nick convinces Scotty to let Nino live. Stone and Nino's ex-girlfriend arrive to take a battered Nino into custody. Nino smugly remarks that he will be out in a week and that Scotty is a dead man.

On trial, Nino Brown pleads guilty to a lesser charge (though still a felony given the judge's note that the punishment would include at least 12 months prison time). Nino claims he was forced to work for CMB because they threatened his mother, and points the finger at Kareem, whom he falsely claims was the leader of CMB. As Nino walks triumphantly out of the courthouse and expresses his love of the American judicial system, he is confronted by the gun-toting old man (Bill Cobbs) who cries, "Idolator! Your soul is required in Hell!" and shoots Nino in the chest. Nick and an emotionless Scotty leave the courthouse as news reporters photograph Nino's corpse.


  • Wesley Snipes " Nino Brown; an arrogant, smart drug kingpin and leader of the Cash Money Brothers (CMB), who uses his ideas into selling cocaine and crack. He was the murderer of Scotty's mother.
  • Ice-T " Scotty Appleton; a New York Police detective who vows to bring Nino down as retribution since Nino was clearly responsible for Scotty's mother's death.
  • Judd Nelson " Nick Peretti; Scotty's partner in the CMB investigation.
  • Allen Payne " Gerald "Gee Money" Wells; Nino's brother and the second-in-command of the CMB.
  • Chris Rock " Benny "Pookie" Robinson; A former stick-up kid who becomes homeless and poor after Scotty shoots him in the ankle. He eventually becomes an police informant and infiltrates the CMB at the Carter until he was caught sneaking drugs and killed.
  • Mario Van Peebles " Stone; the leader of the CMB police operation.
  • Michael Michele " Selina Thomas; Nino's girlfriend who becomes extremely jealous when Nino falls for Gee Money's girlfriend.
  • Bill Nunn " The Duh Duh Duh Man; the CMB enforcer and Nino's personal bodyguard.
  • Russell Wong " Park; an police officer who has Pookie use high-technology for his infiltration.
  • Vanessa A. Williams " Keisha; a female enforcer of the CMB.
  • Bill Cobbs " Old man; an elderly man who is against Nino's crimes towards the city. At the end of the film, he takes the law into his own hands by killing Nino when he exits the courtroom by shooting him through the chest and Nino falls down to his death.
  • Christopher Williams " Kareem Akbar; A bank accountant turned member of the CMB.
  • Tracy Camilla Johns " Uniqua; Gee Money's girlfriend who falls for Nino.
  • Anthony DeSando " Frankie Needles In His Arms; A mobster who has connections towards the CMB from his boss, Don Armeteo. Around the film, Nick and Scotty forces him to bring Gee Money to let Scotty join the gang.
  • John Aprea - Don Armeteo
  • Nick Ashford " Rev. Oates
  • Eek-a-Mouse " Fat Smitty
  • Keith Sweat " Singer at Wedding
  • Flavor Flav - Himself
  • Christopher Michael - Bailiff
  • Kelly Jo Minter as recovering addict


New Jack City received a favorable reception by film critics for its cast, storyline and soundtrack. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four, writing:

Time Out London described the film as "a superior example of what used to be called blaxploitation."

New Jack City was produced with an estimated $8,000,000 budget. The film initially premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 1991, before being released nationally on March 8, 1991; it grossed $7,039,622 during its opening weekend. It became the highest grossing independent film of 1991, grossing a total of $47,624,253 domestically. The film holds a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes.

American Film Institute Lists

  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills - Nominated
  • AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Gangster Film

DVD release

The New Jack City DVD was originally released in Region 1 on August 25, 1998 and in Region 2 on July 28, 1999; it was distributed by Warner Home Video. The DVD was re-released as a Two-Disc Special Edition on August 23, 2005.

Special Edition DVD features
  1. Commentary by: director/costar Mario Van Peebles
  2. New Jack City: A Hip-Hop Classic
  3. Harlem World: A Walk Inside
  4. The Road to New Jack City
  5. Original music videos: "New Jack Hustler" (Nino's Theme) by Ice T, "I'm Dreamin'" by Christopher Williams, and "I Wanna Sex You Up" by Color Me Badd
  6. Original theatrical trailer

Cultural impact

Wrestler New Jack got his name from the movie.

  • Tha Carter
  • Referenced by the Notorious B.I.G. in his song Suicidal Thoughts -"See its kinda like what crack did to Pookie, in New Jack"

See also

  • Cooper, Barry Michael (2011, March 16). "New Jack, New Jack: Big City of Dreams." Baltimore City Paper.
  • New Jack City (soundtrack) "? original soundtrack to the film
  • New jack swing

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "New_Jack_City" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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