The movie ‘GANGSTA’ is one of the best-selling independent films of all time. Since its 1995 release, the film inspired a subculture, changed pop culture and even Hollywood. Set in the early 90s, the movie follows the early career of the fictitious character Dillwyn Rose. After a few run-ins with the law, including a prison stint, Dillwyn decides to leave his rough lifestyle behind and embrace a more wholesome existence. He eventually transforms himself from a dangerous criminal to a respectable businessman.

The film was groundbreaking in many ways. For one, it was the first Hollywood production to be filmed completely in Atlanta. In fact, ‘Gangsta’ was the first major motion picture to feature an all-black cast and crew. The film also managed to blur the lines between fact and fiction. A large portion of the action in the movie occurred in real locations, such as Atlanta’s Griffith Park and Lake Sherwood. Some scenes were even re-enacted using professional actors and stuntmen.

This strategy paid off. While ‘Gangsta’ was not originally intended to be a fictional drama, the movie ended up being a critical and commercial success, grossing over $150 million worldwide. Even now, 20 years later, ‘Gangsta’ is still regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time.

A Subculture Inspired By A Movie

Directed by Clark Kent, ‘Gangsta’ tells the story of Thomas ‘Hooligan’ Scott, a young man whose life is destroyed by the drug dealer he helps to imprison. After watching ‘Gangsta’ and knowing the horrors of prison, Scott decides to protect himself from the system and become a bigger player. He forms a gang, which eventually grows into a full-blown subculture. Even now, two decades later, people refer to themselves as “Gangstas.”

The main character of Scott’s is based on real-life gangsta rap impresario Sean ‘Puff Daddy’ Combs. In 1992, Combs co-founded the record label Bad Boy Records with singer/musician Sean ‘P.Diddy’ Combs, who also wrote a biographical book about his famous cousin. This book served as inspiration for the movie. In addition to Scott’s character, Puff Daddy served as an executive producer on the film. He even makes a cameo appearance in the movie.

Changing The Game

Aside from being one of the best-selling independent films of all time, ‘Gangsta’ also changed the game for other films. The success of the movie helped to pave the way for today’s independent films. In recent years, several successful films have been inspired by ‘Gangsta,’ including Gus Van Sant’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ which featured an almost entirely black cast; Richard Linklater’s ‘Dazed and Confused,’ which was similarly nostalgic of the ‘90s and featured several cameos from ‘Gangsta’; and Harmony Korine’s ‘Spring Breakers,’ which was another fun, albeit slightly more violent take on the ‘90s. Most recently, Quentin Tarantulinu’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ paid homage to the film with a scene in which Bruce Lee confronts Marlon Brando’s Colonel Mustard.

Hollywood Changes

The impact of ‘Gangsta’ can still be felt in Hollywood. Today, several successful films have been inspired by the movie, including Andrew Scott Jenkins’s ‘Candyman,’ which had a similar nostalgic feel to ‘Gangsta,’ as well as Joe Pitt’s upcoming comedy ‘Little Evil,’ which is currently in post-production and also features an all-black cast and crew. But, ‘Gangsta’ had a greater impact than just Hollywood. The film was also responsible for the “Hollywood black” movement, a term used to describe the large number of African Americans who went to great lengths to emulate the urban culture of its time. Many ‘Gangsta’ fans have stated that, for a while, there was a “vogue” for black excellence, which included people of all races wanting to emulate the look and lifestyle of Thomas ‘Hooligan’ Scott.

The Impact Of Social Media

In the early 90s, before the invention of the internet, people relied on things like magazine articles, television and radio to learn about new trends and news. Thanks to social media, this information is available to everyone with a smartphone.

Thanks to ‘Gangsta,’ the world became aware of the existence of this previously unknown subculture. But how did this happen? How did a film with no huge marketing budget or promotional campaigns become one of the best-selling independent films of all time? The answer is simple: the internet.

Dillwyn Rose was an avid user of the then-popular website CompuServe, where people could communicate via AOL. While on CompuServe, Dillwyn noticed an article about ‘Gangsta’; he was initially drawn to the film because of its depiction of life in the ‘90s. After reading the article, Dillwyn decided to watch the movie.

Dillwyn then proceeded to tell other users about the existence of this movie. Many fans of ‘Gangsta’ told others about the movie. Word of mouth spread like wildfire and helped to make ‘Gangsta’ a phenomenon.

A Powerful Film

Despite all of its acclaim, ‘Gangsta’ is not without its flaws. The movie starts off a little slow, particularly in the first half-hour. Once the main cast and story become familiar, the movie gains traction and becomes an entertaining and thought-provoking watch. ‘Gangsta’ is a complex film that deals with real issues such as racism, police brutality and social injustice. While the film can be frustratingly slow at times, it is also an extremely powerful and relevant one.