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HISTORY

Juice marked cinematographer Ernest R. Dickerson’s feature film directorial debut. Dickerson co-wrote the script with Gerard Brown in 1984, but put the project on hold to pursue his burgeoning cinematography career, as noted in a 24 May 1991 NYT article. By 1991, Dickerson had become the youngest member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), according to the 22 Mar 1991 Screen International.
       When it was first circulated, some studio executives balked at Brown and Dickerson’s script, suggesting that it needed to be more of a comedy. However, the subsequent successes of black-oriented films, namely New Jack City and Boyz N the Hood (1991, see entries), generated renewed interest in Juice and led to Island World Productions’ agreement to fund the $4--$5 million production budget in exchange for worldwide distribution rights. Every major Hollywood studio was said to be interested in domestic distribution rights by the time principal photography was underway, according to a 12 Apr 1991 Screen International item. A bidding war ensued, and Paramount Pictures ultimately won the rights with a promised $10 million prints and advertising budget, as noted in the 8 Aug 1991 HR.
       The six-week shooting schedule began 13 Mar 1991, on location in New York City, according to items in the 3 Mar 1991 LAT and 19 Mar 1991 HR.
       A 19 Jan 1992 LAT article stated that rap music producer Hank Shocklee made his feature film composing debut with Juice. Onscreen credits attribute the original score to “Hank Shocklee and The Bomb Squad.” Shocklee also produced ... More Less

Juice marked cinematographer Ernest R. Dickerson’s feature film directorial debut. Dickerson co-wrote the script with Gerard Brown in 1984, but put the project on hold to pursue his burgeoning cinematography career, as noted in a 24 May 1991 NYT article. By 1991, Dickerson had become the youngest member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), according to the 22 Mar 1991 Screen International.
       When it was first circulated, some studio executives balked at Brown and Dickerson’s script, suggesting that it needed to be more of a comedy. However, the subsequent successes of black-oriented films, namely New Jack City and Boyz N the Hood (1991, see entries), generated renewed interest in Juice and led to Island World Productions’ agreement to fund the $4--$5 million production budget in exchange for worldwide distribution rights. Every major Hollywood studio was said to be interested in domestic distribution rights by the time principal photography was underway, according to a 12 Apr 1991 Screen International item. A bidding war ensued, and Paramount Pictures ultimately won the rights with a promised $10 million prints and advertising budget, as noted in the 8 Aug 1991 HR.
       The six-week shooting schedule began 13 Mar 1991, on location in New York City, according to items in the 3 Mar 1991 LAT and 19 Mar 1991 HR.
       A 19 Jan 1992 LAT article stated that rap music producer Hank Shocklee made his feature film composing debut with Juice. Onscreen credits attribute the original score to “Hank Shocklee and The Bomb Squad.” Shocklee also produced the soundtrack on his S.O.U.L. record label, a newly established joint venture with MCA Records.
       According to an article in the 24 Jan 1992 Long Beach Press-Telegram, Paramount requested a new ending that would “reflect a measure of hope” after seeing an early cut of the film, and Dickerson obliged. It was not stated whether the change required re-shoots.
       Controversy arose over Paramount’s publicity campaign. As noted in the 13 Jan 1992 LAT and 20 Jan 1992 DV, an early poster showed the four principal actors in a bluish haze, with Tupac Shakur holding a handgun. The title appeared in red, amidst the slogan, “Power. Respect. Juice. How far will you go to get it?” Some accused the image of being exploitive, partly because the red and blue tones evoked the colors of the Bloods and Crips, the two major rival street gangs in Los Angeles, CA. Paramount decided to airbrush the handgun out of the poster image; however, the image remained unaltered on soundtrack artwork, as noted in the 26 Jan 1992 LAT. Unaltered copies of the original poster were obtained by Los Angeles television stations and broadcast in news reports, and both the unaltered and new version were run in the 10 Jan 1992 HR. In addition to the poster, theatrical trailers and television advertisements were criticized for emphasizing violence, and drew protests from groups such as the Los Angeles-based Mothers Against Gangs in Communities (MAGIC). Paramount defended the trailers, and maintained that Juice carried an anti-crime, anti-violence message.
       The film opened in 1,089 theaters on 17 Jan 1992, Martin Luther King Day weekend. Due to the precedent of violence associated with openings of similar films, including New Jack City and Boyz N the Hood, Paramount offered to fund extra security measures at movie theaters, and, in some cases, supplied extra prints of the film to accommodate potential overflows. Nevertheless, violence marred opening weekend showings in several cities including Chicago, IL, where a sixteen-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet outside a theater playing the film, and Philadelphia, PA, where an eighteen-year-old man was shot outside a theater and paralyzed from the chest down. Woundings of young moviegoers were reported in New York City and at an East Lansing, MI, theater, where Saturday showings were subsequently cancelled, according to the 20 Jan 1992 LAT. Other violent incidents were reported in Boston, MA, and Anchorage, AK.
       Critical reception was mixed. While the four lead actors were routinely praised, the script received criticism for its faulty plotting. The 17 Jan 1992 DV review called the film “technically superior” but “narratively flawed.” The film’s opening weekend box-office grosses amounted to an impressive $8 million, and it went on to gross a cumulative $20.1 million.
       The 14 Jan 1993 HR reported that the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) summoned Paramount and Island World to an arbitration over deferred payments allegedly owed to crewmembers who agreed to “council deals,” in which they worked on a deferred basis for below-minimum rates, to be paid in full, with bonuses, after the film made a profit. Although Juice was said to be the sixth most profitable picture of 1992, based on its ratio of production budget to box-office earnings, Island World and Paramount denied owing IATSE members any monies. The outcome of the arbitration could not be determined as of the writing of this Note.
       In 1994, the film was cited in a murder trial in Cardiff, Wales, in which three young gang members claimed to be mimicking Juice when they kicked a young man to death, as noted in the 23 Mar 1994 The Times (London). A fourth young man involved in the incident was found guilty of manslaughter, while the others were convicted of murder.
       Juice marked the feature film acting debut of Khalil Kain.
       The film concludes with the title card: "For Janet and Tamu." End credits include: “Film footage from White Heat courtesy of Turner Entertainment Co.”; and, “Producers wish to thank: Vito DeSario; Trenton Surgical Supply; Michael Concepcion; Matt Ebert; Ali Dee; Gordon Parks; Eugene Gearty; Naomi Simms Beauty Products; Eric Albertson; Pathfinder Press; Elliot Groffman, Esq. & Jeff Levy, Esq.; African Art Source; Sherma Svitzer; MCA Film Music Department; Panasonic Company; Mario Petigny; Plantain Products Company, USA; D. J. Red Alert; Monica Lynch-Tommy Boy Records; Rolet Food Products Company; Lindt Stymist; Danny Holloway; Jessica Lanier; Vinny Brown, WRKS, 98.7 KISS-FM, N.Y.; Manhattan Cable Company; Dialogica; Reebok; Cicena; Nike; John Danna & Sons, Inc.; Eric Banks; Bob Kovloff – Spectrum Entertainment; Fieldcrest Cannon; James Garvey; Thomas Sestak – Kalman Welding; Gaylord Hassan; Arenson Office Furnishings; Simon Deith at R.H. Belam Co., Inc.; Compuweather; Capcom USA; Kamron; City of New York, David Dinkins, Mayor; Mayor’s Office for Film, Theatre and Broadcasting.”
       Stunt performer Gregg Smrz is credited onscreen as "Greg Smrz." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
17 Jan 1992
p. 2, 18.
Daily Variety
20 Jan 1992
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jan 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jan 1992
p. 9, 78.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jan 1993
p. 6, 56.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
24 Jan 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Mar 1991
Calendar, p. 38.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jan 1992
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
17 Jan 1992
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jan 1992
Calendar, p. 71.
Los Angeles Times
20 Jan 1992
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jan 1992
Calendar, p. 60.
New York Times
24 May 1991
Section C, p. 8.
New York Times
17 Jan 1992
p. 10.
New York Times
22 Jan 1992
Section C, p. 13.
New York Times
4 Feb 1992
Section A, p. 20.
Screen International
22 Mar 1991.
---
Screen International
12 Apr 1991.
---
The Times (London)
23 Mar 1994.
---
Variety
20 Jan 1992
p. 141.
WSJ
13 Jan 1992
Section B, p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Paramount Pictures Presents
In Association With Island World
A Moritz/Heyman Production
An Ernest R. Dickerson Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Asst prod mgr
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl cam op
Louma crane op
Still photog
Video op
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Grip
Arriflex cams and lenses supplied by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dept coord
Graphic artist
Graffiti artist
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Asst ed
Post prod supv
Negative matcher
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Addl props
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Draftsperson
Draftsperson
Const coord
Carpenter
Carpenter
Const grip
Charge scenic
Scenic
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Score rec at
Asst eng
The Bomb Squad
The Bomb Squad
The Bomb Squad
The Bomb Squad
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom op
Sd playback
Supv sd ed
Sd eff ed
Sd ed
ADR ed
Re-rec mixer
ADR/Foley mixer
ADR/Foley rec
Foley artist
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
Main and end titles by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Addl makeup artist
Hair stylist
Addl hair stylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting assoc
Extras casting
Extras casting asst
Extras casting P.A.
Dial coach
DJ consultant
DJ consultant
Prod auditor
Asst prod coord
Prod secy
Loc mgr
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Parking coord
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Prod aide
Loc prod asst
Addl catering
International pub
Completion bond
Post prod auditor
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod asst
Post prod facilities
STAND INS
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Col timer
SOURCES
SONGS
"Juice (Know The Ledge)," written by William Griffin (Rakim), performed by Eric B & Rakim, produced by Rakim, remixed by Hank Shocklee and Gary G-Wiz, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
"Nuff' Respect," written by Big Daddy Kane, Hank Shocklee, Gary G-Wiz, and Ali-Dee, performed by Big Daddy Kane, produced by Hank Shocklee and Gary G-Wiz, courtesy of Reprise Records Inc./Cold Chillin' Records and Video, Inc.
"So You Want To Be A Gangster," written by Too $hort, performed by Too $hort, produced by Ant Banks, courtesy of Jive Records
+
SONGS
"Juice (Know The Ledge)," written by William Griffin (Rakim), performed by Eric B & Rakim, produced by Rakim, remixed by Hank Shocklee and Gary G-Wiz, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
"Nuff' Respect," written by Big Daddy Kane, Hank Shocklee, Gary G-Wiz, and Ali-Dee, performed by Big Daddy Kane, produced by Hank Shocklee and Gary G-Wiz, courtesy of Reprise Records Inc./Cold Chillin' Records and Video, Inc.
"So You Want To Be A Gangster," written by Too $hort, performed by Too $hort, produced by Ant Banks, courtesy of Jive Records
"Flipside," written by Ricky Taylor, performed by Juvenile Committee, produced by Demetrius Shipp, courtesy of Grand Jury Entertainment
"Sex, Money & Murder," written by Pooh-Man, performed by M.C. Pooh, produced by Ant Banks, courtesy of Jive Records
"Is It Good To You," written by Teddy Riley and Tammy Lucas, performed by Teddy Riley featuring Tammy Lucas, produced by Teddy Riley, Teddy Riley appears courtesy of MCA Records, Inc., Tammy Lucas appears courtesy of Future Entertainment/MCA Records, Inc.
"What Could Be Better Bitch," written by T. Allan, H. Shocklee, K. Shocklee and G. G-Wiz, performed by Son of Bazerk, produced by Hank Shocklee and Keith Shocklee, co-produced by Gary G-Wiz and Carl Ryder
"People Get Ready (Remix)," written by J. Kincaid, A. Levy, S. Bartholomew, L. Gordon, J. Wellman, and N. Davenport, performed by The Brand New Heavies featuring N'Dea Davenport, produced by The Brand New Heavies, The Brand New Heavies and N'Dea Davenport appear courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Inc.
"He Gamin' On Ya," written by Hurby Azor, performed by Salt N' Pepa, produced by Hurby Luv Bug, courtesy of Next Plateau Records, Inc.
"Pump Me Up," written by James Avery, Robert Reed, Tony Fischer, performed by Bobby Torres, courtesy of Ackee Music, Inc., Maxx Kidd's Music, Hugabut Music
"Don't Be Afraid," written by Aaron Hall, Hank Shocklee, Gary G-Wiz and Floyd F. Fisher, performed by Aaron Hall, produced by Hank Shocklee and Gary G-Wiz, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
"Word Up," written by Larry Blackmon and Tomi Jenkins, performed by Cameo, courtesy of PolyGram Special Products, a division of PGD Inc.
"Bodega Juice," written & performed by Bobby Torres
"Shoot 'Em Up," written by Louis Freeze, Senen Reyes and Larry Muggerud, performed by Cypress Hill Crew, produced by DJ Muggs for The Soul Assasins, courtesy of Ruffhouse/Columbia Records
"Does Your Man Know About Me," written by Guy Wiliams, Roosevelt Simmons and M. Bryant, performed by Rahiem, produced by Rough Daddy Smooth & The Players, co-produced by Tony "Champagne" Silvester
"Ooh Aah," written by Richard Walters, Harold Bailey, Jr., Alvin Campbell, Ashley Cooper, Franklyn Campbell, Sidonia Thorpe, Louis Marriott, performed by The Fabulous Five, courtesy of Island Records Ltd.
"It's Going Down," written by Erick Sermon and Parrish J. Smith, performed by EPMD, produced by EPMD, co-produced by Mr. Bozack, courtesy of Rush Associated Labels, Inc., Def Jam Recordings, Inc. and Columbia Records
"Uptown Anthem," written by V. Brown, A. Criss, K. Gist, performed by Naughty by Nature, produced by Naughty by Nature, courtesy of Tommy Boy/Warner Bros. Records Inc.
"How I Could Just Kill A Man," performed by Cypress Hill Crew, courtesy of Ruffhouse/Columbia Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing.
+
PERFORMERS
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
17 January 1992
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 17 January 1992
Production Date:
13 March--late April 1991
Copyright Claimant:
Island World, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 February 1992
Copyright Number:
PA560624
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed with Arriflex Cameras and Lenses
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
94
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31531
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, teenagers Quincy “Q” Powell, Roland Bishop, Eric “Steel” Thurman, and Raheem Porter are longtime friends who call themselves the “Wrecking Crew.” One day, while skipping school, they go to a music store to steal records for Q, an aspiring DJ. Afterward, Raheem sends Q into a bar to buy cigarettes. As his friends wait outside, Q runs into “Blizzard,” who was just paroled. Blizzard claims to be doing well, then removes a large firearm from inside his coat, and announces that he is robbing the bar. He invites Q to join him in the heist, but Q panics and flees. He tells his friends what happened, and Bishop admonishes him for leaving the crime scene. Bishop wants to insert himself into the robbery, but his friends stop him. That afternoon, they go to Steel’s apartment to eat a snack and drink malt liquor. While Q listens to headphones, Bishop watches the end of the 1949 gangster film, White Heat, and cheers on its criminal hero. A television news report announces that Blizzard was killed in a shootout with police. Bishop praises Blizzard for his willingness to die in the pursuit of power and respect, which he calls “juice.” He believes the young man would still be alive if they had helped him, but Q argues otherwise. Raheem intervenes as the confrontation between Bishop and Q grows heated. That night, Q visits his older girl friend, Yolanda, before going home to work on his audition tape for the upcoming Ruffhouse DJ contest. The tape earns him a spot in the competition, taking place at a nightclub that Saturday. ... +


In New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, teenagers Quincy “Q” Powell, Roland Bishop, Eric “Steel” Thurman, and Raheem Porter are longtime friends who call themselves the “Wrecking Crew.” One day, while skipping school, they go to a music store to steal records for Q, an aspiring DJ. Afterward, Raheem sends Q into a bar to buy cigarettes. As his friends wait outside, Q runs into “Blizzard,” who was just paroled. Blizzard claims to be doing well, then removes a large firearm from inside his coat, and announces that he is robbing the bar. He invites Q to join him in the heist, but Q panics and flees. He tells his friends what happened, and Bishop admonishes him for leaving the crime scene. Bishop wants to insert himself into the robbery, but his friends stop him. That afternoon, they go to Steel’s apartment to eat a snack and drink malt liquor. While Q listens to headphones, Bishop watches the end of the 1949 gangster film, White Heat, and cheers on its criminal hero. A television news report announces that Blizzard was killed in a shootout with police. Bishop praises Blizzard for his willingness to die in the pursuit of power and respect, which he calls “juice.” He believes the young man would still be alive if they had helped him, but Q argues otherwise. Raheem intervenes as the confrontation between Bishop and Q grows heated. That night, Q visits his older girl friend, Yolanda, before going home to work on his audition tape for the upcoming Ruffhouse DJ contest. The tape earns him a spot in the competition, taking place at a nightclub that Saturday. Q meets his friends at the basketball courts, and they inform him of a newly hatched plan to rob a bodega on Saturday night. In an abandoned building, Raheem reveals the handgun that he procured for the robbery. Q is uncomfortable with the plan and claims he cannot take part because of the DJ contest. However, Raheem says the robbery will only take three minutes, and they can go to the nightclub before and after the robbery, to give themselves alibis. Bishop insists on keeping the gun in the meantime. At the Ruffhouse DJ contest, Q wins against his first opponent. Afterward, he joins his friends in the crowd, and the four sneak out to rob the bodega. Although the holdup goes smoothly, Bishop shoots the owner, Fernando Quiles, just as they leave. The boys take cover in an abandoned building and argue over Bishop’s motive for shooting Quiles. Bishop claims the man heard one of their names and could have identified them, but the others do not believe him. Raheem demands that Bishop hand over the gun, but Bishop refuses to give it up and shoots Raheem dead. Q and Steel are traumatized by the death of their friend while Bishop is unfazed. He recovers the stolen money from Raheem’s pockets, then forces Q and Steel to return to the nightclub. Dazed, Q takes the stage for his second round in the competition, but police interrupt. They inform Q, Bishop, and Steel that Raheeem was found dead and take them in for questioning. The boys claim to know nothing about Raheem’s or Fernando Quiles’s murders, and mention their rivals, a Puerto Rican gang led by Radames, as possible suspects. Steel and Q go to Raheem’s family’s apartment after his funeral. Stricken by grief, the boys cannot eat. When Bishop shows up, he embraces Raheem’s mother and promises to help find his killer. Q and Steel avoid Bishop, whose erratic behavior worsens. After a long absence, Q finally returns to school. Bishop finds him there and threatens him. Afraid for his life, Q procures an illegal handgun from a woman named “Sweets.” Meanwhile, Bishop spreads a rumor that Q has become unhinged, and is responsible for the murders of Raheem and Fernando Quiles. That evening, Bishop ambushes Steel in the lobby of his apartment building and lures him out to an arcade. In a panic, Steel secretly calls Q and begs him to come to his aid. Bishop catches Steel using the phone, leads him into an alleyway, and shoots him. Q decides against carrying a gun and throws it into a river as he makes his way to the arcade. He arrives just as Steel is being wheeled into an ambulance. Q goes after Bishop and warns him that sooner or later, his bad deeds will come back to haunt him. Bishop reveals his plan to kill Q and claim self-defense. Q strikes him and runs. Bishop gives chase and shoots Q in the arm. They duck into a nearby apartment building and into a crowded elevator, where Bishop shoots at Q again, but misses. He loses his gun in the ensuing melee, and chases Q to the rooftop. The two engage in a fistfight. Bishop is thrown over the side of the building, but Q catches him. As Bishop begs for his life, Q loses his grip, and his friend falls to his death. A witness tells Q that he has the “juice” now, but Q shakes his head, dismayed. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.