Crips and Bloods: Made in America (2008)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Crips and Bloods: Made in America Videos

Crips and Bloods: Made in America Photos

Movie Info

Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker, Dogtown and Z-Boys director Stacy Peralta's unflinching documentary chronicles one of the longest-running civil wars in the history of America though a deeply humanistic lens. The Bloods and Crips are two of South Los Angeles' most notorious African-American gangs. While many outsiders simply cannot understand the decades-long cycle of despair and destruction that has come to define their daily lives, the individuals who comprise each gang are not simply mindless, gun-toting thugs, but real people with real families who have become caught up in a struggle from which the only escape is often death. Beginning with an illuminating look at the genesis of L.A.'s gang culture, Crips and Bloods: Made in America follows the bloody feud that would stretch on for a grueling four decades, revealing the turf wars, hierarchy, family structure, gun culture, and stringent rules through interviews with gangsters past and present, as well as experts, activists, and academics. Throughout the film, the numerous issues blanketing the streets of South L.A. with a deep sense of dread are reflected upon by gang intervention experts, former gang members, writers, and academics in an effort to examine the erosion of identity that helps to perpetrate black self-hatred, prison culture, and the disappearance of the black father in the home.
Documentary , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

Watch it now


Critic Reviews for Crips and Bloods: Made in America

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (10)

Crips and Bloods hasn't been made out of moral anger or a sense of conspiracy. As matters of journalism, sociology, and humanitarianism, the movie is incurious at best. At worst, it's a recruitment video.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Peralta is a compassionate filmmaker.

April 3, 2009
Denver Post
Top Critic

Deals almost entirely in known facts, but it's still a revelatory film.

Full Review… | February 20, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

The movie feels less like a traditional documentary than an educational video. But it works the way he wants it to: you'll walk out feeling both enlightened and dismayed.

Full Review… | January 23, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

With Crips and Bloods: Made in America, the director Stacy Peralta manages to put a human face on a subject that tends to inspire inflamed debate.

January 22, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

The self-perpetuating cycle of hopelessness, ignorance and poverty is certainly a depressing spectacle. But it's not a very revelatory one.

Full Review… | January 21, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Crips and Bloods: Made in America


"Crips and Bloods: Made in America" is an incisive inside documentary about the infamous Los Angeles gangs whose conflict over the past forty years have resulted in over 15,000 deaths. While that same early mortality prevents the filmmakers from putting together a cohesive oral history, they still find plenty of current and past gang members, some of whom have not left their own block or territory in decades, in order to get their stories. Overall, this all began even before the founding of the gangs, going back to the migration of black families from the deep south. They found a living situation that was better than the one they left of course but also one where where their children would face police brutality which would eventually lead to the Watts Riot.(The documentary with some nostalgia refers to this as an uprising.) That would prove no matter how much violent resistance there is, the resulting crackdown will be that much worse. At the same time, "Crips and Bloods: Made in America" relies on too much background, even rewinding back to the beginning at one late point. Also, the documentary quotes the cliche of the lack of a male role model, when it fails to take in consideration the extremely high unemployment rate amongst young black men which Bernie Sanders has just stated is around 50%.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

How can a documentary about two of Americas most notrious street gangs be made and not a single mention of Stanley "Tookie" Williams is uttered? Crips and Bloods: Made in America starts off promising with some insights on how White America is mostly responsible for the creation of gangs but stops giving a history lesson about the time that the two notorious gangs are formed. The second half of the documentary felt more like a recruitment video than and actual in depth view of the hows and whys. Crips and Bloods: Made in America is interesting for the most part but really suffers from a lack of direction and insight.

Jonathan Porras
Jonathan Porras

Perhaps the most important functions that a documentary can serve today is to step in when the mainstream media has failed. On issue that the media has most definitely failed in this world of national security, foreign wars, and widespread policy debates are the problems plaguing the inner city. It was indeed refreshing to see a documentary that deals with these issues that people seem to have forgotten about since the early 90s. In principle I find the documentary?s message that the Crips and Bloods emerged because of the way society silenced any mainstream form of black empowerment. Unfortunately there were aspects of execution that held this film back from achieving its full potential. The film starts strong, painting a strong picture of what it was like to be a black man in 60s Las Angeles, then shortly after its vivid depiction of the Watts riots it suddenly flashes forward to the present and begins playing a ton of interviews with gang members. These are interesting interviews, but they are simply played at random and feel like an interruption of the film?s narrative. It feels like they had a lot of good footage that they insisted on shoehorning in. The film eventually recovers, but never regains its momentum. This was a fairly good watch but it could have been a whole lot better.


Super Reviewer

Crips and Bloods: Made in America Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Crips and Bloods: Made in America on our Movie forum!

News & Features