Year: 2005
Director: Jim Sheridan
Cast: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Terrence Howard, Joy Bryant, Bill Duke, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Omar Benson Miller, Viola Davis
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By the middle of the previous decade, 50 Cent had become the biggest rapper in the world. That prosperity sparked Hollywood’s interest, and 50’s combination of personality and harrowing backstory led to further intrigue. At arguably the peak of his musical popularity, the story of the drug-dealer-turned-rapper who miraculously survived nine bullets made its way to the big screen through Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

Largely autobiographical, the film—which, of course, shares the name of 50’s debut album—tells the story of Marcus (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), a boy who loses his mother to the drug game only to follow in her footsteps. Over time, he realizes that his love of hip-hop is his ticket to a better life, which he nearly loses in a hail of bullets. That’s when the story gets even more violent (and clichéd) before reaching a dramatic conclusion.

What’s remarkable about Get Rich or Die Tryin’ isn’t that the (dramatized) tale of Curtis Jackson’s life extends from Jamaica, Queens to theaters everywhere, it’s that such reputable names were involved in the film. It was directed by six-time Oscar nominee Jim Sheridan, and Terence Winter (who’s had his hands in everything from The Sopranos to The Wolf of Wall Street) penned the screenplay.