On the heels of their first blockbuster film, Menace II Society, Albert and Allen Hughes co-wrote, directed and produced the crime drama, Dead Presidents (1993). The film, primarily set in the Bronx borough of New York City, centers around the protagonist, Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate). The plot spans from 1969 to 1974 and themes of the Vietnam War as well as the Civil Rights and Black Power movements are prominent.
Dead Presidents opens with Anthony, several months away from graduating high school, deciding to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps instead of attending college. This is disappointing and frightening to his family in which he was born and the one he has created, as his girlfriend, Juanita Benson (Rose Jackson), is expecting their first child. He views his enlistment, which will most likely send him to combat in the Vietnam War, as a way for him to support his future family. However, his mentor and local hood, Kirby (Keith David), warns him about his naivete and the treachery of the others, from the U.S. government to White military personnel, who will make his life, as a Black man, even more hellish.