8 Mile (film)

8 Mile is a 2002 American hip-hop drama film written by Scott Silver, directed by Curtis Hanson, and starring Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, Michael Shannon, Anthony Mackie, and Kim Basinger. The film follows white rapper B-Rabbit (Eminem) and his attempt to launch a career in a genre dominated by African-Americans. The title is derived from 8 Mile Road, the highway between the predominantly black city of Detroit and the largely white suburban communities to the north. 99% of the film was filmed in California. The scene of the burning house was the only scene filmed in Highland Park, which is a small city within the city of Detroit.8 Mile was a critical and commercial success. Eminem won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Lose Yourself", which has become one of his signature tracks.

8 Mile
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCurtis Hanson
Produced byCurtis Hanson
Brian Grazer
Jimmy Iovine
Written byScott Silver
Kim Basinger
Brittany Murphy
Mekhi Phifer
Eugene Byrd
Music byEminem
CinematographyRodrigo Prieto
Edited byJay Rabinowitz
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • November 8, 2002 (2002-11-08)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$41 million[2]
Box office$242.9 million[2]


In 1995 Detroit, Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. is a young, unhappy blue-collar worker from a poor family. Jimmy has moved back north of 8 Mile Road to the run-down trailer home in Warren, Michigan of his alcoholic mother Stephanie, his younger sister Lily, and Stephanie's abusive live-in boyfriend Greg. Although encouraged by his friends, Jimmy worries about his potential as a rapper. One night, Jimmy freezes during a rap battle at a local venue, the Shelter, and he leaves the stage humiliated.

During the day, Jimmy works at a car factory. When he asks for extra shifts, his supervisor rudely dismisses his request on account of his habitual tardiness. Later on, Jimmy befriends a woman named Alex. Jimmy begins to take more responsibility for the direction of his life. When he exhibits an improved attitude and performance at work, his supervisor grants him the extra shifts that he requested.

At some point, Stephanie receives an eviction notice as she can't pay rent. Despite her best attempts to keep the eviction notice a secret, Greg finds out about it and confronts Stephanie. When Jimmy attacks Greg for threatening his mother, they fight and Greg leaves Stephanie for good.

Jimmy's friendship with Wink, a radio DJ with ties to a record label promoter, becomes strained after he discovers that Wink does promotional work for Jimmy's rivals, a rap group known as the "Leaders of the Free World". At one point, Jimmy and his friends get into a violent brawl with the Leaders, which is disrupted when Jimmy's friend Cheddar Bob pulls out a gun and accidentally shoots himself in the leg; he survives but is confined to crutches.

At work one day when on lunch break, Jimmy witnesses a rap battle in which an employee insults a gay co-worker, Paul. Jimmy joins the battle and defends Paul. Alex is impressed by Jimmy's actions Wink arranges for Jimmy to meet with producers at a recording studio, but Jimmy finds Wink and Alex engaging in intercourse. Enraged, Jimmy attacks Wink as Alex tries to break up their altercation. In retaliation, Wink and the Leaders of the Free World assault Jimmy outside his trailer. The leader of the gang, Papa Doc, holds Jimmy at gunpoint - threatening to kill him until Wink dissuades him. Once the group has left Jimmy alone, his mother returns with enough money to pay for the eviction - having won $3,200 at a bingo tournament.

Jimmy's best friend and battle host, Future, pushes him to get revenge by competing against the Leaders of the Free World at the next rap battle. However, Jimmy's late-night shift conflicts with the timing of the next battle tournament. A goodbye visit from Alex, who is moving to New York, changes his mind about competing, and Paul agrees to cover his shift at work as a favor while Jimmy goes to the battle.

In all rounds of the rap battle, Jimmy has to compete against one member of "the Leaders". After winning the first two rounds, he faces off against Papa Doc and ultimately wins by preemptively pointing out his own "white trash" roots and difficult life and then exposing Papa Doc's comparatively privileged and stable upbringing. With nothing to say in rebuttal, Papa Doc hands the microphone back to Future, embarrassed. After being congratulated by Alex and his friends, Jimmy is offered a position by Future - hosting battles at The Shelter. Jimmy declines, saying he has to go his own way, and walks back to work.


  • Esethu Mingoz Qakaza J.R as MINGOZ, B-Rabbit's fan


The film began shooting in September 2001 in Highland Park, MI.[3]


Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture 8 Mile is the soundtrack to 8 Mile. Eminem features on five tracks from the album. It was released under the Shady/Interscope label and spawned Eminem's first number 1 US single[4] "Lose Yourself". The album debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 Albums Chart that year with over 702,000 copies sold and 507,000 sold in the second week also finishing the year as the fifth best-selling album of 2002 with US sales of 3.2 million, despite only two months of release. It also reached No.1 on the UK Compilations Chart and the Australian ARIAnet Albums Chart. It also spawned a follow up soundtrack, More Music from 8 Mile, consisting of songs that appear in 8 Mile that were current singles during the film's time setting of 1995. The album was also made in a clean edition removing most of the strong profanity and violent content.


Box office

8 Mile opened at No.1 with $51,240,555 in its opening weekend, the then second highest opening for an R-rated movie in the U.S.[5] The film would go on to gross $116,750,901 domestically and $126,124,177 overseas for a total of $242,875,078 worldwide.[2] The film's final domestic gross would hold the film at No.3 in Box Office Mojo's "Pop Star Debuts" list, behind Austin Powers in Goldmember (Beyoncé) and The Bodyguard (Whitney Houston).

The 8 Mile DVD, which was released on March 18, 2003, generated $75 million in sales and rentals in its first week, making it the biggest DVD debut ever for an R-rated movie and putting it in the all-time Top 10 for first week home video sales for a movie. A VHS version was also released on the same date.[6][7]

Critical reception

8 Mile received positive reviews, with critics praising the music and Eminem's performance. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports the film is "Certified Fresh", with 75% of 213 professional critics giving the film a positive review and a rating average of 6.71/10. The site's consensus is that "Even though the story is overly familiar, there's enough here for an engaging ride."[8] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 reviews from film critics, the film has a rating score of 77 based on 38 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[9] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave 8 Mile was B+ on an A+ to F scale, with the core under-21 demographics giving it an A.[10]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars. He said that we "are hardly started in 8 Mile, and already we see that this movie stands aside from routine debut films by pop stars" and that it is "a faithful reflection of his myth". He said that Eminem, as an actor, is "convincing without being too electric" and "survives the X-ray truth-telling of the movie camera"[11] In the At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper review, both Ebert and Richard Roeper gave the film a thumbs up; Roeper said that Eminem has a "winning screen presence" and "raw magic" to him. He was happy with Rabbit's "tender side" presented through his relationship with the "adorable" Greenfield as his sister, but felt that Basinger was "really miscast". Roeper said: "8 Mile probably won't win converts to rap, but it should thrill Eminem fans."[12]

Peter Travers gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars. He said that 8 Mile "is a real movie, not a fast-buck package to exploit the fan base of a rap nonentity" that "qualifies as a cinematic event by tapping into the roots of Eminem and the fury and feeling that inform his rap." He praised Hanson's directing and the performances, and compared the final battle with Papa Doc to the fight between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed in Rocky.[13]

Top lists

8 Mile has been named in various year-end and all-time top lists:

Awards and honors

In 2003, Eminem won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 75th Academy Awards, for his single "Lose Yourself" from the soundtrack of 8 Mile,[19][20] becoming the first hip hop artist ever to win an Academy Award. He was not present at the ceremony, but co-writer Luis Resto accepted the award.[21] The film has been nominated for 32 awards, winning 11.[22]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Home media

8 Mile was first released on VHS and DVD on March 18, 2003.[29] It was later released on Blu-ray.


  1. "8 Mile". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  2. 8 Mile at Box Office Mojo
  3. "Eminem Movie Aims to Put Detroit Back on the Film Map". hive4media.com. July 25, 2001. Archived from the original on August 9, 2001. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  4. "Eminem." Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed. Ed. Colin Larkin. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 27 Sep. 2016.
  5. "Eminem movie tops at US box office". RTÉ. 2002-11-12. Retrieved 2011-10-06.
  6. Hettrick, Scott (2003-03-24). "'8 Mile' DVD's going far". Variety. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  7. "Eminem Stars in '8 MILE' Coming to DVD and VHS March 18, 2003". PR Newswire. 2003-01-30. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  8. "8 Mile Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  9. "8 Mile". Metacritic. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  10. "Box Office Prophets: Box Office Report for November 8-10, 2002". Box Office Prophets. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  11. "8 Mile". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2011-02-27.
  12. http://apps.tvplex.go.com/ebertandthemovies/audioplayer.cgi?file=021111_8_mile%5B%5D
  13. "8 Mile". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  14. Ramirez, Erika (November 8, 2012). "Top 10 Best Hip-Hop Movies Ever". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  15. Sarris, Andrew (January 13, 2003). "The Best Films of 2002, And a Few Honorable Mentions". The New York Observer. The New York Observer, LLC. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  16. Schickel, Richard (December 12, 2002). "Top 10 Everything 2002: Movies (Schickel)". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  17. Travers, Peter (December 26, 2002). "The Best and Worst Movies of 2002". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media, LLC. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  18. "Best Films of 2002". The Daily Californian. Independent Berkeley Students Publishing Company, Inc. January 21, 2003. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  19. "The 75th Academy Awards (2003) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  20. "The 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2003)". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Archived from the original on 2010-12-29. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  21. Bozza 2003, p. 174
  22. "8 Mile". IMDB. 8 November 2002. Retrieved 15 September 2016 via IMDb.
  23. "The 60th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2003)". GoldenGlobes.com. HFPA. 2003. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  24. "Winners and Nominees for the 4th Annual Golden Trailer Awards". GoldenTrailer.com. 2003. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  25. "2003 MTV Movie Awards". MTV. Viacom Media Networks. 2003. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  26. "Past Winners". GRAMMY.com. National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. 2003. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  27. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs" (PDF). American Film Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  28. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-14.
  29. https://movieweb.com/8-mile-comes-to-dvd-on-march-18th/
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