6.5/10
1,209
27 user 29 critic

Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

R | | Action, Comedy | 27 May 1970 (USA)
Trailer
0:30 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(based upon the novel by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An extremely bigoted white man finds out the hard (and somewhat humorous) way what it's like being a black man, firsthand!

Director: Melvin Van Peebles
Stars: Godfrey Cambridge, Estelle Parsons, Howard Caine
Truck Turner (1974)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Truck is a bounty hunter who gets a job to track down a guy named Gator. When he and his partner find him, a chase ensues and Gator is killed. This makes Gator's woman, Dorinda, very angry ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Stars: Isaac Hayes, Yaphet Kotto, Alan Weeks
Black Caesar (1973)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy, his leg is broken by a bad cop on the take, during a payoff gone bad. Nursing his ... See full summary »

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry, Art Lund
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A social worker tries to get a pimp to change his ways.

Director: Gilbert Moses
Stars: Roscoe Orman, Diana Sands, Thalmus Rasulala
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A gangster in Harlem must rescue his ex-wife, who has been kidnapped by the Mafia.

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Fred Williamson, Julius Harris, Gloria Hendry
Super Fly (1972)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The daily routine of cocaine dealer Priest who wants to score one more super deal and retire.

Director: Gordon Parks Jr.
Stars: Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazier
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Sequel to Cotton comes to Harlem. Another bad influence is hitting Harlem and Gravedigger and Coffin Ed are the two cops who will stop it. Charleston Blue was a prohibition era black ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Warren
Stars: Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, Peter De Anda
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The Nazis imprison an Italian general who was planning to switch sides and turn over his army to the Allied side. Allied headquarters sends a small, somewhat misfit group of soldiers to ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Stewart Granger, Raf Vallone, Mickey Rooney
Blacula (1972)
Fantasy | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An ancient African prince, turned into a vampire by Dracula himself, finds himself in modern Los Angeles.

Director: William Crain
Stars: William Marshall, Vonetta McGee, Denise Nicholas
Friday Foster (1975)
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Friday Foster, an ex-model magazine photographer, goes to Los Angeles International airport to photograph the arrival of Blake Tarr, the richest black man in America. Three men attempt to ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Marks
Stars: Pam Grier, Yaphet Kotto, Godfrey Cambridge
Bucktown (1975)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Duke Johnson visits a small Southern town, intent on burying his brother. After the funeral, he learns that he must stay for 60 days, for the estate to be processed. A few locals convince ... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Marks
Stars: Fred Williamson, Pam Grier, Thalmus Rasulala
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Grier and Haig are thieving mercenaries who engineer a prison break from the outside.

Director: Jack Hill
Stars: Pam Grier, Anitra Ford, Candice Roman
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Rev. Deke O'Malley
Judy Pace ...
Iris
...
Uncle Budd / Booker Washington Sims
Emily Yancy ...
Mabel
...
Capt. Bryce
...
Goodman
...
Lt. Anderson
...
Calhoun
Mabel Robinson ...
Billie
Dick Sabol ...
Jarema
...
Lo Boy
Teddy Wilson ...
Barry (as Theodore Wilson)
Maxwell Glanville ...
Caspar
Edit

Storyline

Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips back to Africa to the poor on the installment plan. When his truck is hijacked and a bale of cotton stuffed with money is lost in the chase, Harlem is turned upside down by Gravedigger and Coffin Ed, the Reverend, and the hijackers. Much of the humor is urban black, which was unusual in 1970. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Introducing COFFIN ED and GRAVEDIGGER, two detectives only a mother could love.

Genres:

Action | Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 May 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Algodón en Harlem  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(DeLuxe Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Released the same day as "Watermelon Man" which also starred Godfrey Cambridge. See more »

Goofs

During the car chase, the mirror on the driver's side of the police car gets shot off. Once the police car collides with the watermelon cart a few seconds later, the mirror reappears. See more »

Quotes

Gravedigger Jones: Another fine mess you got us into!
Coffin Ed: I got us into? Shut up and shoot!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harlem Aria (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Down in my Soul
Music by Galt MacDermot
Lyrics by William Dumaresq
Sung by Leata Galloway
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The first blaxploitation film? An action-comedy from the era thats actually funny
31 July 2007 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

"Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" is usually credited as the first blaxploitation film. Its really shouldn't be for several reasons. First off, its a more serious urban drama. And plus, "Cotton Comes to Harlem" was released a year earlier. "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" is an important and influential film no doubt, but its not a very good one. In fact, I've yet to meet anyone who's actually made it through the whole thing. On the other hand, "Cotton Comes to Harlem" is just as funny and exciting today as when it came out, despite a few dated elements that some will find politically incorrect. Please, credit either this or "Shaft" as the first blaxploitation film, because "Sweet Sweetback" is really lame.

One of the films strengths is the chemistry between the stars. As Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed, Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques make a great team that plays off each other perfectly. Plus, Calvin Lockhart plays one of the sleaziest and pathetic film villains of the era and Judy Pace is absolutely beautiful. The direction by Ossie Davis keeps this film moving at a very quick pace. Granted, he never tops the first twenty minutes for excitement (the car chase early on is amazing), but the rest of the film is quite good when viewed on its own. This is a film that exists to entertain and does so very well. Its as exciting as "Shaft" and as funny as "Dolemite", only this time the laughs are intentional. (7/10)


11 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
blaxplotaion films ... more damage than good? floetic_m
Discuss Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?