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Shaft (1971)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  2 July 1971 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 11,508 users  
Reviews: 77 user | 46 critic

Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

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Title: Shaft (1971)

Shaft (1971) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Charles Cioffi ...
Vic Androzzi
Christopher St. John ...
Ben Buford
Gwenn Mitchell ...
Ellie Moore
...
Tom Hannon
Victor Arnold ...
Charlie
Sherri Brewer ...
Marcy
Rex Robbins ...
Rollie
Camille Yarbrough ...
Dina Greene
Margaret Warncke ...
Linda
Joseph Leon ...
Byron Leibowitz
Arnold Johnson ...
Cul
Dominic Barto ...
Patsy
George Strus ...
Carmen
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Storyline

John Shaft is the ultimate in suave black detectives. He first finds himself up against Bumpy, the leader of the Black crime mob, then against Black nationals, and finally working with both against the White Mafia who are trying to blackmail Bumpy by kidnapping his daughter. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The mob wanted Harlem back. They got shaft...up to here. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 July 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les nuits rouges de Harlem  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,125,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gordon Parks:  [Essence Magazine]  Shaft is seen reading a copy of Essence Magazine in his girlfriend's apartment. Parks is a co-founder of Essence. The magazine is spotted when Shaft is engaging in a conversation with a blind newsstand vendor during the opening sequence. See more »

Goofs

When Shaft pushes one of Bumpy's goons into his office, the sound of glass breaking is heard, but the glass window in the office door is clearly undamaged until a short time later. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Shaft: [holding up his middle finger to a cab driver who is honking his horn at him] Up yours! Get out the way!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Playboy: The Story of X (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Bumpy's Blues
(uncredited)
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Few Good Moments But "Shaft" Is Too Slowly Paced, Runs Out of Gas, and Ends Absurdly
9 September 2007 | by (western US) – See all my reviews

"Shaft" starts with promise, opening with the popular tune by Isaac Hayes as the camera explores a business district in New York City. For example, we see a theater playing 'Little Fauss and Big Halsey,' a motorcycle cult classic starring Robert Redford, Michael J. Pollard, and Lauren Hutton, then Shaft wends his way across a busy boulevard with no regard for the fact that it's strictly "DON'T WALK" time, a feat reminiscent of the arcade game, "Frogger." Soon, we are introduced to the police lieutenant who is so understanding and laid back that Shaft's disdainful attitude toward him as just another cog in the honky establishment seems a bit difficult to comprehend. Actually, Shaft tends to mix with white society rather easily, even taking a white chick home with him and screwing her in the shower, then letting her sleep it off while he goes out for a few hours to take care of business. We've already seen him with his regular girl, who is attractive in her form fitting body suit, their love scene having been photographed imaginatively. His discussion with the black hoodlum whose daughter has been kidnapped is also interesting, as are other conversations, and the initial action in his office, where a thug practically dives out a high window, displays some interesting camera and editing techniques. On balance, however, this movie is too slowly paced for an action flick. With the number of times one might wish to stop and replay certain bits of important dialog, it tends to drag a bit, but I disagree with those who think the talk is too dated or not believable. Generally, it's the best thing about this movie, which isn't half bad, at least up until the ending, which is completely ridiculous. Midway through the concluding scenes, I turned to my wife and said, "What is this, 'Mission Impossible?' It's really absurd the way the supposed Black militants who are aiding Shaft seem thoroughly unfamiliar with the proper handling of weapons or what tactics to employ in a dicey situation, and the way they "go up against the mob" is just plain laughable. Here, the gangsters are holding the young black woman as hostage and yet there are just a few dumb palookas guarding her, none of whom seem to be paying sufficient attention. Nobody's on tenterhooks watching out for a rescue attempt, nor does anyone appear to be running the operation from Thug HQ. The primary function of these morons appears to be that they are racists who like to insult black people on general principles. It's a disappointing conclusion to what might have been a much better movie had it been more skillfully written and directed. Richard Roundtree, as Shaft, hands in a credible performance and the police lieutenant is pretty good, too. He's the same guy who played the middle-aged nut-job in "Klute," but in this movie, he's a much more likable character. The way he extends his hand for Shaft to slap is an interesting bit of cinema. They are supposed to be at odds but the guy obviously is one of the black private eye's biggest fans, without coming off as phony, insincere, or patronizing, even though Shaft still treats him with unrelenting disdain.


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