MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 155 this week

Shaft (1971)

 -  Action | Crime | Thriller  -  2 July 1971 (USA)
6.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 10,650 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 51 critic

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

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Venice Film Festival

See the latest from the 2014 Venice Film Festival


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 40 titles
created 24 Jan 2011
 
a list of 49 titles
created 30 Aug 2013
 
a list of 44 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 35 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Shaft" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Shaft (1971)

Shaft (1971) on IMDb 6.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Shaft.

User Polls

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Shaft is back to find the murderer of an old friend on the cold hard city streets with a little help from his new friends.

Director: Gordon Parks
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

P.I. John Shaft is recruited to go undercover to break up a modern slavery ring where young Africans are lured to Paris to do chain-gang work.

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee
Super Fly (1972)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Super Fly is a cocaine dealer who begins to realize that his life will soon end with either prison or his death. He decides to build an escape from the life by making his biggest deal yet, ... See full summary »

Director: Gordon Parks Jr.
Stars: Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazier
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black male prostitute goes on the run from "the man" with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels.

Director: Melvin Van Peebles
Stars: Melvin Van Peebles, Simon Chuckster, Hubert Scales
Foxy Brown (1974)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A voluptuous black woman takes a job as a high-class prostitute in order to get revenge on the mobsters who murdered her boyfriend.

Director: Jack Hill
Stars: Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Peter Brown
Coffy (1973)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A black nurse takes vigilante justice against inner-city drug dealers after her sister becomes their latest victim.

Director: Jack Hill
Stars: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui
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
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
The Shaft (2001)
Action | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

When the express elevators in the Millennium Building, one of New York's most famous landmarks, start to malfunction and behave in erratic ways, elevator mechanic Mark Newman is sent out to... See full summary »

Director: Dick Maas
Stars: James Marshall, Naomi Watts, Eric Thal
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two New York City cops go after amateur crooks who are trying to rip off the Mafia and start a gang war.

Director: Barry Shear
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Yaphet Kotto, Anthony Franciosa
Shaft (1973–1974)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Based on the movies of the same name, John Shaft is a two-fisted black private eye along the lines of Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe. Each week presents a different case and a different ... See full summary »

Stars: Richard Roundtree, Eddie Barth, Judie Stein
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Gordon Parks
Stars: Avery Brooks, Roscoe Lee Browne, Gordon Parks
Edit

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
Edit

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:

SHAFT's his name. SHAFT's his game. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Was rumored to be written as just another detective movie, with a white detective in the lead, but, after the success of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), the film was rewritten and recast as a blaxploitation movie. This story has been told several times by director Melvin Van Peebles. However, it is probably apocryphal. The Ernest Tidyman novel which was the basis for the film is about a black detective and not a white one. See more »

Goofs

The outline of a microphone is visible under Shaft's turtleneck at one point when Bumpty Jones visits Shaft at his office. 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 Nip/Tuck: Ronnie Chase (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A historic film, but not a good one
3 April 2004 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

`Shaft' was a ground-breaking film in its day, but its interest for a modern audience is largely historical. For several decades, Hollywood had operated an unofficial colour bar, with black actors being confined to minor roles, often as servants or working-class characters. Things had started to change somewhat in the sixties, with black actors starting to appear alongside whites in major roles. `In the Heat of the Night' is a good example, but even here Sidney Poitier does not carry the film on his own. A white actor, Rod Steiger, is given equal prominence alongside him. Moreover, this is an `issue' movie with a race-relations theme- the sort of film in which one might expect to find a black actor taking a leading role.

`Shaft' takes the process a stage further. Both the star, Richard Roundtree, and most of the supporting cast, are black. White actors are only seen in comparatively minor roles. Although the film is centred upon New York's black community, it is not specifically an `issue' movie about racism in the way that `In the Heat of the Night' is. A black man is seen, for almost the first time, as not only the main focus of the film but also as a strong, confident man of action. The hero John Shaft, a black private detective, triumphs over white villains; there is even a mixed-race love scene between him and a white woman, something which Hollywood would tend to shy away from even today, and which must have seemed particularly shocking in the early seventies.

Unfortunately, when seen as a film rather than as a historical landmark, `Shaft' is not particularly good. The plot, which concerns Shaft's search for a gangster's kidnapped daughter and ends with him tangling with the Mafia, is routine private eye stuff. Richard Roundtree makes a cool, stylish hero, but the rest of the cast are not up to his standard. The direction also struck me as having been poorly handled, particularly the action scenes. The film seems to have been made on a low budget, and it shows. There are similarities to other `tough guy' detective films of the era, such as `The French Connection', `Bullitt' and the `Dirty Harry' series (all of which featured white protagonists) but all of those were much more professionally handled. Many of my criticisms of `Shaft' could, in fact, be made, with even greater force, against the `blaxploitation' genre is general. Nevertheless, those films pointed the way that later black actors were to follow. When we consider that the likes of Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Samuel Jackson have become major stars in all sorts of roles, not merely as action heroes, we realise that a debt is owed to films like `Shaft'. 5/10.


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Shaft vs. Superfly rbowles-2
Painting on the wall Holger1974
differences in the soundtrack jh87
Films like Shaft...Superfly TonyHarms
Song playing as Shaft climbs the stairs to Ben's apt.? franczke
Afrolicious! a_spike_lee_joint
Discuss Shaft (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?