Shaft (1971)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  2 July 1971 (USA)
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Reviews: 79 user | 48 critic

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



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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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


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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hotter than Bond, Cooler than Bullitt. See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 July 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les nuits rouges de Harlem  »

Box Office


$1,125,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


The month calendar in Shaft's office is January 1971 (February 1971 is also posted on the wall in a "next month" style arrangement). But in Lt. Androzzi's office, the date calendar reads Tuesday January 27 and later Thursday January 29. 27 January 1971 was a Wednesday and 29 January 1971 was a Friday. (27 and 29 January 1970 fell on a Tuesday and a Thursday). See more »


[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 »


Referenced in The Wire: Time After Time (2004) See more »


Do Your Thing
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
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User Reviews

Shaft was/is/will be the man
5 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I am an old-school man from Motown, and I was at the premiere showing in June of 1971 at the Palms Theatre. The impact and impression that is left in your mind dictates how one feels about anything. Shaft, starring Richard Roundtree, made it's mark on me then, and does now. From the opening scenes in the streets, to the end theme, when John Shaft came through the the time, no Black man exercised such a strength of will and character as he did. the music score of Issac Hayes did/does/will be as timeless as the movie. The storyline was compelling, characters well-developed and colorful, the direction of Gordon Parks set a new standard, and even the fashion and wardrobe made a statement. Can you dig it?

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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