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

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
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:

Wanna see Shaft? Better ask yo' mamma. (Trailer) 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

During Bumpy's visit to Shaft's office, the hat Bumpy is wearing changes. As Bumpy faces Shaft, the brim is turned down all the way around the hat. There is also a small gold buckle seen on the leather hat band. When the camera moves to Bumpy's left, to include Shaft, the hat's brim is turned up in back, and the buckle is missing. 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 2 Broke Girls: And the Reality Check (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Bumpy's Blues
(uncredited)
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
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User Reviews

 
Timely Take On The Standard Private Detective Formula.
20 July 2001 | by (Decatur, Georgia) – See all my reviews

It is an innovative effort, and serves as a snapshot of the times. Shaft, written by Ernest Tidyman, stands as one of the best modern detective dramas. Written and filmed at a time of extreme social unrest throughout the U.S.; the movie shows how Jon Shaft uses his private detective status and ethnicity to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of a notorious Harlem kingpin. While the plot pieces of black militants, and a potential race war in New York City, may not be as relevant in 2001 as they were in 1971, the cast and crew do a good job to convey the importance of Shaft's mission. Shaft, indeed, is one cool cat. Not only is he a ladies' man, but he's also a man about town. He knows every iota of New York City, and uses his detective skills to the fullest. Ducking the city police, and handling his business with the crooks, Shaft plays it cool to the very end. Many people like to bundle the blaxploitation pictures into a neat little package; one to laugh at and check out the music score. Shaft proves there was more meaning to these films, and ends up as a classic display of substance with style.


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