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Black Caesar (1973)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  7 February 1973 (USA)
6.4
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,811 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 41 critic

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 »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Helen
Art Lund ...
McKinney
D'Urville Martin ...
Reverend Rufus
Julius Harris ...
Mr. Gibbs (as Julius W. Harris)
Minnie Gentry ...
Momma Gibbs
Philip Roye ...
Joe Washington
William Wellman Jr. ...
Alfred Coleman
James Dixon ...
Bryant
...
Cardoza
Patrick McAllister ...
Grossfield
...
Crawdaddy
Myrna Hansen ...
Virginia Coleman
Omer Jeffrey ...
Tommy as a Boy
Michael Jeffrey ...
Joe as a Boy
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Storyline

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 vengeance, he rises to power in Harlem, New York. Angry at the racist society around him, both criminal and straight, he sees the acquisition of power as the solution to his rage. He performs a free-lance hit on a Mob contract to attract the attention of the head of a Mafia family. Reluctantly accepted into 'The Family,' he grows increasingly autonomous and aggressive, eventually starting a gang war. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

power | criminal | gang war | mob | mafia | See more »

Taglines:

Hail Caesar, Godfather of Harlem...The Cat with the .45-Caliber Claws!


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black Caesar - Il Padrino nero  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Originally offered to Sammy Davis Jr., who turned it down. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end, when Tommy leaves the building, the elevator door closes though his leg is in the doorway. See more »

Quotes

Tommy Gibbs: You can sleep until noon, if you want anything, just press a button.
Mama Gibbs: Me? Live in this apartment? Why they'd hang me right off that terrace, Jew folks ain't even allowed here.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hell Up in Harlem (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

The Boss
Composed by Charles Bobbitt, James Brown, Fred Wesley
Performed by James Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Predictable and poorly made
15 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Movie starts out in 1953 where we see young black Tommy Gibbs doing jobs for the mob. He starts developing his own little gang. As he gets older (and becomes Fred Williamson) he works his way into the white mob--even though they don't want "ni**ers" (as they say throughout the film). Then he steals some damaging ledgers and uses it to run crime in the city, help black people and keep the evil white people at bay. But the white guys in the mob aren't about to give up...

Perhaps I'm not the best person to review a Larry Cohen movie--he's the producer, writer and director of this. I've never liked any of his movies and he makes really bad low budget films (unlike Roger Corman who makes good ones). This one is full of goofs--I love it when you hear a baby crying on the soundtrack but you can clearly see that the baby isn't making a sound! This is full of bad dialogue and has a very predictable script. This is the type of gangster film Hollywood was making in the 1930s--it's just done with black characters now. The movie also contains plenty of swearing and some pretty graphic bloody violence. Also I can't think of any film I've ever seen that has such a negative view of women--they're either vicious witches, use sex to get what they want or are slapped around left and right. It doesn't help at all that Gloria Hendry (the main victim) gives a terrible performance.

To be truthful I was struggling to stay awake. The bursts of violence helped and Williamson is tall, handsome and pretty good in the title role. But the technical goofs (there are plenty) and the by the numbers story got annoying. Poorly made on a low budget. Check out "Foxy Brown", "Coffy" or "Blacula" for a good blaxploitation film.


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