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Black Caesar (1973)

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:
...
...
...
McKinney
...
...
Mr. Gibbs (as Julius W. Harris)
Minnie Gentry ...
Philip Roye ...
Joe Washington
...
Alfred Coleman
...
Bryant
...
Cardoza
Patrick McAllister ...
Grossfield
...
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 New York City's Harlem. 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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Godfather of Harlem  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cameo: Andrew Duggan as 'man at shoeshine.' See more »

Goofs

The mob boss's forks, in the Italian restaurant. See more »

Quotes

Tommy Gibbs: [at Mama's funeral] I gave her everything she wanted, Rufus, but she still wasn't ever happy.
Reverend Rufus: You know, I almost feel like I could pray for her.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Martin: All the Players Came (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Mama's Dead
Written by James Brown and Fred Wesley
Performed by James Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This Caesar Comes To Bury You
29 August 2004 | by See all my reviews

****SPOILERS**** Stylish and brutal "Black Caesar" is also a bit over-the-top in it's depiction of a Harlem hood working himself up to the top of the New York City mob syndicate and then losing it all in what seems like a matter of weeks if not days.Fred Williamson is at his all time baddest best as the super cool cat Tommy Gibbs the Harlem gangster with the heart of gold and fists of steel who takes on the Mafia with his brawn's and the crooked police and politicians with his brains and just when he's got it all blows it down the drain.

Captain McKinney, Art Lund, who gave Tommy when he was 14 years-old the nickname "Limpy", by busting his kneecap with his police nightstick, tries to do Tommy in by getting his former girlfriend Helen, Gloria Hendry, to steal a safe-deposit key from him. The key opens a box that contains the both explosive and incriminating Goosic ledgers that Tommy ripped off from Goosic's office when he was reviewing them. Goosic a top bag-man for the corrupt cops and politicians has a record of all the pay-offs that they got from the mob and elsewhere through the years. Tommy is using that information to blackmail McKinney, and all those corrupt officials in them, to keep the heat off him and keep him alive as well.

Later getting shot on a mid-town street Tommy kills the hood who shot him and escapes from McKinney's men by jumping into a taxi and then goes to Coleman, William Wellman,his back-stabbing lawyer's office. Coleman turned out to be murdered by McKinney in order for him to get his hands on the Goosic ledgers after he, Coleman, doubled-crossed his client Tommy by giving them to McKinney. McKinney plans to pin the murder of Coleman on Tommy,to cover up his crime! In short McKinney double-crossed the double-crosser, Coleman, to frame the double-crossed,Tommy, with a murder rap.

McKinney instead of killing Tommy when he surprises him at Coleman's office forces him it spit-shine his shoes, now that's really rubbing it in. Tommy knocking his gun out of his hand paints McKinney's face with shoe polish and forces him to sing "Mammy", McKinney's singing is plain horrible, before he smashed his head in with the shoe-shine box killing him. Still badly wounded Tommy goes to his old neighborhood in Harlem and is attacked by a gang of young toughs, Tommy Gibbs wannabes, but survives the ordeal to make a sequel to the movie "Black Caesar": "Hell up in Harlem".

The most unusual aspect about the film "Black Caesar" is that it was so successful that it spawned a sequel the same year, 1973, that it was released. Even though "Black Caesar" was to take place at the time that it was made and we see at the end of the movie a date, as if it had great historic and momentous significance, which flashed on the screen against the New York City skyline as being August 20, 1972? What exactly was that day supposed to be in world history?

In the "Black Casear" sequel "Hell up in Harlem" were shown in the movie that most of the events takes place two or three years into the future or in 1975 and 1976 not 1973 when the movie was made and released! It's as if the film were a sci-fi not crime movie! Now how's that for keeping the right time!


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