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Cleopatra Jones
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Cleopatra Jones More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Funky & Fun Gem!

8/10
Author: dgordon-1 from Toronto, Canada
31 March 2003

"Cleopatra Jones" was one of the first "blaxploitation" movies that I ever saw back in the '70s. Tamara Dobson plays Cleopatra Jones, a government agent that must crack a drug ring run by Mommy, Shelley Winters. This movie has a nice pace, and looks like it had a fairly big budget for this genre. Tamara plays the role flawlessly and with style. Some of those fashions! I am surprised she could do some kung-fu fighting with those killer platform shoes on. The other thing that stands out in my mind about this movie is Cleo's sexy corvette, complete with a cassette deck! This was state of the art back in '73 for most cars came with the standard AM radio, or if you wanted to, you could upgrade to 8-track! Shelley Winters is funny and over-the-top with her role as Mommy, the Queen of drug trade. Her performance just adds to the campy appeal of this movie. The supporting cast do well too, and round out this made-for-drive-in classic! The DVD is very basic with no extras, however, it is presented in it's original "cinemascope" aspect ratio. The print looks good, and clear. I am glad that this movie is available on DVD, for it's an enjoyable taste of the '70s!

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15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Bizarre blaxploitation! Not be missed!

Author: Infofreak from Perth, Australia
11 January 2002

'Cleopatra Jones' is one of my favourite 1970s exploitation movies. While technically blaxploitation it bears very little resemblance to the grittiness and relative realism of 'Shaft', 'Superfly' or 'Black Caesar'. It is closer to 'Black Belt Jones' meets James Bond, especially the spectacular opening sequence in Turkey. If you don't take it too seriously this is fantastic fun.

Tamara Dobson is beautiful, sassy and kick ass as Special Government Agent Cleopatra Jones, enemy to drug pushers everywhere. Her lover's (Bernie Casey - 'Never Say Never Again') half-way house is under threat of closure after a dubious drug bust. Cleo suspects the involvement of a crooked cop (the always menacing Bill McKinney - 'Deliverance'), and local drug big wig Mommy (Shelley Winters as a larger than life lesbian leather queen!). Mommy and her henchmen (one of which is the legendary Paul Koslo - 'The Omega Man') try everything in their power to stop Cleopatra, but hell, look at her moves! her clothes! her Afro! Who do you think is gonna win here?!

A stylish, silly and wonderfully entertaining trash classic. Directed by Jack Starrett ('Slaughter', 'Race With The Devil') and co-written and produced by actor Max Julien ('Psych-Out', 'The Mack'). 'Cleopatra Jones' is a must see for 70s buffs.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

My Crash Course in Race Relations

8/10
Author: wainscoat-1 from United States
27 March 2009

I saw this film the weekend it came out in 1973 in downtown Baltimore, Tamara Dobson's hometown. Although that was 36 years ago, I remember it very well.

1973 was about 5 years past the golden age of the beautiful but unbeatable-in-a-fight female heroine. A total fantasy, but as a middle-aged woman now, I still sometimes ask myself "What would Emma Peele do?" I found the early '70's heroines to be complete wimps compared to the late 60's heroines.

So when the ad campaign hit in 1973 for "Tamara Dobson IS Cleopatra Jones," with the poster of the tall gun-toting Ms. Dobson, I begged and begged to go.

I went downtown with an older woman friend of the family, and the two of us were literally the only white people in the entire packed theater of black people.

In the film. the villains are all white and the good guys are all black. Also, there are many many scenes in which white people are killed by black people. During these scenes, the theater cheered wildly. This is probably not something you would notice watching the film on T.V., but believe me, if you are one of two white people in the theater, it makes a big impression.

There was also a well-written and clever scene in the film in which one of Cleopatra's male assistants is lying in wait for the white villains. When they arrive, he pulls a gun on them and says "Guess what just jumped out of the woodpile?" The older woman who took me to the movie was southern. She thought this joke was hysterical and kept trying to explain it to me several times, with her extremely clear explanations catching the attention of everyone sitting around us. For those of you not blessed by an older southern friend, the phrase "Guess what just jumped out of the woodpile?" refers to the expression "N-word in the woodpile," a southern term for an unpleasant surprise.

So what did I learn in my trip to the movies?

1) The term "blaxploitation" is totally false. This "blaxploitation" movie seemed to be about blacks who were superior in every way to whites, both morally and physically.

2) It is really scary and uncomfortable being in the minority.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Nothing can match the 70s movies

5/10
Author: Boyo-2
26 August 2004

Tamara Dobson plays the title character, the best dressed United States Agent in the history of cinema. She's on a quest for justice and for burning down poppy fields.

Her rival is Mommy, played by Shelley Winters, who gives a subtle, restrained perf...naw, I'm fooling ya, she's re-defining over-the-top as she GNAWS on every single piece of scenery, all in a variety of Eva Gabor wigs. Seeing her rub the bottom of her young girlfriend, and then get her feet rubbed by the same girl...I wasn't sure if I was going to vomit or thank the movie gods that created this.

Plot is virtually unimportant as Cleo battles the fuzz, Antonio Fargas and anyone who gets in her way. Movie is vintage fun and it was nice to see Esther Rolle in a small part. 6/10.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Who was that Bad Mamma Jamma???

Author: anitatanky
14 December 2001

Cleapatra Jones is one of those movies that you might have caught on t.v. as a little kid and thought, "Wow, that was amazing! I want to be just like her!" Then, when you are older and see it scheduled to come on t.v. again, or see it in the video store, you arrange to watch it with all sorts of anticipation and end up laughing through the entire movie-the choreographed fight scenes, the extreme villains, the jive "put downs". Either way, it is a cool movie to watch, whether you want to go "WOW" or joke it.

I think Tamara Dobson is absolutely stunning in the movie. Very glamorous and very "tough" (if you disregard the fake fight scenes)and within the context of the movie, she is very smart. Blaxploitation films had their place back in the day (and they still do).

Shelly Winters played a "surprising" role as the villain. If you need to get a handle on this, view the movie, "I'm Gonna to git You Sucka"- Towards the end of the movie, a whole list of actors/actresses, who are thought to be above playing in exploitation movies, are named in various exploitation films. Of course Cleopatra Jones is mentioned.

While the movie can be classified as "cheesy" by many, it does have action, adventure, and romance. The action is non-stop-Cleo is always kung fuing someone or driving the hell out of her Corvette to get away from the bad guys. Also, there a pretty neat scene where she rides a motorcycle up a steep hill to everyone's dismay (if you happen to catch CJ on DVD or VHS, use pause on this scene-it is clearly a Caucasian male, with brown makeup, who is actually riding the motorcycle). The adventure is during the beginning-she is in Turkey blowing up poppy fields. Also, her investigations takes her to various parts of town and she interfaces with various "interesting" supporting characters. And then there is the romantic scene with her and Bernie Casey.

If anything, CJ is a wonderful film to have going if you happen to have a 70's theme party or something.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A fun flick!

Author: ColemanDerrick from Decatur, Georgia
16 June 2001

Cleopatra Jones was an inspired effort, given the period it was made. As a black male, I really appreciate the film. The character is one of liberation, and contrary to what has been said about the film, her job is to get rid of drugs, and keep America safe, black or white!!! And yes, you can do good in the hood and look good as well! She is clearly not meant to be anti-establishment, and the story goes a long way in that regard. It is too bad that characters such as Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, and Coffy do not get the credit they deserve. You wouldn't find too many strong heroines beside Wonder Woman, until Ellen Ripley comes along in Alien.

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

The biggest afro in the business!

Author: Andrew Leavold (trash@trashvideo.com.au) from Brisbane, Australia
8 October 2003

Back in the Seventies, mainstream audiences still reeling from the one-two punch of Shaft and Superfly were subjected to a barrage of ghetto avengers - Black Caesar, Willie Dynamite, The Candy Tangerine Man and the rest - all covering depressingly familiar terrain. Black writer Max Julien (also an actor, playing the lead role in the pimpsploitation classic The Mack) offered AiP his script for a female alternative but passed. Warner was quick to snatch up the rights, and in 1973 foisted the first black superchick onto the American public: Cleopatra Jones.

The film opens with a blazing opium field somewhere in Turkey. Cleo Jones, hap-ki-do expert and international do-gooder, returns to America to report on her success as a 'special agent' in her one-woman war on dope. Lesbian drug baroness Mommy (Shelley Winters, fresh from Corman's Bloody Mama) is furious her poppy fields were torched, and threatens an all-out war between the Brothers and the Mothers. One of Mommy's uppity underlings, Doodlebug (Antonio Fargas, best remembered as Huggy Bear in Starsky And Hutch) is getting rich off stealing Mommy's coke, and provides a cautionary moral aside warning against living as a White Man's flunky (Cleo points to Doodlebug's white chauffeur, and asks "What next - two white jockeys on the lawn?"). With a "whacka-whacka" superfunk guitar in the background, Cleo does her chop-sockey routine on the coke dealers and crooked cops, and kicks Shelley Winters' portly ass for her wild overacting in the final showdown. Tamara Dobson as Cleo Jones reportedly stood 6"2, and that doesn't include what must've been the BIGGEST afro in the business! Despite her physical prowess, the script doesn't give Cleo any real motive for her cartoon crusade (unlike the later Coffy and Foxy Brown) and reduces her to a smug self-satisfied cardboard cutout. Add the sloppy direction by Jack Starrett and you get a surprisingly poor release by a major studio.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A fun flick!

Author: ColemanDerrick from Decatur, Georgia
16 June 2001

Cleopatra Jones was an inspired effort, given the period it was made. As a black male, I really appreciate the film. The character is one of liberation, and contrary to what has been said about the film, her job is to get rid of drugs, and keep America safe, black or white!!! And yes, you can do good in the hood and look good as well! She is clearly not meant to be anti-establishment, and the story goes a long way in that regard. It is too bad that characters such as Cleopatra Jones, Foxy Brown, and Coffy do not get the credit they deserve. You wouldn't find too many strong heroines beside Wonder Woman, until Ellen Ripley comes along in Alien.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Not a great movie but deserves to be seen

5/10
Author: mu_min from France
10 November 2005

It deserves to be seen because it features the incredible Antonio Fargas, as a mob little boss, with cool clothes and hilarious jive talking. In my opinion Antonio is a great actor, each time i saw him i was stunned by his rhythmic talking and the way he moves. It deserves to be seen because it features Shelley Winters as Mommy, a lesbian red-head old mob chieftain whose angriness and sadism are really funny to see (in my European DVD, there is no scene in which she receives a feet massage!). Plot, kung-fuish fight scenes are not fantastic, Tamara Dobson who plays the leading role is a nice-looking tall woman who does not play very well and does not do really sexy stuff (she does not match with Pam Grier), but i nevertheless had a good moment seeing this movie, and i hope you will too. Cleopatra drives an awesome car, the car chase scene is good, and she wears a majestic afro haircut, and like Pam Grier in Foxy Brown she changes clothes before each scene, it's like a fashion review, it is cool.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Classic

6/10
Author: JasparLamarCrabb from Boston, MA
7 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A really witty film starring the striking Tamara Dobson in the title role. Cleopatra is a DEA officer bent on putting crime queen Shelly Winters out of business. Winters puts up quite a fight. Director Jack Starrett keeps things moving at a fast clip with a lot of great set pieces: Dobson taking out would-be assassins at a baggage carousel; a really great car chase sequence through LA; an out-of-left field car crash involving two tow trucks & a Rolls. Dobson is not only beautiful but a terrific actress, very believable despite the high fashion wardrobe (must be seen to be believed). Winters is fun with Technicolor red hair and the dependable Bernie Casey is in it too. Best of all is kooky Antonio Fargas as one of Winters' less cooperative soldiers. A classic.

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