6.5/10
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32 user 31 critic

Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

Two Harlem cops investigate a robbery, believing that a reverend has staged it in order to steal the money he's collected for a local fundraiser.

Director:

Ossie Davis

Writers:

Chester Himes (based upon the novel by), Arnold Perl (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Godfrey Cambridge ... Grave Digger Jones
Raymond St. Jacques ... Coffin Ed Johnson
Calvin Lockhart ... Rev. Deke O'Malley
Judy Pace ... Iris
Redd Foxx ... Uncle Budd / Booker Washington Sims
Emily Yancy Emily Yancy ... Mabel
John Anderson ... Capt. Bryce
Lou Jacobi ... Goodman
Eugene Roche ... Lt. Anderson
J.D. Cannon ... Calhoun
Mabel Robinson Mabel Robinson ... Billie
Dick Sabol Dick Sabol ... Jarema
Cleavon Little ... Lo Boy
Teddy Wilson ... Barry (as Theodore Wilson)
Maxwell Glanville Maxwell Glanville ... Caspar
Edit

Storyline

Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black cops with a reputation for breaking the odd head. Both are annoyed at the success of the Reverend Deke O'Mailey who is selling trips back to Africa to the poor on the installment plan. When his truck is hijacked and a bale of cotton stuffed with money is lost in the chase, Harlem is turned upside down by Gravedigger and Coffin Ed, the Reverend, and the hijackers. Much of the humor is urban black, which was unusual in 1970. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Introducing COFFIN ED and GRAVEDIGGER, two detectives only a mother could love.

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 May 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le casse de l'oncle Tom See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Formosa Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (DeLuxe Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies. See more »

Goofs

When Jarema puts on the paper bag, there is only one hole cut out - for his nose. Moments later, when he runs out into the hall, the bag now has eyeholes as well. See more »

Quotes

Coffin Ed: White guys?
Gravedigger Jones: White guys? They had on masks. How did you know they were white?
Lo Boy: [crying] Oh Lordy, help me!
Coffin Ed: I'm asking you. How do you know they was white?
Lo Boy: They run white, dammit.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Parkinson: Episode #4.15 (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Ed and Digger
(uncredited)
Written and performed by Galt MacDermot
See more »

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User Reviews

Funny, energetic cop movie from Ossie Davis
20 July 1999 | by pooch-8See all my reviews

Based on a novel by Chester Himes, Cotton Comes to Harlem boasts sharp dialogue and super performances from top to bottom. Cult favorites Calvin Lockhart and Redd Foxx are great, but the real fire belongs to the sublime Godfrey Cambridge as wise police detective Gravedigger Jones. The colorful story follows Gravedigger and his partner Coffin Ed Johnson (Raymond St. Jacques) as they keep tabs on charlatan evangelist Lockhart during his high-octane revival campaign. The film has solid action, but is also very funny. Upon seeing it, one will wonder why Cambridge never became a much bigger star.


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