6.6/10
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89 user 67 critic

Shaft (1971)

Trailer
3:07 | Trailer
Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

Director:

Gordon Parks

Writers:

Ernest Tidyman (screenplay), John D.F. Black (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,300 ( 275)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Roundtree ... John Shaft
Moses Gunn ... Bumpy Jonas
Charles Cioffi ... Vic Androzzi
Christopher St. John ... Ben Buford
Gwenn Mitchell Gwenn Mitchell ... Ellie Moore
Lawrence Pressman ... Tom Hannon
Victor Arnold ... Charlie
Sherri Brewer Sherri Brewer ... Marcy
Rex Robbins Rex Robbins ... Rollie
Camille Yarbrough Camille Yarbrough ... Dina Greene
Margaret Warncke Margaret Warncke ... Linda
Joseph Leon Joseph Leon ... Byron Leibowitz
Arnold Johnson Arnold Johnson ... Cul
Dominic Barto Dominic Barto ... Patsy
George Strus George Strus ... Carmen
Learn more

More Like This 

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Shaft is back to find the murderer of an old friend on the cold hard city streets with a little help from his new friends.

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Private investigator John Shaft is recruited to go undercover to break up a modern slavery ring where young Africans are lured to Paris to do chain-gang work.

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Shaft (2000)
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New York City police detective John Shaft (nephew of the original 1970s detective) goes on a personal mission to make sure the son of a real estate tycoon is brought to justice after a racially-motivated murder.

Director: John Singleton
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Shaft (2019)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

JJ Shaft, a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, enlists his family's help to uncover the truth behind his best friend's untimely death.

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Shaft (1973–1974)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Based on the movies of the same name, John Shaft is a two-fisted black private eye along the lines of Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe. Each week presents a different case and a different ... See full summary »

Stars: Richard Roundtree, Eddie Barth, Judie Stein
Super Fly (1972)
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The daily routine of cocaine dealer Priest who wants to score one more super deal and retire.

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Foxy Brown (1974)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A voluptuous black vigilante takes a job as a high-class prostitute in order to get revenge on the mobsters who murdered her boyfriend.

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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

After saving a Black Panther from some racist cops, a black male prostitute goes on the run from "the man" with the help of the ghetto community and some disillusioned Hells Angels.

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Coffy (1973)
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A sexy black nurse takes vigilante justice against inner-city drug dealers after her sister becomes their latest victim.

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Two New York City cops go after amateur crooks who are trying to rip off the Mafia and start a gang war.

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Black Caesar (1973)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Raised in Harlem, Tommy Gibbs becomes a successful mob boss but he clashes with the rival Mafia and his old enemy, dirty cop McKinney.

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry, Art Lund
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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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The mob wanted Harlem back. They got Shaft...up to here. See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Shaft surprises the man in the plaid coat in the lobby of his building and then pushes him into the elevator and takes out the man's .45 pistol, he holds it to his head as if he could kill him. In fact, the .45 is not cocked (the hammer is down) and the .45, being a single action pistol, will not fire unless the hammer is cocked back to full open position. See more »

Goofs

The outline of a microphone is visible under Shaft's turtleneck at one point when Bumpty Jones visits Shaft at his office. 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 »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 28 minutes from this film for its 1975 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Thin Line Between Love and Hate (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Bumpy's Lament
(uncredited)
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
See more »

User Reviews

 
A historic film, but not a good one
3 April 2004 | by JamesHitchcockSee all my reviews

`Shaft' was a ground-breaking film in its day, but its interest for a modern audience is largely historical. For several decades, Hollywood had operated an unofficial colour bar, with black actors being confined to minor roles, often as servants or working-class characters. Things had started to change somewhat in the sixties, with black actors starting to appear alongside whites in major roles. `In the Heat of the Night' is a good example, but even here Sidney Poitier does not carry the film on his own. A white actor, Rod Steiger, is given equal prominence alongside him. Moreover, this is an `issue' movie with a race-relations theme- the sort of film in which one might expect to find a black actor taking a leading role.

`Shaft' takes the process a stage further. Both the star, Richard Roundtree, and most of the supporting cast, are black. White actors are only seen in comparatively minor roles. Although the film is centred upon New York's black community, it is not specifically an `issue' movie about racism in the way that `In the Heat of the Night' is. A black man is seen, for almost the first time, as not only the main focus of the film but also as a strong, confident man of action. The hero John Shaft, a black private detective, triumphs over white villains; there is even a mixed-race love scene between him and a white woman, something which Hollywood would tend to shy away from even today, and which must have seemed particularly shocking in the early seventies.

Unfortunately, when seen as a film rather than as a historical landmark, `Shaft' is not particularly good. The plot, which concerns Shaft's search for a gangster's kidnapped daughter and ends with him tangling with the Mafia, is routine private eye stuff. Richard Roundtree makes a cool, stylish hero, but the rest of the cast are not up to his standard. The direction also struck me as having been poorly handled, particularly the action scenes. The film seems to have been made on a low budget, and it shows. There are similarities to other `tough guy' detective films of the era, such as `The French Connection', `Bullitt' and the `Dirty Harry' series (all of which featured white protagonists) but all of those were much more professionally handled. Many of my criticisms of `Shaft' could, in fact, be made, with even greater force, against the `blaxploitation' genre is general. Nevertheless, those films pointed the way that later black actors were to follow. When we consider that the likes of Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Samuel Jackson have become major stars in all sorts of roles, not merely as action heroes, we realise that a debt is owed to films like `Shaft'. 5/10.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 July 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shaft See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,125,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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