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Shaft (1971)

Trailer
3:07 | Trailer

On Disc

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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 »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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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.

Director: Gordon Parks
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown
Action | Adventure | Crime
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P.I. 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.

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee
Super Fly (1972)
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The daily routine of cocaine dealer Priest who wants to score one more super deal and retire.

Director: Gordon Parks Jr.
Stars: Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazier
Shaft (2000)
Action | Crime | Thriller
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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
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Christian Bale
Shaft (1973–1974)
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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
Crime | Drama | Thriller
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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.

Director: Melvin Van Peebles
Stars: Melvin Van Peebles, Simon Chuckster, Hubert Scales
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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
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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:

Wanna see Shaft? Better ask yo' mamma. (Trailer) See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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)

Gross USA:

$12,121,618, 31 December 1971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

During the scene where Bumpy Jonas visits Shaft at his office, a door adjacent to the office says "Skloot Insurance" - named for Steven P. Skloot, a production manager on the film. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end, before the rescue of Marcy, a chef is seen breaching health and safety regulations by smoking while peeling potatoes. 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

Most UK video versions, including the widescreen Maverick Directors release, feature an edited print of the film which is dubbed to remove strong language. DVD releases are fully uncut. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sliders: A Thousand Deaths (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Roundtree's performance
15 June 2007 | by winner55See all my reviews

This is not a great film, but it is one of the most important films in American history.

The film suffers primarily because Parks isn't sure whether he wants to direct a 'relevant' black crime drama - for which he doesn't really have the money - or a film of the genre that became infamous as "blaxploitation", which had at that time not yet achieved definition. In other words, Parks is breaking new ground, and he wasn't sure exactly what ground he is breaking. So the film tends to amble, and sometimes even stagger, as it tries to define a goal for itself.

Nonetheless, this is the first film where a strong black man in a truly heroic role - without the props of white liberal social blather, and without being borderline criminal - is portrayed without excuses or apologies. Shaft is truly a hero of his time, part Sam Spade (& no jokes here, please), part James Bond - and all man - intelligent, fast to act, direct and always true to himself - he's nobody's "boy".

Although these qualities are in the script, the communication of the message depends entirely on Richard Roundtree - one of the truly great action actors of Hollywood history - hey, I'm a white boy, and I still want to be this John Shaft! he's that cool. The marginalization of this savvy and witty actor, due to the racism of Hollywood, is a real crime.

Well, for now, never mind; his performance alone carries this film, and makes it a treasure; and no matter how badly Hollywood marginalizes black action cinema, Roundtree's performance will continue to stand tall, for many generations to come.


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