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Shaft (1971)

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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 »
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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
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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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 July 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les nuits rouges de Harlem 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

The background singers in the film's theme song are Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson from Tony Orlando & Dawn. 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 The Story of the Swimmer (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Early Sunday Morning
(uncredited)
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I don't care if it's historically important--it's BORING!
16 February 2012 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

One of the first blaxploitation films...and a big hit. Sexy, muscular and handsome John Shaft (Richard Rountree) is hired by a big gang boss (well played by Moses Gunn) to get the guys who kidnapped his young daughter.

OK--I realize this is of historical importance as being one of (if not the first) blaxploitation films to hit it big. It also WAS a huge hit in its day--some NY theatres were open 24 hours a DAY to get all the crowds in! However it has not aged well at all. The script is dull and the dialogue is just terribly dumb. Even the violence was boring...but it may have been extreme in its day. It was also slow-moving and contained some truly dreadful acting. Roundtree LOOKS the part--tall, masculine, muscular and super sexy--but the guy can't act. His delivery was wooden--of course the lousy dialogue didn't help. Only Gunn showed any life in his role. Also this movie has women used as sex objects in an appalling way. Shaft has a beautiful black girlfriend but has no trouble going to bed with a white woman he meets in a bar--and this is shown as a positive thing! I have no problem with her being white. It's just that we're supposed to think nothing is wrong with him cheating on his girlfriend--but there is! On the plus side there is Isaac Hayes' Academy Award winning title song (which is GREAT) and good use of NY locations...but I was bored and fighting to stay awake. A 1 all the way.


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