6.6/10
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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 »
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

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the 1:43:59 mark, you see Ben Buford (Christopher St. John) and two of his men about to follow John Shaft (Richard Roundtree), down an alley. In the background, you see a white man walking by and giving the men a double-take, clearly curious about what was going on. 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

References Love Story (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Shaft Strikes Again
(uncredited)
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
See more »

User Reviews

 
Soulful, powerful, respectful.
25 June 2013 | by DabaensSee all my reviews

From out of the surge of the many blaxploitation films following the release of Melvin Van Peeble's 'Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song' comes 'Shaft', directed in 1971 by Gordon Parks. 'Shaft' seems to have stood out from the others within this exclusive genre, and rightfully so for its smooth and funky approach towards a division of films that's been dominated by white leads. Richard Roundtree plays John Shaft, the big badass private eye of New York City, and displays a confident, sexy and tough attitude that makes him such a memorable character. This film is rich with soul, and features the funky music of Isaac Hayes to complete the tribute to black culture in that time. These are the elements that contribute to its significant value among blaxploitation films.

The film features a typical storyline that's nothing out of the ordinary among crime films; John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to rescue his daughter from a group of Italian mob figures trying to take over territory in Harlem. While this film is more commonly known as a blaxploitation film, it actually contains a few characteristics of film noir, which certainly adds to its uniqueness in its time. The setting takes place in the suburbs of New York, and mostly appears rather gloomy and unemotional throughout the movie. The highlight of the city though is when Shaft is walking through the streets to the funky music of Isaac Hayes, who sings of the life of black culture within the city.

Shaft rarely shows much emotion in this film, and often acts reserved among the people around him. He maintains a composure and attitude that should be respected and in turn delivers a strong representation for the black community. His character alone makes this movie a considerably powerful film that speaks loudly and gives the black community a powerful character in film they can find inspiration in.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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