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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.

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(screenplay), (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:
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Gwenn Mitchell ...
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Sherri Brewer ...
Marcy
Rex Robbins ...
Rollie
Camille Yarbrough ...
Margaret Warncke ...
Joseph Leon ...
Byron Leibowitz
Arnold Johnson ...
Cul
Dominic Barto ...
Patsy
George Strus ...
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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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 July 1971 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les nuits rouges de Harlem  »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was rumored to be written as just another detective movie, with a white detective in the lead, but, after the success of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), the film was rewritten and recast as a blaxploitation movie. This story has been told several times by director Melvin Van Peebles. However, it is probably apocryphal. The Ernest Tidyman novel which was the basis for the film is about a black detective and not a white one. Furthermore, "Shaft" began filming in January, 1971 - months before Van Peebles' film was released in April. See more »

Goofs

When Shaft pushes one of Bumpy's goons into his office, the sound of glass breaking is heard, but the glass window in the office door is clearly undamaged until a short time later. 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!
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Connections

Featured in Soul in Cinema: Filming Shaft on Location (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Soulsville
(uncredited)
Composed by Isaac Hayes
Performed by Isaac Hayes
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User Reviews

 
Timely Take On The Standard Private Detective Formula.
20 July 2001 | by See all my reviews

It is an innovative effort, and serves as a snapshot of the times. Shaft, written by Ernest Tidyman, stands as one of the best modern detective dramas. Written and filmed at a time of extreme social unrest throughout the U.S.; the movie shows how Jon Shaft uses his private detective status and ethnicity to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of a notorious Harlem kingpin. While the plot pieces of black militants, and a potential race war in New York City, may not be as relevant in 2001 as they were in 1971, the cast and crew do a good job to convey the importance of Shaft's mission. Shaft, indeed, is one cool cat. Not only is he a ladies' man, but he's also a man about town. He knows every iota of New York City, and uses his detective skills to the fullest. Ducking the city police, and handling his business with the crooks, Shaft plays it cool to the very end. Many people like to bundle the blaxploitation pictures into a neat little package; one to laugh at and check out the music score. Shaft proves there was more meaning to these films, and ends up as a classic display of substance with style.


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