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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.

Writer:

Phillip Fenty (screenplay by)
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4,795 ( 365)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ron O'Neal ... Priest
Carl Lee Carl Lee ... Eddie
Sheila Frazier ... Georgia (as Shiela Frazier)
Julius Harris ... Scatter (as Julius W. Harris)
Charles McGregor Charles McGregor ... Fat Freddie (as Charles MacGregor)
Nate Adams Nate Adams ... Dealer
Polly Niles Polly Niles ... Cynthia
Yvonne Delaine Yvonne Delaine ... Mrs. Freddie
Henry Shapiro Henry Shapiro ... Robbery Victim
K.C. K.C. ... Pimp
James G. Richardson James G. Richardson ... Junkie (as Jim Richardson)
Make Bray Make Bray ... Junkie
Al Kiggins Al Kiggins ... Police
Bob Bonds Bob Bonds ... Police
Fred Ottaviano Fred Ottaviano ... Police (as Fred Rolaf)
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Storyline

Super Fly is a cocaine dealer who begins to realize that his life will soon end with either prison or his death. He decides to build an escape from the life by making his biggest deal yet, converting the coke to cash and running off to start a new life. The problem is that the Mob does not have a retirement plan and will give him a choice of staying and selling for them or dying if they find out his intentions. Written by John Vogel <jvogel@dgs. dgsys.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All He Needed Was One Last Deal... See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Superfly See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$58,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Superfly,Warner Bros. See more »
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

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

The foot chase at the beginning seems to be shot out of order. The junkie either has his hat on or he's holding it. See more »

Quotes

Curtis Mayfield: [singing] Ain't I clean, bad machine; Super cool, super mean; Feelin' good, for the man; Super fly, here I stand; Secret stash, heavy bread; Baddest bitches, in the bed; I'm your pusherman, I'm your pusherman; I'm your pusherman...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Love and Other Catastrophes (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Junkie Chase (Instrumental)
Written by Curtis Mayfield
Performed by Curtis Mayfield
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Art Imitating Life
30 May 2004 | by riversja2001See all my reviews

Ron O'Neal played the role of Youngblood Priest in 1972 movie SuperFly CONVINCINGLY well. Some people believed he was actually a drug dealer or hustler in real life, that's how good his performance is. O'Neal understood the character of Priest well enough to know what messages he believed Priest was trying to convey to Black America as well as to mainstream America about life in the ghetto (urban city), about how one's choices and options can be shaped by the socio-economic environment and then reshaped and changed by personal choices, and about the moral dilemmas one may experience during this process.

SuperFly is a form of art that imitates life. Its hard core portrayal of life in the ghetto (urban city) as experienced by victims and predators and just everyday folk shows how everyone is trying to survive in the game; it showcases how people find themselves responding and reacting to their circumstances and socio-economic environment, and when they believe they are not in control of their destiny, or when they believe they don't have options and choices in their lives. Some call the overall feelings in these communities as those of despair, hopelessness, or helplessness. Others say these communities are filled with bravado or defensive posturing.

In the context of survival in the ghetto, the character of Priest is viewed as a hero because something makes him realize he does have choices in his life. He comes to realize that he has a choice whether to continue dealing drugs or to get out of the business. He has a plan to get out, although he is not sure if it will actually work, but he is willing to die trying to become free. Priest is a hero when he realizes that he has to find the right kind of support and help for thinking about and acting on his choice of freedom, especially when his support system for sustained change is limited, as evidenced by those who don't believe he can get out alive and are willing to betray him for trying to leave the business. Priest recognizes that he is in a moral dilemma as he professes to be "tired of the life" and "never really liked it" but he needs to score one last time so that he can leave with something rather than with nothing. Indeed, Priest should be commended for wanting something else out of life even if he does not know what that "something else" is, especially in a social environment where there may not be much support for doing what Priest ultimately makes the decision to do. When making the choice to change, everyone has to start somewhere, and this is part of the message conveyed by O'Neal's commanding performance.

Let the viewer not forget the many issues that helped to influence the decisions that Priest had to wrestle with --- the socio-economic environment of the ghetto and its relationship to a corrupt police department, among its relationships with the many institutions of the white power structure.

Unfortunately, if the viewer focuses strictly on the cinematography, directing, and low budget issues of this movie, the viewer might miss the important individual and social messages that the movie is trying to convey.

Most importantly, Ron O'Neal's performance demonstrates his understanding of the character and why he took the risk and took on the role as Youngblood Priest at that time in his career, a career which began when he was cast as the lead role in Charles Gordone's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "No Place to Be Somebody", (a play which began on off-Broadway's Public Theater but later went to Broadway in 1969). Ron O'Neal won an Obie Award, a Clarence Derwent Award, a Drama Desk Award, and a Theatre World Award for his work prior to SuperFly.

During an interview about three years ago, I heard Ron O'Neal say that he did not apologize for taking the role or making the movie that may have eventually compromised his career. Said he to the interviewer, "If I had not taken the role, would we be talking right now?"


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