Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy, his leg is broken by a bad cop on the take, during a payoff gone bad. Nursing his vengeance, he rises to power in New York City's Harlem. Angry at the racist society around him, both criminal and straight, he sees the acquisition of power as the solution to his rage. He performs a free-lance hit on a Mob contract to attract the attention of the head of a Mafia family. Reluctantly accepted into 'The Family,' he grows increasingly autonomous and aggressive, eventually starting a gang war.
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
Hail Caesar, Godfather of Harlem...The Cat with the .45-Caliber Claws!
Did You Know?
When filming in Harlem, Larry Cohen was accosted by local gangsters who threatened to disrupt the shoot unless they were paid off. Instead, Cohen offered them small roles in the film. They helped so enthusiastically that they attended the premiere to sign autographs. See more
The mob boss's forks, in the Italian restaurant. See more
You can sleep until noon, if you want anything, just press a button.
Me? Live in this apartment? Why they'd hang me right off that terrace, Jew folks ain't even allowed here.
In the original theatrical version, when a wounded Tommy Gibbs is seen wandering in the slums at the film's conclusion, the film fades to the New York skyline with the caption AUGUST 22, 1972 appearing and then the end credits. However, on European prints and the current version issued on VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray, the ending included a scene where a street gang robs, beats, and kills Tommy and then the usual skyline fade and credits. Therefore, the current MGM version is labeled as an "accidental" director's cut. It also lacks continuity purposes for the subsequent sequel, HELL UP IN HARLEM, when released overseas, when Tommy is mysteriously brought back to life. See more
Written by James Brown
and Fred Wesley
Performed by James Brown See more