6.5/10
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Black Caesar (1973)

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Larry Cohen

Writer:

Larry Cohen
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Williamson ... Tommy Gibbs
Gloria Hendry ... Helen
Art Lund ... McKinney
D'Urville Martin ... Reverend Rufus
Julius Harris ... Mr. Gibbs (as Julius W. Harris)
Minnie Gentry Minnie Gentry ... Momma Gibbs
Philip Roye Philip Roye ... Joe Washington
William Wellman Jr. ... Alfred Coleman
James Dixon ... Bryant
Val Avery ... Cardoza
Patrick McAllister Patrick McAllister ... Grossfield
Don Pedro Colley ... Crawdaddy
Myrna Hansen Myrna Hansen ... Virginia Coleman
Omer Jeffrey Omer Jeffrey ... Tommy as a Boy
Michael Jeffrey Michael Jeffrey ... Joe as a Boy
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Storyline

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. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hail Caesar, Godfather of Harlem...The Cat with the .45-Caliber Claws!


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Godfather of Harlem See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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

Originally offered to Sammy Davis Jr., who turned it down. See more »

Goofs

After Tommy is shot he gets in the cab and appears to close the door with his foot but the crew member's hand is visible helping him close the door along with a reflection of a camera in the cab's window. See more »

Quotes

Tommy Gibbs: You can sleep until noon, if you want anything, just press a button.
Mama Gibbs: Me? Live in this apartment? Why they'd hang me right off that terrace, Jew folks ain't even allowed here.
See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Underground: Black Caesar/Hell Up in Harlem (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Blind Man Can See It
Written by James Brown and Fred Wesley
Performed by James Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

Larry Cohen plus Fred Williamson equals movie dynamite!
12 April 2003 | by InfofreakSee all my reviews

'Black Caesar' is one of the most underrated movies of the early 70s blaxploitation boom. Fred "the Hammer" Williamson was one of the most charismatic and cool male stars of the period. Added to that writer/director Larry Cohen ('Q', 'The Stuff', 'Maniac Cop', 'It's Alive!, 'God Told Me To',etc.) and you've got yourself movie dynamite! This gritty rise and fall crime saga will not only appeal to fans of 'Superfly' and 'Coffy' but also to fans of 'Scarface', 'Goodfellas', 'The King Of New York' and even 'The Godfather' trilogy. Williamson plays Tommy Gibbs, a crippled ghetto kid who grows up with one thing in mind - revenge. He ingratiates himself with a local mobster Cardoza (Val Avery, 'The Anderson Tapes') then works his way up until one day he seizes power and becomes "the black Godfather". Along the way he uses and discards many people including his girlfriend Helen (Gloria Hendry, 'Black Belt Jones'), and creates many enemies, not least of which is corrupt cop McKinney (Art Lund, Junior Jackson's Dad in 'The Last American Hero'), a man he has a long history with. The supporting cast in this one is really strong and also includes Julius Harris ('Superfly') as Gibbs' estranged father and D'Urville Martin ('Dolemite') as his childhood friend, the now Reverend Rufus. 'Black Caesar' is gritty, exciting and raw. Williamson's performance is unforgettable and the whole thing is brilliant entertainment. Highly recommended!


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