Gordon Parks (Leadbelly)
Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi
Production Country: 
100 minutes
Blaxploitation Crime
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Shaft (1971)

Directed by Gordon Parks (Leadbelly)

Featuring: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi

We celebrate the life of Richard Roundtree with the hard-hitting original that started it all.  Shut yo' mouth!  

"Filled with fantastic New York CIty locations and featuring Isaac Hayes's hit theme song, Shaft offered audiences a collection of black images that served as a pivotal turning point in the history of African-American representation in the movies." - Josiah Howad, Blaxploitation Cinema: The Essential Reference Guide


"No conversation about blaxploitation would be complete without considerable discussion of Shaft, easily one of the most important films of both the genre and the era." - David Walker, BadAzz Mofo


"John Shaft, as played by Richard Roundtree, belongs in the honorable tradition of Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Lew Archer, and company. He belongs because, like them, he keeps no regular company. Private eyes (in the movies, anyway) are loners in a way that defines the word. They live in dingy walk-up offices, sipping bourbon from the office bottles and waiting for the phone to ring. These may all be clichés, but, hell, a private-eye movie without clichés wouldn't be worth the price of admission." - Roger Ebert

Hotter than Bond.  Cooler than Bullitt.  John Shaft was indeed a shut-your-mouth detective to reckon with, a fact emphasized from the film's start by Isaac Hayes' Academy Award-winning best original song and Oscar-nominated score.  

Richard Roundtree plays the smart, tough, confident lead, a private investigator whose hunt for a kidnapped woman puts him in the middle of feuding syndicates.  

Gordon Parks directs from a screenplay that Ernest Tidyman (that same year's Oscar-winner for The French Connection) co-scripted from his own novel.  John Shaft is an icon of change from an era of change.  

Winner: Best Music, Original Song, Isaac Hayes - Academy Awards 1972



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