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Shaft Academy Award Winner! Academy Award Nomination! 

By Tom Keogh

Gordon Parks (The Learning Tree) directed this 1971 detective story about John Shaft (Richard Roundtree), an African American private eye who has a rocky relationship with cops, an even rockier one with Harlem gangsters, and a healthy sex life. The script finds Shaft tracking down the kidnapped daughter of a black mobster, but the pleasure of the film is the sum of its attitude, Roundtree's uncompromising performance, and the thrilling, Oscar-winning score by Isaac Hayes. Parks seems fond of certain detective genre clichés (e.g., the hero walking into his low-rent office and finding a hood waiting to talk with him), but he and Roundtree make those moments their own. Shaft had a couple of sequels and a follow-up television series, but none had the impact this movie did.

Academy Awards

Shaft received an Academy Award for Best Song (Isaac Hayes - Music & Lyrics). Shaft also received an Academy Awards nomination for Music Scoring Awards (Best Original Dramatic Score; Isaac Hayes).

Share Your Memories!

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Your Memories Shared!

"Conservatives should cringe; this is the movie that gave American minorities self-confidence."


"From the minute this Film begins...Isaac Hayes' thumping theme is playing as Shaft is walking, crossing the street against traffic, not even looking as He walks...You know "this cat Shaft ia a bad mother...shut yo mouth". One of the Films that is always mentioned when the term Blaxploitation is used. You mention Black Films of the Super70s and Shaft is always one of the first movies referenced. Richard Roundtree and Gordon Parks brought to the screen a Private Eye to rival Phillip Marlowe. Based on Ernest Tidyman's novels. John Shaft took no crap from anybody. Black or White."

--Michael C.



Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Buy this soundtrack from! (Click here!)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Gordon Parks

Stars: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi

Released: July 2, 1971

Availability: DVD VHS CD

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