Shaft (1971 film)

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Shaft is a 1971 American blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. An action film with elements of film noir, Shaft tells the story of a black private detective, John Shaft, who travels through Harlem and to the Italian mob neighborhoods in order to find the missing daughter of a black mobster. It stars Richard Roundtree as Shaft, Moses Gunn as Bumpy Jonas, Charles Cioffi as Lt. Vic Androzzi, Christopher St. John as Ben Buford, and Gwenn Mitchell and Lawrence Pressman in smaller roles. The movie was adapted by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black from Tidyman's 1971 novel of the same name.

The Shaft soundtrack album, recorded by Isaac Hayes, was also a success, winning a Grammy Award for Best Original Score; the "Theme from Shaft" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and has appeared on multiple Top 100 lists, including AFI's 100 Years…100 Songs.

In 2000, Shaft, widely considered a prime example of the blaxploitation genre,[citation needed] was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Contents

Plot

The film opens with a credit sequence depicting Shaft, a private detective, emerging from the New York City subway and walking through Times Square, with scenes characterizing early 1970s New York. Shaft visits a shoeshine parlor, and is informed that some gangsters are looking for him. Police Lt. Vic Androzzi meets Shaft outside the parlor; he has heard of the gangsters and tries to get information on them, but without success. After Lt. Androzzi leaves, Shaft spots one of the men waiting for him in his office building. Shaft sneaks up on him, and forces the gangster into the elevator to his office. Another gangster is waiting, and they get into a fight. One of the them is thrown out the window; the other is captured and interrogated. He reveals to Shaft that Bumpy, the leader of an uptown gang, wanted to meet Shaft and knock him out at his office.

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