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Shaft Details


Richard Roundtree cuts a startlingly new and powerful heroic figure as John Shaft, "the cat who won't cop out, when there's danger all about" in Gordon Parks' seminal action film, Shaft. John Shaft is a black private eye with a small office near Times Square. On his way there one day, he gets pumped for information by Lt. Victor Androzzi (Charles Cioffi), a friend of his on the police force, about something big going down in Harlem involving black crime kingpin Bumpy Jonas (Moses Gunn). Shaft can't help him and leaves, only to just miss being waylaid by two of Bumpy's strong-arm men at his office, one of whom ends up dead on the pavement eight floors or so below. Squeezed by the cops, who are holding a potential manslaughter arrest over his head, Shaft contacts Bumpy, who reveals that his teenage daughter, whom he's always kept away from his business, has been kidnapped. There's been no ransom demand and no clue as to who did it, and he wants Shaft to find the culprits, insisting that he start with a group of Harlem-based black militants led by Shaft's onetime friend Ben Buford (Christopher St. John). No sooner does he find Buford, holed up in a decaying part of Harlem, however, than his friend's comrades are mowed down by submachine gun fire, and Shaft and Buford barely escape. With Shaft angry and out for blood, everyone is forced to come clean -- Bumpy knows that it's the Mafia that kidnapped his daughter, as they want in on the Harlem drug trade that he controls; they're holding her somewhere else outside of Harlem, where his men are no good to him, which is why he wanted Shaft to hook up with Buford. Androzzi tells Shaft that a dozen Mob trigger men from out of town have been spotted in Greenwich Village. He doesn't know why they're there, but he does know that if fighting breaks out between Bumpy's men and the Mafia, it's going to look like a race war, and the whole city could erupt. Shaft doesn't like the way he's been manipulated, but he sees Androzzi's point -- he links the trigger men to the kidnapping and finds the girl, but loses her again, getting shot in the process. Even though he's wounded, Shaft heads for a final confrontation with the kidnappers, supported by Ben's friends in an armed assault on the building where they're holed up. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

  • Release date:July 2, 1971


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Isaac Hayes Best Original Score 1971 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Isaac Hayes Best Song 1971 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Isaac Hayes Best Original Song 1971 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Isaac Hayes Best Drama Score 1971 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Richard Roundtree New Star of the Year - Male 1971 Nominee


Richard Roundtree
as Shaft
Moses Gunn
as Bumpy Jonas
Gwen Mitchell
as Ellie
Christopher St. John
as Ben Buford
Charles Cioffi
as Lieutenant Victor Androzzi
Camille Yarbrough
as Dina Greene
Lawrence Pressman
as Sgt. Tom Hannon
Drew Bundi Brown
as Willy
Arnold Johnson
as Cul
Tommy Lane
as Leroy
Dominic Barto
as Patsy
Robin Nolan
as Waitress
Edmund Hashim
as Lee
Eddie Barth
as Tony
Tony King
as Davies
Rex Robbins
as Rollie
Ed Bernard
as Peerce
Victor Arnold
as Charlie
Margaret Warncke
as Linda
Antonio Fargas
as Bunky
Donny Burks
as Remmy
Al Kirk
as Sims


Gordon Parks
Joel Freeman
Ernest Tidyman
Book Author
Ernest Tidyman
Isaac Hayes
Composer (Music Score)
Emanuel Gerard
Art Director
Joseph G. Aulisi
Costume Designer
Lee Bost
Sound/Sound Designer
Ted Zachary
First Assistant Director