Black Caesar
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Cult director Larry Cohen (It's Alive) directed this violent blaxploitation film. Nasty racist John McKinney cripples a black shoeshine boy, who grows up to be Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson), the Godfather of Harlem. The crimelord now has his tormentor McKinney (Art Lund) in his pocket, based on the cop's mob ties. Tommy's traitorous girlfriend Helen (Gloria Hendry) hands over the evidence, and McKinney moves in for the kill. But he may have underestimated the violent Tommy, who makes him shine his shoes in blackface while singing "Mammy." Rick Baker provided makeup… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Unfortunately it all remains too crude to convince one of its better intentions."
‑ , Time Out
""Paid the cost to be the boss," declares James Brown on the soundtrack, and Black Caesar functions as an itemized bill."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"Writer-director Larry Cohen's clever and entertaining paean to traditional gangster films (a la Little Caesar) updates the genre to contemporary Harlem and was a major hit with urban audiences."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Mr. Williamson, in short, can't be blamed for the plot contrivances that hinge mostly on action and bloodshed."
‑ , New York Times
"a distinctive pastiche of the tough cynical attitudes held by oppressed minorities the world over."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Suffused with socio-political resentment and enlivened by James Brown's classic soul-funk soundtrack."
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"Cohen's technique is almost laughably crude, but a core of frightening conviction remains."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"It plays to urban black audiences' fears and fantasies."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A funky 70s soundtrack by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, is by far the best element in this tough blaxploitation gangster saga which was written and directed by erratic talent Larry Cohen."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Black Caesar on Rotten Tomatoes