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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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Excellent cast, headed by newcomer Richard Roundtree, may shock some audiences with heavy dose of candid dialog and situation."
‑ A.D. Murphy, Variety
"Parks isn't especially good at action direction, but the heart of a private-eye movie is in the mood scenes, anyway, and he supplies a scene in a bar and another one with the Harlem rackets boss that are very nice."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"An efficient cop thriller, with a charismatic performance from Roundtree as "the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about...Shaft!" Can you dig it?"
‑ , Film4
"It's the music that's great here, but the iconic hero is a kick to watch."
‑ Steve Crum,
"Who's the black private dick that's the center of a still-enjoyable flick? Shaft!"
‑ James Rocchi, Netflix
"Forty years of gumshoe noir collided with black power in this 1971 action classic, the most popular of the blaxploitation pictures."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"There are a lot of movies from that era that do basically the same things... but not many of them do them as well."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"A blaxploitation pic that's never quite as cool as its theme song."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"This was the second feature of the longtime still photographer Parks, in which he brought together talent for capturing an image and personal knowledge of life on the streets to create a hard-hitting action thriller."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Surprisingly good and it holds up"
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"A hip, cool, entertaining thriller."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Nearly every frame of Shaft is intent on doing one thing: establishing its hero as a powerful, independent, innately good yet still devilish man in control of his own destiny."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"Though Ossie Davis's elaborate buddy comedy "Cotton Comes to Harlem" arrived a year earlier, Gordon Parks's "Shaft" (1971) was the movie that put Blaxploitation on the map."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"What's not to like? Shaft rocked!"
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"Undeniably cool"
‑ Jon Niccum, Lawrence Journal-World
More reviews for Shaft on Rotten Tomatoes