Watch Shaft

  • R
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 6.6  (20,836)
  • 66

Shaft is a 1971 film that features Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, a private investigator who knows the ins and outs of New York City's underworld. Moses Gunn plays Bumpy Jonas, a crime boss who hires Shaft to locate his kidnapped daughter Marcy (Sherri Brewer). Charles Cioffi plays police lieutenant Vic Androzzi, who assembles a squad of officers to find both Marcy and the criminals who kidnapped her.

The film opens with Marcy Jonas walking down a busy street in Manhattan when two men try to snatch her. They succeed, and her father Bumpy is outraged. A man named Shaft is recommended to him. Shaft is a no-nonsense private investigator who has connections to the Black Power movement and is not afraid to flaunt it. He proceeds to track down Marcy by using his street smarts and rough running with the bad guys.

Shaft's character is instantly captivating, with his signature three-piece suits, Borsalino hats, and no-nonsense attitude. He has a swagger that's equal parts confident and daring, and his job causes him to rub shoulders with all manner of unsavory characters, including drug dealers, pimps, and corrupt cops.

As Shaft navigates his way through the dangerous streets of New York, he eventually tracks down the kidnappers, which leads to a violent showdown. Along the way, he also confronts and outwits police lieutenant Androzzi, who insists on his innocence and authority.

Shaft has a lot going for it, particularly its energetic direction and insightful look at the times in which it was made. It's a socially conscious picture that packs plenty of excitement and action. There's a wonderful use of the city and the neighborhoods in which the story takes place, particularly Harlem. It's a snapshot of the time when the Civil Rights movement was gaining traction, and the movie provides a fascinating glimpse into the anxieties and concerns of urban black people.

The film features an all-black cast, which was groundbreaking at the time of its release. It was also a commercial success and spawned two sequels, Shaft's Big Score and Shaft in Africa. The song "Theme from Shaft," which became an instant hit, and it earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Richard Roundtree is charismatic and impressive in the role of John Shaft. He's the epitome of cool, which makes his exploits all the more enjoyable. His performance as Shaft served as a cultural touchstone and a blueprint for future action heroes.

Moses Gunn's turn as Bumpy Jonas is terrific. He imbues the character with a sense of dignity and intelligence that's at odds with his criminal endeavors. Charles Cioffi is solid as Androzzi, the main antagonist of the film. He's a corrupt police officer who tries to undermine Shaft at every opportunity.

The film was directed by Gordon Parks, who was the first African American director to helm a major studio production. Parks had made a name for himself as a photographer and writer before turning to filmmaking, and his experience shows in Shaft. He has a keen eye for detail, and he uses the camera in interesting ways.

The movie's cinematography by Urs Furrer is outstanding. The use of handheld cameras and quick editing create a frenetic pace that's in line with the urban setting. The film's score, composed by Isaac Hayes, is also noteworthy. The iconic theme song, which is used throughout the film, is funky and catchy.

Overall, Shaft is a classic piece of cinema that has stood the test of time. Its influence can be seen in countless other films that have followed in its wake. It's a gripping and exciting crime thriller that remains as thrilling today as it was when it first hit theaters in 1971.

Shaft is a 1971 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 66.

Where to Watch Shaft
Shaft is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Shaft for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (20,836)
  • Metascore