- 1 hr 33 min
Super Fly is a 1972 crime film starring Ron O’Neal as Youngblood Priest, a successful black cocaine dealer looking to make one last big score before escaping the business for good. The film was directed by Gordon Parks Jr. and features an original soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield that went on to enjoy more fame than the film itself. Super Fly is an early entry into the then-emerging category of blaxploitation, a genre born in the early 1970s with the release of films like Shaft and Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song that attempted to appeal to black audiences by featuring a predominantly black cast and crew, Funk/R&B soundtracks, and themes that were highly relevant to an inner-city audience. O’Neal’s Priest is a screen antihero unlike any that had been seen up until that time: a black man who has found success in an obviously corrupt system through illegal means. He wants one last big score before retiring, but is thwarted along the way by vicious hoods, jealous rivals, dirty cops, and the usual organized crime types that pop up whenever there’s a lot of illegally-made money on the line. There’s also the occasional on-screen performance by Curtis Mayfield and his band. The substance of the plot often takes a backseat to the film’s style. The costumes, car, the revolutionary montage sequence, use of Mayfield’s soundtrack, and the larger themes of a black urban rebel stickin’ it to the man are what echo loudest for many viewers. The movie was quite controversial during its initial release, and there's still much about this early 70s production that may seem unusual to a modern audience, particularly the attitude of the film's hero towards cocaine, prostitution, and crime in general. However, the movie has become a classic since its release, particularly with Hip hop artists, fans of the crime film genre, and aficionados of everything 1970s.