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Shaft [VHS]

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi, Christopher St. John, Gwenn Mitchell
  • Directors: Gordon Parks
  • Writers: Ernest Tidyman, John D.F. Black
  • Producers: David Golden, Ernest Tidyman, Joel Freeman, Roger H. Lewis, Stirling Silliphant
  • Format: VHS
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner
  • VHS Release Date: 3 April 2000
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CYXC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,849 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Who's the cat who won't cop out when there's danger all about? Private detective John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is called in when the daughter of Harlem gangster Bumpy Jonas (Moses Gunn) is kidnapped. Forced to go undercover as a member of the mob, Shaft finds an ally in black militant Ben Buford (Christopher St John), but soon finds himself becoming embroiled in gang warfare, clashes with the Mafia and encounters with a variety of beautiful women. Kicking off the Seventies blaxploitation trend, 'Shaft' was followed by two sequels and a 2000 remake.

From Amazon.co.uk

The original and hippest version of Shaft cruised onto cinema screens in 1971. John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is an African-American private eye who has a rocky relationship with cops, an even rockier one with Harlem gangsters, and a healthy sex life. The script finds Shaft tracking down the kidnapped daughter of a black mobster, but the pleasure of the film is the sum of its attitude, Roundtree's uncompromising performance, and the thrilling, Oscar-winning score by Isaac Hayes. Director Gordon Parks (The Learning Tree) seems fond of certain detective genre clichés (e.g., the hero walking into his low-rent office and finding a hood waiting to talk with him), but he and Roundtree make those moments their own. Shaft produced a couple of sequels, a follow-up television series, and a remake starring Samuel L. Jackson, but none had the impact this movie did. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com

Shaft's Big Score is the first sequel to the super-hip 1971 original. When a pal of detective John Shaft is murdered in a bombing, New York's coolest private eye finds himself caught in the middle of a power struggle between black and white gangsters over the numbers racket in Queens. Directed by Gordon Parks (who does a brief cameo as a croupier in an illegal casino) and written by Ernest Tidyman (both of whom made the original Shaft), this film lacks the pacing of its progenitor. Roundtree is at his best when he's questioning a woman he's just met about a suspect while at the same time beguiling her into the sack (ah, those lazy, crazy days of the sexual revolution). The finale--a shootout in a cemetery, followed by a car-boat-helicopter chase through Queens and up the Harlem River--is preposterously drawn-out: Shaft, impervious to machine-gun fire, winds up tripping, spraining his ankle, and limping while running from the chopper; two shots later, he's sprinting like a halfback. Look for late Muhammad Ali trainer Drew Bundini Brown as a wise-cracking mobster. --Marshall Fine, Amazon.com

Shaft in Africa, the second sequel to the original hit, foreshadows itself early on when Shaft, asked to go undercover in Africa to halt a modern-day slave trade, claims that he's not James Bond but strictly Sam Spade. Bond, however, is the operative model here, with John Shaft masquerading as an Ethiopian to infiltrate the slave business and bring it down. Yet everyone he encounters seems to know who he is and wants to kill him--but the string of dead bodies he leaves in his wake across two continents proves that no one is able to stop everyone's favourite hip private eye. Written by Stirling Silliphant, the film is long on action set pieces that are filmed with more energy than the previous movie, Shaft's Big Score. Given contemporary practices involving smugglers of illegal Chinese and Mexican immigrants, the plot isn't all that far-fetched. Roundtree, as usual, is the picture of unflappable cool--but don't get him mad. --Marshall Fine, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I always see this movie as a great Harlem detective story. Shafts pulsate with street-level lingo and a deep sense of conviction you can help but admire. In the great tradition of detective movies Shaft is clearly a hard-bitten loner who spars with friends and foe alike, then gets just what he wants from everyone.

Even though "Shaft" was an MGM release it was clearly intended for the black audience Hollywood had always ignored. The attitude of Shaft is what set it apart - it made no effort to court the white audience at all. John Shaft kept his mouth shut for nobody, and wasn't interested in carrying a civics lesson or being an ambassador from an alien race. He was openly promiscuous, keeping at least a couple of steady women on his string, and taking in the occasional admiring prostitute. He talked dirty, told white cops where to get off, pushed around the toughest of the black mobsters, and made mincemeat of adversaries both black and white. A year before "The Godfather," the Mafia of Shaft consisted of fairly accurate Italian goombah types; Shaft had no trouble letting loose with the ethnic slurs either. In other words, "Shaft" was a fresh dose of reality, in 70s parlance, 'telling it like it is.' This script showed no influence of studio influence, whatsoever.

Shaft has a good New York look. The overall atmosphere is great, a mixture of dingy, claustrophobic hotel rooms and neglected city streets. A lot of the action appears to take place around Times Square, which was quite a different place in 1970 - much rougher, much more rundown. Shaft must hold the record for the number of movie marquees on view in one film; I'd guess it was filmed in late Summer-Early fall with what's playing in downtown Manhattan. Roundtree fills out the role believably while the surrounding cast work well together, even if the stereotype line is occasionally breached. Several nice moments in the script carry the film over its dull passages, all leading up to a great ending.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is unique in many ways..
1. A black man is shown as desirable and able to pull women.
2. A black man is clever and able to outwit the opposition.
3. A black man is a winner.
This was bound to be controversial.....
Almost without exception Hollywood depicts black males as a joke. Here we have a film with depth and feeling and the central character is strong and to be admired. So, to combat this the word `blacksploitation` was invented and the film derided and sneered at.
I love the scene between Shaft and the Police oficer, the officer holds a black pen against Shaft's face and says "You aint so black", Shaft holds a white mug again the officer's face and replies "You aint so white".
A great film with a lot of wit and a good story line, buy it and enjoy! (And don't bother with the remake.)
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've been waiting since I got my first Blu-Ray player for Shaft to be released. I've watched the dual sided cardboard box DVD on numerous occasions and along with Superfly it's my favourite Blaxploitation film. This is a US release, but plays All Region.

First off the transfer is an improvement on the original and things are far more clear than before, not perfect, but still an improvement. As far as the extras go it's what was on the DVD with an added bonus of one of the Shaft TV movies included. It's a rather annoying 4:3 aspect, but I've wanted to watch one of these for a long time (all 7 are now available as a DVD box set). Curiosity solved and while the TV movie is like Shaft Lite I still enjoyed it and will invest in the box set.

Overall the Film, upgraded picture and introduction to the TV Series/Film bonus deserves 5 Stars.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
All right, so I must have been the only person never to have seen the movie, but I loved the music. It is dated, of course it is, but in its day it must have been sensational. It is still pretty good.
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Format: DVD
Recently I bought this movie on DVD after a lot of humming and harring. Yesterday it was posted through my door by our postman. I sat down with a hot drink, and sat back to watch the movie. Well, all I can really say is this movie is action-packed, lots of guys flirting with women, and a detective looking for clues to a crime! If you regularly watched US dramas such as Starsky & Hutch, Kojak and Magnum PI, then Shaft is the ideal cop drama for you!! I really liked this movie twice already, and I'm sure you'll like it too! Also, you can watch it in Regular picture (on Side A) and Widescreen picture (on Side B) - great idea for a 1971 movie! Top-notch drama - oh yeah!
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Format: VHS Tape
This is the detective that needs no introduction, or very little at least, Shaft defined the blaxploitation films of the 70's. In the first film Shaft is hired by Bumpy the mobster to find his daughter. Through a series of jive talking scenes, savage beatings at the hand of Shaft he discovers the whereabouts of Bumpys offspring. Even if the film isn't to your tastes the amazing soundtrack by Isaac Hayes is worth the video price itself. The second of the trilogy is decidely weaker as a film but still scores as a blaxploitation classic. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn't anywhere near as good as the original. The third in the trilogy "Shaft in Africa" is poor, but still it's a "Shaft" movie and just with the name on the box alone it's worth getting. In this film Shaft smashes a slave ring in Africa, highly medicre fare but with the originals vibrance and soundtrack, these videos should be in every collection of people who are fans of the blaxploitation genre and funk of the 70's
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