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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 6 June 2006
This Region 2 DVD from Warner is a pan and scan full screen version. Why this was released in this format is a mystery as the U.S. Region 1 is Widescreen and therefore the far superior disc to buy. If you have an all region player, please ignore the UK R2 and go for the R1 release to obtain this film in the original widescreen format.
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on 29 June 2007
This movie is outrageous. Gordon Parks Jr.'s "Superfly" is interesting enough with its cliches of drug pushers, users, pimps, hos, and the dismal life in the ghetto. Good performances are given by Ron O'Neal as Priest, the drug pusher who wants to do the unthinkable -- get out of the business, and Julius Harris as Scatter, Priest's former connection to "The Man". After a little "help" from his friends Priest discovers he can only trust his woman, Georgia (Shelia Frazier). But, Priest has masterminded a way to take him and Georgia away from this life to another.

A director today, for example, could never get away with making a movie like this. The movie moves along like a series of music videos, stopping periodically to insert some dialogue and characters and situations, after which it moves back into another music video. Even that sex scene in the bathtub seemed to go on forever, panning up and down and up and down and up and down the naked bodies in the tub, presumably long enough for the song to play out before we can move on to the next scene.

From a technical standpoint, the film is an absolute disaster. There's a foot-chase early in the movie during which a wire of some sort falls directly in front of the camera lens not once, but twice, the audio is numerous scenes does not even remotely match the video (the never-ending bathtub scene, for example), and the acting is abysmal.

Throughout the film, the enjoyment comes from Curtis Mayfield's superb soundtrack. It has a way of elevating what might be just another b film to a cult classic. From "Little Child Runnin' Wild" in the opening sequence to Curtis Mayfield's live performance of "Pusherman" in Scatter's club to the end credits with the title track, this is simply one of the finest pieces of music ever written specifically for a film. The soundtrack album, which produced hit singles with "Freddie's Dead" and "Superfly", stands with Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" as perhaps the two greatest soul albums of the 1970's.
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on 31 January 2004
This is a classic of it's type, and is clearly superior to it's contemporaries. What gives this film the edge is the clear social and political commentary that it provides for it's time. It is reflecting a variety of the competing interests that were present in the Black Community in the States at the time.
First, there is Priest's desire to leave behind his life of crime in drug dealing. He realises it is self-defeating and is reducing his own sense of self-worth. He yearns for a life of normality, where he can live a straightforward life of relative ease with his partner. In essence, he wants out of the struggle of the ghetto. A perfectly reasonable desire, and one shared, I would imagine by many of the people living in the ghettos and slums of the large industrialised cities of the Northern United States.
Second, the film reflects the pressure by society, or 'The Man', to slip into this lifestyle. In a key conversation with his partner (in crime), Priest is told that it makes no sense to struggle to leave the lifestyle he was in, since it represented the only opportunities that were available to the young black community at that time (perhaps still). Priest rejects this assessment. The film also underlines the sense of distrust and suspicion that the community held against it's law-makers (rightly as it turned out).
Third, the film demonstrates the increasing impotence of those truly revolutionary impulses within the community. In a conversation with a group of militants, who are chastising him for his lifestyle, Priest turns the tables accusing them of being unrealistic and away from the reality of the people in the ghetto. Essentially they were all talk and no action.
Overall, the film reflects these moral ambiguities and the complexities of life at the time. It is not a perfect film. It is clumsy structurally and the acting is not first rate. But it is honest, and thought provoking, if you wish it to be. This is a quality that is generally lacking in it's contemporaries. Shaft is slicker, looks better and has a bigger budget. Coffy and Foxy Brown have more accessible plots (in their simplicity) and more eye-candy. But Superfly asks the questions that the others veered away from. And that is to be commended in any film.
By the way, the soundtrack is first rate too.
Trivia Note: many of the supporting cast were real dealers and pimps from the streets where the film was shot.
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on 24 February 2016
Ron O'Neal plays Prince a streetwise coke dealer who's looking for that one big score so that he can get out of the hustling business for good! He and his partner Eddie (Carl Lee) decide to approach the one man who they believe can help them score enough coke to get them sufficient funds to quit the business. The man they turn to is Princes mentor Scatter (Julius W.Harris) who's helped Prince out in the past. While he's reluctant at first he eventually agrees to do him this one last favour. Unfortunately for Prince his acquisition of such a large quantity of coke has brought him to the attention of the mafia and some corrupt police officers. Ultimately Prince is betrayed by his partner Eddie and he must find a way to extricate himself from his devious paymasters! This is a true classic and one of the best independent films of the 70s. The performances are great and add a definite realism to the film. The screenplay by Phillip Fenty is exceptional, the dialogue really feels natural and snappy. But best of all is the music score by Curtis Mayfield it really is outstanding, it's just such a shame that Warner Brothers only used a mono track as you really have to turn your tv up to hear it. Please note that the U.K region 2 version is cropped and pan and scanned, I purchased the U.S region 1 version which is widescreen. Overall I highly recommend this classic slice of urban realism from the 70s. Thanks for reading and I hope that you enjoy the film.
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on 24 September 2001
Ron O'Neal is Superfly, A ghetto king, A respected member of New York Black comunity.
The plot is simple, Priest (Ron O'Neal) is sick of his lifestyle and the ghetto, realising he knows nothing but how to dress well and sell drugs, He decides to make one big score so he can leave forever. The only thing stopping him doing this are some corrupt cops who want to keep him where he is and working for them.
It's a typical Blaxplotation film of the times, made to appeal to the ghetto audiences by portraying the dealers as the Good guys and the Police as the bad guys. The plots weak and the acting isn't as good as a lot of the films around at the time, but it still has merit if only for Priest's car, wardrobe and finally Curtis Mayfield singing "Pusherman" live in Bar in one the scenes. In fact thats what really saves this movie, the soundtrack. It turned the movie from OK to a an absolute Classic, and a must have in a blaxplotation collection.
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Big hair, big collars, big cars and those tastfully refined colours of the early 70's abound. A Brown leather suit, grey check clothes, big fedora and long sideburns as the movie writhes to the rythm of the Curtis Mayfield soundtrack especially Pusherman.

This was the end of the era for the black communities, Civil Rights,Malcolm X and Vietnam had changed the lifetyle. The stereotype of the white suburban nightmare, the bete noire had reared its shaggy head. Down on the streets the deals were going down as Cocaine moved into the ghetto, the drug dealers went from abject poverty to local superstars.

This film portrays this in the running chase as we are led through the derelict housing of New York, that closely sealed off in most mainstream films. We see the two incumbents climb into a family room, dominated by the stove heater and not the TV. This was poverty in its real life, the type that exploded onto the screens when New Orleans became flooded.

The bath scene goes on way too long but this film is about sex, drugs and corruption. The police are the real drug dealers and they run the streets. How scorching can you get?

The acting becomes wooded, the music scenes clumsy but the film captures a mood of a time and place. New York was going bust, black men were going to jail but meanwhile some could get hold of the types of comsumer items their forefathers could stare at whilst they bore the sting of the command. This is more than just a Kung Fu, kick em and whack em type of film, read beyond what is being offered and suddenly a wholse vista opens up.
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on 24 January 2015
Yes this is a great film, a Blaxploitation 1970s special film. With equally great performances by its leading actors. Superfly is a very “cool” badass, whom takes no carp off anyone. If like me you love 1970sfilms then this is for you. A great film with a great plot, great actors, and plenty of action – so go buy it!
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on 2 April 2010
I think previous reviews here have done the movie justice, but can I just say the music 'maaaannn' is just too baaadasss.

Curtis makes a live appearance as well. Awesome! I think people who were teens or adults in this era had it soo good. All that music and movies are just way too cool for one era!

Imagine popping to the nearby bar for a drink and 'Curtis Mayfield' is playing on the stand. You can touch the man!

Awesome...

Do check out others in the Blaxploitation genre.
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on 15 May 2008
This is a great movie the clothes, script and soundtrack..a real classic. Up there with The Mack
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on 9 June 2013
Yes, a true collectors item for those interested in the AfroAmerican culture .. it also has an interesting behind the scenes story of the production process ... good for up and coming producers and writers ...
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