Directed by Gordon Parks • 1971 • United States
Starring Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi
“Hotter than Bond. Cooler than Bullitt,” the movie posters proclaimed. And as embodied by an ultrabadass Richard Roundtree, John Shaft is indeed a detective to reckon with: a stylish, streetwise private eye whose hunt for the kidnapped daughter of a Harlem mobster lands him in the middle of feuding crime syndicates in gritty 1970s New York. Set to the hot-buttered grooves of Isaac Hayes’s landmark funk-soul soundtrack, this Blaxploitation classic witnessed the birth of a new cinematic hero who would become an icon for an era of change.