Directed by Gordon Parks

Directed by Gordon Parks

5 Episodes

Gordon Parks was a true Renaissance man. The first African American to direct a major Hollywood feature—the moving coming-of-age saga THE LEARNING TREE—he was also a writer, composer, and brilliant photographer who created some of the most iconic images of his time, using his camera to expose poverty, struggle, and systemic racism in America. This tribute to Parks’s cinematic genius—including his rendition of the Solomon Northup story (later the basis for Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE), and his gorgeous autobiographical essay film MOMENTS WITHOUT PROPER NAMES—reveals a sensitive artist who brought passion and personal insight to his groundbreaking portrayals of the Black American experience across history.

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Directed by Gordon Parks
  • The Learning Tree

    Episode 1

    Directed by Gordon Parks • 1969 • United States
    Starring Kyle Johnson, Alex Clarke, Estelle Evans

    The first film directed by an African American for a major American studio, THE LEARNING TREE is a personal triumph for director-producer-writer-composer Gordon Parks. Adapted from his own autobiogr...

  • Shaft

    Episode 2

    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, streetwis...

  • Shaft’s Big Score!

    Episode 3

    Directed by Gordon Parks • 1972 • United States
    Starring Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown

    Richard Roundtree reunites with director Gordon Parks for this sequel to their trendsetting Blaxploitation landmark SHAFT. New York City private detective John Shaft (Roundtree) gets a pred...

  • Solomon Northup’s Odyssey

    Episode 4

    Directed by Gordon Parks • 1984 • United States
    Starring Avery Brooks, Rhetta Greene, Petronia Paley

    Gordon Parks directs the original film adaptation of abolitionist Solomon Northup’s 1853 autobiography “Twelve Years a Slave,” later the basis for the Academy Award–winning drama by Steve McQueen...

  • Moments Without Proper Names

    Episode 5

    Directed by Gordon Parks • 1987 • United States

    Gordon Parks turns his camera on his own life and art in this gorgeous, elegiac essay film, in which he interweaves his photography, music, and poetry into a lyrical self-portrait of a modern-day Renaissance man. Recounting his life’s journey—from ...