Shaft

Shaft

Directed by Gordon Parks • 1971 • United States
Starring Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi

While the Black Power movement was reshaping America, trailblazing director Gordon Parks made this groundbreaking blockbuster, which helped launch the blaxploitation era and gave the screen a new kind of badder-than-bad action hero in John Shaft (Richard Roundtree, in a career-defining role), a streetwise New York City private eye who is as tough with criminals as he is tender with his lovers. After Shaft is recruited to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Harlem mob boss (Moses Gunn) from Italian gangsters, he finds himself in the middle of a rapidly escalating uptown vs. downtown turf war. A vivid time capsule of seventies Manhattan in all its gritty glory that has inspired sequels and multimedia reboots galore, the original SHAFT is studded with indelible elements—from Roundtree’s sleek leather fashions to the iconic funk and soul score by Isaac Hayes.

Shaft
  • Shaft

    Directed by Gordon Parks • 1971 • United States
    Starring Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi

    While the Black Power movement was reshaping America, trailblazing director Gordon Parks made this groundbreaking blockbuster, which helped launch the blaxploitation era and gave the screen a n...

Extras

  • Revisiting SHAFT

    This documentary, produced in 2022, features curator Rhea L. Combs, film scholar Racquel J. Gates, filmmaker Nelson George, and music scholar Shana Redmond, as well as excerpts from archival interviews with director Gordon Parks.

  • Soul in Cinema: Filming SHAFT on Location

    This short program was shot on location and in the recording studio during the production of SHAFT in 1971. It features director Gordon Parks, actor Richard Roundtree, composer Isaac Hayes, and other members of the cast and crew.

  • Isaac Hayes on SHAFT

    This 1974 episode of the French television series “Point chaud,” directed by Albert Raisner, features an interview with Isaac Hayes. In it, the Academy Award-winning composer discusses his career, influences, and creation of the soundtrack for SHAFT.

  • Shana L. Redmond on SHAFT

    In this program, produced in March 2022, music scholar Shana L. Redmond explores the soul traditions in musician Isaac Hayes’s score for Gordon Parks’s SHAFT.

  • Joseph G. Aulisi on SHAFT

    In this interview with Joseph G. Aulisi, produced in 2022, the costume designer discusses his collaboration with director Gordon Parks, including the origins of John Shaft’s iconic style.

  • Listen to a Stranger: An Interview With Gordon Parks

    This short program, made after the completion of SHAFT’S BIG SCORE!, features director Gordon Parks reflecting on his youth, his career, and the meaning of success.

  • A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy Part 1

    This three-part series from 2019, directed by Constantine Nasr, explores the character of John Shaft in literature and film, the success of Gordon Parks’s 1971 adaptation, and the legacy of the SHAFT franchise. It features interviews with actors Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree, among many...

  • A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy Part 2

    This three-part series from 2019, directed by Constantine Nasr, explores the character of John Shaft in literature and film, the success of Gordon Parks’s 1971 adaptation, and the legacy of the SHAFT franchise. It features interviews with actors Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree, among many...

  • A Complicated Man: The Shaft Legacy Part 3

    This three-part series from 2019, directed by Constantine Nasr, explores the character of John Shaft in literature and film, the success of Gordon Parks’s 1971 adaptation, and the legacy of the SHAFT franchise. It features interviews with actors Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree, among many...

  • Kinohi Nichikawa and Walter Mosley on SHAFT

    This program, produced in 2022, features scholar Kinohi Nichikawa and writer Walter Mosley.

  • SHAFT Teaser Trailer