Hell Up in Harlem is sooooooo underrated, and proved that Fred Williamson is the baddest mutha ever. I loved the part where Williamson stabs an old dude on the beach with an umbrella and this cartoon blood starts coming out. The chase scene from New York to Los Angeles is incredible.
These are some of the most quotable movies ever. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked “the only one who understands him is his woman” into conversation.
Actually, I guess that’s really an Isaac Hayes line, but you get what I mean.
I saw Blacula and Scream Blacula Scream on television a while back and really liked the both of them
I just saw the Candy Tangerine Man, and it is without doubt one of the best, a favorite of mine.
Black Samson is another film I just got on dvd and I loved it!
All hail Pan Grier! Foxy Brown is the Citizen Kane of Blaxploitation! (I know, I’m babbling.) Also really like Across 110th Street. So many of these have great theme songs.
In terms of very good movies that can stand on their own, either as part of this genre or not, I would say ‘Coffy’, ‘Detroit 9000’, ‘and the obvious- ’Superfly’ and ‘Shaft’ would have to be mentioned. Each of these films have strong stories, innovative direction, and at least decent (and in some cases, quite strong) acting.
Of course, a lot of pleasure in this genre comes from the enjoyment of “bad” films. Therefore, a few films that cannot in any way be praised for their cinematic genius, but rather enjoyment factor:
Truck Turner (an amazingly homophobic film at some moments- calling military members “fags” for example- this film is aged, but showed Isaac Hayes had a good deal of onscreen charisma)
Tougher Than Leather (The Run-DMC movie was nothing more than a glorified blaxploitation film. However, it’s worth watching for any fans of the group)
“Ganja and Hess” is one of the weirdest, trippiest flicks I’ve seen. If Buñuel or Jodorowsky directed a blaxpoitation flick, “Ganja and Hess” is what would come out. I enjoyed it a ton.
There’s also “Soul Vengeance”, which is great in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way.
I find it odd now the amount of importance that some film classes still place on these films from time to time. They ARE important because they laid the groundwork for future African American representation in cinema. However, there are some classes that spend more time on these films than those of Charles Burnett, the L.A. School (Singleton, Franklin, and Dash), Robert Townsend, and the like. In fact, there are film classes I have sat it on that would lead one to believe that Spike Lee is the ONLY African American director of any kind of significance since Van Peebles.
these blaxploitation films are no less important then the others you mentioned. especially in light of the development of hip-hop films. though i will agree that the others you mentioned need to be studied more as well.
Truck Turner is not homophobic, Issac Hayes tells the head honcho on the base,
Nah, man I am Faggot!
he says it in a sarcastic funny way, meant to be like fuck you I aint joining no army and fighting no white man’s war! at least thats how I interpreted I didnt get the homophobic tones
Bobby, I agree. They are VERY important (well, at least the ones before the studios started making them and hiring white directors to proliferate black stereotypes). I just feel that the importance of more contemporary black cinema, such as the aforementioned filmmakers and movies such as ‘Slam’ and ‘Medecine For Melancholy’ aren’t mentioned enough. Of course, as you said, you agree on this point.
Enjoyable films nonetheless.
Rudy, it’s been a while since I’ve seen ‘Truck Turner’, so I might be remembering the scene wrong. A friend suggested it to me once as a joke, but I found it a “guilty” pleasure (God, I hate that term)
If anyone has a chance…check out the upcoming “Black Dynamite” (on DVD and Blu-ray)…a parody of blaxpoitation films but it’s a fun film! Definitely like how they used the 16mm color reversal film stock as well.
i cant handle any more 70s spoofs.
Bobby: This one is actually pretty good. Even the critic rankings on rottentomatoes are positive (83%)… Definitely worth checking out.
Across 110th St. is blaxploitation like Once Upon a Time In The West is a spaghetti Western.
Stick it in that genre, or sub-genre, or, better, see it as a really good ’70s crime drama with a lot of interesting black and white characters and a really good score.
Superfly begins with the song “Little Child Running wild.” That song made that movie for me and introduced me to Curtis Mayfielld, whom I knew his music but I didn’t know it was his music. Cotton Comes to Harlem is a favorite of mine. The Rev. Deke O’Malley.
check out Uptown Saturday Night
Movies I need to see
Sweet Jesus Preacherman
The Legend of Nigger Charley
Mean Johnny Barrows
Ganja and Hess
That Man Bolt
wow, i never even thought to consider the harder they come a blaxploitation movie, cuz i think it’s a legitimate classic. but i suppose that’s correct. even the director, a jamaican, was white!
I just saw SWEET SWEETBACK’S BAADAAASSS SONG (1971, Melvin Van Peebles)
Yeesh… it was kinda….um…..awful.
I’m not sure what to make of it. It’s kind of… a big mess. It doesn’t hang together tightly and with humor like most of the other big Blaxploitation flicks do… No, it’s much more “experimental” and “artistic”. Was everybody on acid making this flick?
Pretty shocking sex scenes for 1971. Can’t believe Melvin used a 13-year-old boy (his son, Mario) in an explicit sex scene…
I need to see Sweetbacks. I don’t see enough props for Superfly here…That’s one of the greatest blaxploitations in my eyes, as well as Shaft.
The thing about the Blaxploitation genre is that the music from the films is better than the actual films, and is remember alot better than the actual films they came from. Take the Shaft theme song for instance…
Shaft and Superfly are two of the most underrated films of the 70s. Both are fantastically fun films with likable characters, solid plots, great dialogue, and two of the best original soundtracks of all time in my opinion. While both get much love from within the genre, I think they deserve more recognition from beyond those confines.
You’re deffinately right, and they are certainly the two best Blaxploitations I’ve seen thus far, tho I admit I need to see more.
Superfly needs to get on Mubi NOW.
I’m looking forward to seeing “Sweetback”.
Yes, “Superfly” is great. I think I prefer it more than “Shaft”. It’s a little bit more down and dirty as a genre film. A bit more modern, where “Shaft” is a bit more classical.
SHAFT fills me with nostalgia for the pre-cleanup Times Square. The movie marquees, the street vendors, the look and feel of the old buildings in the area. The lobby of the building where Shaft’s office is was down the block from my high school and when they filmed it, they used Louie, the guy who ran the news/candy stand in the lobby, to basically be himself in the shot.
I worked as a messenger in the area (for The New York Times) around the time the movie was filmed. I even watched them shoot the stunt where Leroy (Tommy Lane) goes flying out the window (an action that prompted Drew Bundini Brown’s memorable line a few scenes later, “Threw my man Leroy out the GOT-Damned window!” After the stunt was accomplished successfully (one take), I tried to ask a local newsman covering the event what film it was and he rudely turned his back and waved me away with his clipboard. Asshole.
I just saw Ganja and Hess! What a great movie. BILL GUNN was light years ahead of his time. I just got his book Rhinestone Sharecropping
also I recently purchased Black Shampoo and since I loved The Candy Tangerine Man I am sure I will dig this since John Daniels is also in this.
The ULTIMATE blaxploitation film, and it wasn’t even made by any black people!
The italian exploitation film “Addio zio Tom” (“Goodbye Uncle Tom”) – 1971. Anyone seen this masterpiece?
Truly disturbing, yet darkly comical. The extras were LITERALLY exploited to make this film. Look it up.
Never heard of it. I’m sure Tarantino has written about it though. I wish he would release his book of criticism.
I often wonder, if Tarantino got hit by a bus(and killed) before he directed a single film, would anyone have cared about blaxploitation now?
He pretty much singlehandedly ressurected it correct?
wish he never did either.