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105 Ratings

Black Caesar

Directed by Larry Cohen
United States, 1973
Crime, Drama


Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy, his leg is broken by a bad cop on the take, during a payoff gone bad. Nursing his vengeance, he rises to power in Harlem, New York.

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Black Caesar Directed by Larry Cohen

Critics reviews

On top of the Williamson performance, the movie also glides on the power of James Brown’s soundtrack—which extends from the deeply sorrowful (“Mama’s Dead”) to the scrappy, on-the-move rhythms of the opening credits (“Down And Out In New York City”)—and Cohen’s gonzo set-piece instincts, as when he lets a speeding taxi loose on pedestrian-strewn sidewalks during a pivotal chase.
October 01, 2015
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Amid the luridness there are slivers of heart (see Gibbs’s touching relationship with his maid mother), and sly social commentary. The powerful closing scenes, meanwhile, unexpectedly broach some complex racial and representational politics which still seem relevant today.
August 27, 2014
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