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Parents' Guide to

Shaft (1971)

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violence, some sex, profanity in '70s classic.

Movie R 1971 100 minutes
Shaft (1971) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Classic Blaxploitation Movie made in 1971

I gave this movie high quality based on the brilliant blending of the content, the musical score and the actors. It is difficult to explain. The movie Shaft was based on a novel that to this day I have not read (….). The filming itself had its flaws, and there were many, but this did not take away from the movie's essence and its impression on a young girl who saw it at the movie theater in 1971, the year of its debut. I think the musical orchestration--the brilliance of Issac Hayes and the Bar-Kays complemented the movie to uphold its classic status for years to come. The music fit each mood in the scenes. The acting was superb and believable. The style in clothing and appearance during the times could not have been done any better. Shaft will always be one of my favorite movies to watch every now and then.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

With its funky Isaac Hayes soundtrack, bold fashions, and signature style and attitude, it could be reasonably argued that this film is more '70s than the actual 1970s. Years since its initial release, Shaft seems to get better with age, and viewed through a 21st century lens, what's incredible is just what a landmark statement the movie was. It's easy to forget that at the time Shaft was released in 1971, it was rare to cast African Americans in lead roles in movies, to say nothing of African American lead characters who were so much more than the decades of rotten stereotypes, at a time when even interracial kissing was considered controversial by some, to say nothing of Shaft's escapades.

It's not a perfect movie, but it's still fun to watch, as much for the fashion and depictions of old crumbling '70s New York as for the actual story. Richard Roundtree's performance as Shaft, a hero/antihero in a corrupt world, displays so much style, attitude, and humor throughout the movie. There have been, and continue to be, remakes and contemporary takes on Shaft, but this original version remains the gold standard by which the others are to be measured.

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