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Parents' Guide to

Super Fly (1972)

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Classic '70s drama with drugs, violence, cursing.

Movie R 1972 93 minutes
Super Fly (1972) Poster Image

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While controversial among civil rights groups for its portrayal of African Americans as negative and antiheroes, this film has stood the test of time as a classic of the "blaxploitation" genre. Its initial success transcended the African American audience it was made for at a time when African American actors were hardly ever given lead roles in movies. Its comments on the lack of legitimate opportunity for African Americans in the inner city remains relevant -- relevant enough to bring on a remake of the movie 46 years after the original film's release. Furthermore, Curtis Mayfield's soundtrack remains one of the greatest movie soundtrack albums from the '70s or any other time.

As the lead character Youngblood Priest, the late Ron O'Neal brought a fresh take on the "man of few words" cinema archetype. There's a complexity to the character revealed through body language and facial expression in his reactions to everyone around him. He has a now-iconic charisma, "cool" in the classic sense of the word. The gaudy fashions might be as obsolete as the old crumbling '70s New York City that serves as the background to the scenes, but the substance of the movie has ensured that Super Fly remains something more than a relic.

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