Box art for Shaft (1971)

Shaft (1971)

action & adventure, drama

Hotter than Bond. Cooler than Bullitt, movie posters proclaimed. John Shaft was indeed a shut-your-mouth detective to reckon with

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 10
    see all Shaft (1971) reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Excellent cast, headed by newcomer Richard Roundtree, may shock some audiences with heavy dose of candid dialog and situation.

- A.D. Murphy, Variety, Thursday, March 26, 2009


- Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: With an ultra hip musical score by Isaac Hayes, "Shaft" is a muscular black action movie where Richard Roundtree is "hotter than Bond and cooler than Bullitt"

- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

The original. Nothing like it. Richard Roundtree rules. Not to even mention the Oscar winning theme from Issac Hayes.

- rayman0071, Wednesday, August 18, 2010

5 stars

John Shaft is a private detective in Harlem. He is hired by pimp and drug dealer Bumpy Jonas to find Bumpy's daughter who has been kidnapped by an unknown party. Shaft investigates the local Panther organisation but ultimately finds that an Italian mob is trying to move in on Bumpy's territory. With all parties at conflict Shaft must keep his cool to get the girl back. Ay the start of a decade filled with cheap movies aimed at getting the black audience a product aimed at them in particular. Many of these were poor but Shaft stood out because it could have been a film in it's own right. The story is a normal detective movie with a black twist and that helps ? because it's not forced at all. The story is gritty and tough as befits the setting and the hero. Shaft is tough but hadn't yet turned into 007 (as he did in Shaft's Big Score), this makes him tough but also keeps him down to earth. Roundtree handles himself sexily and looks great ? the film very much revolves around his performance and he holds the attention easily. The film eventually gets into gun fights and an exciting conclusion but really this is all about mood and funk. And it delivers both.

- matertenebraum, Saturday, October 17, 2009

3 stars

Along with Superfly, top Blaxpoitation films, memorable lines for days.

- Chiefilms, Saturday, March 1, 2008