A guide to black films, reviews and resources.

Blaxploitation Filmography


by
Laurence Washington

 

     There were well over 200 black-themed films released during the 1970s and early 1980s blaxploitation explosion And even though many of the films were low-budgeted, box-office quickies starring black characters extracting revenge against the white mob, many were funky, hip, exciting and just plain fun.

     Many films starred major white stars like James Mason, Roger Moore, Roddy McDowall, Anthony Quinn, and Oscar-winners Martin Landau and Peter O'Toole. Many of the films made major stars out of black actors Yaphet Kotto, Pam Grier, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Kevin Hooks. And many of the films made stars out of black football heroes Jim Brown and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson.

     The following is a filmography of some of the most memorable, influential and ground breaking films of this genre. Some are available on video.


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AARON LOVES ANGELA (1975)
(Columbia)
Cast: Kevin Hooks, Irene Cara, Moses Gunn, Robert Hooks
In A Nutshell: Romeo and Juliet, no better make that West Side Story
retold.
On Video: Yes.

ABBY (1974)
(American International)
Cast: Carol Speed, William Marshall, Terry Carter
In A Nutshell: Blaxploitation rip-off of The Exorcist. A minister's wife
is possessed by a Nigerian god of sexuality.
On Video: Unknown.

ACROSS 110TH STREET (1972)
(United Artists)
Cast: Yaphet Kotto, Anthony Quinn, Tony Franciosa
In A Nutshell: Three Black men rip off numbers money from the Italian mob.
On Video: Yes.

ADIOS AMIGO (1975)
(Atlas Films)
Cast: Fred (The Hammer) Williamson, Richard Pryor, Thalmus Rasulala
In A Nutshell: A buddy western where tough guy Williamson and scheming
Pryor team up.
On Video: Yes.

AMAZING GRACE (1974)
(United Artists)
Cast: Moms Mabley, Moses Gunn, Slappy White
In A Nutshell: It's comedian Moms Mabley against Baltimore City Hall.
On Video: Yes.

THE ARENA (1973
(New World Pictures)
Cast: Pam Grier, Margaret Markov, Lucretia Love, Paul Muller
In A Nutshell: Gladiators revolt against the Romans.
On Video: Yes.

BARE KNUCKLES (1977)
(TWE)
Cast: Gloria Hendry, Sherry Jackson, John Daniels
In A Nutshell: Bounty hunter meets Kung Fu killer.
On Video: Unknown.

BIG DOLL HOUSE (1971)
(New World)
Cast: Pam Grier, Judy Brown, Sid Haig
In A Nutshell: A women's prison offers the director a good excuse to
drop plot and show T and A for 90 mins.
On Video: Yes.

BLACK BELT JONES (1974)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Jim Kelly, Gloria Hendry, Scatman Crothers
In A Nutshell: Kung Fu expert Jim Kelly (of Enter The Dragon fame),
chops, knocks and kicks the Mafia apart.
On Video: Yes.

BLACK CAESAR (1973)
(AIP)
Cast: Fred (The Hammer) Williamson, Gloria Hendry, Julius W. Harris
In A Nutshell: Fred Williamson's homage to 1930s gangster flicks.
On Video: Yes.

BLACK GUNN (1972)
(Columbia)
Cast: Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, Martin Landau
In A Nutshell: Jim Brown plays a LA night club owner who goes after the
mob when his brother is murdered.
On Video: Yes.

BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA (1972)
(AIP)
Cast: Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Margaret Markov
In A Nutshell: Pam Grier is back in prison, but not for long. Taking a
page from the classic film, The Defiant Ones Grier escapes chained to a
white inmate.
On Video: Yes.

BLACULA (1972)
(AIP)
Cast: William Marshall, Denise Nicholas, Vonetta McGee
In A Nutshell: Count Dracula bites an African prince who ends up feeding
off of LA night club goers 200 years later.
On Video: Yes.

BUCK AND THE PREACHER (1972)
(Columbia)
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee
In A Nutshell: Sidney Poitier plays a former cavalryman who leads a
wagon train of former slaves to freedom.
On Video: Yes.

CAR WASH (1976)
(MCA)
Cast: Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Antonio Fargas
In A Nutshell: Hi-jinx at a car wash. The Rose Royce hit song was
better that the movie.
On Video: Yes.

CLEOPATRA JONES (1973)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Brenda Sykes
In A Nutshell: 6 foot 2 inch CIA agent Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson)
fights the LA mob.
On Video: Yes.

CLEOPATRA JONES AND THE CASINO OF GOLD (1975)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Tamara Dobson, Stella Stevens, Albert Popwell
In A Nutshell: Having killed all the drug dealers in her own back yard,
6 foot 2 inch CIA agent Cleopatra Jones (Tamara Dobson) goes to Hong
Kong to fight and kill their drug dealers.
On Video: Yes.

COFFY (1973)
(API)
Cast: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert DoQui
In A Nutshell: Pam Grier sets things aright with the mobsters who tuned
her younger sister into a junkie.
On Video: Yes.

COME BACK, CHARLESTON BLUE (1972)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Raymond St. Jacques, Godfrey Cambridge, Junelle Allen
In A Nutshell: Further adventures of those Cotton Comes To Harlem cops,
Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones.
On Video: Yes.

COOL BREZZE (1972)
(MGM)
Cast: Thalmus Rasulala, Raymond St. Jacques, Judy Pace
In A Nutshell: An ex-convict and his brother plan a diamond heist to
start a black people's bank, but their plans go awry.
On Video: Yes.

COTTON COMES TO HARLEM (1970)
(MGM)
Cast: Raymond St. Jacques, Godfrey Cambridge, Redd Foxx, Calvin Lockhart
In A Nutshell: Detectives Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones search for a
bale of cotton which contains $87,000 of stolen money.
On Video: Yes.

DR. BLACK, MR. HYDE (1976)
(Dimension)
Cast: Bernie Casey, Rosalind Cash, Stu Gilliam
In A Nutshell: Blaxploitation version of the Robert Louis Stevenson's
monster classic.
On Video: Yes.

DRUM (1976)
(United Artist)
Cast: Ken Norton, Pam Grier, Fiona Lewis
In A Nutshell: In this sequel to Mandingo, Hollywood finally did what
Muhammed Ali couldn't, hang Ken Norton upside down and give his "black
a--" a good whippin.'
On Video: Yes.

FIVE ON THE BLACK HAND SIDE (1973)
(United Artist)
Cast: Clarice Taylor, Leonard Jackson, Glynn Turman, Godfrey Cambridge
In A Nutshell: The misadventures of a barber coping with his crazy
family and customers.
On Video: Unknown.

FOR LOVE OF IVY (1968)
(Cinerama)
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Abbey Lincoln, Beau Bridges
In A Nutshell: A gambler wants to marry the black maid of a rich white
family.
On Video: Yes.

FOXY BROWN (1974)
(American International Pictures)
Cast: Pam Grier, Peter Brown, Terry Carter
In A Nutshell: Pam Grier goes undercover as a hooker to kill the
mobsters who killed her boy friend.
On Video: Yes.

FRIDAY FOSTER (1975)
(American International Pictures)
Cast: Pam Grier, Yaphet Kotto, Godfrey Cambridge, Thalmus Rasulala
In A Nutshell: White racists are at it again. This time they're out to
assassinate a group of black leaders. The only thing they didn't count
on was Friday Foster (Pam Grier) using them for target practice.
On Video: Yes.

THE GREATEST (1977)
(Columbia)
Cast: Muhammed Ali, Ernest Borgnine, James Earl Jones, Robert Duvall
In A Nutshell: Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, this is the
autobiography of Muhammed Ali.
On Video: Yes.

HELL UP FROM HARLEM (1973)
(American International Pictures)
Cast: Fred Williamson, Julius W. Harris, Gloria Hendry
In A Nutshell: Having killed all the mobster in New York, Fred "The
Hammer" Williamson goes down to Florida to kill all of their mobsters in
this sequel to Black Caesar.
On Video: Yes.

A HERO AIN'T NOTHIN' BUT A SANDWICH (1978)
(New World Pictures)
Cast: Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Glynn Turman
In A Nutshell: A young boy has trouble coping with the pressure of
school and his mother's new boyfriend.
On Video: Yes.

HIT! (1973)
(MGM)
Cast: Billy Dee Williams, Paul Hampton, Richard Pryor
In A Nutshell: A federal agent declares his own war on drugs after his
teenage daughter dies from a drug overdose.
On Video: Yes.

HIT MAN (1972)
(MGM)
Cast: Bernie Casey, Pam Grier, Lisa Moore
In A Nutshell: A small time hood comes to the big city to avenge his
brother's murder.
On Video: Unknown.

HOT POTATO (1976)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Jim Kelly, George Memmoli, Geoffrey Binney
In A Nutshell: An ambassador's daughter is kidnapped, and it's up to
martial arts expert Jim Kelly to kick apart the bad guys and rescue the
damsel before the closing credits.
On Video: Yes.

I ESCAPED FROM DEVIL'S ISLAND (1973)
(United Artist)
Cast: Jim Brown, Christopher George, Rick Ely
In A Nutshell: The warning is on the lable. Jim Brown and Christopher
George escape from Devil's Island. What more do you want?
On Video: Unknown.

IF HE HOLLERS, LET HIM GO (1968)
(Cinerama)
Cast: Dana Wynter, Raymond St. Jacques
In A Nutshell: An innocent man escapes from prison to clear his name
with the help of a night club singer.
On Video: Unknown.

I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA (1988)
(United Artist)
Cast: Keenen Ivory Wayans, Bernie Casey, Isaac Hayes, Chris Rock, Jim
Brown
In A Nutshell: Spoof on the Blaxploitation genre
On Video: Yes.

J.D.'S REVENGE (1976)
(American International)
Cast: Glynn Turman, Joan Pringle, Lou Gossett Jr.
In A Nutshell: The spirit of a 1940s gangster possesses a modern day
college student and seeks revenge from his killer.
On Video: Yes.

LEGEND OF NIGGER CHARLEY (1972)
(Paramount)
Cast: Fred Williamson, D'Urville Martin
In A Nutshell: Nigger Charley is given his freedom by his dying owner,
but an overseer and bounty hunters have other ideas.
On Video: Unknown.

LET'S DO IT AGAIN (1975)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Jimmie Walker
In A Nutshell: The comedy team of Poitier and the Cos get involved in a
prize-fighting scheme to net $50,000.
On Video: Yes.

THE LIBERATION OF L.B. JONES (1970)
(Columbia)
Cast: Lee J. Cobb, Anthony Zerbe, Yaphet Kotto
In A Nutshell: A white cop in a small Southern town whips in a young
black man who returns years later seeking revenge.
On Video: Yes.

LIVE AND LET DIE (1973)
(United Artist)
Cast: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto, Gloria Hendry, Julius W. Harris
In A Nutshell: It's, Bond, James Bond's exploitation of Blaxploitation.
On Video: Yes.

THE MACK (1973)
(Cinerama)
Cast: Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor
In A Nutshell: Max Julien plays a pimp who battles the mob and crooked
cops on his way to the top.
On Video: Yes.

MANDINGO (1973)
(Paramount)
Cast: James Mason, Susan George, Ken Norton
In A Nutshell: Boxer Ken Norton plays a slave who a daughter of a
Southern plantation owner uses as a lover.
On Video: Yes.

MAN FRIDAY (1976)
(Avco Embassy)
Cast: Peter O'Toole, Richard Roundtree
In A Nutshell: Blaxploitation's answer to Defoe's classic novel Robinson
Crusoe.
On Video: Yes.

MEAN JOHNNY BARROWS (1976)
(Atlas Films)
Cast: Fred Williamson, Roddy McDowall, Elliott Gould
In A Nutshell: Fred "The Hammer" Williamson plays a returning vet who
gets involved with the mob after he fails at trying to earn an honest
living.
On Video: Unknown.

MELINDA (1972)
(MGM)
Cast: Calvin Lockhart, Rosalind Cash, Jim Kelly
In A Nutshell: A DJ drops his girl friend for a beautiful mysterious
woman who turns up dead in his apartment. Suddenly the cops and the mob
are after him.
On Video: Unknown.

NORMAN...IS THAT YOU? (1976)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Redd Foxx, Pearl Bailey, Tamara Dobson
In A Nutshell: Redd Foxx plays a flustered father who has trouble
accepting his gay son's lifestyle.
On Video: Yes.

A PIECE OF THE ACTION (1977)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones
In A Nutshell: Poitier and the Cos are blackmailed by James Earl Jones
(Darth Vader to you) into helping out a local community center.
On Video: Yes.

SCREAM, BLACULA, SCREAM (1973)
(American International)
Cast: William Marshall, Pam Grier, Don Mitchell
In A Nutshell: He's baack. Blacula is reincarnated, after a voodoo
ceremony, to rein terror near and far -- until tough gal Pam Grier shows
up and un-reincarnates him.
On Video: Yes.

SHAFT (1971)
(MGM)
Cast: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Charles Cioffi
In A Nutshell: Private detective John Shaft is hired by the black
mobster to get back his kidnapped daughter from white mobsters trying to
take over Harlem.
On Video: Yes.

SHAFT IN AFRICA (1973)
(MGM)
Cast: Richard Roundtree, Frank Finlay, Vonetta McGee
In A Nutshell: Shaft is hired to go to Africa to bust up a modern slave
ring.
On Video: Yes

SHAFT'S BIG SCORE (1972)
(MGM)
Cast: Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn, Drew Bundini Brown
In A Nutshell: Shaft is hired by the police to recover $250,000 of the
mob's money which was stolen by a numbers man to help Harlem. In the
end, Shaft makes the cops look like chumps, kills every mobster in sight
and delivers the money in Harlem where it will do the most good.
On Video: Yes.

THE SLAMS (1973)
(MGM)
Cast: Jim Brown, Judy Pace, Roland Harris
In A Nutshell: Jim Brown steals $1.5 million from the mob and destroys
their heroin shipment in the process, only to end up in jail after being
double-crossed by his partner.
On Video: Yes.

SLAUGHTER (1972)
(MGM)
Cast: Jim Brown, Stella Stevens, Rip Torn
In A Nutshell: Ex-Green Beret Slaughter gets a chance to use his
guerrilla skills when his mother and father are murdered by the mob.
On Video: Yes.

SLAUGHTER'S BIG RIPOFF (1973)
(MGM)
Cast: Jim Brown, Ed McMahon, Brock Peters
In A Nutshell: They never learn. The mob kills one of Slaughter's
friends, now they must pay.
On Video: Yes.

THE SOUL OF NIGGER CHARLEY (1973)
(MGM)
Cast: Fred Williamson, D'Urville, Denise Nicholas
In A Nutshell: Nigger Charley and his side-kick Toby, ride to the rescue
of free blacks kidnapped by ex-confederates.
On Video: Yes.

THE SPOOK WHO SAT BY THE DOOR (1973)
(United Artist)
Cast: Lawrence Cook, Paula Kelly, Janet League
In A Nutshell: The CIA hires its first black agent only to use him as an
agency tour guide. The agent finally quits out of frustration and uses
his covert learned skills to train a group of urban revolutionaries.
On Video: Yes.

SUPERFLY (1972)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazier
In A Nutshell: He had a plan to stick it to "the man." A coke dealer
decides to quit after one last score. Great soundtrack!
On Video: Yes

SUPERFLY T.N.T. (1973)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Ron O'Neal, Sheila Frazier, Roscoe Lee Brown
In A Nutshell: T.N.T. means Tain't Nothin' To It. They were right. 'Nuff
said.
On Video: Yes.

SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG (1971)
(Cinamation)
Cast: Melvin Van Peebles, Simon Chuckster, Hubert Scales
In A Nutshell: Sweetback is on the run after he kills a cop for beating
a young brother.
On Video: Yes.

TAKE A HARD RIDE (1975)
(20th Century Fox)
Cast: Jim Brown, Lee Van Cleef, Fred Williamson
In A Nutshell: While being pursued by a bounty hunter, a gambler and a
cowboy find time to team up and deliver a huge bankroll to their dying
boss' wife.
On Video: Yes.

THAT MAN BOLT (1973)
(Universal)
Cast: Fred Williamson, David Lowell Rich, Byron Webster
In A Nutshell: Fred "the Hammer" Williamson plays a courier who gets
tricked into carrying the mob's money. When Williamson finds out, it's
"Hammer time" for the mob.
On Video: Yes.

THREE THE HARD WAY (1975)
(United Artists)
Cast: Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly
In A Nutshell: Three of blaxploitation's bad asses team up to stop a
white supremacist from polluting the water supply with a substance fatal
only to blacks.
On Video: Yes.

THREE TOUGH GUYS (1974)
(Paramount)
Cast: Lino Ventura, Fred Williamson, Issac Hayes
In A Nutshell: An ex-con man, priest and cop join forces to get the man
that cost the cop his badge.
On Video: Yes.

...tick...tick...tick (1970)
(MGM)
Cast: Jim Brown, George Kennedy, Fredic March
In A Nutshell: Jim Brown plays a black sheriff in a white Southern town
who arrest a wealthy young white man.
On Video: Yes.

TNT JACKSON (1974)
(New World)
Cast: Jeanne Bell, Pat Anderson
In A Nutshell: Disguised as a hooker, TNT goes undercover in Hong Kong
to find her brother and kill a few Chinese mobsters for good measure.
On Video: Yes.

TROUBLE MAN (1972)
(20th Century Fox)
Cast: Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite
In A Nutshell: A trouble-shooter is called in to solve a turf war over a
floating crap game.
On Video: Yes.

TRUCK TURNER (1974)
(American International)
Cast: Isaac Hayes, Yaphet Kotto, Nichelle Nichols
In A Nutshell: The Black Moses plays a skip tracer who kills Nichelle
Nichols' (Lt. Uhura to you) boyfriend when he jumps bail.
On Video: Yes.

UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT (1974)
(Warner Bros.)
Cast: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte, Richard Pryor
In A Nutshell: Two factory workers hit the lottery only to have their
winning ticket stolen by the mob.
On Video: Yes.

WATERMELON MAN (1970)
(Columbia)
Cast: Godfrey Cambridge, Estelle Parsons
In A Nutshell: A white businessman wakes up one morning to discover he's
been turned into the one thing he hates -- a black man.
On Video: Yes.

WATTSTAX (1973)
(Columbia)
Cast: Isaac Hayes, The Staples Singers, Rev. Jessie Jackson
In A Nutshell: A concert film shot at the LA Coliseum.
On Video: Unknown.
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