The mob wanted Harlem back. They got shaft...up to here.
Cool black private eye John Shaft is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.
Atmospheric, Rousing, Visceral, Forceful, Tense, Moody
Shaft, a private detective, emerges from the New York City subway and walking through Times Square, with scenes characterizing early 1970s New York. Shaft visits a shoeshine parlor, and is informed that some gangsters are looking for him. Police Lt Vic Androzzi meets Shaft outside the parlor; and unsuccessfully tries to get information from him on the two gangsters. After Lt Androzzi leaves, Shaft spots one of the men waiting for him in his office building. He commandeers the first gangster, forcing him into his office where the second gangster is waiting. After a quick fight, Shaft throws one of them out the window; while the other surrenders and reveals to him that Bumpy, the leader of an uptown gang, wanted to meet Shaft and knock him out at his office.
At the police station, Shaft lies to Lt. Androzzi and his superior about the fight by saying that his friend got into an "accident". He is allowed to return to the streets for 48 hours. Shaft arranges a meeting with Bumpy, the leader of these gangsters, in his office. It turns out Bumpy's daughter has been kidnapped, and Shaft is asked to get her back safe. Shaft starts his investigation by looking for a man named Ben Buford, who is revealed to have been part of "the movement" with Shaft years ago, and eventually finds out that Ben's group is holding a meeting. Shaft then returns home to his girlfriend where they make love.
The evening of the meeting, Shaft is tailed by a fingerman to the meeting where an ambush ensues. Shaft and Ben escape from the carnage while Ben's group and the fingerman are murdered by unknown assailants. Ben confronts Shaft, thinking he was set up, but they refrain from fighting and move on.
Shaft is told by Vic after the shooting that Shaft himself was the target, not Ben, and that there are brewing tensions between the "uptown" hoods belonging to Bumpy Jonas and the "downtown" Mafioso, that have culminated in a couple of murders. Vic states those who know, know it's "hood against hood" on the inside, but the perception is black against white to the general public, with the possibility of things escalating into full-blown race war on the streets of the city. He also shows Shaft some pictures of two of the Mafioso men who just got to New York. Vic pleads to Shaft to just clue him in to what's going on, though Vic already knew Bumpy was looking for Shaft.
Shaft and Ben later meet Bumpy at his uptown office where Shaft ups the price for the job, based on his new-found information from Vic. Bumpy states that the reason for turning him on to Ben's is because Shaft is going to need an army to get his daughter back, and "Ben's got one".
Shaft retires to the "No Name Bar", across the street from Shaft's apartment in Greenwich Village. In the bar, he notices two men there who look like the Mafiosi from the pictures Vic showed him, watching Shaft's apartment. Shaft takes over the bar from the bartender, and calls the cops without the two Mafiosi knowing. As the cops arrive to arrest the two men, one of them spits on Shaft's face to which he responds by breaking a bottle of scotch over the man's head.
After spending the night with one of the ladies from the bar, Shaft visits Vic and the two mafioso the following morning. When Shaft returns home, he wakes the woman up, and as she leaves his place, she complains about his rotten manners out of bed, leading to a brief verbal spat.
A few seconds after the woman leaves, Vic comes in echoing the woman's spat to Shaft. Vic tells Shaft that the room that he was in at the station house was bugged and he is supposed to bring him in for questioning, but instead leaves. Ben and Shaft go to the apartment where Marcy Jonas is being held to make sure she's alive. Once there, a gunfight ensues during which two hoods get killed and Shaft takes a bullet in the shoulder. At home where Shaft is getting medical attention from a doctor working underground with him (Shaft refuses to go to any hospital because the hospital will notify police about his gunshot wound.), Shaft tells Ben to round up his men and meet him at the hotel where Marcy has been taken, to prepare to get her back. He also calls Bumpy to tell him that his daughter is fine and he is going to need some
Shaft is a 1971 American blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. An action film with elements of film noir, Shaft tells the story of a black private detective, John Shaft, who travels through Harlem and to the Italian mob neighborhoods in order to find the missing daughter of a black mobster. It stars Richard Roundtree as Shaft, Moses Gunn as Bumpy Jonas, Drew Bundini Brown as Willy, Charles Cioffi as Lt. Vic Androzzi, Christopher St. John as Ben Buford, and Gwenn Mitchell and Lawrence Pressman in smaller roles. The movie was adapted by Ernest Tidyman and John D. F. Black from Tidyman's 1971 novel of the same name.