Bill Duke on


Released 1971
Distributor MGM

Gordon Parks and Ernest Tidyman transformed the action film with this charismatic, Chandleresque Brooklyn private eye played by Richard Roundtree, the spiritual father to Foxy Brown, Cotton, The Hammer and many others. One of the first and slickest of the “blaxploitation” films, it was followed by two sequels, a TV series, a recent remake/spin-off starring Samuel L. Jackson (with a Roundtree cameo), and in the summer of 2019 a follow-up to that remake/spin-off featuring Jackson, Roundtree and Jessie T. Usher as three generations of Shaft men. Isaac Hayes’ title song won the Oscar.

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About Bill Duke

With a wide range of credits to his name including directing, producing, acting and writing, Bill Duke made an auspicious directorial debut with The Killing Floor. He followed with A Rage in Harlem, based on Chester Himes’ celebrated novel. He went on to direct the action drama Deep Cover, the romantic comedy The Cemetery Club, the hit sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and numerous other films and television projects.. Mr. Duke received a Cable ACE Award for his direction of American Dream: The Boy Who Painted Christ Black and directed two teleplays for PBS, which received an NAACP Image Award nomination: The Meeting and A Raisin in the Sun, which also earned Duke an Emmy nomination. His acting roles include American GigoloPredator, and Commando.