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Blaxploitation

A genre of American film that surfaced in the 1970s featuring stereotypical representations of African-American culture that were mostly written and directed by white men. The films were nonetheless extremely popular among black audiences, possibly because they were among the handful of movies which dealt primarily with black men and women, bringing them to the foreground, and because they had endings which were generally favourable to the central character. When set in the North, blaxploitation films tended to take place in the ghetto and deal with pimps, drug dealers, and hit men; when set in the South, the movies most often took place on a plantation and dealt with slavery and miscegenation. Almost all of them featured exaggerated sexuality and violence. Some film scholars defend the movies today, arguing that the genre was instrumental in allowing African-Americans greater screen presence, as well as greater latitude in "mainstream" film-making as actors, directors, and writers. The genre lasted only a few years, dying out before the end of the 1970s, though their influence can still be seen in later films such as "New Jack City" (1991), "Dead Presidents" (1995), "Jackie Brown" (1997) and the most recent version of "Shaft" (2000). Pictured: Richard Roundtree as Detective John Shaft in "Shaft" (1971), the first major Hollywood success in the blaxploitation field.

Black Dynamite (2009)

7.4/10
Director: Scott Sanders
Starring: Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield

Meet Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White, who also co-wrote), the smoothest, baddest cat on the street. He's a ladies' man and the man with a plan. He's... Read more

Black Shampoo (1976)

4.5/10
Director: Greydon Clark
Starring: Helene Farber, Tanya Boyd, John Daniels

Mr. Jonathan is a smooth-talking, hard-hitting ladies' man who can curl and kill with equal ease. When his receptionist gets in trouble with the mob,... Read more

Blacula (1972)

5.6/10
Director: William Crain
Starring: Denise Nicholas, Gordon Pinsent, Vonetta McGee, William Marshall

William Marshall stars as an African Prince, cursed by Dracula himself centuries ago, to be one of the undead. He starts his reign of terror in modern... Read more

Car Wash (1976)

6/10
Director: Michael Schultz
Starring: George Carlin, Ivan Dixon, Richard Pryor, Antonio Fargas, Lorraine Gary

A boisterous, funky farce featuring Richard Pryor, George Carlin and The Pointer Sisters as a few of the customers gliding through a famous California... Read more

Cleopatra Jones (1973)

5.8/10
Director: Jack Starrett
Starring: Bernie Casey, Tamara Dobson, Brenda Sykes, Shelley Winters

Black, beautiful, brawny Tamara Dobson stars as Cleopatra Jones, the U.S. special agent with a style all her own! Plenty of violence and action as 6'2... Read more

Dolemite (1974)

6/10
Director: D'urville Martin
Starring: Rudy Ray Moore, Jerry Jones, Lady Reed

He's bad, the man is out-a-sight...he's Dolemite! Spewing hilarious, invective-filled poetry that would make Eddie Murphy blush, Rudy Ray Moore single... Read more

Drum (1976)

5.3/10
Director: Steve Carver
Starring: Warren Oates, Ken Norton, Isela Vega, Pam Grier, Yaphet Kotto

Based on Kyle Onstott's best-selling novel, "Drum" is a savage saga which makes no attempt to veil the decadence, the slavery, the lust and the violen... Read more

Friday Foster (1975)

6/10
Director: Arthur Marks
Starring: Carl Weathers, Eartha Kitt, Pam Grier, Scatman Crothers, Yaphet Kotto, Thalmus R...

Statuesque action star Pam Grier is supremely cast as comic-strip heroine Friday Foster. A free-lance photographer with an insatiable thirst for adven... Read more

Greased Lightning (1977)

6.2/10
Director: Michael Schultz
Starring: Richard Pryor, Beau Bridges, Pam Grier

Richard Pryor burns up the track as Wendell Scott, the first black man to win the Grand National Stock Car Racing Championship. Co-stars Pam Grier, Be... Read more

One Down Two to Go (1982)

4.6/10
Director: Fred Williamson
Starring: Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, Jim Kelly, Richard Roundtree, Paula Sills, Laura Lof...

During a high stakes karate tournament, Chuck (Jim Kelly) suspects the match is rigged and calls in his buddies Cal (Fred Willimason who also directs)... Read more