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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.

Take a Hard Ride (1975)

5.9/10
Director: Anthony M Dawson
Starring: Barry Sullivan, Catherine Spaak, Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, Jim Kelly, Lee Van...

"Take a Hard Ride" is an unusual "blaxploitation western" starring Jim Brown as a grizzled cowboy on a dangerous trek to deliver a large sum of money... 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

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

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

Scream Blacula Scream (1973)

5.6/10
Director: Bob Kelljan
Starring: William Marshall, Don Mitchell, Pam Grier

'The black prince of shadows stalks the earth again'. An occult ritual summons vampire William Marshall from spirit exile, and only the occult skills... 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

Women In Prison Collection (2004)

Director: Jack Hill, Steve Carver, Gerry De Leon
Starring: Margaret Markov, Pam Grier, Lucretia Love, Paul Muller, Daniel Vargas, Judy Brow...

In the 1970s cult filmmaker Roger Corman produced a series of highly successful, groundbreaking 'Women In Prison' movies that hit paydirt on the drive... 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

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

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)

5.5/10
Director: Melvin Van Peebles
Starring: Melvin Van Peebles, West Gale, Simon Chuckster, Hubert Scales, John Dullaghan

Van Peebles wrote, directed and stars in this trendsetting work - which initiated the "blaxploitation" film cycle of the 1970s - about an African-Amer... Read more