6.5/10
2,856
38 user 50 critic

Black Caesar (1973)

Raised in Harlem, Tommy Gibbs becomes a successful mob boss but he clashes with the rival Mafia and his old enemy, dirty cop McKinney.

Director:

Larry Cohen

Writer:

Larry Cohen
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Williamson ... Tommy Gibbs
Gloria Hendry ... Helen
Art Lund ... McKinney
D'Urville Martin ... Reverend Rufus
Julius Harris ... Mr. Gibbs (as Julius W. Harris)
Minnie Gentry Minnie Gentry ... Momma Gibbs
Philip Roye Philip Roye ... Joe Washington
William Wellman Jr. ... Alfred Coleman
James Dixon ... 'Irish' Bryant
Val Avery ... Cardoza
Patrick McAllister Patrick McAllister ... Grossfield
Don Pedro Colley ... Crawdaddy
Myrna Hansen Myrna Hansen ... Virginia Coleman
Omer Jeffrey Omer Jeffrey ... Tommy (as a Boy)
Michael Jeffrey Michael Jeffrey ... Joe (as a Boy)
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Storyline

Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy, his leg is broken by a bad cop on the take, during a payoff gone bad. Nursing his vengeance, he rises to power in New York City's Harlem. Angry at the racist society around him, both criminal and straight, he sees the acquisition of power as the solution to his rage. He performs a free-lance hit on a Mob contract to attract the attention of the head of a Mafia family. Reluctantly accepted into 'The Family,' he grows increasingly autonomous and aggressive, eventually starting a gang war. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hail Caesar, Godfather of Harlem...The Cat with the .45-Caliber Claws!


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The name Caesar is never spoken in the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Tommy shoots one man, the blood spray comes from in front of man. See more »

Quotes

Tommy Gibbs: You can sleep until noon, if you want anything, just press a button.
Mama Gibbs: Me? Live in this apartment? Why they'd hang me right off that terrace, Jew folks ain't even allowed here.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Beast (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Boss
Written by James Brown and Fred Wesley
Performed by James Brown
See more »

User Reviews

 
Hail the mighty Williamson for defining the "blaction" era.
18 February 1999 | by emmSee all my reviews

BLACK CAESAR is only the first half in the gangster epic of Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson). It has attitude, and comes up strong in detailing the urbanized ghetto culture in a gritty style. Compare this to THE GODFATHER, if you will, because there isn't a lot going on here that its second-half sequel HELL UP IN HARLEM actually offers much more to the story (Maltin, take note of this!). Both films gave Williamson the spotlight he deserved in show business with his mean, dirty style of action-packed influence. This one's just warming up. Best scene to remember: Gibbs putting on the shoe polish of a white man's face to resemble Al Jolson, only in beating the living daylights out of him as he shouts "Mammy! Mammy!". As you'd normally expect for a "blaction" classic, it's pure entertainment, and James Brown's soul music score (absent in the sequel) is the best I've heard. There is a call for examination on Gibbs' "superior" gang who wants to rule over the opposing race, a plot that sometimes goes overboard and needs to be studied. You need to check out and watch BOTH of these titles simultaneously to avoid instant confusion, letting them stick together into a three-hour movie on its own.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Black Caesar See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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