6.5/10
2,772
38 user 49 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 ... 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El padrino de Harlem 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Capt. McKinneys sidearm is a pre-War Colt Official Police revolver with a four-inch barrel. 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 »

Alternate Versions

In the original theatrical version, when a wounded Tommy Gibbs is seen wandering in the city's slums at the film's conclusion. The film fades to the New York skyline with the caption August 22, 1972 appearing and then the end credits. However, the European version includes a scene before it when a street gang rob, beat and leave Tommy for dead. Strangely, that version was made available for all VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray copies issued by MGM. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Caligula III (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Like It Is, Like It Was
Written by James Brown and Fred Wesley
Performed by James Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Sum Didn't Equal the Parts
8 April 2014 | by Uriah43See all my reviews

Having grown up in extreme poverty in New York City and seeing firsthand the corruption, racism and criminal activity of those in law enforcement, "Tommy Gibbs" (Fred Williamson) decides that he wants to rise to the top and doesn't care what it takes. So he murders a mobster in cold blood to ingratiate himself with a rival kingpin and for this is allowed to set up his own small operation in an unprofitable part of Harlem. What follows is a steady rise to power helped in great measure by his obtaining some ledgers which list all of the corrupt politicians and the payments made to them under the table. Now, as far as a "blaxploitation film" is concerned this one wasn't too bad. Fred Williamson performed decently enough but my main concern was that it seemed like the sum didn't equal the parts. To be more specific, there were some very good scenes but they weren't connected very well. All in all then it wasn't a bad film and those who enjoy movies in this genre might like this one too. I rate it as average.


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