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‘Shaft’ Had Company: 10 Films That Defined the Blaxploitation Era

In honor of the fifth film in the "Shaft" franchise debuting in theaters on June 14, here is a ranking of ten movies that defined the original blaxploitation era.

Shaft (2019), Samuel L. Jackson

Warner Bros.

“Shaft” is back in American theaters, and this time a few generations come together: Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as John Shaft II from the 2000 reboot, bringing along Jessie T. Usher (as his son, John “JJ” Shaft Jr.), and Richard Roundtree (the original John Shaft, uncle of Shaft II and great-uncle of JJ). The trio team up to navigate the Harlem underworld and solve a suspicious murder. It is the fifth film in the classic Shaft blaxploitation film series.

But the blaxploitation genre went way beyond “Shaft” itself. Here are the 10 most definitive movies of the original blaxploitation era, all of which were more profound and substantial than they were given credit for at the time.

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