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1972 Blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks Jr.
Ron O'Neal stars as Priest, an up-and-coming successful cocaine dealer in New York City. After getting mugged by two junkies, he realizes that his profession will eventually only end in death or prison, so he decides it's time to call it quits. In order to raise money to start a fresh, crime-free life, however, he needs to perform One Last Job by making a 30 kilo deal. Too bad that almost every person he interacts with (save two obligatorily antagonistic white cops) seems to make it their mission in life to keep him in the business...
This film is known for its soundtrack, written and produced by soul singer Curtis Mayfield. Superfly is one of the few films ever to have been out-grossed by its soundtrack. Ironically, in later years, Mayfield came to hate the film, calling it "a TV commercial for cocaine."
Some critics believe the film's glorification of drug dealers serves to subtly critique the civil rights movement's failure to provide better economic opportunities for black America and that the portrayal of a black community controlled by drug dealers serves to highlight that the initiatives of the civil rights movement were far from fully accomplished.
However the filmmakers maintain that it was their desire to show the negative and empty aspects of the drug subculture. This is evident in the movie from the beginning as Priest communicates his desire to leave the business. As said above, nearly every character in film, with the notable exception of his main squeeze, tries to dissuade Priest from quitting; their chief argument being that dealing and snorting is the best he could ever achieve in life. This contrast underscores a major theme in artistic works - the individual vs the group collective.
- Big Applesauce
- But Not Too Black: O'Neal is quite fair-skinned; at one point a character in the film calls Priest "white-looking". He responds by punching him.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The soundtrack.
- Drugs Are Bad: If the filmakers' claims are to be taken as true.
- Good Cop, Bad Cop
- I Am Not Shazam: "Superfly" is the name of the most famous song of the soundtrack. The character is never called this; his name's Priest.
- One Last Job