OPV: Top Ten 70's Black Movie Trailers

August 23, 2007

These are all movies that I own and highly recommend. And not in an ironic way!

The Spook Who Sat By The Door

Great movie and great soundtrack by Herbie Hancock. Directed by Ivan Dixon a.k.a. the Black guy from "Hogan's Heroes."

The Thing With Two Heads

There are no words to describe the transcendent genius of this film.

Black Caesar

Very cool movie that also has a fascinating DVD commentary from the director Larry Cohen (as does its sequel, "Hell Up In Harlem"). Lots of insight into what "blaxpoitation" era filmmaking was really like behind the scenes.

Truck Turner

Surprisingly Isaac Hayes' only starring role from this era, also featuring extremely badass turns from Yaphet Kotto and Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura from Star Trek).

Scream Blacula Scream

The sequel to Blacula which steps it up by adding Pam Grier in the mix. Starring Shakespearean stage actor William Marshall, later known as King of Cartoons on "Peewee's Playhouse."


Pam Grier's breakthrough starring role in '73.. this DVD also has a nice director's commentary from Jack Hill.

Putney Swope
Trailer not embeddable
Umm ok, this trailer makes no damn sense. And the movie also makes no damn sense. But I promise it's worth tracking down. Classic late 60's freakout about a black man who accidentally becomes head of a top white ad agency. Directed by Robert Downey Sr. (the actor's dad, yes), and featuring one of the first screen appearances by the great Antonio Fargas.

Across 110th Street

Grittiest and least campy movie on the list, arguably best film of the genre. Once again Yaphet Kotto and Antonio Fargas, plus Zorba the Greek and Tony Franciosa. Can't get more gangsta than that.


Loosely speaking a black version of "The Exorcist," which as the story goes got disappeared by that movie's lawyers right after it came out. A good print is hard to find but it's worth the effort.

Trouble Man

Including this mainly to honor the stellar Marvin Gaye soundtrack, but the movie's decent as well. Also directed by Ivan Dixon. (I think this and "Spook" were the only films he ever directed?)

Honorable Mention: Rockers

Doesn't really fit the theme but I'm throwing it in because it's the coolest movie ever made.

Any others you think should have made the list? (Lots of my favorites just don't seem to have trailers online, like "Watermelon Man," The Last Poets Movie "Right On," "The Final Comedown," "Slaughter's Big Rip-Off," etc.)

Posted by jsmooth995 at August 23, 2007 12:11 AM

Thanks for putting me up on these J! That "Thing With Two Heads" looks absolutely hilarious! And I love how no matter what sort of exploitative theme the movies take, the main black character is still always a "Soul Brother"! Plus...Pam Grier looks fine as hell!

I'll be sure to try and locate these for my collection - this type of film is very underrepresented - even if I was to own them just for the soundtracks!

Posted by: Gezzius at August 23, 2007 4:28 AM

Cotton Comes to Harlem and Cleopatra Jones are 2 that I think should have made this list. But I am cutting major slack because you have Coffy on the list my my my a young Pam makes the older one look EVEN better.

I have this documentary on my netflix queue, 'BaadAssss Cinema' that I'm am positive will be great.

Posted by: Belve at August 23, 2007 5:40 AM

How about "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song". I would consider that a classic. Considered by some to be the first Blaxploitation film.

Posted by: Big Fonz at August 23, 2007 11:08 AM

One Word, Jay. Sweetback. One of my favorites from the era.

Posted by: Cynthia at August 23, 2007 12:33 PM

Word, I left out Sweetback cuz I didn't want to do the most most obvious ones, but I probably shouldn't assume that people know it as well as Superfly and and Shaft et al, even though it's the grandaddy of them all.

Posted by: Jay Smooth at August 23, 2007 1:36 PM

hey, what about tony brown's classic "the white girl"?

Posted by: DebbyNYC at August 23, 2007 1:47 PM

Thanks Smooth for the "Putney Swope," might as well mention "Pound;" and a really big thanks for "Trouble Man" as you know the soundtrack features my theme. A big one you need to include is "Wattstax," the original trailer is something you really want to put alongside the rerelease trailer of the film. It definely needs to be in everyones collection. "Malinda" is a black remake of "Laura" and also easily the best women centered film ever made on the Black side. Last question: (along Mama Smooth's thread)Are you still showing "The White Girl" yearly?

Anon.......anthony -
T (from thePatterson's takingthetraintoTibet.)

Posted by: Anthony Sloan at August 23, 2007 3:56 PM

J, In the future, can you do some musical perspective takes of international hip hop? I surf youtube and found a good Moroccan group but have no idea what they are saying!! The group is called H-Kayne . I have no idea if that is pronounced H kane or h kahnye or ha-kahyne ... but do a search for their videos.

Posted by: Deidra at August 23, 2007 4:21 PM

The trailer for 'Dr Black and Mr Hyde' is really great, dunno if its online- is Putney Swope really a blaxploitation film, though?

Posted by: brandonsoderberg at August 23, 2007 5:10 PM

word, I do own Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde and it is online, actually left it off cuz the trailer would require a nudity warning lol.

Putney Swope def. not blaxploitation per se, nor is Across 110th St. arguably, but note I said "70's black movies" not blaxploitation.. (though Putney is also technically from 1969)

Posted by: Ja y Smooth at August 23, 2007 5:52 PM

Nice post. These are way before my time, but I'll definately keep an eye out. This may be a litte too far into the 80's but the movie Crack House , which is about (you guessed it) an LA crackhouse ran by the great Jim Brown, could be the funniest movie I've ever seen. Y'all should definately check it out.

Posted by: james at August 23, 2007 9:19 PM

If you talkin funny 80's black movie's what about "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka? Now that was hilarious.

Posted by: Big Fonz at August 23, 2007 11:41 PM

how about "the education of sonny carson"
i saw another one recently called "sugar hill"
that was pretty entertaining as well...

Posted by: Bozack at August 25, 2007 12:43 PM

"Cornbread, Earl & Me"

"Cooley High"

"Uptown Saturday Night"

"3 The Hard Way"

Posted by: Combat Jack at August 27, 2007 7:18 AM

"The Mack'

Posted by: Combat Jack at August 27, 2007 7:18 AM

any thing wit pam grier innit got my vote!

Posted by: jamrockj at August 27, 2007 5:15 PM

Five on the Black Hand Side, another worth mentioning....but Troubleman was my shit...nobody messes wit Mr.T. In Truck Turner, Nichelle Nichols is fine as hell(even tho' she was on that bitchass Gator's tip.) Black Sampson was also cool(seems Gloria Hendry was everybody's girl)..and the Black Six (an attempt to get every other black football player in front of the camera)..I remember seeing Thomasine and Bushrod (Max Julien's other movie) in the theatres, but it didn't make my collection. JD's Revenge was another classic(possesion) movie...

Posted by: Asiatic at August 31, 2007 5:21 AM

...damn I forgot to mention...in Truck Turner, Yaphet Kotto had to win the oscar for the best (and longest) on screen death in the muthaf*#kin world!!!!!!!! I would suggest you see how this cat died...also I would put Troubleman in the top 3 because Mr. T took shit from no one...and I mean nobody and the soundtrack is also in the top 3 along with Superfly(that movie w/Curtis on the sounds...I could talk for hours) and Black Ceasar(I wish they had gotten James Brown for Hell Up In Harlem as well)..

Posted by: Asiatic at August 31, 2007 5:32 AM

I'd add "hell up in Harlem", the Mack and of course Rudy Ray Moore's "DOLEMITE!"

Peace and thanks for dropping your knowledge and opinons on the net with this blog!

Posted by: swoop at September 12, 2007 6:06 PM

Love your list But u forgot Black Shampoo,Candy Tangerine Man & The Rudy Ray Moore Movies Dolemite & The Human Tornado

Posted by: kenny at September 25, 2007 8:24 PM

where is cooley high

Posted by: karima at October 8, 2007 9:14 PM

where is cooley high

Posted by: karima at October 8, 2007 9:14 PM

THE SOUL OF NIGGER CHARLEY..I have over150 movies from the 70's..and i have the trailers for most of them...peace.

Posted by: mazi at November 13, 2007 10:57 AM

If it's with pam grier or Richard pryor I'll vote then.

Posted by: Tre at January 2, 2008 3:48 PM

You should have put foxy brown on the list Lord know's i love pam grier or you should have put Hit Man on the list but I guess coffy is good enough it was a good movie.(I can't get enough of pam grier Fine self)

Posted by: Tre Carter at January 2, 2008 3:56 PM

My top 6 favorites cooley high,coffy,Foxy brown,Hit Man,Shaft,superfly

Posted by: Tre carter at January 2, 2008 4:02 PM

My top 6 favorites cooley high,coffy,Foxy brown,Hit Man,Shaft,superfly

Posted by: Tre carter at January 2, 2008 4:03 PM

I am looking for a movie called emma may. She moves from mississippi to live with her aunt in california.

Posted by: janet webb at January 25, 2008 3:37 PM

wow............love em all
but how can u leave out sparkle,lady sings the blues, mahogany, johnny tough, trick baby, black mama white mama (the shower seens alone are worth it)i could go on and on but how about white trash exploitation films..... looking for mr goodbar, the little girl who lives down the lane...
frickn awesome

Posted by: layzdayz at January 30, 2008 1:48 PM

Somebody tell me if I was dreaming. My mom would take us to the Drive In as kids. Usually by the time the 3rd movie came on we were asleep. I was still up when the last movie came on. The movie was about this brother that was killed by cops or something. But through his vengence he would choke every body with his dick. I know it sounds fucked up but I could swear that I saw this. My gal is gassing me about this it had to be in 1972 0r 1973. Somebody help a brother out.

Posted by: Corliss Banks at February 11, 2008 10:27 PM

Can someone help a Guy out with a film from the 70's, Black film that is.....
All i remember about this film is a Black Man who was raping women, and i remember a court case in this film ( maybe lengthy Court case )
Can't remember the title or shall i say....was too young to know the title...
I need a real film GENIUS to help me on this one ...PLEASES HELP WWW..

Posted by: PISCES at December 29, 2008 4:35 PM

The film about the guy who chokes his victems with his "man meat" is called 'Welcome Home Brother Charles' and it is ef'n hillarious!!
BTW thanks everyone for all the good tips on movies! I thought i'de seen em' all but clearly, after reading all these posts, I haven't...I can't wait to find a copy of Abby! Thanks y'all...xoxo

Posted by: Kate at July 9, 2009 6:09 AM

Is the movie Emma May or Natalie Cole's song Annie Mae

Posted by: Shay at September 5, 2009 11:59 PM


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Posted by: Green Energy George at September 9, 2010 4:58 PM

1)gloria 2)cotton comes to harlem 3)come back charlston blue 4)miseducation of sonny carson 5)carwash 6)a hero ain't nothing but a sandwich 7)bingo long & the traveling allstars 8)grease lightning 9)mandingo 10)mahogoney

Posted by: dre' day at September 20, 2010 2:28 AM

Hey man what's up love your list, got a question for you, you just maybe my last hope. There was a movie back in the 70s I think or very early 80s, anyway the movie was about these three white guys escaping from a police truck and holding this black family hostage, the father was a preacher and they killed the youngest sons friend who was a white kid and raped the older daughter, The father end up killing the leader at the end of the film, I just can't recall the name of the film. Can you help

Posted by: Muhammad at January 17, 2011 4:41 PM

sparkle the movies of the 70s. you had drugs,sex,mobsters,a family fighting to stay together.inner city kids beating the odds.

Posted by: eric lawyer at January 27, 2011 8:48 AM

Pisces, youre looking for To Kill A Mockingbird

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jim brown movie called "the split" with diahann carrol. It was my first time seeing a beautiful black woman get chewed up by machine gun fire and damm she looked good under the sheets.

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