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Black Caesar (1973)

Ex-football player Fred Williamson portrays Tommy Gibbs, a ruthlessly ambitious young man who climbs to the top of the New York crime syndicate by first wooing and then exterminating Mafia leaders.

Building up the Harlem turf given to him by a white gang leader, Gibbs quickly becomes well-heeled, hires a syndicate lawyer, buys the lawyer’s condominium apartment completely furnished (Gibbs’ mother is the maid there and he gives her the place) and steals the Mafia’s incriminating ledgers detailing years of bribes to city officials, thus ensuring the police won’t touch his burgeoning operation.

His killings and other pastimes offend his playmate Helen (Gloria Hendry), who takes up with his best friend, Joe (Phillip Roye).

Art Lund appears as the corrupt racist cop, McKinney, who ends up having to shine Gibbs’ shoes while singing Mammy in blackface. The amazing ending was shot on the streets of New York, with Gibbs being gunned down in front of Tiffany’s.

A rushed sequel, Hell Up in Harlem, hit screens just 11 months after Black Caesar was released.


Tommy Gibbs
Fred Williamson
Gloria Hendry
Momma Gibbs
Minnie Gentry
Art Lund
Mr Gibbs
Julius W Harris
Reverend Rufus
D’urville Martin
Don Pedro Colley
Val Avery
Joe Washington
Phillip Roye
Alfred Coleman
William Wellman Jr
James Dixon
Patrick McAllister
Virginia Coleman
Myrna Hansen
Tommy as a Boy
Omer Jeffrey
Joe as a Boy
Michael Jeffrey

Larry Cohen