One of the most popular of all the blaxploitation movies, this followed in the bloody wake of Shaft (1971) and, if anything, is even more violent.
Small-time crook John “Goldie” Mickens (Max Julien) returns to the ghettos of Oakland, California after a five-year prison sentence with a plan to achieve money and power by becoming a pimp (or “mack” in the movie’s authentic parlance).
He comes up against white cops and an evil drugs lord and Goldie’s criminal ways juxtapose those of his brother Olinga (Roger E Mosley) and his Black Nationalist efforts to save the black community from drugs and violence.
The morals are as sleazy as the hero while Michael Campus directs at a pace as urgent as the slashing knives he uses.
The movie has since become a cult hit, and Max Julien has been referenced across music genres for decades.
Stevie Wonder included Max in the dedications on his classic album Songs In The Key of Life, and Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have done impersonations of the actor.
He also wrote the screenplay for and co-produced Warner Brothers’ blaxploitation classic Cleopatra Jones.
John ‘Goldie’ Mickens
Max Julien (Maxwell Banks)
Roger E Mosley
Dick Anthony Williams