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Super Fly is a 1972 blaxploitation film directed by Gordon Parks, Jr., and stars Ron O'Neal as Youngblood Priest, a black cocaine dealer who is trying to quit the underworld drug business.

This film is known for its soundtrack, written and produced by soul singer Curtis Mayfield (see Super Fly ). Super Fly is one of the few films ever to have been outgrossed by its soundtrack.

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 filmakers 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. 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.

Plot summary

Priest (Ron O'Neal) is an up-and-coming successful cocaine dealer in New York Citymarker. On his way to a meeting point in Harlem early one morning he is mugged by two junkies. Priest beats one up and gives chase to the other where he gets his money back and kicks him in an apartment. Priest then goes to meet his partner in crime, Eddie (Carl Lee), who is playing craps downtown, to discuss his future plans. The pair go back to Eddie's apartment where Priest tells Eddie he wants out of the business but wants to make one last big score and to make one million dollars in four months. Eddie, who tries to talk him out of it as he loves the lifestyle, reluctantly goes along with Priest's ambitions and the pair agree to make one last big score.

After Eddie leaves, Fat Freddie and Nate Adams (Priest's main dealers) turn up at his apartment to make their payments. Fat Freddie is short and doesn't have his money. Priest warns him that either he is going to get his money by robbing someone or he will put his wife out on "whore's row". Priest gives them a gun and the pair go out to rob a Mafia member after they follow him to New Jerseymarker. Priest meets Eddie at Scatter's restaurant (Julius Harris). After watching the band play (The Curtis Mayfield Experience), the two go into the kitchen to discuss business with Scatter. Priest tells Scatter his plans and that he needs him to provide him with 30 kilograms of coke.

Scatter, who has retired from the cocaine business, gets frustrated at them and tells them he cannot help. After Eddie angers Scatter, Scatter puts a gun to his head. Scatter then agrees to supply Priest the 30 keys. The trio agree to a meeting time and Priest and Eddie leave to meet Fat Freddie and Nate. Freddie has Priest's money from the successful holdup and the three of them talk over a beer. Priest accidentally reveals to Freddie and Nate that he is picking up one key of coke from Scatter. Priest then goes home to a romantic evening with his girlfriend, Georgia (Sheila Frazier).

The following day, Freddie is arrested in Harlem for assault and is questioned by narcotics detectives (cocaine was found on him) who beat him into a confession. Freddie rats out Priest and Eddie and tells the police that there are around 50 family members (dealers) and that Priest and Eddie are picking up a key of coke that night from Scatter (who pays off the same detectives). Freddie is released but tries to escape outside the police precinct and is hit by a car and killed. Meanwhile Priest and Georgia are in Central Parkmarker discussing Priest's ambitions in getting out and leaving New Yorkmarker and taking her with him.

Later that night, Priest and Eddie go to pick up one key of coke from Scatter but the detectives are waiting. Alerted, Priest walks away but one of the detectives follows him down a dark street were Priest is ambushed and held at gun point with Eddie who was already arrested. The detectives make a deal with the pair and tell them they can operate but must make payments of $10,000 a month. Priest obviously is uncomfortable with this but Eddie happily agrees saying that 'the man' is on our side.

The pair then goes on to sell a kilo of cocaine, which is shown in a classic photo montage scene with "Pusherman" playing. Priest and Eddie arrive in a bar in Harlemmarker to meet a potential buyer. While they are waiting, three black activists approach them who are trying to shake Priest down for money for their cause. Priest demands they leave as he has a meeting and will not be lured into their scam. Their buyer arrives and samples the cocaine and agrees to make a deal and to 'get it on!'

Priest is at Cynthia's apartment (his other girlfriend who is from Manhattan and has corporate contacts). Priest is unsure about staying with her and the pair has an argument. Scatter arrives at the apartment with information about 'The Man' and asks Priest for $20,000 in cash as he must leave town. After Scatter leaves, he is arrested by the narcotics detectives. The police no longer need Scatter and dispose of him in his Rolls Royce with a large dose of heroin to shut him up. Priest learns of this, and suspecting something is wrong, meets with two mafia contractors in a café to discuss business. Although words are not said, it is clear that Priest is asking them for a contract for murder. This is his insurance policy.

Priest arrives at Eddie's apartment and discusses the murder of Scatter. Telling him the news that he was killed by the police, Priest suggests foul play and that the police were behind it in order to use him and Eddie to make larger buys and to stay in business. Priest demands his half of the money and wants to get out. Eddie tells him that he can't do anything else, especially pimpin' as he doesn't have the 'stomach' for it. Eddie gives him his share and then calls the detectives and tells them that Priest has left with a briefcase full of money. Priest then exchanges his briefcase in the elevator with Georgia who is in disguise. By the time he arrives to his car, the police have arrived. They detain him until the narcotics detectives come and then they all leave. Priest watches Georgia leave with his money knowing it's safe.

Priest is then escorted to the waterfront where Deputy Commissioner Riordan (Sig Shore) is waiting for him. Riordan, who is running the extortion racket, chastises Priest for wanting to leave the business as tells him he will be "nothing more than another two-bit black junkie." A fight breaks out and Priest uses his karate skills to overcome the detectives. Riordan then pulls his gun and the fighting stops. Priest then explains he has placed a murder contract on Riordan and his family if any harm comes to him from the police. He tells him that he's smarter than those other "niggers" and that he has contracted the best killers there are, "White ones, baby! White ones!" Riordan claims that Priest doesn't have any money for something like that as they open his briefcase. Dirty clothes fall out and Priest claims that doing his laundry will not help. Priest then hops into his customized Cadillac Eldorado and drives off, victorious.



The film was financed by two black dentists and Gordon Parks, Sr., who had just directed the cult classic Shaft.Sig Shore, who produced Super Fly, plays Deputy Commissioner Riordan, or "The Man".

Nate Adams coordinated the fashion and wardrobe for the film. He had done several fashion shows prior to Super Fly. He still owns many of the suits, shoes and fedora hats.

Charles McGregor, who plays Fat Freddie, was released from prison before the film's production.


Priest's car is a 1971 customized Cadillac Eldorado. This type of Eldorado had the largest V8 ever used in a production vehicle, an 8.2 L (500 in³) engine. The car belonged to K.C., an actual hustler and pimp from Harlem who plays a pimp in the film. K.C. met Nate Adams in a hotel lobby and was asked if his car could be used in the film. K.C. agreed but later telephoned Nate Adams accusing him of lying, stating, "No niggers are making no movies."

The car was customized by Les Dunham Coachworks of New Jersey, who modified the headlight covers, goddess hood ornament (Rolls Royce/Bentley style), lake pipes and circular porthole windows.

The film helped start a trend for car customization in Americamarker known as the Pimpmobile. Many aspiring drug dealers, gangsters, and pimps modified their cars during the 1970s as a result of watching Super Fly.

DVD Release (Standard Definition)

A standard definition DVD was released by Warner Brothers in 2004. The original red and black logo warner logo is replaced by the updated AOL/Warner logo used at the time to DVD release. Additionally, the end credits on the original film release and video cassette, differs from the DVD. On the original release and videocassette the film ends credits roll with a shot of the top of the Empire State building and the title track ("Superfly") plays. After "The End" is displayed, the film fades to black but Mayfield's "Superfly" continues to play for a few minutes until the track ends. In the DVD release, Warner Brothers decided to fade out the track midway right as "The End" is shown, and again brings up the AOL/Warner logo.

The DVD includes a commentary track by Todd Boyd and the following features:"One Last Deal: A Retrospective".Interview with Ron O'Neal.Curtis Mayfield insights, memories and thoughts on "Super Fly""Behind The Threads"Theatrical Trailer

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