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The 50 Best New York City Movies

29. Super Fly (1972)

Director: Gordon Parks, Jr.
Leading Actors: Ron O'Neal, Carl Lee, Sheila Frazer
NYC Neighborhoods Featured: East Village, Harlem

Super Fly may be the most transcendental of the blaxploitation films. It starts in pretty standard generic fashion, a chase scene through abandoned alleys, cartoonish sound effects, rough close-quarters camera work, facial hair for days, et cetera. But what makes Super Fly special is the depth of Youngblood Priest, the film's cocaine-dealing hero. In a rather dreamy post-coital bridge walk with his love interest, he has one of the most existential conversations you'll ever see in a film of this genre. But not to hammer this home too hard, the screenplay dusts everything else with plentiful sexism, racism, and homophobia. If you don't feel like picking apart the social concerns, watch Super Fly for the amazing soundtrack, one of the greatest in film history, courtesy of Curtis Mayfield. And don't forget the strange slow-mo bathtub sex scene. —GT

"Gritty Realism"

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