Hotter than Bond. Cooler than Bullitt, movie posters proclaimed. John Shaft was indeed a shut-your-mouth detective to reckon with, a fact emphasized from the film's start by Isaac Hayes Academy Award-winning Best Original Song and Oscar-nominated score. Richard Roundtree plays the smart, tough confident lead, a private investigator whose hunt for a kidnapped woman puts him in the middle of feuding syndicates. Gordon Parks directs from a screenplay that Ernest Tidyman co-scripted from his own novel. John Shaft is an icon of change from an era of change. Today, Shaft still tells it like it is.