Black Caesar (1973)
Pssst, want to check out Black Caesar in our new look?
See all comments
Black Caesar is essentially the blaxploitation equivalent of a Scorsese gangster film, with the same rise and fall, told like a biopic even when it isn't one, a loose structure informing character, but every sequence not necessarily integral to the plot (heck, there's a bit in the ending that reminded me of The Departed's own). It leans real hard into the antagonists' racism to make sure you root for Fred Williamson's ambitious gangster even though he's a bad dude, but you do (give or take), and the way he climbs the ladder from street kid to self-styled "Caesar" has some satisfying rungs. But it's the final act that really grabbed me. While the movie doesn't really work off Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, it IS a tragedy of betrayal, and the conspirators ARE going to stab Caesar in the back. It's not stabby-stab and done, but rather an extended, desperate chase through the streets while things are going down elsewhere in the organization, then a worthy final confrontation with the movie's main antagonist that harks back to the beginning, well done. The final, bleak ending is quite proper, but was never shown outside of Europe (where they enjoy great tragedy, I guess). Instead, Black Caesar was primed for a quick sequel a darker ending would have obviated.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!