Coffy - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Coffy Reviews

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½ August 21, 2016
It's got a pretty standard blaxploitation plot (or at least one that would become standard), and a couple of moments are a bit (unintentionally) ridiculous. But it's well written, skillfully directed, and Pam Grier's performance is outstanding; she moves from concerned sister to gentle nurse to potty-mouthed, shotty-toting vigilante to haunted, jilted woman with complete aplomb. Sure, you could call it sexist, what with Coffy's top being torn off every few scenes, but Grier and the character just wear it (or not), and plough on like it's not relevant - "So I'm topless. Who cares? Get outta my way. I got pushers to kill." She can cope. Coffy's never actually a victim, at least not for long, so it kind of balances out (or at least seems to, to me). The score is excellent (Tarantino doesn't steal from amateurs) and complements the superbly-executed action sequences beautifully. Admittedly, my experience of the blaxploitation genre is less than comprehensive, but of all the examples I've seen to date (including Shaft and Cleopatra Jones, along with Grier's follow-up to this, Foxy Brown) Coffy is definitely my favourite.
July 9, 2016
Classic 70's soft core blaxploitation film!
April 19, 2016
Over the course of my cinematic love affair, I have really enjoyed the few films I have seen, either starring Pam Grier, one of my favourite B-movie American actresses, or that were directed by Jack Hill. I can't get enough of especially the films of which they collaborated, 'Foxy Brown' and this, both of which I consider up there with the 'Shaft' trilogy and 'Super Fly' as masterpieces of the 'urban action' genre of the 70's. She, just 24 when she made this, certainly was one of the most beautiful and exciting women ever put on celluloid, and while I also love both Hill's short film 'The Host' and 'Switchblade Sisters' (viewed on one DVD as part of Quentin Tarantino's 'Rolling Thunder' reissue series), here his pacing and filming are on an entirely different level altogether.

It's a shame for us cinephiles that he chose at such an early age, 42 and clearly in his filmmaking prime, to retire from the business to both write novels as well as explore meditation with his wife, but I'm thankful for the films he made. The soundtrack (and most particularly the killer title song) by one of my favourite jazz/funk singer/musicians of the period, Roy Ayers, is up there with Curtis Mayfield's for 'Super Fly' as essential listening for lovers of such music.

Say what you want about him as a filmmaker, but I for one am glad that Tarantino has revived interest in both the actress (casting her as the star of 'Jackie Brown') and the director (through his aforementioned reissue series). It is an under-recognized way that Tarantino has significantly contributed to contemporary American cinema of all sorts, and has helped these unsung heroes from prior generations, who would otherwise be neglected and ignored unjustly from contemporary cinephilic attention.
April 19, 2016
Over the course of my cinematic love affair, I have really enjoyed the few films I have seen, either starring Pam Grier, one of my favourite B-movie American actresses, or that were directed by Jack Hill. I can't get enough of especially the films of which they collaborated, 'Foxy Brown' and this, both of which I consider up there with the 'Shaft' trilogy and 'Super Fly' as masterpieces of the 'urban action' genre of the 70's. She, just 24 when she made this, certainly was one of the most beautiful and exciting women ever put on celluloid, and while I also love both Hill's short film 'The Host' and 'Switchblade Sisters' (viewed on one DVD as part of Quentin Tarantino's 'Rolling Thunder' reissue series), here his pacing and filming are on an entirely different level altogether.

It's a shame for us cinephiles that he chose at such an early age, 42 and clearly in his filmmaking prime, to retire from the business to both write novels as well as explore meditation with his wife, but I'm thankful for the films he made. The soundtrack (and most particularly the killer title song) by one of my favourite jazz/funk singer/musicians of the period, Roy Ayers, is up there with Curtis Mayfield's for 'Super Fly' as essential listening for lovers of such music.

Say what you want about him as a filmmaker, but I for one am glad that Tarantino has revived interest in both the actress (casting her as the star of 'Jackie Brown') and the director (through his aforementioned reissue series). It is an under-recognized way that Tarantino has significantly contributed to contemporary American cinema of all sorts, and has helped these unsung heroes from prior generations, who would otherwise be neglected and ignored unjustly from contemporary cinephilic attention.
March 25, 2016
Coffy is the first female centred blaxsploitation flick, that features a strong female lead (Pam Grier) taking on pimps and drug dealers.
Pam Grier gives an excellent performance as Coffy, a nurse out for revenge after her sister gets hooked on drugs. The story is basic, but the superb direction from now b-movie legend Jack Hill is phenomenal & it's this film that help put him on the map. This was shot in just over 2 weeks to get released before, Cleopatra Jones, a film which the company never got the rights to make. This quickly but brilliantly professionally film made Pam Grier the first black heroine in American Cinema.
Coffy is a fun, fast paced, professionally made and enjoyable revenge flick which came before, Death Wish (which is often called the original revenge thriller), the film that made revenge cool.
January 19, 2016
Unapologetic one-woman avenging force against the connections who supplied the drugs that caused her sister's heroin addiction. Over the top and larger than life with Pam Grier able to back everything up. A tour de force of the blaxploitation genre.
½ October 18, 2015
Pretty good...and surprisingly so.

A nurse, Coffy, is on a personal mission to avenge the death of her sister at the hands of drug dealers.

Good story, solid direction and decent performances. All this is quite surprising as the movie is regarded as "blaxploitation", and is one of the movies that started the genre. The term implies that it is a cheap, exploitative of black people, B-movie, but it is hardly that. Its production values are good and rather than being exploitative, it is empowering.

Great, powerful performance by Pam Grier in the lead role. Good supporting performances.

A seminal movie in the history of black cinema.
½ June 28, 2015
Quintessential blaxploitation film. Pam Grier is a beauty.
½ June 9, 2015
Blaxploitation is so synonymous with the persona of Pam Grier that the subgenere may as well be dubbed as worthless trash when without her. Let's face it: blaxploitation flicks are trash, nudie cuties stirred up with drug violence and gang warfare without enough acumen to make for anything besides low, low, art. For the most part, they consist of a few ticklish one-liners, a myriad of boob flashes, and a hell of a lot of gun shots, cocaine snorts, and shag carpets. Today, we're fond of their terribleness. They remind us of a time when films could be sleazy and unapologetic, bulletproof to critics because they catered to audiences looking for skin, slaughter, and post-Motown blackness.
But Pam Grier doesn't, and never did, disappear into the background noise of better films. As of this moment, you probably can't remember what Tamara Dobson ("Cleopatra Jones") looked like, how Ron O'Neal ("Superfly") sounded when he was high on movie coke - but I guarantee that, in ten years, Grier will still be hanging around in your psyche, personifying the ever elusive film femme that was strong and scrappy but also feminine and sensitive.
As Roger Ebert reminded us in his original review of 1973's "Coffy", Grier essentially reversed the stereotypes strung together by the majority of blaxploitation thrillers. Most gave the man the duty to save the day while the love interest waited around in bed until he finally fixed things up and had time to make some water bedded love. But Grier, or perhaps, writer/director Jack Hill, in an honorably feminist mood, asked a question most left untouched: what would happen if the woman saved the day, and didn't need a man to survive in a cold, hard world of drugs, cash, and hookers?
As "Coffy" opens, its titular matron is pissed. Kills two drug pushers with a shotgun pissed. Is willing to slaughter more criminals pissed. Smacking the blood on her lips pissed. Why? Her sweet little sister, apparently not as precious as she thought, has destroyed her sacred life with laced heroin, laying sick and immobile in a hospital that would rather get rid of her than help her out. Coffy wanted her young sibling to have dreams, to dance, to let her hair down in a wholesome, Doris Day kind of way. So when those hopes are diminished, she decides to get revenge on the drug mavens who gave her the goods in the first place. After violent confrontations continue on in a vicious cycle, she finally sets her sights on crime lord King George (Robert Duqui), who seems to be behind all the street crud that has sabotaged her life. And when it turns out that her congressman boyfriend (Booker Bradshaw) also has a part in the corruption, she figures she may as well throw caution to the wind and go all out.
Grier can do it all: she's a terrific actress, as much of a presence as the mainstream broads that, more than once, stole her thunder, and she's a worthy exhibitionist, proud of her extremely (extremely) curvaceous body and more than happy to flaunt it. But she isn't much like a Russ Meyer girl with busty proportions and not much else - she is so commanding in her sexual prowess that, like Nicki Minaj (I'm going out on a limb here), we find ourselves as much titillated by her presence as we are unsure how to react to it. For Grier (and Coffy), sex is a weapon, and she knows how to use it.
But Grier isn't so dependent on her chest that she forgets to act; she really and truly knows what the hell she is doing and makes "Coffy"'s lame dialogue suddenly seem like urban Shakespeare. Other actors in the room don't even try to give Hill's lazy writing any sort of life; Grier, though, pretends she's reciting something the Academy would give notice to. She makes Coffy a superbly memorable character, not just for her physical presence but also for her craftiness, her sincere, empathetic hatred for the men that destroyed her sister's life.
I won't go into details regarding the productional values of "Coffy"; everything other than Grier, and the funk obsessed soundtrack, instantly leaves the memory with its routine sex, drugs, and revenge plot. It's an average film with a too-good-for-her-material actress as its front-and-center. A shame - most never knew what to do with Grier after the blaxploitation era ended: should she be a villain? A detective? A wise older woman? Thank God Quentin Tarantino swooped down to save her from further career monstrosities through 1997's "Jackie Brown": then and there was she able to prove that she was so much more than an icon of an otherwise trashy 1970s subgenre. She was also a leading lady with class, with major talent. "Coffy" is a showcase for her unique abilities that puts its brazenness aside in favor of a goddess of an actress.
April 20, 2015
good Blaxploitation pic
½ April 19, 2015
Writer/director Jack Hill get's credit for discovering Pam Grier and giving her her first film break with the women-in-prison exploitation classic "The Big Doll House" and he made her a star with "Coffy." Grier stars as a hospital nurse who seeks bloody, violent revenge on those responsible for her junkie sister's weather. She works herself up the drug dealing chain of command, using guns, sex and smarts to to get her bloody revenge. Far from being a PC film, there is just about something to offend everyone (sexism, racism, you name it), but for better or for worse those are the hallmarks of 1970s exploitation filmmaking. The film features a strong supporting cast that includes genre regulars Sid Haig, Allan Arbus and Linda Haynes (who I read quit acting a few yeas later to become a legal secretary in Florida).
March 22, 2015
Coffy could have been a fun film if it had just allowed itself to lighten up a bit and not keep trying to push the envelope.
February 10, 2015
Pretty awesome 70s blaxploitation film. Pimps in bright colored clothes and ridiculous glasses, drugs, violence, corrupt cops... All the fun stuff.
½ February 4, 2015
One of the better known, and altogether superior, films to come out of the golden age of blaxploitation cinema, 'Coffy' travels down a different path to a number of its contemporaries. Driven by revenge, a nurse takes on a drug and fetish prostitution ring. So who better than genre queen Pam Grier to play our strong, three-dimensional heroine? She is in excellent form here, expressing a range of emotions with ease, and the bad guys-both black and white-fulfil their moustache-twirling duties quite nicely.

Tautly edited with a gorgeous soundtrack and costume design to enliven the senses, Jack Hill delivers a compelling crime drama that builds on momentum and spouts a number of quotable lines. A highly entertaining venture that stands high above most in its genre.

Hill's 'Foxy Brown' (1974) was originally written as a sequel to 'Coffy', and sees Grier portraying a similar character in similar circumstances. It upped the violence and body count.
January 30, 2015
Straightfoward and humourless
January 29, 2015
One of my all time favourites. Pam is so hot and it is just a really good revenge flick.
July 29, 2014
Sadistic movie with a Great Soundtrack!
½ April 14, 2014
(42%)
Truth be told this is not one of my favourites, and even though Pam is perfect, I found it more dull than exciting/interesting, and more sleazy than sexy. It is one of - if not the very first movies ever to have a tough black woman as the main character, but on the other hand this still strongly feels like men (and white men at that) are well and truly pulling all the strings.
½ April 9, 2014
This was Pam Grier's first Black-splotation movie. These movies came out in the 1970's and were written, directed by a white guy but used as many under-employed black actors and actresses as they could. Most of them had worked only in television before. The stories were directed at black audiences. The really bad guys were all white and the good guys were all black. The essence of the movie is that Pam Grier plays a nurse whose sister overdoses on heroin. She finds the source and plays a junkie so she can get close to the supplier and kills the pusher and his supplier. Then she finds out from a cop friend that a new mob is moving in to supply the drugs. She then pretends to be a prostitute to get close to the new gangsters. This gives her a chance to show off her sexy body. She finds out her politician boyfriend is taking money from these gangsters. By the end of the movie she manages to kill everyone and wanders off down the beach. The movie blames the nation's drug problem on white gangsters and corrupt politicians. This is an over simplification of the drug problem; however, the Italian Mafia grew to power selling bootleg whisky in the 1920's. Corrupt politicians allowed this. When liquor was legalized and World War II ended the Mafia switched to selling heroin to blacks in the inner cities. By the 1960's the heroin epidemic was so bad that President Nixon launched the war on drugs. By the time this movie was made the Federal Government was making an all out push to cut off the importation of heroin. It's a total fantasy that a single woman could get close enough to drug gangsters to be able to kill them and get away with it. Even if she didn't get convicted of murder, the gangsters would have killed her before the law could catch her. As an excuse to see a naked Pam Grier the movie works. Other than that it's pretty lame.
March 26, 2014
A classic in Blaxpoitation. Basically goes after the people who drugged her younger sister. Pretty typical for the genre and this was sort of remade a few years later with Pam Grier. One of the better for the genre.
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