2019 'Shaft's Richard Roundtree.

2019 'Shaft's Richard Roundtree.

Legendary actor and Hollywood icon Richard Roundtree passed away in 2023 after a long battle with cancer at the age of 81.

Best known for playing the iconic character John Shaft in five movies including the original 'Shaft' and the 2000 reboot starring Samuel L. Jackson, Roundtree also appeared in the groundbreaking TV series 'Roots', as well as popular movies like 'Earthquake', 'Se7en', 'George of the Jungle', 'Brick', and 'Speed Racer'.

Roundtree's final film is the action-comedy 'Thelma,' which also stars Oscar-nominee June Squibb and opens in theaters on June 21st. Roundtree's final performance is already earning the late actor some of the best reviews of his long career.

In honor of 'Thelma's release, Moviefone is counting down the 20 best movies of Richard Roundtree's legendary career, including his last.

Let's begin!


20. 'Corky Romano' (2001)

Peter Berg, Chris Penn and Chris Kattan in 'Corky Romano'.

(L to R) Peter Berg, Chris Penn and Chris Kattan in 'Corky Romano'. Photo: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Corky Romano (Chris Kattan) is a bumbling, simpleton, veterinarian and the youngest, outcast son of an aging gangster, named Pops Romano (Peter Falk), who calls upon Corky to infiltrate the local FBI and retrieve and destroy evidence being used to incriminate Pops for racketeering charges.


19. 'Steel' (1997)

When a renegade military reject puts new superweapons in dangerous hands, John Henry Irons (Shaquille O'Neal) becomes Steel. Wearing body armor, wielding a fearsome electrohammer and riding a gadget-packed motorcycle, he's ready to wage war... if he can fix the untimely glitches in his untested gear.

Steel

Steel

"Heroes don't come any bigger."
43
PG-131 hr 37 minAug 15th, 1997


18. 'Man Friday' (1975)

Englishman Robinson Crusoe (Peter O'Toole), stranded alone on an island for years, is overjoyed to find a fellow man, a black islander whom he names Friday (Roundtree). But Crusoe cannot overcome the shackles of his own heritage and upbringing and is incapable of seeing Friday as anything other than a savage who needs Crusoe's brand of cultural and religious enlightenment. Friday attempts to share his own more generous and unashamed culture, but ultimately realizes that Crusoe can never see him as anything but an inferior being. With that awareness, Friday sets out to turn the tables on Crusoe.

Man Friday

Man Friday

68
PG1 hr 55 minMar 4th, 1975


17. 'George of the Jungle' (1997)

Deep in the African jungle, a baby named George (Brendan Fraser), the sole survivor of a plane crash, is raised by gorillas. George grows up to be a buff and lovable klutz who has a rain forest full of animal friends: Tookie, his big-beaked toucan messenger; Ape, a witty talking gorilla; and Shep, a peanut-loving pooch of an elephant. But when poachers mess with George's pals, the King Of Swing swings into action.

George of the Jungle

George of the Jungle

"Watch out!"
56
PG1 hr 32 minJul 15th, 1997


16. 'Escape to Athena' (1979)

During the World War II, the prisoners of a German camp in a Greek island are trying to escape. They not only want their freedom, but also seek an ineffable treasure hidden in a monastery at the summit of the island's mountain.

Escape to Athena

Escape to Athena

"The patriot, the professor, the comic and the stripper... were fighting for what they believed in... Getting rich!"
56
PG2 hr 5 minJun 6th, 1979


15. 'Shaft' (2019)

Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree in 2019's 'Shaft'.

(L to R) Samuel L. Jackson and Richard Roundtree in 2019's 'Shaft'. Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

JJ, aka John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher), may be a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, but to uncover the truth behind his best friend’s untimely death, he needs an education only his dad can provide. Absent throughout JJ’s youth, the legendary locked-and-loaded John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) agrees to help his progeny navigate Harlem’s heroin-infested underbelly.

Shaft

"More Shaft than you can handle."
65
R1 hr 51 minJun 14th, 2019
Showtimes & Tickets


14. 'What Men Want' (2019)

Magically able to hear what men are thinking, a sports agent (Taraji P. Henson) uses her newfound ability to turn the tables on her overbearing male colleagues.

What Men Want

"She can hear men's thoughts. Let the games begin."
62
R1 hr 57 minFeb 8th, 2019
Showtimes & Tickets


13. 'Game for Vultures' (1980)

The South African businessman David Swansey (Richard Harris) is delivering illegal German helicopters to Rhodesia That makes the patriot Gideon Marunga (Roundtree) an angry man.

Game for Vultures

Game for Vultures

"In every war there are those who kill and those who make a killing"
R1 hr 53 minSep 17th, 1980

The South African businessman David Swansey is delivering illegal German helicopters to Rhodesia That makes the patriot Gideon Marunga an angry man Read the Plot


12. 'Earthquake' (1974)

Various interconnected people struggle to survive when an earthquake of unimaginable magnitude hits Los Angeles, California.

Earthquake

Earthquake

"When the big one finally hits L.A."
61
PG2 hr 3 minNov 15th, 1974


11. 'Maniac Cop' (1988)

Innocent people are brutally killed on the streets of New York by a uniformed police officer. A young cop, Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell), finds himself marked as the chief suspect after his wife is murdered.

Maniac Cop

Maniac Cop

"You Have The Right To Remain Silent... Forever."
61
R1 hr 25 minMay 13th, 1988
Showtimes & Tickets


10. 'Shaft's Big Score!' (1972)

Richard Roundtree in 'Shaft's Big Score!'.

Richard Roundtree in 'Shaft's Big Score!'. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

John Shaft (Roundtree) is back as the lady-loved black detective cop on the search for the murderer of a client.

Shaft's Big Score!

Shaft's Big Score!

"Last time he was nice. This time he's ice!"
60
R1 hr 44 minJun 8th, 1972
Showtimes & Tickets


9. 'City Heat' (1984)

Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood in 'City Heat'.

(L to R) Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood in 'City Heat'. Photo: Warner Bros.

Set in Kansas City in 1933, Clint Eastwood plays a police lieutenant known simply by his last name, Speer. Burt Reynolds plays a former cop turned private eye named Mike Murphy. Both Speer and Murphy served on the force together and were once good friends, but are now bitter enemies. When Murphy's partner is slain they team up again to fight the mob.

City Heat

City Heat

"When a hotshot cop and a wise-guy detective get together... the heat is on!"
55
PG1 hr 33 minDec 7th, 1984


8. 'Moving On' (2023)

Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda star in director Paul Weitz's 'Moving On.'

(L to R) Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda star in director Paul Weitz's 'Moving On.'

Two old friends (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) reconnect at their friend's funeral, and decide to exact revenge on the widower who wronged all three of them decades earlier.

Moving On

"It's never too late to get even."
61
Not Yet Rated1 hr 25 minMar 17th, 2023
Showtimes & Tickets


7. 'Shaft in Africa' (1973)

Richard Roundtree in 'Shaft in Africa'.

(Right) Richard Roundtree in 'Shaft in Africa'. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Detective John Shaft (Roundtree) travels incognito to Ethiopia then France to bust a human trafficking ring

Shaft in Africa

Shaft in Africa

"Shaft is stickin itall the way"
60
R1 hr 52 minJun 14th, 1973


6. 'Speed Racer' (2008)

Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Kick Gurry and Emile Hirsch in 'Speed Racer'.

(L to R) Christina Ricci, Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, Kick Gurry and Emile Hirsch in 'Speed Racer'. Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Speed Racer (Emile Hirsch) is a young and brilliant racing driver. When corruption in the racing leagues costs his brother his life, Speed must team up with the police and the mysterious Racer X (Matthew Fox) to bring an end to the corruption and criminal activities.

Speed Racer

"A world built for speed."
63
PG2 hr 15 minMay 9th, 2008


5. 'Shaft' (2000)

Samuel L. Jackson and Jeffrey Wright in 2000's 'Shaft'.

(L to R) Samuel L. Jackson and Jeffrey Wright in 2000's 'Shaft'. Photo: Paramount Pictures.

New York police detective John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) arrests Walter Wade Jr. (Christian Bale) for a racially motivated slaying. But the only eyewitness disappears, and Wade jumps bail for Switzerland. Two years later Wade returns to face trial, confident his money and influence will get him acquitted -- especially since he's paid a drug kingpin (Jeffrey Wright) to kill the witness.

Shaft

Shaft

"Still the man, any questions?"
60
R1 hr 39 minJun 15th, 2000
Showtimes & Tickets


4. 'Brick' (2005)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Brick'.

(Left) Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Brick'. Photo: Focus Features.

After a phone call from his ex-girlfriend (Emilie de Ravin), teenage loner Brendan Frye (Joseph Godron-Levitt) learns that her dead body was found. Vowing to solve her murder himself, he must infiltrate high-school cliques that he previously avoided. His search for the truth brings him before some of the school’s roughest characters.

Brick

"A detective story."
68
R1 hr 50 minMar 31st, 2006
Showtimes & Tickets


3. 'Se7en' (1995)

Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in 'Se7en'.

(L to R) Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in 'Se7en'. Photo: New Line Cinema.

Two homicide detectives are on a desperate hunt for a serial killer whose crimes are based on the "seven deadly sins" in this dark and haunting film that takes viewers from the tortured remains of one victim to the next. The seasoned Det. Sommerset (Morgan Freeman) researches each sin in an effort to get inside the killer's mind, while his novice partner, Mills (Brad Pitt), scoffs at his efforts to unravel the case.

Se7en

Se7en

"Seven deadly sins. Seven ways to die."
84
R2 hr 7 minSep 22nd, 1995
Showtimes & Tickets


2. 'Thelma' (2024)

Richard Roundtree and June Squibb in 'Thelma', a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

(L to R) Richard Roundtree and June Squibb in 'Thelma', a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Deceived by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson, a 90-year-old woman (June Squibb) sets out on a quest to reclaim what was taken from her.

Thelma

"Revenge has never been sweeter."
PG-131 hr 38 minJun 21st, 2024
Showtimes & Tickets


1. 'Shaft' (1971)

Richard Roundtree in 1971's 'Shaft'.

Richard Roundtree in 1971's 'Shaft'. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Cool black private eye John Shaft (Roundtree) is hired by a crime lord to find and retrieve his kidnapped daughter.

Shaft

Shaft

"The mob wanted Harlem back. They got Shaft...up to here."
65
R1 hr 40 minJul 2nd, 1971
Showtimes & Tickets