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Hell Up in Harlem

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Hell Up in Harlem
Theatrical release poster by John Solie
Directed byLarry Cohen
Written byLarry Cohen
Produced byLarry Cohen
StarringFred Williamson
Margaret Avery
Julius Harris
Gloria Hendry
D'Urville Martin
CinematographyFenton Hamilton
Edited byFranco Guerri
Peter Honess
Music byEdwin Starr
Larco Productions
Distributed byAmerican International Pictures
Release date
  • December 16, 1973 (1973-12-16)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1,550,000[1]

Hell Up in Harlem is a 1973 blaxploitation American neo-noir film,[2] starring Fred Williamson and Gloria Hendry. Written and directed by Larry Cohen, it is a sequel to the film Black Caesar.

The film's soundtrack was recorded by Edwin Starr and released by Motown Records in January 1974.


Having survived the assassination attempt at the end of Black Caesar, Tommy Gibbs takes on corrupt New York District Attorney DiAngelo, who had sought to jail Gibbs and his father, Papa Gibbs, in order to monopolize the illicit drug trade. Gibbs decides to eliminate drug pushing from the streets of Harlem, while continuing to carry out his other illicit enterprises. Gibbs falls in love with Sister Jennifer (Margaret Avery), a woman who works with Reverend Rufus, a former pimp who has found a religious calling.

Gibbs and his father have a falling out after Gibbs is told by his enforcer, Zach, that his father ordered the death of Gibbs' ex-wife, Helen. Gibbs and Jennifer move to Los Angeles, leaving Papa Gibbs in charge of the Harlem territory. It is later revealed that Zach himself killed Helen as part of a move to take over the territory, with the assistance of DiAngelo. Gibbs defeats hit men sent to take him out in Los Angeles, while Papa dies from a heart attack while fighting Zach.

Knowing that DiAngelo will be having the New York airports and roads watched, Gibbs flies in to Philadelphia, and then enters New York City on foot in order to carry out a personal war against Zach and DiAngelo.


Release on DVD & HD[edit]

  • In 2001 it was released on DVD.
  • In 2010 it was digitized in High Definition (1080i) and broadcast on MGMHD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Donahue, Suzanne Mary (1987). American film distribution : the changing marketplace. UMI Research Press. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-8357-1776-2. Please note figures are for rentals in US and Canada
  2. ^ Silver, Alain; Ward, Elizabeth; Ursini, James; Porfirio, Robert (2010). Film Noir: The Encyclopaedia. Overlook Duckworth (New York). ISBN 978-1-59020-144-2.

External links[edit]