(Photo: American International Pictures)
Today marks the 38th anniversary of the cult classic Coffy. Released on June 13, 1973, the blaxploitation film was written and directed by Jack Hill and starred Pam Grier as a Black female vigilante. It was the first starring role for the iconic actress.
Fed up with drugs and organized crime ravaging the inner city, Nurse “Coffy” Coffin goes for revenge after her 11-year-old sister is hospitalized and later dies after shooting some contaminated heroin. In response, Coffy takes to the streets with a loaded shotgun and the determination to shut down the drug trade. During her pursuit, she takes out drug lords, mobsters and pimps that get in her way. The film initially garnered mixed reviews.
Roger Ebert wrote, “Coffy is slightly more serious and a little more inventive than it needs to be.” More favorable reviews came from outlets like TV Guide’s Movie Guide. They wrote, “If you're looking for nonstop, no-holds-barred exploitation, look no further. Pam Grier's first solo starring role is an enormously entertaining Black action classic.” For many Black moviegoers, Coffy provided a dose of escapism for those who yearned to see Black characters fighting back against the corruption and crime soiling their surroundings.