Gordon's War (1973) Poster

(1973)

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8/10
Harlem shakedown - vigilante style
mdewey21 January 2008
This is by no means another cookie-cutter 70's Black crime drama: Paul W. and his band of Vietnam War Vets have come back to Harlem to try to eradicate the pimps and pushers who are sowing the seeds of devastation in their community. What is significant to me is the well orchestrated and articulated courses of action that they employ to achieve their goals. Gordon (Paul W.), the leader, demands discipline and dedication from his fellow Vet brothers to carry out the difficult tasks at hand and they in turn fulfill those demands by utilizing their own special skill sets in their own individual fashion. Note the technical skills used to set up command headquarters liaison and communication and also the street skills used in flushing out the dope den by "fakin' the funk" to simulate rat poison dope cutting.

The film moves along at a brisk pace, by not overindulging in extreme doses of gratuitous violence and wasted motion. The progression of events is shown in a logical and entertaining fashion, thanks to the directorial skills of Ossie Davis and by injecting "New Birth" cuts into the soundtrack.

Even though this is purportedly a Black film set in Harlem, you don't see any extreme cases of race badgering and "Honkey" this and that name calling. These brothers depicted here have returned to put out any and all hoodlums involved in the Harlem crime scene, whether it's Spanish Harry and his boys in the 'hood or the fat cat suppliers up the ladder in downtown Manhattan. To Gordon and his men, you mess around, you lay around! Even though this film is now 35 years old, the principles are still as applicable to today's problems as they were to the problems back in the day.
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7/10
One of my favorites
Killakai24 March 2007
OK, so this isn't one of the best movies ever made, but it is one of the better Blaxploitation films and is still not very well known.

A Vietnam vet returns home to Harlem, to find out his lady died from an overdose. This Heroin problem is not only a problem for him, but dope and pimps are taking over the whole neighborhood. He wants justice, not just for his woman but for his neighborhood and for his people.

He gets a group of his buddies from the Nam, and they form a a 4 man task force to push the dealers out of Harlem.

This movie is creative and fun, if you don't try to take it too seriously. Fans of the genre will recognize many of the actors in the movie.

This team not only tackles the dealers, the attack the infrastructure, and keep on fighting until they get all the way to the top until they get all the way to the top.

Paul Winfield presence is strong.

This is really more of an crime-action movie than a crime-drama. Car chases, fighting, comedy, and a few slick quotables in it as well.

If you like Blaxploitation flicks, you'll want to see this.
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It would be a shame to call this Blacksploitation..
nuport16 April 2002
I love this one alot I've seen it now about 12 times. Such a great perfomance by the main character .Good gritty Harlem NYC locations and situations.This film really hits home for me ,I grew up on some of those filthy streets .One mans noble mission to rid the neighborhood of this poison called drugs,is the focus of this film .Ozzie we love you ! I only wish this was true life . I would tell anyone to give this a try one evening ,but it seems to be such a rare piece...
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6/10
You are disrespecting all the sisters in the room.
lastliberal26 December 2008
Those looking for classic blaxploitation will find it here: pimps and rug dealers in fancy furs, shooting galleries, naked chicks packaging heroin, black men and white women, and the mafia controlling it all from the shadows.

Paul Winfield had received an Oscar nomination for Sounder the same year as he made this film, and he was to make one of my personal favorites, Conrack, the next year, so this was probably the peak of his acting career.

He is a Vietnam vet who comes home to tragedy and vows to do something. He gathers some friends and starts a private war against the drug dealers. It was an interesting film with many familiar faces in the blaxploitation genre.

Despite the weak ending, it was a good example of a positive blaxploitation film.
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7/10
Solid Blaxploitation revenge flick
HaemovoreRex2 March 2009
Paul Winfield stars as the eponymous hero in this highly satisfying, gritty and violent actioner in which after returning home from Nam and finding his beloved wife has died of an overdose, our hero decides to wage war on the drug pushers, pimps and general low life infesting the streets of Harlem. Unfortunately, Gordon is brought to the swift realisation (painfully!) that one man alone is not enough to tackle the problem, so enlists the aid of some old army buddies including the ever super cool Tony King and promptly sets about coming down heavy on the nefarious wretches who are destroying the neighbourhood.

Bucket loads of glorious violence and some fine action set pieces follow in this solidly rendered flick which is all the more sadly, so little known. Winfield, although hardly pushed in this, is fine as ever as are the rest of the cast and the director really succeeds in making us care about these protagonists in the ever more perilous situation they find themselves in. Special mention also to the highly exciting final chase scene in this although the final conclusion involving the assassination of the apparent 'real' top dog running all of the drugs business in the area is regretfully somewhat confusing not to mention unsatisfyingly abrupt. Nonetheless, such a small matter in no way detracts from the overall entertainment value of all that precedes it. Highly recommended.
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8/10
Believe it or not, this is pretty much the same basic plot as in I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA.
MartinHafer19 January 2009
Now in many ways, GORDON'S WAR and the comedy I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA are very, very dissimilar movies. However, if you think about the basic plot, the stories are practically the same. Both feature a soldier coming home to find out someone they love was killed by gangs of pushers. Both then consist of the leading men gathering a group of Vietnam vets to put the hurt on the dealers and eventually kill off "Mr. Big".

Now GORDON'S WAR might easily be categorized as a "Blaxploitation Film", but in many ways it defies the genre. Whites aren't really even mentioned in this film and most of the warfare is directed against Black drug dealers, so the anti-White America rhetoric is missing. Plus, the film, while violent and idealizing vigilantism, has a much more positive message than many films of the genre. But of course, for those who love Blaxploitation, rest assured that this one still has a lot of amazing violence, lots of boobs and tough "take no crap from anyone" leading men.

In this case, the lead is played by a man not associated with the genre, Paul Winfield. Winfield returns from 'Nam to discover that his wife got hooked on drugs and died. Instead of brooding about it, he vows to clean up the ghetto with the help of his army buddies.

The film, while not especially deep, has a lot of action, a fantastic musical score (one of the best of the era) and is entertaining throughout. Well worth viewing.
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7/10
Paul Winfield wants to get rid of all the drug pushers in Gordon's War
tavm10 February 2012
After playing a villain in Trouble Man, Paul Winfield was then cast by director Ossie Davis as Gordon Hudson, a Vietnam vet who starts an all-out war on the drug pushers in Harlem after his wife died of an overdose. He gets help from fellow veterans Bee Bishop (Carl Lee), Otis Russell (David Downing), and Roy Green (Tony King). Among the people they're after: Luther the Pimp (Carl Gordon) and Spanish Harry (Gilbert Lewis). Not all is serious, though, during one scene Roy gets very lucky with a fine white woman (Jackie Page credited as "Bedroom Girl") and you get to see...oh, watch the movie. Also, music artist Grace Jones appears as Mary, one of many naked women assembling the stuff in abandoned buildings. Lots of cool explosions and a climatic chase of a car pursuing a motorcycle keeps the film on an exciting level. So on that note, Gordon's War is worth a look. P.S. On the Wikipedia site, it's revealed that Lewis was the original King of Cartoons on "Pee-wee's Playhouse". He'd eventually be replaced by William "Blacula" Marshall.
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8/10
It's time to clean up the neighborhood
Woodyanders26 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Take-charge Green Beret Gordon Hudson (a bang-up performance by the always reliable Paul Winfield) returns to Harlem after serving a four year tour of duty in Vietnam. Gordon discovers that the neighborhood has been overrun with drugs, prostitution, and other kinds of organized crime. Gordon rounds up three 'Nam vet buddies so they can wipe out the no-count hoodlums who have corrupted the city. Director Ossie Davis, working from a tight and hard-hitting script by Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander, relates the gripping story at a snappy pace, ably creates and maintains an appropriately harsh and gritty tone, and stages the exciting action-packed climax with real skill and flair. Winfield's strong and commanding presence effortlessly carries the picture; he receives sturdy support from Carl Lee as the amiable Bee Bishop, Tony King as the easygoing Roy Green, and David Downing as the hip Otis Russell. Moreover, there's a neat array of hateful villains: Gilbert Lewis as ruthless kingpin Spanish Henry, Carl Gordon as the slimy and sniveling Luther the Pimp, and Nathan C. Heard as vicious dope pusher Big Pink. Popping up in nifty bits are singer Grace Jones as drug currier Mary and an uncredited Charles McGregor (Fat Freddie in "Superfly") as dope peddler Jim. The outbursts of brutal violence pack a ferocious punch while the grungy Harlem locations add a certain raw authenticity. Victor J. Kemper's slick cinematography makes cool occasional use of split screen and freeze frames. The funky score by Al Elias and Angela Badalamenti hits the get-down groovy-thrilling spot. An excellent urban action winner.
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7/10
From Vietnam to Harlem; - similar jungle, different war
Coventry3 November 2017
I'm certainly not an expert when it comes to Blaxploitation cinema, but I've seen enough films by now to know that I root for the underdog titles rather than the popular blockbusters. Flamboyant and famous genre classics like "Shaft", "Foxy Brown" or "Black Caesar" may be entertaining, but I prefer the raw and desolate atmosphere of unsung gems like "Across 110th Street", "Ganja and Hess", "Fight for your Life" or "The Spook who sat by the Door". Ossie Davis' "Gordon's War" can definitely also be added to that shortlist from now on as well! This film doesn't rely on the groovy charisma of one single lead- player (although Paul Winfield is truly fantastic) but instead it portrays a harsh and saddening image of life in the decaying big city ghettos. Mostly thanks to the authentic Harlem filming locations, in combination with a straightforward no-nonsense script and a handful of marvelous action sequences, "Gordon's War" is a rewarding Blaxploitation gem worth tracking down. Decorated war hero Gordon Hudson returns from Vietnam only to find out that his beloved wife died of an overdose and that a whole generation of Harlem youngsters is falling victim to lousy heroine. You know the revenge/vigilante routine from here onward: Gordon assembles his army buddies and go back to war, only this time it's a personal battle against the drug pushers on the streets and crime lords who provide them. Apart from being a fast- paced and competently made thriller, "Gordon's War" is also memorable for featuring one of the most inventive safe raids I've ever seen and the bizarre supporting role of Grace Jones in her first screen appearance. The abrupt finale is a bit of a letdown, though, and the film could have done without the clichéd "oh-we-used-to-be-so-happy" flashbacks.
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6/10
Gordon's War delivers the goods.
tarbosh2200021 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Gordon Hudson (Winfield) comes home to Harlem after serving in Vietnam. Once he gets there, he is angered, saddened, and shocked by what he sees. Drug pushers, pimps, prostitutes, junkies and other undesirables have turned Harlem into a wasteland. Drawing upon his combat training, he sees his mission as driving out the pushers and pimps, and he simply continues the war once home. In order to do this, he reaches out to his buddies Bee Bishop (Lee), Otis Russell (Downing), and Roy Green (King). They set up a command post in one of the many abandoned buildings in their area. They then proceed to clean up the streets in the most effective way: vengeance. You may be asking yourself how they know who to focus on, but with names like Big Pink (Heard), Spanish Harry (Lewis) and the dead giveaway Luther the Pimp (Gordon), their work is cut out for them. Will they rid the streets of the baddies and clean up their home? Or will they all lose GORDON'S WAR? Find out today! Excellently directed by Ossie Davis, Gordon's War is a winner. Davis adds a lot of nice little, subtle touches that keep the viewer highly entertained. You really do care about Gordon and his compatriots' plight. You want badly for them to succeed. The movie combines many of our favorite things that we're always looking out for: gritty NYC locations, a tough, no-nonsense approach, good character development, the setup of a command center, and the classic "assembling a team" scene, and of course, revenge, revenge, revenge. Among other noteworthy items, of course.

This was before another one of our favorites, the "Cleaning Up the Community" montage really took hold - the whole film is Gordon and his friends cleaning up the community. Whether this movie is actually Blaxploitation remains in question - simply because it has Black characters automatically pigeonholes it as "Blaxploitation"? However, nostalgia fans will see a lot of their favorite things on screen: gigantic cars, fly threads and hip lingo. One of our favorite moments took place in a roller skating rink. No matter what subgenre of action movie may arise, it wouldn't be complete without the final abandoned warehouse shootout. A very cool chase caps things off nicely.

Featuring the perfectly-chosen music of Barbara Mason and New Birth, Gordon's War delivers the goods.
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