“You’ve got an 8-track stereo, color TV in every room, you’re living the American dream brother!”
That’s just one of many dialog gems that come from the iconic film that functions as much as a time capsule of 1970s culture as it does a gritty urban crime drama. The low-budget film was shot guerrilla style on the streets of New York, giving you a vibrant dose of atmosphere, circa 1972.
Ron O’Neal is Priest, the stylish drug dealer who’s “living the American dream” with his long vinyl coat, fedora, silver cocaine spoon around his neck, and flashy black Cadillac. But Priest wants out, hoping to retire on one final big score. (Though I had to wonder how he expected to live the good life off of $250,000 when a good portion of his product seems to go up his own nose.)
More to the point, this is all the life Priest knows and when a corrupt cop strong-arms Priest and his partner into working the street for him, it looks like Priest will be typecast into his role as a pusherman for good.
Speaking of “Pusherman,” it helps if you dig the Curtis Mayfield song going into the film, because the soundtrack, also by Mayfield, gets a lot of mileage out of the funky tune. [***1/2 out of 5]