Film - The Gordon Parks Foundation

Parks filming The Learning Tree, 1968.

Among his many accomplishments, Gordon Parks had a groundbreaking career in film—as director, screenwriter, producer, and composer. In 1969, encouraged by acclaimed film director and friend John Cassavettes, Parks became the first African American to write and direct a major Hollywood studio feature film, The Learning Tree, based on his bestselling semiautobiographical novel. His next directorial endeavor, Shaft (1971) helped define a genre then referred to as blaxploitation films. Over 25 years, Parks’s career in film encompassed documentaries, blockbuster Hollywood films, and bio-pics such as Leadbelly and Solomon Northup’s Odyssey depicting the lives of significant Black Americans.


*Flavio, 1964

*Diary of a Harlem Family, 1968

*The World of Piri Thomas, 1968

*The Learning Tree, 1969

*Shaft, 1971

*Shaft’s Big Score!, 1972

*The Super Cops, 1974

*Leadbelly, 1976

*Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, 1984

*Moments Without Proper Names, 1987

*Martin, 1990


The Learning Tree - movie poster, 1969

The Learning Tree - promotional poster, 1969

Shaft - movie poster, 1971

Shaft - promotional image, 1971

Shaft - movie poster, 1971 (Japanese Release)

Shaft - movie poster, 1971 (Serbian Release)

Shaft's Big Score - movie poster, 1972

Shaft's Big Score - movie poster, 1972 (Italian Release)

The Super Cops - movie poster, 1974

Leadbelly - movie poster, 1976


Excerpt from Diary of a Harlem Family, 1968