- Adaptation Displacement: While the film has been overshadowed by its own theme song, the novels have faded into complete obscurity. (Which is actually rather a shame - they're pretty good.)
- Ear Worm: The theme song.
- Fair for Its Day: Sure, the TV movies stripped out much of what made John Shaft cool, but it still made Roundtree/Shaft the first black lead of a primetime procedural show.
- Just Here for Godzilla: The film is one of the best Blaxploitation flicks, and was a huge hit that saved its studio from bankruptcy and led to two sequels and a TV series. But that theme song all by itself is what people remember.
- Memetic Badass: Shaft.
- Memetic Mutation: Daaaaamn right.
- A bad mother— shut your mouth!
- We can dig it!