- Awesome Music: The theme is so funkalicious it can make suicidal priests recover from their depression.
- 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.)
- Complete Monster: Vincent Amafi from Shaft in Africa opens the film executing a diplomat's son who got too close to the truth that Amafi is running a modern-day slave trade. Amafi offers young men from Africa new lives, only to sell them into labor-intensive jobs for literal pennies where they work 7 days a week for 16 hours per day with no way to speak up lest they face deportation or murder. Using slave labor on his own estates, Amafi has an apartment full of enslaved workers burned down and the workers killed in an attempt to murder the hero John Shaft. It is revealed he is keeping a group of prisoners in his own estate's dungeons, even rigging the cells with explosives to kill them all should Shaft not surrender.
- 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, as well as two modern revivals. But that theme song all by itself is what people remember.
YMMV / Shaft