Coffy (1973)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Nurse Coffin by day and Coffy by night—a passionate woman takes justice into her own hands when her innocent little sister, LuBelle, falls prey to the heroin trade. Using a determined will, savvy street smarts, and her luscious body, Coffy tracks down those responsible for her young sister’s addiction. This leads her to corrupt policemen, shady mobsters, and an army of murderous henchmen. Coffy and her sawed-off shotgun will do whatever it takes to clean the mean streets of the city.

‘Coffy’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Coffy (1973)Coffy begins at a bustling Los Angeles nightclub where a well-known drug pusher named Sugarman (Morris Buchanan) enjoys an evening out with several lovely ladies. Grover (Mwako Cumbuka), one of his junkie henchmen, tells him that he’s got a woman outside who is willing to do anything to score some drugs. While Sugarman is quite angry with Grover, once he sees Coffy (Pam Grier) sitting in his car, he’s quite pleased. The three head to Sugarman’s run-down apartment for some elicit sex and a heroin nightcap.

Once there, as Sugarman and Coffy get ready to do the dirty, Coffy pulls a sawed-off shotgun from her macrame purse. She blasts that mofo’s head off of him before he has the chance to blast his other head off on her. While this is happening, Grover is in the other room shooting himself up… with heroin, and now Coffy turns her attention to him.

She tells him her last name is Coffin, and that her sister is 11-year old LuBelle Coffin. She’s now in a hospital with permanent brain damage thanks to the tainted heroin she got from Grover and Sugarman. Looking for some vigilante justice, Coffy forces a terrified Grover to take a lethal hit of heroin. Maybe it’ll kill him. Maybe won’t, but if it does, Grover’s going to fly through the pearly gates with the biggest fucking smile St. Peter’s ever seen. Spoiler alert: it kills him.

Coffy returns to a city hospital where she works as a nurse to finish her shift. As she sits in a waiting room, trying to clam her nerves, a policeman named Carter (William Elliott) arrives with his partner, McHenry (Barry Cahill) to talk to a doctor about the deaths of the pusher and his junkie sidekick. Carter spots Coffy, and we learn the two are good friends, and have been for sometime.

While it’s clear Carter has a thing for Coffy, Coffy is currently in love with a city councilman named Howard Brunswick (Booker Bradshaw). He’s moving up in the political world as he fights for the black community which Coffy finds very attractive. Brunswick invites Coffy to a somewhat seedy pseudo-topless nightclub that he’s just purchased to tell her that he’s going to run for Congress. While it’s an odd purchase, Coffy celebrates with Brunswick back at his place with a fire-side blowjob before heading to the hospital for her night shift.

Once at the hospital, Coffy is a mess. She can’t get out of her car, and has a good cry in the parking lot. She attracts the attention of a man visiting a loved one at the hospital who accosts her… maybe he wanted to rape her real quick before visiting grandma after her thyroid surgery. We just don’t know.

Carter suddenly shows up like a creepy white knight to shake the man down until he leaves. He takes Coffy back to his place where he knows how to make a good cup of java. As the two talk, we learn that Carter is a good cop who isn’t willing to bend the law for the mob (or any other thug) who has been bribing officers at his precinct. Unfortunately, his partner, McHenry, is now on their payroll, and he interrupts the two’s chat with a phone call.

Coffy hears Carter give him a stern no over the phone, and he hangs up. We see McHenry nod to some masked men from a phone booth. They nod back and drive away. After some more small talk at Carter’s place, the masked men show up to beat some sense into Carter. Coffy tries to help, but the men slap her around. The men leave, but not before one of them rips Coffy’s shirt open to get a good look at her face and tits… maybe he wanted to rape her real quick too, but our bad boys didn’t have time for that right now.

Coffy and Carter wind up at the hospital, and we see Carter is seriously injured. McHenry shows up to check in on his partner as Coffy looks on in disgust. The very flip and aloof doctor tells McHenry that Carter may be able to go to the bathroom by himself some day.

Coffy is now more determined than ever to stop these thugs once and for all. She knows of a pusher named King George (Robert DoQui) who supplies heroin to local dealers. George is also a well-known pimp, and Coffy is vaguely familiar with one of his prostitutes named Priscilla (Carol Locatell). She once came in to Coffy’s hospital after George cut her face during an argument.

Coffy visits Priscilla at her home, and leans on her for information. Priscilla hesitantly tells Coffy about Arturo Vitroni (Allan Arbus). While he’s one of George’s best clients, Vitroni treats his hookers cruelly. He humiliates them; spits on them; makes them degrade themselves for his pleasure. When Coffy asks her where George keeps his stash, she refuses to say because if George ever finds out, he’d kill her.

Instead, she pulls a knife on Coffy to get her to leave. Coffy doesn’t leave, and gets violent too. She shatters a wine bottle before threatening Priscilla with its jagged edge. Priscilla tells Coffy that George keeps his heroin stash in a box under his fireplace. Suddenly, Priscilla’s old man returns, and SHE is one tough lesbian pimp named Harriet (Dea St. Lamont). Coffy barely escapes that ass whooping!

Now, Coffy looks to infiltrate George’s business using her banging body as a decoy. She sets up a meeting with King George and pretends to be a Jamaican hooker named Mystique because Vitroni loves his exotic women. George can’t resist her womanly charms himself, and immediately takes her into his harem of bitches—which pisses off his old lady, Meg (Linda Haynes).

George throws a party at his pad that Vitroni and his bodyguards Omar (Sid Haig) and Jake (Ray Young) attend. Meg “accidentally” knocks a tray of pink cocktails into Coffy’s lap (and all over her white dress). When Coffy heads to George’s bedroom to clean up, she uses the opportunity to access his drug stash. She switches his heroin with ordinary sugar before returning to the party. We’re sure King George is going to have a few irate customers pretty soon! She then pins some razor blades into her epic afro, and returns to the party.

Back out, Coffy walks up to Meg with a bowl of salad, and pours it on top of her head. The two fight, and as Coffy gets the better of Meg, the other prostitutes join in the melee; much to the delight of all the Johns in the room including Vitroni. When Meg grabs Coffy’s hair, the razor blades cut into her hands, and that pretty much ends the fight. However, Coffy’s wild demeanor has greatly aroused Vitroni, and he tells King George that he wants her that night. However, during the fight, Jake recognizes Coffy as the girl he started to rape after he and Omar beat Carter senseless a few nights ago in his apartment.

That night, Coffy arrives at Vitroni’s house with a gun hidden in her purse in an attempt to kill him. As she lets Vitroni go through his routine of demeaning his prostitute, she pulls the gun on him. Before she can pull the trigger though, Omar appears and stops her. Jake confirms she’s the one from Carter’s apartment. When they ask Coffy who sent her, she makes them believe King George sent her to make the hit. Vitroni orders Omar and Jake to kill the King to set an example.

However, as Vitroni debates what to do with Coffy, his henchman Aleva (John Perak) arrives, and also recognizes Coffy as Howard Brunswick’s date from the night he tailed her to his new nightclub. Trouble is brewing! Vitroni orders her locked outside in his sauna as Omar and Jake go to find King George.

Early the next morning, King George heads out to deliver some heroin that a good customer ordered. As he gets into his limo, he finds his driver, Studs (Bob Minor), very nervous, and Omar in the backseat with a gun pointing at him. Jake walks up from behind, and forces George inside. They take a little ride until they find a good spot where Omar can tie George’s hands and put a rope around his neck. Omar tis the other end to the car, and then slides behind the wheel. He drags George for miles until he dies a horrible death. However, Omar likes Stud’s face, and after threatening his life, he offers him a job with his boss now that he’s out of work.

As dusk falls, we see a Corvette Stingray drive up to Vitroni’s place. A somewhat pensive Brunswick gets out. Vitroni still believes Coffy is a hit woman, but for whom? When he realizes that Aleva was right, and that Coffy and Howard do indeed know one another, he becomes more suspicious. However, Brunswick insists Coffy is just some broad he fucks, and tells Vitroni and his men to kill her.

Omar, McHenry, and another corrupt cop (Jake for some reason has disappeared from the movie entirely after the King George murder scene) take Coffy to a desolate area of the city with intentions of making her OD on heroin before dumping her body for dead. Once McHenry parks his patrol car under a bridge, Omar pulls out the heroin he took from George. As the policeman injects her with it, Coffy seduces Omar. The two agree to have sex once she’s high. However, McHenry kicks them out of his patrol car because he doesn’t need to see that shit.

However, this is just a ruse for Coffy to get out of that car because she knows George’s heroin is the sugar she swapped out the night before. As she makes out with Omar over by some trash, she pulls out a pin she took from the sauna and stabs Omar in his jugular a number of times, and escapes. The cop hears the commotion and tests the heroin. When he realizes it’s sugar as well, he knows they’ve been duped.

He finds Omar bleeding profusely before chasing Coffy onto a California freeway. McHenry takes off in pursuit in his patrol car. On the freeway, a passing truck mows down the cop; killing him instantly. McHenry catches up to her, and then tries to run her over several times. She picks up a large rock, and tosses it into his windshield. As it shatters, the patrol car flips and traps McHenry inside. As it catches fire Coffy steals his shotgun from his car just before it explodes; killing McHenry as well.

Coffy goes to a bus stop, and hides her shotgun in some bushes behind it. She then hitches a ride with a young man looking for some action. When she gets him to buy some alcohol so they can go back to his place, she steals his car, retrieves her shot gun, and then hightails it back to Vitroni’s place.

At top speed (and not wearing a seatbelt) Coffy drives the car straight through Aleva, and into the house; killing him instantly. She shoots and kills everyone in the building until she corners Vitroni in his swimming pool. He offers her $1 million dollars to let him live. She agrees, but when he tells her that Brunswick went to his beach house, she shoots him dead too.

That leaves just one man for our female vigilante, and Coffy’s pays Brunswick a visit. Inside his beach house, she surprises him as he gets some champagne from the kitchen. Brunswick is not only shocked to find Coffy is alive, but that she also killed all his slime-ball associates.

Howard does his best to con Coffy into believing that he was only playing along with the crooks to buy time so when he’s elected, he can truly help the black community. It almost works, but when a naked blond woman walks out his bedroom looking for him, Coffy snaps out of it. She shoots Brunswick between the legs as the terrified woman screams in horror.

As the sun rises on a new day, a battered but alive Coffy walks down the beach into an uncertain future.

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Olive Films released Coffy to Blu-ray on June 9, 2015. Jack Hill directed the film starring Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, and Robert DoQui.

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