Short Eyes (film)

Short Eyes is a 1977 American film adaptation of Miguel Piñero's play of the same title, directed by Robert M. Young.[1] It was filmed in the Manhattan House of Detention for Men, otherwise known as The Tombs.

Short Eyes
Original window card
Directed byRobert M. Young
Written byMiguel Piñero
StarringBruce Davison
Jose Perez
Nathan George
Don Blakely
Shawn Elliott
Music byCurtis Mayfield
Martin Hirsch
H. P. Denenberg
Edited byEdward Beyer
Distributed byFilm League
Release date
  • September 28, 1977 (1977-09-28)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Wu-Tang Clan sampled dialogue from the film for the song "Let My Niggas Live" in 2000.[2]


Short Eyes is set in an unnamed prison in New York City, whose inmates are predominantly black or Puerto Rican. One day, Clark Davis, a young, middle-class white man accused of raping a young girl, arrives on remand. His fellow prisoners immediately turn on him — child rapists are considered the lowest form of prison life — except for Juan, one of the institution's older prisoners, who treats him with dignity.

Davis insists he doesn't remember raping the girl, but he admits to Juan that he has molested several other children. The prosecution's case against Davis is weak and, unless Juan tells prison authorities about Davis' confessions to him, it is only a matter of time before he is set free. As Juan struggles with what to do, the other prisoners plan to get rid of Davis permanently.



Curtis Mayfield wrote the film's score, and appears in the film as a prisoner performing the song "Do Do Wap Is Strong In Here". The soundtrack was released on Mayfield's Curtom Records.


  1. Canby, Vincent (September 28, 1977). "Film: 'Short Eyes' Eloquently Adapted". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  2. Blanco, Alvin (2011). The Wu-Tang Clan and RZA: A Trip Through Hip Hop's 36 Chambers. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 138. ISBN 978-0313384424.

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