The Limit (lost Yaphet Kotto crime film; 1972)

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Theatrical poster for The Limit.

Status: Lost

The Limit (also known by its working title: Speed Limit: 65) is a 1972 crime film directed, produced and starring Yaphet Kotto, who is best known for films like Alien (1979), The Running Man (1987), Live and Let Die (1973) and Midnight Run (1988). The film is a first and only directorial work in Yaphet Kotto's career. It was never been broadcast on TV or released on home video after the completion of its theatrical run.


In Los Angeles, black motorcycle police officer Mark Johnson patrols gang-infested neighborhoods with his white partner and best friend, Jeff McMillan. One afternoon, Mark has a run-in with a gang known as The Virgins, whose leader, Big Donnie, is taken aback by the policeman's understanding, dignified demeanor despite the gang's constant derision. When Mark advises Donnie not to continue to allow his heavily pregnant girlfriend, Judy, to ride a motorbike, the gang leader agrees. Later, after Donnie actively seeks Mark out for advice, the Virgins' second-in-command, Kenny, reacts with outrage.


  • Yaphet Kotto as Mark Johnson
  • Quinn Redeker as Jeff McMillan
  • Virgil Frye as Kenny
  • Corinne Cole as Judy
  • Ted Cassidy as Big Donnie
  • Pamela Jones as Margret
  • Gary Littlejohn as Pete
  • Irene Forrest as Delores
  • Nancy Ashe as the Waitress
  • John Bellah as Pickup Truck Driver
  • Frank Belt as Man in Restaurant
  • Ed Cambridge as Police Captain
  • Vic Canupe as Bartender
  • Bobby Clark as Man in Bar Fight
  • Douglas Forward as BMW Driver
  • Richard Hale as Man in Park
  • Stuart Herschman as Messenger on Beach
  • Joyce Hutton as Girl in Park
  • Peaches Jones as Woman in Station Wagon
  • Richard Kennedy as Man in Bar Fight
  • Natascha Kotto as Carol Southern
  • Fred Krone as First Drunk
  • Buddy Panisary as Gas Station Attendant
  • Jack Perkins as Second Drunk
  • Frank Roh as John Woods/Mr. America
  • John Roh as Boy with Kite
  • Diane Regis as First Virgin Girlfriend
  • Uma Tresoff as Second Virgin Girlfriend

Production Crew

  • Director, Producer: Yaphet Kotto
  • Assistant Director: Hansen
  • Associate Producer: Frank Roh
  • Assistant Producer: Douglas Forward
  • Production Coordinator: Kelly White
  • Story: Yaphet Kotto
  • Screenplay: Sean Cameron
  • Director of Photography: Fenton Hamilton
  • Film Editor: Norman Schwartz
  • Assistant Film Editor: Freeman Davies, Jr.


The production took place in September 1971 in Los Angeles, California[1]. The screenplay for the film was written by Sean Cameron. The cinematographer was Fenton Hamilton who also worked on Black Caesar (1973), It’s Alive (1974) and It Lives Again (1978). Editing was by Norman B. Schwartz who would go on to work on such classics like Predator (1987), Die Hard (1988) and Total Recall (1990).

The film was produced by New Era Communications, an organization formed to help minority workers in the entertainment field[1]. This was the company’s only film. It also was produced by Speed Limit Productions Inc., but it also was their only film and defunct in 1974[2].


The film was theatrically released in June 1972[1]. Its most famous screening took place on November 10th, 1972 in New York City[3].


As of 2023, the film posters, stills and print review are available online. The Letterboxd user ldunn5 left a comment, saying that Yaphet Kotto had given his grandfather a 35mm print after they had gone to church to have a drink beer together[4].

External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Limit at AFI Catalog. Retrieved 13 Apr 2024.
  2. Reddit thread on The Limit. Retrieved 13 Apr 2024.
  3. Release Date of The Limit. Retrieved 13 Apr 2024.
  4. The Letterboxd page on The Limit. Retrieved 13 Apr 2024.