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The Five Heartbeats
Robert Townsend and Michael Wright




Overview -
Actor-director Robert Townsend came to fame depicting the pitfalls of the Hollywood experience for black actors with his 1987 film HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE. Four years later, he took on the mid-'60s music scene with THE FIVE HEARTBEATS. After doing extensive research with long-lived pop/R&B group the Dells, he painted a cinematic scene of five young friends in the 60s who share the dream of making music. They journey together through three decades, experiencing all the ups and downs show business had to offer, intensified by the difficulties faces by black acts in the era of civil-rights protest. Interacting as everything from a close-knit musical family to occasional bitter rivals, the fictional Five Heartbeats experience both success and tragedy in this excellent film. The multi-talented Townshend functions as both director and star, alongside compelling performances by a cast that includes Leon and Diahann Caroll. Featuring a mix of original songs and classic Motown material, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is an irresistible combination of music and drama that captures a unique period in American cultural history.

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More About The Five Heartbeats

 
 
 

Overview

Actor-director Robert Townsend came to fame depicting the pitfalls of the Hollywood experience for black actors with his 1987 film HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE. Four years later, he took on the mid-'60s music scene with THE FIVE HEARTBEATS. After doing extensive research with long-lived pop/R&B group the Dells, he painted a cinematic scene of five young friends in the 60s who share the dream of making music. They journey together through three decades, experiencing all the ups and downs show business had to offer, intensified by the difficulties faces by black acts in the era of civil-rights protest. Interacting as everything from a close-knit musical family to occasional bitter rivals, the fictional Five Heartbeats experience both success and tragedy in this excellent film. The multi-talented Townshend functions as both director and star, alongside compelling performances by a cast that includes Leon and Diahann Caroll. Featuring a mix of original songs and classic Motown material, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is an irresistible combination of music and drama that captures a unique period in American cultural history.

Main Cast & Crew

Robert Townsend - Director
Robert Townsend
Michael Wright
Leon
Harry J. Lennix
Tico Wells
Chuck Patterson
Diahann Carroll
Hawthorne James
Harold Nicholas

 

Details

DVD Format
  • Format: DVD (New Box Art)
  • Run Time: 117
  • Color Format: Color
  • UPC: 024543225270
  • Genre: Musical
  • Rating: R (MPAA)
  • Release Date: January 2002

Related Categories:
Movies > Musical & Performing Arts
Movies > Musicals
Movies > Pop Music

Related Keywords:
Friends
Race Relations
Recommended
Music (General)
Theatrical Release
Musicals/Music Videos
Soul
R&B/Soul
1960s

 

Movie Reviews

More Details

Notes:
Theatrical release date: March 29, 1991. Filmed entirely on location in Southern California. The film introduces thirteen original songs and features performances of numerous Motown favorites. Also featured are two R&B classics by The Dells, "Stay in My Corner" and "Oh What A Night." Townsend did research for his fictional R&B group by hanging out and travelling with The Dells, an R&B group that has been together for 38 years. The Dells acted as techincal advisors on the film. THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is "dedicated in loving memory of John Sherrod."

Reviews:
"...Fundamental sweetness and sincerity....[In cameo, Harold Nicholas's] very presence expands the range of this film..." - 03/29/1991 New York Times, p.C14


"...Musically, THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is on target all the way. It's hard to remember a recent film that had so many warm-hearted, rousing, big-souled song numbers..." - 03/29/1991 Los Angeles Times, p.F1

 

BAM Customer Reviews