7.1/10
2,989
43 user 20 critic

Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

The story of the troubled life and career of the legendary Jazz singer, Billie Holiday.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Suzanne de Passe) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mahogany (1975)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top designers. Her ambition leads her to Rome spurring ... See full summary »

Directors: Berry Gordy, Tony Richardson, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Perkins
Sparkle (1976)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A girl group experiences turmoil after one of their members turns to drugs and another achieves their desired fame all by herself.

Director: Sam O'Steen
Stars: Philip Michael Thomas, Irene Cara, Lonette McKee
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

At Madame Zenobia's illegal nightclub, when Steve Jackson and Wardell Franklin get robbed of their wallets containing a winning lottery ticket, they set out to recover it.

Director: Sidney Poitier
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte
Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Tired of the slave-like treatment of his team's owner, charismatic star Negro League pitcher Bingo Long takes to the road with his band of barnstormers through the small towns of the Midwest in the 1930's.

Director: John Badham
Stars: Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor
Crime | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Dave Anderson and Manny Durrell are two high-class sneak thieves who have never been caught. Joshua Burke is a retired detective who has enough evidence on the both of them to put them ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Poitier
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Richard Pryor is playing three different roles here. The first being a poor orange picker named Leroy Jones who gets laid off when by mistake he joins the worker's union during one of their... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Richard Pryor, Lonette McKee, Margaret Avery
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

After severely burning himself in a drug incident, a comedian has a near death experience in which he reviews his life.

Director: Richard Pryor
Stars: Richard Pryor, Debbie Allen, Art Evans
Action | Biography | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The true life story of Wendell Scott, the first black stock car racing driver to win an upper tier NASCAR race.

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Richard Pryor, Beau Bridges, Pam Grier
Cooley High (1975)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1964, a group of high school friends who live on the Near North Side of Chicago enjoy life to the fullest...parties, hanging out, meeting new friends. Then life changes for two of the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Glynn Turman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Garrett Morris
The Mack (1973)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Goldie returns from five years at the state pen and winds up king of the pimping game. Trouble comes in the form of two corrupt white cops and a crime lord who wants him to return to the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Campus
Stars: Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor
Claudine (1974)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In the 1970s Harlem, garbage collector Roop feels intimidated by the idea of dating Claudine who is a single mother of six on welfare.

Director: John Berry
Stars: Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
Bustin' Loose (1981)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Joe Braxton is an ex-con who has been given a second chance to freedom after violating his probation. He has been hired by a school teacher named Vivian Perry to repair and drive an old ... See full summary »

Directors: Oz Scott, Michael Schultz
Stars: Richard Pryor, Cicely Tyson, Angel Ramirez Jr.
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Louis McKay
...
Piano Man
...
Reg Hanley (as James Callahan)
...
Harry
...
Jerry
...
Mama Holiday
Yvonne Fair ...
Yvonne
...
The Madame
Tracee Lyles ...
The Prostitute
...
The Agent
Milton Selzer ...
The Doctor
...
The Detective #1
Clay Tanner ...
The Detective #2
Jester Hairston ...
The Butler
Edit

Storyline

Born Elinore Harris, Billie Holiday had a difficult teen and young adulthood period, which included working in brothels, both as a cleaning woman and a prostitute, and being raped. Through this difficulty, she dreamed of becoming a jazz singer. She got her initial singing break when she applied at a Harlem club that was looking for a dancer, but where she got hired as a singer. There, she met and fell in love with the suave Louis McKay. After this initial break, Billie wanted her singing career to move to the mainstream clubs in downtown Manhattan. She took a risk when she agreed to be the lead singer for the Reg Hanley Band, a primarily white group, who convinced her that she would have to make her mark in regional tours before her Manhattan dream could happen. As Billie tried to advance her career, pressures of life, including being a black woman, led to her not so secret substance abuse (especially of heroin), not so secret because of her increasingly erratic behavior, both on ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Diana Ross is Billie Holiday. Diana Ross sings Billie Holiday and a superstar is born. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 October 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El ocaso de una estrella  »

Box Office

Gross:

$9,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Diana Ross, Richard Pryor personally instructed her on how to behave during the scenes of drug use. See more »

Quotes

Piano Man: What she don't pick up from the top, she can pick up from the bottom.
Billie Holiday: I hope that works both ways!
See more »


Soundtracks

Tain't Nobody's Business
Written by Porter Grainger and Everett Robbins
Sung by Blinky (as Blinky Williams)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Meandering biography of Lady Day...
27 July 2006 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Diana Ross is quite superb as jazz singer Billie Holiday, but even so this clichéd bio-drama of the drug-addicted torch diva from the 1930s is hardly convincing. After an enjoyably overwrought prologue (with Holiday brutally incarcerated like a gangster out of a Jimmy Cagney flick), the movie sputters along familiar territory, and the burnished, brackish look of the picture--probably meant for prestige--is a visual downer. The tone wavers at times (a comedic sequence with Scatman Crothers is either a distraction or a relief), and the film's flashback structure is a cheap gimmick (you know you're in for it when the filmmakers start super-imposing headlines across the screen--it's movie shorthand for "we're running out of time"). Ross is a spectacular drawing card, but this vehicle for her debuting acting talents leaves much to be desired. **1/2 from ****


4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?