6.5/10
13,835
88 user 37 critic

The Cotton Club (1984)

The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club, those that ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous.

Director:

(as Francis Coppola)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Francis Coppola) | 4 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rumble Fish (1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Rusty James, an absent-minded street thug struggles to live up to his legendary older brother's reputation, and longs for the days when gang warfare was going on.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Peggy Sue faints at a high school reunion. When she wakes up, she finds herself in her own past, just before she finished school.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Nicolas Cage, Barry Miller
Drama | War | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A Sergeant must deal with his desires to save the lives of young soldiers being sent to Vietnam. Continuously denied the chance to teach the soldiers about his experiences, he settles for trying to help the son of an old Army buddy.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: James Caan, Anjelica Huston, James Earl Jones
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The story of Preston Tucker, the maverick car designer and his ill-fated challenge to the auto industry with his revolutionary car concept.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Joan Allen, Martin Landau
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Hank and Frannie don't seem to be able to live together anymore. After a five-year relationship, lustful and dreamy Fanny leaves down-to-earth Hank on the anniversary of their relationship.... See full summary »

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr, Raul Julia
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Post-teen virgin moves to New York City, falls for a cold-hearted beauty, then finds true love with a loyal lass.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: Elizabeth Hartman, Geraldine Page, Rip Torn
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a housewife finds out she is pregnant, she runs out of town looking for freedom to reevaluate her life decisions.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Stars: James Caan, Shirley Knight, Robert Duvall
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Frances Flegenheimer
...
...
...
Madame St. Clair
...
Bumpy Rhodes (as Larry Fishburne)
Edit

Storyline

The Cotton Club was a famous night club in Harlem. The story follows the people that visited the club, those that ran it, and is peppered with the Jazz music that made it so famous. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Where crime lords rub elbows with the rich and famous! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

14 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Cotton Club Encore  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$58,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,903,603, 16 December 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$25,928,721
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Gere really is an accomplished trumpet player and performed his own solos in this movie. See more »

Goofs

When Dixie goes to ransom Frenchy there is a different amount of shaving cream on Mad Dog's face in every shot. See more »

Quotes

Vera: I was born looking 18.
Dixie: I can save you.
Vera: No, you can't.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

When My Sugar Walks Down the Street
Written by Gene Austin, Jimmy McHugh and Irving Mills
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
All That Jazz
26 August 2007 | by See all my reviews

Part fictional and part non-fictional, this lavish two-hour Francis Ford Coppola film spotlights the Cotton Club, the legendary, real-life Harlem jazz nightclub that flourished in the Prohibition era of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Richard Gere plays Dixie Dwyer, a young musician who works for mobsters, in an effort to advance his career. Dwyer falls in love with Vera Cicero (Diane Lane), the girlfriend of gangster Dutch Schultz (James Remar). The Dwyer character is based loosely on real-life jazz trumpet player Bix Beiderbecke.

Throughout the film, various gangsters and bootleggers interact, sometimes violently, but much of the action centers around the Cotton Club, an establishment owned in real-life by Owney Madden, played in the film by actor Bob Hoskins. Madden would bring in Black performers to entertain a Whites-only clientèle, a truly racist policy, and a major plot point in the film's story.

The film's plot is somewhat muddled, the result of a less than stellar screenplay. And, as you would expect, the gangster characters are not terribly likable. But the film overcomes these script weaknesses with a captivating visual and musical style that is both tawdry and elegant. The corruption, the violence, and the implied sleaze are garish and tawdry to be sure. Yet, the Club's ambiance gushes with a certain elegance and glamour. It's a strange mix, but one that is entirely consistent with that era in U.S. history.

The film gets points from me for its lush, period piece costumes and production design, and adroit lighting, as well as all those jazz numbers, both sultry and flashy. Gregory Hines together with brother Maurice Hines provide some snappy tap dancing, some of which is improvised. Interestingly, their grandmother really did perform at the Cotton Club during its heyday. Also of interest in the film, viewers get to watch towering Fred Gwynne, who plays Frenchy, the oh-so-serious assistant to Owney Madden; the two of them engage in some interesting dialogue.

Although the script's story and characters are less than ideal, I enjoyed the film a lot, mostly as a result of the tawdry and elegant visual style combined with the lavish jazz numbers. If you're interested in gangster movies or the Prohibition era of American history, this film is a must-see.


25 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 88 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Who's Your Celebrity Counterpart?

"The IMDb Show" finds out who your celebrity doppelgangers are. Plus, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz recounts the moment his movie was mistakenly awarded an Oscar.

Watch now