MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 3,699 this week

The Five Heartbeats (1991)

 -  Drama | Music  -  29 March 1991 (USA)
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,088 users  
Reviews: 32 user | 14 critic

The story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group.

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 38 titles
created 26 Sep 2011
 
a list of 42 titles
created 15 May 2012
 
a list of 33 titles
created 26 Oct 2012
 
a list of 33 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 27 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Five Heartbeats (1991)

The Five Heartbeats (1991) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Five Heartbeats.
1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Temptations (TV Movie 1998)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Biography of the singers who formed the hit Motown muisical act, The Temptations.

Director: Allan Arkush
Stars: Charles Malik Whitfield, D.B. Woodside, Terron Brooks
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An actor limited to stereotypical roles because of his ethnicity, dreams of making it big as a highly respected performer. As he makes his rounds, the film takes a satiric look at African American actors in Hollywood.

Director: Robert Townsend
Stars: Robert Townsend, Craigus R. Johnson, Helen Martin
Black Listed (Video 2003)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Director: Robert Townsend
Stars: Robert Townsend, Harry Lennix, Vanessa Williams
Sparkle (1976)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 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
Little Richard (TV Movie 2000)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The story of Little Richard Penniman, from his poor Southern upbringing to dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a black singer in the 1950s, to his born-again phase and brief "retirement" from rock and roll.

Director: Robert Townsend
Stars: Leon, Jenifer Lewis, Carl Lumbly
Beat Street (1984)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An aspiring DJ, from the South Bronx, and his best friend, a promoter, try to get into show business by exposing people to hip-hop music and culture.

Director: Stan Lathan
Stars: Rae Dawn Chong, Guy Davis, Jon Chardiet
Action | Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

A high school teacher from a troubled inner city Washington D.C. neighborhood becomes a super-powered hero and takes on the gang that has been terrorizing his streets.

Director: Robert Townsend
Stars: Robert Townsend, Marla Gibbs, Eddie Griffin
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The story of rock singer Tina Turner and how she rose to stardom with her abusive husband Ike Turner and how she gained the courage to break free.

Director: Brian Gibson
Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Rae'Ven Larrymore Kelly
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Robert Townsend stars as the patriarch of a family devastated when his wife is killed in a senseless auto accident. Reeling with grief, each family member must find courage and vision to carry on, ultimately eager to do the mother proud.

Director: Carl Seaton
Stars: Robert Townsend, Angela Bassett, Victoria Rowell
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Jazz trumpeter Bleek Gilliam makes questionable decisions in his professional and romantic life.

Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes
8 Mile (2002)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young rapper, struggling with every aspect of his life, wants to make the most of what could be his final opportunity but his problems around gives him doubts.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Eminem, Brittany Murphy, Kim Basinger
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.

Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Duck
...
Eddie
...
J.T.
...
Dresser
...
Choirboy
...
Eleanor Potter
Harold Nicholas ...
Sarge
...
Duck's Baby Sister
John Canada Terrell ...
Michael 'Flash' Turner
Chuck Patterson ...
Jimmy Potter
...
Big Red
...
Bird
...
Baby Doll (as Troy Beyer)
Carla Brothers ...
Tanya Sawyer
...
Rose
Edit

Storyline

In the early 1960's, a quintet of hopeful young African American men form an amateur vocal group called The Five Heartbeats. After an initially rocky start, the group improve, turn pro, and rise to become a top flight music sensation. Along the way however, the guys learn many hard lessons about the reality of the music industry with it's casual racism and greed while the personal weaknesses of the members threaten to destroy the integrity of the band. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los Heartbeats  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$8,750,400 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Eddie Griffin's first film. See more »

Goofs

When Eddie's dad is telling him he will not amount to anything you can see that his moustache is falling off of his face. See more »

Quotes

Eddie: Can't nobody sang like Eddie King Jr!
See more »

Connections

References New American Bandstand 1965 (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Nothing But Love
Written by Mark Scola & Doug Shawe
Produced by George Duke & Steve Tyrell
Performed by The Five Heartbeats
Lead Vocals by Billy Valentine
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"No matter how hard it gets..."
28 December 2000 | by (Arlington, VA.) – See all my reviews

By now, every film buff knows the legendary story about the plucky, tenacious indie filmmaker who maxed out all his credit cards to realize his celluloid dreams. Spike Lee was one of the directors most associated with the tale, as he completed SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT. Another was Robert Townsend, who made the hysterically biting satire HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE, about the African-American experience in Tinseltown.

Once that film became a surprise success, Townsend finally found himself a respected talent, and chose his next project accordingly. He decided to chronicle the long, hard road to success traveled by a black singing group, through several decades of triumph and tragedy. Using the personal experiences of the legendary R & B group The Dells as a blueprint, (they also served as technical advisers), Townsend hammered out a screenplay with friend and colleague Keenan Ivory Wayans, and THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is the result.

Though the film contains moments so overwrought with melodrama that they threaten to slip into parody, the issues of racism, class distinctions, greed, payola, and the ever-present lure of sex, drugs and excess that accompany celebrity status are never treated casually or simply glossed over.

Whatever plot points the script may sometimes seem to stumble over, the talented cast, lead with steadfast confidence by actor/writer/director Townsend, never miss a note or a beat, especially when helped along by a great soundtrack, supervised by jazz/funk/R&B great Stanley Clarke. Every performance is remarkable, with special mention going to the underrated Michael Wright as Eddie, the group's talented and troubled lead singer, to Leon as the group ladies' man, (whose good looks and talent have landed him in several other similar high-profile roles), and to the overlooked Hawthorne James as the malevolent "Big Red," the epitome of a man who has completely sold himself, body and soul, to the dark side of success.

Townsend also manages not to forget that between the dramatic moments, what makes a great musical is great MUSIC; songs that remind us why even though the concept of people suddenly bursting into fully orchestrated tunes defies logic, the pure, giddy sense of fun and enjoyment we derive from such moments are why musicals are a genre that simply refuse to die.

Nowhere in HEARTBEATS is it more apparent, than when Townsend and actress/singer Tressa Thomas team up on a show-stopping number called "We Haven't Finished Yet," as Duck, Townsend's character, struggles to write a song, getting some unexpected and able-bodied help from his baby sister, who nearly brings down the house! It's moments like this that make musicals memorable, and in a niche that can never have too many well-rendered stories about groups from "back-in-the-day," THE FIVE HEARTBEATS is a genuine classic that can be recommended not just to black audiences, but to moviegoers of any background who love good stories about music and musicians.


24 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Keenen Ivory Wayans lkiezy
Why was not 'The Five Heart Beats not selected for a 1991 ' Oscar rglh1950
BIG RED DexNoble
A Few Things I Learned From The Five Heartbeats ThurmanatorX
WHO else thought... TrueEssence
One of the best movies of the 90's trinee2000
Discuss The Five Heartbeats (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?