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The Five Heartbeats (1991)

R | | Drama, Music | 29 March 1991 (USA)
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The story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group.

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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
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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 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The lives of several performing R&B groups and artists inspired this film: The Dells, The Temptations, Frankie Lymon and Sam Cooke according to Robert Townsend in a Mademe Noir Interview. Townsend says the crux of the story was based on the breakup of the Temptations which was an event he took personally. See more »

Goofs

Towards the End of Flash and the Ebony Sparks performance, the background singer on the left goes from being Shirtless to unbuttoning the shirt to open shirt and back again. He's pretty quick! See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

References New American Bandstand 1965 (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Baby Stop Running Around
Written by Michael Baker & Aisha Ahmad
Produced by George Duke & Steve Tyrell
Performed by Bird and The Midnight Falcons
Lead Vocals by Michael Baker
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Truth Hurts
7 June 2005 | by (Bryan, Texas) – See all my reviews

Coming from a highly musical family, and knowing the struggle and hardships that abound, I have to agree with the clichés and other trappings of fame that this film has to offer. It is a slice of the American Pie, that no one seems to want to believe. There are other movies about African-American actors, musicians and entertainers, that show the same scenarios of racism. Dorothy Dandridge really did have to use the bathroom in a Dixie cup, and when she stuck her toe in the pool they drained it and cleaned it. People like Big Red did, and do, exist. There were people who were hung upside down from the balcony, because they demanded to be let out of loan shark type contracts, or demanded to see the books. It still goes on today. To say that this movie just shows the racist, drug addicted side of the music industry is just inaccurate. This movie is one group's struggle. The movie is based not only on The Dells, but on the experiences of many of the groups in that era. Look at the Frankie Lymon Story. It seems too outlandish to be true, but it is a true story, and that is just part of life.

I have the stories from my father being on the road with various bands in the 50's and 60's, and there are some things that go on, on the road that can only be understood if you have been on the road. My mother has told me about the late night parties at the studios in the 60's and 70's, and some of the crazy things that happened, and again, only if you have been there, can you understand what happens after hours behind closed doors.

I personally have been on the road, and I have been in the studio, late, recording. There is an energy that happens that cannot be explained. Some people can handle it, others cannot. This movie depicts both. I have known people like all of the characters in this movie, and the portrayals are accurate. Yeah, "Can't nobody Sing, Like Eddie King", but at the same time could you keep the show going, being that high? This movie shows the ups ad the downs. It isn't all gravy. It is life. I thank Robert Townsend for this accurate, at times gritty, dirty, beautiful portrayal, of friendship, talent, commitment, and love. It reminds me of my father and his brothers, my mother and me. It's life.


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