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The Josephine Baker Story (1991)

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Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker was born poor, but achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic and erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville ... See full summary »



(story), (story) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Count Giuseppe Pepito Abatino
Jo Bouillon
Sidney Williams
Sidney Bechet (as Kene Holliday)
Vivian Bonnell ...
Josephine's Mother
Mayah McCoy ...
Josephine -Age 8
Ainslie Currie ...
Josephine - Age 13
Pierre Magny ...
Poul Colin
Franco Britt ...
Victor (as Franco Iiriti)
George Faison ...
Emcee in Harlem Club
Robert Lesser ...
Copa City Manager
Luis Reyes ...
Josephine's Father
Vivienne Eytle ...
Josephine's Sister


Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker was born poor, but achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic and erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville circuit, success takes Josephine to Paris where her semi-nude dancing causes an international sensation. Through her marriages to an Italian pseudo-count and orchestra leader, to her bond with army officer Sydney Williams, Josephine's life is a roller coaster ride of love and rejection from both her lovers and her country. But semi-nude, or head-to-toes in sequins; in battle fatigues or rags - her beauty and ambition ensured that Josephine Baker will always be remembered as the first, and possibly most loved, truly international star. Written by HBO Home Video

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Before Madonna. Before Marilyn. There was Josephine.


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 March 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Josephine-Baker-Story  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Robert De Niro was considered for the role of Giuseppe Pepito Abatino. See more »


Josephine's Mother: No one's ever been able to tell that girl anything... least of all me.
See more »


Referenced in Live! with Kelly: Episode dated 6 March 1991 (1991) See more »


Written by A. Barresco and Bob Russell
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User Reviews

A revealing look at an admirable woman
6 August 2003 | by (Toledo, Ohio) – See all my reviews

Josephine Baker (Lynn Whitfield) grew up in poverty and, at a very young age, displayed her talents on Vaudeville. Unhappy with the treatment of African Americans in the 1920's in her homeland, she travels to France and makes it big as an exotic dancer and singer. Loved by the Europeans, Josephine's manager/boyfriend (Rubin Blades) decides to have her return to Broadway. She fails miserably. Yet, Josephine remains a strong, outspoken person who soon takes her show on the road and turns heads. She also finds time to try to elevate the treatment of African Americans and to do acts of charitable worth. But, will Josephine ever be truly happy?

This is a brief look at a complex woman. Her indomitable spirit is brought to life in Whitfield's strong performance. Josephine is remembered for her scandalous costumes and risque dancing yet, as this movie proves, she had much more to contribute to humanity. The performance by Blades is also top-notch. As for the costumes, they are revealing yet always stunning. In summary, this movie deserves an audience and one wider than the African-American community. On the next trip to the video store or library, give it a try. Viewers will be entertained as well as enlightened by Baker's admirable life story.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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