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The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  15 November 1992 (USA)
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The Jacksons are your average working-class family in Gary, Indiana; but when their father discovers the kids have an extraordinary musical talent they form a band. Winning talent show ... See full summary »



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Title: The Jacksons: An American Dream (TV Movie 1992)

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Diana Ross (as Holly Robinson)
Martha Scruse
Alex Burrall ...
Jermaine Jackson II ...
Kelli Martin ...
Ángel Vargas ...
Jackie Jackson (as Terrence Dashon Howard)
Elizabeth Narvaez ...
Dee Dee


The Jacksons are your average working-class family in Gary, Indiana; but when their father discovers the kids have an extraordinary musical talent they form a band. Winning talent show after talent show they soon hit it big when Motown calls. From there they become the now famous Jackson 5. But along the way their success brings trouble and turmoil Written by Tony Meier <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There's fame...there's fortune...and then there's family. Sometimes it's hard to choose.


Biography | Drama | Music


See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 November 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Jackson Five  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (4 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jermaine Jackson's real life son plays him from ages 13-17. See more »


When Jermaine meets Hazel after getting off the plane, Hazel's mouth movements don't match what she's saying. See more »


Marlon: You know, I'm sick of this- promotional tours. When do we get to perform again?
Jackie: Hey, man, ask Michael.
Marlon: Yeah, sure. "Ask Michael." Who ever sees Michael?
Jackie: You need an appointment to see your own little brother.
See more »


Referenced in Plump Fiction (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Way long, but not bad.

This two-part miniseries (long enough to be a week-long miniseries if each episode was an hour), was at times overly dramatic, somewhat lacking in humor and even kind-of depressing. Still, it's one of the best music bios ever.

The absolute best thing about this piece is Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Hilton-Jacobs captures the menace of the notorious Joseph Jackson. He is a father you would NOT want to disobey. On the other hand, he brings a level of humanity and respectability, sometimes even likability to the role that makes it a three-dimensional character. In many music bios, it's hard to believe they're talking about real people (exhibit A: The Doors), but not here. Hilton-Jacobs expresses Jackson's deep, cutting flaws, but also the good things about him.

As for the bigger stars in the two-parter, Vanessa Williams is likable as Susan de Passe: a Motown employee who believes so much in the boys that she convinces Berry Gordy to hear them. Billy Dee Williams is likable as Gordy, but he comes off as a saintly carefree sort. Angela Basset also excelled as the boys' mother: willing to sacrifice her goals and dreams for the sake of the family.

All three actors who played Michael were also fantastic. It's so sad that Wylie Draper died so soon after this movie came out. He really captured Michael as well as anybody could. He reminds the viewer of what people saw in Michael in the early 80s. Alex Burral and Jason Weaver also performed great as Michael, especially during the music scenes. The actors who played Michael's brothers fared also. While it clearly centers around Michael, it goes to great lengths not to make the other boys second-bananas (the only one who isn't explored much is Janet, ironically, because her fame rivals that of Michael in real life).

Speaking of the music scenes, they are almost all very well done. The scenes where they appear to be lipsynching songs (such as when they record "I'll Be There" are done pretty well, but when the actors (presumably) get to handle it on their own, it really comes alive, whether it's the kids singing old r&b classics toward the beginning, or the final concert scene at the end with a lively version of "The Love You Save."

All in all, great music and great acting make this movie one of the best rock bios of all.

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