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.


Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bud Penniman
Carl Rainey
Anthony Lee
(as Lahmard Tate)
(as Jonell Kennedy)
Reynaldo Rey ...
Sugarfoot Sam
William James Jones ...
Billy Wright
Studio Musician


A revealing movie about the tumultuous life of Little Richard Penniman, whose ground-breaking music revolutionized rock and roll. Growing up a social misfit in poverty, Little Richard's passion, talent and flamboyance catapulted him into the limelight of rock music. His career was rocked by his homosexuality, his fundamental beliefs and the pervasive discrimination within the music industry. We go through his chart-topping years when he lived the quintessential Rock and Roll life, indulging in all-night orgies and the spiritual callings that pulled him in and out of the music industry. But as alcohol and drug addition plagued his career in the late 1960s, Little Richard makes the life-saving decision to return to his family. Through their love and strength, and Little Richard's resolve, he moves on in history to become one of the most memorable performers in rock and roll. Written by Artisan Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He rocked, he rolled, he changed the world of music. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music





Release Date:

20 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Little Richard Story  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Little Richard suggested Prince for the lead role, but the deal was never made. See more »


Little Richard: [after a bandmate complains of wearing sissy make-up] Being pretty ain't never bothered me. Ain't that right, Lucille?
Lucille: 'Bout the prettiest boy I've ever seen.
Little Richard: Now, sneaking in the back doors so the white folks don't see us till we're on stage, eating in a parking lot of some restaurant that I wouldn't even pay to eat at the counter at, now *that* bothers me. Being called a sissy?
Little Richard: You look-a here! Them white kids, they're dancing to *our* music! Okay, they may have Pat Boone on their ...
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User Reviews

Send me some loving, I missed getting some today, because I didn't know which way to play
21 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

The Life and Time of Little Richard, as told by Little Richard, as produced and directed by Little Richard, was about as one sided as one of his songs. This is not a biography or even a docudrama, but does have good writing, great energy and an outstanding leading actor playing Richard. All the music is by Little Richard, so it rocks a tight lipsync on every song.

The movie covers his early childhood, carrys thru the formative years in music, the wild success and Richard's throwing it all away to praise the Lord. Its all tied together well and the obvious comeback in 1962 manages to stay away from the idea that Little Richard discovered the Beatles, whom opened for him.

My main objection is that his outrageous, counter cultural behavior is underplayed and you get no feel for how his audience experienced him at that time. Some of his energy, which he still has, does not come across full force. He seemed tame, compared to what I remember of him at the time.

The best scenes are Richard getting jilted by Lucille and writing a song about it and the strip to bikini shorts while performing, to make the point about not having a decent place to change.

If they had gotten into the "Bronze Liberace" as Richard use to refer to himself in interviews, then there's a story. Trust me I just saw him perform a couple of months ago and he still flirts with the pretty white boys, giving the one particularly good dancer in the audience, his headband. Nearly 68 and still going strong I recommend this movie and any concert or T.V. appearance you can find. Little Richard is always on

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