The life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, African-American tap-dancing star of stage and screen.



, (as Robert P. Johnson) | 2 more credits »
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Elaine (as Linette Robinson)
Lea Marie Golde ...
Novie Edwards ...
Jackie Richardson ...
Caliaf St. Aubin ...
Luther (as Caliaf St. Aubyn)
Aaron Meeks ...
William (Young Percy)
Donovon Ian H. McKnight ...
Lem (as Donovon Hunter McKnight)
Philip Akin ...


The life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, African-American tap-dancing star of stage and screen.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tap dancing | based on book | See All (2) »


The dancing was real. The smile was not. See more »


Biography | Drama





Release Date:

4 February 2001 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (Dolby Surround)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"Bojangles" was a left foot lead tap dancer, whereas Gregory Hines was a right foot lead tap dance. Hines had to learn tap with his left foot first, which is highlighted at the end of the movie when there is a side-by-side comparison of the two doing "Bojangles" specialty, the dancing staircase. See more »

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User Reviews

"Ask anyone up Harlem way, who that guy Bojangles is"
4 October 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The grand daddy of all the folks who make beautiful clicking noises with their feet is portrayed here by Gregory Hines in the TV film Bojangles. As Fred Astaire said in Swing Time "ask anyone up Harlem way, who that guy Bojangles is. Astaire knew what he sung about because Bill Robinson was both a friend and dancing rival.

But Astaire got to play all kinds of sophisticated parts in films and dance with Ginger Rogers. Bill Robinson was reduced to playing butlers, doormen, and house servants of all kinds and his most famous dancing partner was Shirley Temple. He yearned to play wider range parts and in the end in his last film Stormy Weather he and newcomer Lena Horne made some beautiful music together.

When Bill Robinson in show business touring the tank towns, Jim Crow segregation was being enshrined into law by the Supreme Court with Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896. What was unofficial before was legal now and Robinson like his contemporary Bert Williams endured the inferior eating establishments and accommodations to work his trade before mostly white people in the audience. He also had to put up with the ludicrous idea of performing in black face. He was made up as surely as Al Jolson was for Dockstadters Minstrels.

Somethings like a vaudeville partner and a first wife are eliminated from this story. Robinson did work a double dancing act and was married briefly before the character of his wife (second) was introduced. Kimberly Elise plays the character. She was a beautiful and serious minded woman who never got total control of her husband's vices which included gambling and a too generous nature.

Peter Riegert plays his manager and Maria Ricossa plays Riegert's wife who was a vaudeville performer who put them together. There is also a marvelous bit by Jonathan Higgins as Darryl Zanuck, something I assure you would never be done while Zanuck was alive.

The marvelous dancing and three dimensional acting of Gregory Hines is the real reason though to see and wonder at the dancing marvel that was Bojangles.

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