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 »
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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

Hines rules!
20 June 2002 | by (alexandria va) – See all my reviews

At the height of his career, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was the highest paid Black entertainer. He died penniless. Bojangles was considered the best dancer alive and his specialty was tap. He started in the black-face productions and shocked people when he worked as a solo act. He was a headliner in Canada which didn't have the same issues with racism as America. He starred on Broadway and then began making movies predominately appearing as the Butler to a white star, usually Shirley Temple. Bojangles was known as "The Man with the Smile" since the broad smile never left his face while he was dancing. Unfortunately this Showtime movie shows the pain and anger behind the smile. The pain that caused a young boy to assume the name of his brother in an attempt to hide from their grandparent, the pain that caused a string of broken marriages, and the pain that caused an incessant urge to gamble away his life savings. Gregory Hines portrays Bojangles. Hines is one of the premier tap dancers alive. Hines is an incredibly expressive actor without saying a word. His eyes can speak volumes of what is going through his soul and the percussive music from his taps tells a story all of their own.

The movie does drag at times and Bojangles isn't the easiest of characters to like. However the movie is more than worth renting just to watch all of Hines' tap sequences. The man is an incredible dancer. His heir apparent, Savion Glover, appears in one sequence that is truly phenomenal to watch.

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