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Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

Documentary about the Funk Brothers, a group of Detroit musicians who backed up dozens of Motown artists.

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Writers:

(Narration), (Narration) | 1 more credit »

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8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard 'Pistol' Allen ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
Benny 'Papa Zita' Benjamin ...
Himself (archive footage)
Eddie 'Bongo' Brown ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself
Johnny Griffith ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Himself
James Jamerson ...
Himself (archive footage)
Uriel Jones ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Herself
Gerald Levert ...
Himself
...
Himself
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Storyline

In 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. gathered the best musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene to begin cutting songs for his new record company. Over a fourteen year period they were the heartbeat on every hit from Motown's Detroit era. By the end of their phenomenal run, this unheralded group of musicians had played on more number ones hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined - which makes them the greatest hit machine in the history of popular music. They called themselves the Funk Brothers. Forty-one years after they played their first note on a Motown record and three decades since they were all together, the Funk Brothers reunited back in Detroit to play their music and tell their unforgettable story, with the help of archival footage, still photos, narration, interviews, re-creation scenes, 20 Motown master tracks, and twelve new live performances of Motown classics with the Brothers backing up contemporary performers. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They played on more #1 records than the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley combined... This is their story. See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Story of the Funk Brothers  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$114,442 (USA) (15 November 2002)

Gross:

$1,600,547 (USA) (21 February 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Uriel Jones: People would always say everything but the musicians. They would say it was the artists, the producers, the way the building was constructed, the wood in the floor, or maybe even food. But I'd like to see them take some barbecue ribs or hamburgers, anything, and throw down in that studio, shut the door and count off '1,2,3,4' and get a hit out of there. The formula was the musicians!
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Crazy Credits

After all of the credits roll, we see a few of the Funk Brothers leaving the Snake Pit and turning off the lights. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Be Doggone
by Smokey Robinson (as William Robinson Jr.), Marvin Tarplin and Warren Moore
Performed by Marvin Gaye
Used by permission of Jobete Music Co., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Fabulous!
30 September 2002 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a "must see" if you are at all interested in R&B, soul, Motown, etc. But it's really a must-see if you're a musician yourself.

Using archival footage interspersed with recent concert footage and anecdotal recreations, this film follows the careers of "The Funk Brothers" - the men who backed up a who's who of Motown's brightest stars from 1959 into the mid 1970's, and who have played on more #1 hits than the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, and Elvis COMBINED.

The movie will be in general distribution Nov. 15 (2002) - I saw it at the Vancouver International Film Festival, where the theater was packed (I'd guess at least half with musicians) - and the response was amazing - people were laughing, crying, shouting, singing along, and dancing in the seats (to paraphrase Martha and the Vandellas)


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