Down 1,205 this week

Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

PG  |   |  Documentary, Music  |  29 November 2002 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,843 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 74 user | 60 critic | 30 from

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



(Narration), (Narration), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


10 Best Action Heroes

We consulted IMDb's Highest-Rated Action-Family Films to came up with 10 scene-stealing action figures your kids can relate to, look up to, and be inspired by.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 29 titles
created 17 Oct 2011
a list of 27 titles
created 30 Oct 2012
a list of 41 titles
created 04 Nov 2013
a list of 28 titles
created 22 Dec 2013
a list of 49 titles
created 06 Sep 2014

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002)

Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) on IMDb 7.8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
11 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A documentary about Tom Dowd, who was an innovative recording engineer and producer of noted albums with John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Otis Redding, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers and many others.

Director: Mark Moormann
Stars: Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Aretha Franklin
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A documentary on the evolution of the Oklahoma band The Flaming Lips.

Director: Bradley Beesley
Stars: Bradley Beesley, Steve Burns, Dolly Coyne
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.

Director: Denny Tedesco
Stars: Brian Wilson, Dick Clark, Cher
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Joe Strummer, Steve Jones, Mick Jones
Muscle Shoals (2013)
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary that celebrates Rick Hall, the founder of FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and the signature sound he developed in songs such as "I'll Take You There", "Brown Sugar", and "When a Man Loves a Woman".

Director: Greg 'Freddy' Camalier
Stars: Rick Hall, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film account and presentation of the final concert of The Band.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robbie Robertson, Muddy Waters, Neil Young
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

First-time filmmaker and award-winning photographer Sam Jones documents the recording of Wilco's album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."

Director: Sam Jones
Stars: Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Leroy Bach
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Backup singers live in a world that lies just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we've had no idea who these singers are or what lives they lead, until now.

Director: Morgan Neville
Stars: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The rise and fall of the N.Y. Cosmos. The soccer team that brought Pele to America; against the backdrop of N.Y. City in the 70's.

Directors: Paul Crowder, John Dower
Stars: Pelé, Giorgio Chinaglia, Matt Dillon
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A career retrospective of British punk band The Clash, featuring exclusive interviews with the entire band.

Director: Don Letts
Stars: Terry Chimes, Terence Dackombe, Topper Headon
Motown (2003)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Director: Stefan Barth
Stars: Nicolas Wackerbarth, Paul Grasshoff, Oliver Petszokat


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


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


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 »


Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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




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)


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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Montell JordanChaka Khan: [singing] Baby, there ain't no mountain high enough / Ain't no valley low enough / Ain't no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you.
See more »


Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »


How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
by Eddie Holland (as Edward Holland Jr.), Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland
Performed by Jr. Walker & The All Stars
Used by permission of Jobete Music Co., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Courtesy of Motown Record Company, L.P.
under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Behind the music
25 October 2003 | by (California) – See all my reviews

Forget VH1, forget MTV, this is the real deal. Even if you loathe documentaries, this film is different - it's about the music and the musicians that made it, and there's not a boring moment on film. If you ever liked the Motown sound, if you ever liked music for that matter, you owe it to yourself to learn how so many great recordings really came about. If you like what's on the radio right now, here's a rare chance to find out where it all really came from. A lot of the artists playing and singing today were heavily influenced by the Funk Brothers, whether they realise it entirely or not. So if you want to learn who created those sounds in the first place, you must see STANDING. I can't say enough about this film.

Now I don't want to belittle the talent that stood in front of the Funk Bros., because they deserve a lot of credit. But honestly, after seeing it the first time, I thought about how tragic it is that no one had really done it before. Maybe that's it's only flaw - this is a story we should have heard 30 years ago. I probably knew more than most being a musician myself, but there were many aspects that were revelations. To hear these guys play in a live setting again, is above and beyond what you could expect in this kind of work. But it's here - rent, buy, go see this movie!

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
best and worst performances? zazzy-zulu
now we know how he made that sound shesabear
How did this miss some major awards? cjb_cello
Books about Motown Fuelrot
best scene jnmcdona
where to get hold of this program? piglet44
Discuss Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page