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Talk to Me (2007)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  3 August 2007 (USA)
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The story of Washington D.C. radio personality Ralph "Petey" Greene, an ex-con who became a popular talk show host and community activist in the 1960s.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce McFee ...
Prison Sign-In Guard
Adam Gaudreau ...
Escorting Guard
Program Director
Sean MacMahon ...
Richard Chevolleau ...
Guard Captain (as Todd William Schroeder)
Sunny Jim Kelsey (as Vondie Curtis Hall)


The true life story of Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr. In the mid-to-late 1960s, in Washington, D.C., vibrant soul music and exploding social consciousness were combining to unique and powerful effect. It was the place and time for Petey to fully express himself - sometimes to outrageous effect - and "tell it like it is." With the support of his irrepressible and tempestuous girlfriend Vernell, the newly minted ex-con talks his way into an on-air radio gig. He forges a friendship and a partnership with fellow prison inmate Milo's brother Dewey Hughes. From the first wild morning on the air, Petey relies on the more straight-laced Dewey to run interference at WOL-AM, where Dewey is the program director. At the station, Petey becomes an iconic radio personality, surpassing even the established popularity of his fellow disc jockeys, Nighthawk and Sunny Jim. Combining biting humor with social commentary, Petey openly courts controversy for station owner E.G. Sonderling. Petey was ... Written by Focus Features

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Never underestimate a man with something to say. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some sexual content | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

3 August 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Petey Greene's Washington  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$402,000 (USA) (13 July 2007)


$4,472,823 (USA) (21 September 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene during Petey Greene's first day on WOL he mentions that his father was serving a 21 year sentence on Alcatraz Island Federal Prison. This couldn't be true because the year in that scene was 1966. Alcatraz closed down in March 1963. See more »


James Brown played a hugely important concert the day after Dr. King's assassination. It was broadcast live on local TV to help keep people off the streets. But the concert, and the broadcast, were both in Boston. Why Petey Greene would have been a part of that is mystifying. See more »


[first lines]
Petey Greene: Wake up, goddammit!
See more »


Features The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) See more »


I Can't Turn You Loose
Written and Performed by Otis Redding
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining and Well-Acted Biopic
28 December 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Petey Greene: I'll tell it to the hot, I'll tell it to the cold. I'll tell it to the young, I'll tell it to the old. I don't want no laughin', I don't want no cryin', and most of all, no signifyin'. This is Petey Greene's Washington.

What a fascinating person Petey Greene was. What an important person Petey Greene. Sure he might have just seemed like a sharp-witted loud-mouth smart-ass, but his courage to speak out against the racial injustices of the 60s broke ground for later radio disjockeys such as Howard Stern, Don Imus and a lot more. 'Talk to Me', Kasi Lemmon's latest feature chronicling the rise and fall of radio dis-jockey turned talk show host Petey Greene is flawed but moving.

The film's biggest problem lies in the writing. There's a few parts in the middle of the film that really drag. The dialogue is realistic and often quite funny. Kasi Lemmons directing is adequate, while the cast is sensational. Don Cheadle is hysterical and compelling all at the same time. He perfectly embodies Greene, doesn't create an over-the-top character but a man we can relate and sympathize with. The multi-talented Chitwel Ejofor (Kinky Boots, Children of Men) is just as good in a less showy role as Greene's manager, and Tarj P. Henson is amusing to say the least as Greene's girlfriend. Martin Sheen and Mike Epps are solid in their small roles, and Cedric the Entertainer is decent in a role that really doesn't require much acting range.

All in all, 'Talk to Me' is a powerful movie wrapped around an intriguing real-life story. Grade: B+

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