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Chronicles the rise of Chess Records and its recording artists.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joshua Alscher ...
Tim Bellow ...
Man in the Caddy (as Timothy Bellow)
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Isabelle Allen
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Douglas Crosby ...
Policeman (Little Walter beating)
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Geneva's Teenage Son
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Blonde Girl
Sean Shyboy Davis ...
Toothless Hillbilly Little Walter (as Sean Davis)
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Storyline

In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, "Cadillac Records" follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry. Written by Sony Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Follow the beat to its source. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

5 December 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cadillac Records - Csillogó fekete lemezek  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,445,559 (USA) (5 December 2008)

Gross:

$8,134,217 (USA) (2 January 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy "Roquel" Davis produced Etta James' records for Chess, not the Chess brothers. See more »

Goofs

Alan Freed introduces "Surfin' USA." The song came out in 1963, when Freed was out of the radio business. See more »

Quotes

Willie Dixon: [as a narrator] When you lose that cat that gave you the sound that nobody else could, it hurts. Hurts more than losing your woman.
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Connections

References New American Bandstand 1965 (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Maybellene
Performed by Yasiin Bey
Written by Chuck Berry
Published by Arc Music Corp. & Isalee Music Corp.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
GREAT Music, Flashy Nostalgia, Fascinating Cultural History

"Cadillac Records" is a fun, fast, flashy introduction to the world of Chess Records. In the 1950s, Leonard Chess, a Polish-born Jew in Chicago, along with his brother Phil (not seen in this film) produced "race" records by African American blues and rock and roll legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry and Etta James.

These artists' work had huge impact on popular music; the Rolling Stones are shown on a pilgrimage to Chess Studio. Their music is great and is played all but non-stop on the soundtrack, which is a very good thing. Flashy glimpses into the glamorous styles of the 1950s and 60s include loving looks at the many Cadillacs Chess gives as gifts to his star performers.

Jeffrey Wright is quietly compelling as Muddy Waters. Mos Def is a charming Chuck Berry; he really communicates the charisma that Berry exuded to his adoring female fans. Eamonn Walker is terrific, and appropriately intimidating, as Howlin' Wolf. Walker electrifies the screen with his every morsel of screen time; I wish that after they'd finished "Cadillac Records," they had just kept the sets up and kept the cameras running and began a biography of Howlin' Wolf with Walker in the lead. Beyonce Knowles is very beautiful and pays worthy tribute to Etta James, the singer she plays.

"Cadillac Records" feels a bit rushed, and not as deep and probing as it could have been. Perhaps much backstory was cut out? A shame, because Adrien Brody, a brilliant and compelling actor, is not given enough to do.

So much more could and should have been said about Chess the man and his motivations, and the complex relationship he had with his singers. There is the story that Chess put Muddy Waters to work painting his ceiling. Some accused him of paternalism; curious viewers are advised to pick up Nadine Cohodas' book "Spinning Blues into Gold: The Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records." Also, "Cadillac Records" can't avoid the clichés inherent in music biopics: the innocent character is introduced to drugs for the first time, and is ruined by them; the self destructiveness of brilliant people, the exhilarating, brutal, rags-to-riches-to-obscurity trajectory of show biz careers. For all that, "Cadillac Records" is fun and it makes you want to learn more about an important cultural moment in American history.


41 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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