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The Night James Brown Saved Boston (2008)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary | Music  -  5 April 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 142 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 12 critic

The film documents that remarkable concert and the politics around it. Boston Mayor Kevin White and his colleagues almost by accident realized that by televising the James Brown concert ... See full summary »



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Title: The Night James Brown Saved Boston (TV Movie 2008)

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Credited cast:
Michael Ambrosino ...
Tom Atkins ...
Charles Bobbit ...
Himself (archive footage)
Bobby Byrd ...
Himself (archive footage)
James Byrd ...
Himself (as James 'Early' Byrd)
Himself (archive footage)
Pee Wee Ellis ...
Dick Flavin ...
Himself (as Richard Flavin)
David Gates ...
Robert Hall ...
Himself (as Dr. Robert Hall)
Narrator (voice)
Hubert H. Humphrey ...
Himself (archive footage)
Ellen Jackson ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Lyndon B. Johnson)


The film documents that remarkable concert and the politics around it. Boston Mayor Kevin White and his colleagues almost by accident realized that by televising the James Brown concert they could keep people indoors that night prevent widespread rioting. The film is almost testimony to the power of music in general and the power of James Brown's music in particular. The film is a tribute to the Godfather of Soul and the role he would come to play in working for civil rights. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Music





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5 April 2008 (USA)  »

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| (archive footage)
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Features James Brown: Live at the Boston Garden, 1968 (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting and entertaining
18 July 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

I am a fan of James Brown - his concert in the Streetsville Arena near Toronto on the night of the great blackout was a highlight on my youth

  • so I found this film informative and delightful. It's a great way for

people who never his saw his show as it was back in those days to get an idea of what it might have been like. His "big show" approach, with smooth, scripted emceeing, warmup acts, comedy, everything done with near military precision, paved the way for the big concerts of today. In fact, a lot of shows today look awfully loosey-goosey compared to his. But the film focuses on the social significance of that show in Boston, which kept potential rioters off the streets in order to watch a special broadcast of the James Brown show live on television.

It's said he was working for the higher good. Well, JB often did, but the film makes clear on this night that he was ready to turn his back; he wasn't going to do his part to help calm the city unless he was paid his full going rate. And the shame of the city of Boston is that, according to a member of the JB team, they only paid part of the fee. They should have paid it ten time over, considering the destruction he almost certainly saved the city from.

Not every moment of the film is riveting, but it's well worth watching, leaving you with some interesting thoughts about the importance of music.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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