IMDb > B.B. King: The Life of Riley (2012)

B.B. King: The Life of Riley (2012) More at IMDbPro »


User Rating:
6.9/10   213 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 21% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
None None (writer)
View company contact information for B.B. King: The Life of Riley on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
May 2014 (USA) See more »
The untold true American story of an orphan boy from the heart of the Mississippi Delta who rose to music stardom around the world and inspired a generation of fans against all odds. | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Detailed Doc Chronicles the Life & Career of the Blues Legend See more (1 total) »


  (in credits order)

B.B. King ... Himself

Bruce Willis ... Himself

Carlos Santana ... Himself

Eric Clapton ... Himself

Bono ... Himself

Ron Wood ... Himself (as Ronnie Wood)

Bonnie Raitt ... Herself
Bobby Bland ... Himself
Derek Trucks ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Boy Arnold ... Himself
George Benson ... Himself
Joe Bihari ... Himself
Joe Bonamassa ... Himself
Doyle Bramhall ... Himself
Jo Cartledge ... Herself
Wayne Cartledge ... Himself
Annie Clay ... Herself

Bill Cosby ... Himself
Robert Cray ... Himself
Delcia Davis ... Herself

Dr. John ... Himself
Sue King Evans ... Herself
Charles Evers ... Himself
John Fair ... Himself
Lessie Mae Fair ... Herself
Tina France ... Herself

Morgan Freeman ... Narrator / Himself
Demarcus Gillespie ... Young Riley B. King
Jessie Mae Golden ... Herself
Peter Green ... Himself

Buddy Guy ... Himself
Allan Hammons ... Himself
Sara Betty Lou Henson ... Herself
John Cadillac Holden ... Himself
Mick Hucknall ... Himself

Mick Jagger ... Himself (archive footage)
Johnny Lang ... Himself

John Lennon ... Himself (voice) (archive footage)
Stewart Levine ... Himself
Robert Lockwood ... Himself
David Matthews ... Himself
John Mayall ... Himself

John Mayer ... Himself
Ford Nelson ... Himself

Aaron Neville ... Himself

Barack Obama ... Himself (archive footage)
Calvin Owens ... Himself
Bernard Pretty Purdie ... Himself
Carver Randle ... Himself

Keith Richards ... Himself (archive footage)

Paul Rodgers ... Himself

Leon Russell ... Himself
Charles Sawyer ... Himself
Kenny Wayne Shepherd ... Himself

Slash ... Himself

Ringo Starr ... Himself
Bill Szymczyk ... Himself

Mick Taylor ... Himself
Susan Tedeschi ... Herself
James Toney ... Himself
LaVerne Toney ... Herself
Walter Trout ... Himself
Clemmie Truevellian ... Herself
Cato Walker III ... Himself
Polly Walker ... Herself

Joe Walsh ... Himself

Johnny Winter ... Himself
Ernest Withers ... Himself

Bill Wyman ... Himself

Muhammad Ali ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Martin Luther King ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Michelle Obama ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Sidney Poitier ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Pope John Paul II ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Directed by
Jon Brewer 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
None None  writer

Produced by
Jon Brewer .... executive producer
Jon Brewer .... producer
Laura Brewer .... associate producer
Tina France .... executive producer
Harriet Hammond .... assistant producer (as Harriet Glynn)
Laura Royko .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Josh Gibson 
Matt Greenham 
Willie Mann  (as William Mann)
Jeff Smart 
Film Editing by
Andrij Evans 
Matt Greenham (off-line editor)
Makeup Department
Annah Yevelenko .... makeup artist
Art Department
Frank Parker .... artwork
Mary Queen of Props .... props
Sound Department
Richard Kondal .... sound re-recording mixer
Stelios Koupetoris .... assistant sound re-recording mixer
Editorial Department
Andrij Evans .... on-line
Matt Greenham .... on-line
Music Department
Stanley Abernathy .... trumpet
James Bolden .... musical director
Tony Coleman .... drums
Charlie Dennis .... guitar
Melvin Jackson .... saxophone
Walter King .... saxophone
Reggie Richards .... bass
Ernest Vantrease .... keyboards
Transportation Department
Jimmy Barre .... driver
Alvin Morris .... driver
Dale Morse .... driver
Reggie Taylor .... driver
Other crew
Harriet Hammond .... researcher (as Harriet Glynn)
Allan Hammons .... researcher

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
123 min | 119 min

Did You Know?

When Love Comes to TownSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Detailed Doc Chronicles the Life & Career of the Blues Legend, 19 November 2014
Author: Larry Silverstein from United States

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This detailed documentary, directed by Jon Brewer, chronicles the life and career of B.B. King, now 89-years-old, the legendary guitarist and blues singer. The film traces his life from his birth (as Riley B. King) to impoverished sharecropper parents, in Mississippi, to his very early love of the guitar and music, through his hard labor on Mississippi farms, to his eventually leaving the state to try and begin his musical career in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee.

King would slowly establish himself in the record business and eventually begin to tour across America on what was known then as the "chitlin' circuit", which during strict segregation at the time provided black entertainers venues in theaters and clubs. He would gain more and more notoriety, as his talents were noticed, and with his million seller hit record "3 O'clock Blues", he would cross over and be able to perform in any venue and on national television.

What struck me the most, while viewing this movie, was the strength of character and genuineness of King, as well his sense of fairness despite all of the hardships he had endured. This often would be expressed with his quiet sense of humor, as well, of course through his soulful and legendary music.

Just to note, I thought the documentary could have been a little better edited, running near two hours with some areas being repetitive. Also, at first, it was hard to understand some of what the interviewees had to say. with their deep Southern accents and drawls.

However, overall I found this film to be very informative and interesting, and it also was filled with historic film clips and photos as well as good music.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (1 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for B.B. King: The Life of Riley (2012)

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Documentary section IMDb UK section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.