MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 232 this week

Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)

7.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.4/10 from 5,807 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 63 user | 136 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

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:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 26 titles
created 01 Oct 2012
 
a list of 33 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 46 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 42 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 49 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013)

Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) on IMDb 7.4/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Twenty Feet from Stardom.

User Polls

Won 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

This candid New York love story explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Anxious to shed her role as her overbearing husband's assistant, Noriko finds an identity of her own.

Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Stars: Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Alex Shinohara
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.

Director: Sarah Polley
Stars: Michael Polley, John Buchan, Mark Polley
The Square (2013)
Documentary | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A group of Egyptian revolutionaries battle leaders and regimes, risking their lives to build a new society of conscience.

Director: Jehane Noujaim
Stars: Ahmed Hassan, Khalid Abdalla, Magdy Ashour
Blackfish (2013)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its dangers for both humans and whales.

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Stars: Tilikum, Dave Duffus, Samantha Berg
Muscle Shoals (2013)
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 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
Sound City (2013)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on the fabled recording studio that was located in Van Nuys, California.

Director: David Grohl
Stars: Trent Reznor, Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez.

Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Stars: Rodriguez, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey
Dirty Wars (2013)
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill is pulled into an unexpected journey as he chases down the hidden truth behind America's expanding covert wars.

Director: Rick Rowley
Stars: Jeremy Scahill, Nasser Al Aulaqi, Saleha Al Aulaqi
Side by Side (2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The documentary investigates the history, process and workflow of both digital and photochemical film creation.

Director: Christopher Kenneally
Stars: Derek Ambrosi, Michael Ballhaus, Andrzej Bartkowiak
Undefeated (2011)
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on an underdog football team who look to reverse their fortunes with coach Bill Courtney.

Directors: Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin
Stars: Bill Courtney, O.C. Brown, Montrail 'Money' Brown
The Imposter (2012)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary centered on a young Frenchman who claims to a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who has been missing for 3 years.

Director: Bart Layton
Stars: Adam O'Brian, Anna Ruben, Cathy Dresbach
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Himself
...
Herself (as Stevvi Alexander)
Patti Austin ...
Herself
...
Himself
...
Himself (archive footage)
Todd Boyd ...
Himself (as Dr. Todd Boyd)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Carole Childs ...
Herself
Amy Christian ...
Herself
Greg Clark ...
Himself
Kyliyah Clayton ...
Herself
...
Herself
Susan Collins ...
Herself
Charlotte Crossley ...
Herself
...
Herself
Edit

Storyline

The backup singer exists in a strange place in the pop music world; they are always in the shadow of the feature artists even when they are in front of them in concert while they provide a vital foundation for the music. Through interviews with veterans and concert footage, the history of these predominately African-American singers is explored through the rock era. Furthermore, special focus is given to special stand outs who endeavored to make a living in the art burdened with a low profile and more personal career frustrations, especially those who faced the very different challenge of singing in the spotlight themselves. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Meet the unsung heroes behind the greatest music of our time.

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and sexual material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 November 2013 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

20 Feet from Stardom  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$54,596 (USA) (14 June 2013)

Gross:

$4,946,250 (USA) (13 June 2014)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Features The Concert for Bangladesh (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Slippery People
Written by David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz, and Jerry Harrison
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
It's Just a Shot Away
30 June 2013 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. "And the colored girls go do doo doo, do doo ...". The controversial lyrics from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" kick off this exceptional documentary about the oft-ignored back-up singers who have played (and continue to play) a huge role in some of the biggest songs of all-time. You may not know their names, but you have undoubtedly sung along with them while driving or taking a shower.

Director Morgan Neville has a credit list filled with music shorts and documentaries. One of my personal favorites of his is The American Masters on Muddy Waters. I recalled that while watching this one because Neville does a nice job of connecting the dots from Gospel, Blues and Soul to the roots of Rock and Roll. The main women featured here all admit to being daughters of preachers, and fine-tuning their ability to harmonize during their youth while singing in the church choir.

Most of the interview time and insight comes from Darlene Love, Lisa Fischer, and Merry Clayton. You may not recognize the names or faces, but you will surely recognize the voices. Ms. Love has been elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and may be best known thanks to her annual appearance on the David Letterman Show at Christmas. Ms. Fischer is the most frequent worker today of the three as she tours with Chris Botti, Sting and The Rolling Stones. However, the heart-stopping climax of the film belongs to Merry Clayton, as we are treated to her isolated vocals from the master on her infamous performance on the single "Gimme Shelter". Hearing her raw voice blast out "Rape. Murder. It's just a shot away" is both exhilarating and gut-wrenching. To hear her tell the story is mesmerizing. One of my favorite movie moments ever.

While we see and hear the personal stories filled with frustration and regrets, we also see an inherent love of music and the appreciation for their particular gift. We also hear from Tata Vega, Dr. Mabel John (a former Raelette for Ray Charles), and Claudia Lennear. With many similar stories of their quest for solo careers, we get the contemporary version with Judith Hill, a twenty-something working back-up today as she strives for a solo career. The parallels are obvious with her older peers.

Another excellent feature of the film comes in the form of interviews from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Lou Adler, Chris Botti, and Mick Jagger. We also see some studio shots featuring Phil Spector (once the hottest music producer, now incarcerated), and concert footage of Talking Heads, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, and the Concert for Bangladesh. It's especially fitting to see Luther Vandross as a back-up singer to David Bowie's "Young Americans", and to hear from Sheryl Crow, who worked as Michael Jackson's back-up/lead female. These are the examples of the back-ups who successfully made the walk.

My only minor quibble with the film is structural, not content. Neville has an over-whelming task of addressing each of the individual stories, while also relating it to the nasty and unfair music business, the Civil Rights movement, the development of Rock and Roll, and the role that "talent" plays in what Springsteen terms the "complicated" walk from back-up to lead singer (the titular 20 feet). The segment focusing on Merry Clayton's role in Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" is especially poignant. Overall this film is fascinating and entertaining, and makes a great companion piece to Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) and Muscle Shoals (2013).


17 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Judith Hill moviejaysin
just saw it and it rocked vickysounusual
I can't wait to see this movie!!! baidoasomalia
Please stop comparing this with all the other documentaries barrs6
Great solid documentary! wa7483
Phil Spector and Ike Turner AZINDN
Discuss Twenty Feet from Stardom (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page