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Bessie (2015)

TV-MA | | Biography, Drama, Music | TV Movie 16 May 2015
1:31 | Trailer

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The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
3,048 ( 162)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 20 wins & 45 nominations. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
John Hammond
Carl Van Vechten
William 'Pa' Rainey
Chorus Girl #1
Etta Johnson (as Marie L. Burke)
Sharkish Man
Vanity Fair Editor
Doreen Dupree


The story of legendary blues performer Bessie Smith, who rose to fame during the 1920s and '30s.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama | Music


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 May 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

В блюзе только Бесси  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Queen Latifah's topless scene in front of the mirror shows her real breasts. A body double was not used. See more »


Ma Rainey: Remember what I told you about the blues? If you're not risking nothing, neither would they.
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Till the Cows Come Home
Written and Performed by Lucille Bogan
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Definitely NOT "about the music"
20 May 2015 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

The year was 1972 and the challenge for director Sidney J. Furie was how to translate the biography of Billie Holliday into something that had "bite" for the mainstream.

He succeeded, in large part by his decision to make the story as much about the music as the personal travails of the famous singer.

At the time it seemed the obvious choice. Yet, flash forward 43 years and today the team behind this project, faced with the exact same choice, took the road less travelled.

It is not as if Queen L. does not have a set of pipes. After years of appearing in a string of "commodity" lifetime/lifestyle/X-mas movies -- in parts which leveraged off her infectious natural sweetness -- she stunned audiences worldwide with her performance of I KNOW WHERE I've BEEN in 2007.

(For the record, how perfect was she in that performance?? This reviewer has that song in every mix he owns and never gets tired of it. Her performance was so flawless that she could have won IDOL on that single track alone.)

This is a hard film to review. A lot of talent behind the camera, a lot of talent in front of the camera, and all of it hamstrung by the executive decision to downplay the music and focus on the strife.

Larger than life people have larger than life problems. But we already knew that. Personally, I missed the tunes.

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

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