7.1/10
3,175
43 user 20 critic

Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

The story of the troubled life and career of the legendary Jazz singer, Billie Holiday.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Suzanne de Passe) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Mahogany (1975)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Tracy, an aspiring designer from the slums of Chicago puts herself through fashion school in the hopes of becoming one of the world's top designers. Her ambition leads her to Rome spurring ... See full summary »

Directors: Berry Gordy, Tony Richardson, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Perkins
Out of Darkness (TV Movie 1994)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A paranoid schizophrenic woman finds treatment to her mental illness after 18 years of suffering.

Director: Larry Elikann
Stars: Diana Ross, Ann Weldon, Rhonda Stubbins White
Sparkle (1976)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A girl group experiences turmoil after one of their members turns to drugs and another achieves their desired fame all by herself.

Director: Sam O'Steen
Stars: Philip Michael Thomas, Irene Cara, Lonette McKee
Claudine (1974)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the 1970s Harlem, garbage collector Roop feels intimidated by the idea of dating Claudine who is a single mother of six on welfare.

Director: John Berry
Stars: Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs
Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Tired of the slave-like treatment of his team's owner, charismatic star Negro League pitcher Bingo Long takes to the road with his band of barnstormers through the small towns of the Midwest in the 1930's.

Director: John Badham
Stars: Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

At Madame Zenobia's illegal nightclub, when Steve Jackson and Wardell Franklin get robbed of their wallets containing a winning lottery ticket, they set out to recover it.

Director: Sidney Poitier
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A 12-year-old is traumatised by the murder of his friend, a star basketball player.

Director: Joseph Manduke
Stars: Moses Gunn, Rosalind Cash, Bernie Casey
Hit! (1973)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A Federal Agent, whose daughter dies of a heroin overdose, is determined to destroy the drug ring that supplied her. He recruits various people whose lives have been torn apart by the drug ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor, Paul Hampton
Car Wash (1976)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A comedic take on the daily life of a car wash employees, chronicling their hopes, fears, joys, dreams and tribulations. And meeting a few eccentric costumers along the way.

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Richard Pryor, Franklyn Ajaye, Darrow Igus
Crime | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Dave Anderson and Manny Durrell are two high-class sneak thieves who have never been caught. Joshua Burke is a retired detective who has enough evidence on the both of them to put them ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Poitier
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Richard Pryor is playing three different roles here. The first being a poor orange picker named Leroy Jones who gets laid off when by mistake he joins the worker's union during one of their... See full summary »

Director: Michael Schultz
Stars: Richard Pryor, Lonette McKee, Margaret Avery
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Billie Holiday
... Louis McKay
... Piano Man
... Reg Hanley (as James Callahan)
... Harry
... Jerry
... Mama Holiday
Yvonne Fair ... Yvonne
... The Madame
Tracee Lyles ... The Prostitute
... The Agent
... The Doctor
... The Detective #1
Clay Tanner ... The Detective #2
Jester Hairston ... The Butler
Edit

Storyline

Born Elinore Harris, Billie Holiday had a difficult teen and young adulthood period, which included working in brothels, both as a cleaning woman and a prostitute, and being raped. Through this difficulty, she dreamed of becoming a jazz singer. She got her initial singing break when she applied at a Harlem club that was looking for a dancer, but where she got hired as a singer. There, she met and fell in love with the suave Louis McKay. After this initial break, Billie wanted her singing career to move to the mainstream clubs in downtown Manhattan. She took a risk when she agreed to be the lead singer for the Reg Hanley Band, a primarily white group, who convinced her that she would have to make her mark in regional tours before her Manhattan dream could happen. As Billie tried to advance her career, pressures of life, including being a black woman, led to her not so secret substance abuse (especially of heroin), not so secret because of her increasingly erratic behavior, both on ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Diana Ross is Billie Holiday. Diana Ross sings Billie Holiday and a superstar is born. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 October 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El ocaso de una estrella  »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$9,600,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First African-American biopic to be nominated for the Academy Awards, earning five nominations, including Best Actress. See more »

Quotes

Louis McKay: I'm going out for a while. And when I come back, I don't want to find you here.
See more »

Connections

Featured in A Century of Black Cinema (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy
Written by Michel Legrand and Smokey Robinson
Sung by Michael Jackson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Dreadful from start to finish
15 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

This is botched in a hundred ways. Factual errors aren't the point - all biopics play with the truth for dramatic reasons, but the story here is inept. The story starts and ends nowhere, investing none of the events with significance. There's no sense of drama, no building of tension, no interesting characters, nothing but Diana Ross bumbling around the sets looking awkward and projecting little personality. How does one re-create a 1920's Harlem whorehouse and manage to make it look as interesting as a Motel 6?

And the singing - there's no doubt Diana Ross has a voice, but she doesn't display the slightest connection with the material. No one could imitate Billie, but one would hope for some kind of interesting interpretation to help pull off the impersonation. But Ross phones in the tunes, with little feeling or style.

Most of the other characters are cardboard, with Richard Pryor doing the weirdest role of his life as a timid, comical piano player.

Absolutely unwatchable for anyone but die-hard Diana Ross fans, and for Billie Holiday lovers and movie buffs, sheer torture.


9 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 43 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial