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The Five Heartbeats (1991)

R | | Drama, Music | 29 March 1991 (USA)
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The story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group.

Director:

Robert Townsend
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Townsend ... Duck
Michael Wright ... Eddie
Leon ... J.T.
Harry Lennix ... Dresser
Tico Wells Tico Wells ... Choirboy
Diahann Carroll ... Eleanor Potter
Harold Nicholas ... Sarge
Tressa Thomas ... Duck's Baby Sister
John Canada Terrell John Canada Terrell ... Michael 'Flash' Turner
Chuck Patterson Chuck Patterson ... Jimmy Potter
Hawthorne James ... Big Red
Roy Fegan ... Bird
Troy Byer ... Baby Doll (as Troy Beyer)
Carla Brothers Carla Brothers ... Tanya Sawyer
Deborah Lacey ... Rose
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Storyline

In the early 1960's, a quintet of hopeful young African American men form an amateur vocal group called The Five Heartbeats. After an initially rocky start, the group improve, turn pro, and rise to become a top flight music sensation. Along the way however, the guys learn many hard lessons about the reality of the music industry with it's casual racism and greed while the personal weaknesses of the members threaten to destroy the integrity of the band. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 March 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los Heartbeats See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$8,750,400
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Diahann Carroll turned down a role in Boyz n the Hood (1991) to appear in this film. See more »

Goofs

When JT and Flash are singing "Just in Case"; both of their mouths are moving when they recite the lyrics "... come back to me." Except only Flash's voice is actually heard. See more »

Quotes

Big Red: Tell Jimmy he can't hide.
See more »


Soundtracks

La La (Means I Love You)
Written by Thom Bell (as Thomas Bell) & William Hart
Performed by The Delfonics
Courtesy of Arista Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Truth Hurts
7 June 2005 | by hferonbergSee all my reviews

Coming from a highly musical family, and knowing the struggle and hardships that abound, I have to agree with the clichés and other trappings of fame that this film has to offer. It is a slice of the American Pie, that no one seems to want to believe. There are other movies about African-American actors, musicians and entertainers, that show the same scenarios of racism. Dorothy Dandridge really did have to use the bathroom in a Dixie cup, and when she stuck her toe in the pool they drained it and cleaned it. People like Big Red did, and do, exist. There were people who were hung upside down from the balcony, because they demanded to be let out of loan shark type contracts, or demanded to see the books. It still goes on today. To say that this movie just shows the racist, drug addicted side of the music industry is just inaccurate. This movie is one group's struggle. The movie is based not only on The Dells, but on the experiences of many of the groups in that era. Look at the Frankie Lymon Story. It seems too outlandish to be true, but it is a true story, and that is just part of life.

I have the stories from my father being on the road with various bands in the 50's and 60's, and there are some things that go on, on the road that can only be understood if you have been on the road. My mother has told me about the late night parties at the studios in the 60's and 70's, and some of the crazy things that happened, and again, only if you have been there, can you understand what happens after hours behind closed doors.

I personally have been on the road, and I have been in the studio, late, recording. There is an energy that happens that cannot be explained. Some people can handle it, others cannot. This movie depicts both. I have known people like all of the characters in this movie, and the portrayals are accurate. Yeah, "Can't nobody Sing, Like Eddie King", but at the same time could you keep the show going, being that high? This movie shows the ups ad the downs. It isn't all gravy. It is life. I thank Robert Townsend for this accurate, at times gritty, dirty, beautiful portrayal, of friendship, talent, commitment, and love. It reminds me of my father and his brothers, my mother and me. It's life.


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